WRITING STYLES: ‘Hope Trueblood’

Hope-TruebloodThose who were present during the initial transmission of Hope Trueblood were surprised as the letters and words poured forth from the Ouija board.  There had been nothing in the conversation of the evening to suggest this theme, nothing in the event of the day.  Casper Yost said that “Before she had written fifty words there were exclamations of astonishment.  Mrs. Curran looked up, round-eyed and wordless.  For the first time in the more than four years’ association with her, Patience was writing in plain English of the present day.”

Hope Trueblood is a novel, published in 1918, that is easily understandable by English-speaking people of today.  It is written in modern English and would probably make a good British ‘Masterpiece Theater’ television show. In this story, according to Yost, Patience steps “…into an English village of apparently the mid-Victorian period. . . . turning out as much as five thousand words in a single evening.

The following sample was selected at random starting on page 58.

It was bright and quiet, except for a little cricket that chirped and chirped and chirped.  Somehow it seemed to cheer me.  I sat down by the dead hearth and picked up one of the broken branches that she had laid there.  I remember her own fingers had curled about this very one and I kissed it.  I wondered had she put a little loaf upon the shelf with perhaps some honey.  I got from off the bench and tiptoed over to the shelf.  It was bare.  I began to cry and I said aloud:

“Sally Trueblood, they don’t want me.  The Vicar knows it.  Their eyes hurt.”

And I sobbed aloud.  Then, drying my eyes, I went to the little box and thought I should take it to God’s house were I was to live.  I slipped my hand over the patches in my cape that she had sewn there and began weeping once more.  Then my hand fell upon a hood.  It was a blue one and had been beautiful.  It was hers when eyes didn’t hurt her, and pinned to this was another note.  I unpinned it and crushing it in my hand, took my box and fled.  I would go to Miss Patricia’s

There was a goodly gathering about the door and when I made my appearance there was a commotion.  They did not speak to me, but they spoke to each other.  The door was open and I stepped timidly through it, still holding to my box.  Miss Patricia was weeping and Miss Snifly and Mrs. Kirby were lending their kerchiefs.  I do not know but this is fancy, but it seemed to me that Miss Patricia looked happier weeping than I had ever seen her.  She did not notice me.  I sat down my box and went up to her just as I would have gone up to Sally Trueblood when she wept and I said:

‘Miss Patricia, I hope I did not make you unhappy.  You know they do move.  Mr. Reuben said so.”

She sat up very straight and spoke Sally Trueblood’s name and a word that I did not know, but those that heard looked shocked and I felt ashamed.  It was not one of the words Rudy Strong knew.  He knew three and he always went behind something to say them.  Miss Patricia said this out right straight and told them to put me out.  I turned and took up my box and I said slowly:

“Never mind.  I don’t care, and Sally Trueblood shall not know.  You see, I am to live with God.”

I trudged out with my box and I do not recall all that I did that last part of the afternoon, but I do remember that I went to Gifford’s and found the doors shut and that the inn had been locked when I returned.  Then I had gone to Ole Dodson’s, but the shutters were up and by this time it was most dark, and so quiet.  I heard the cows lowing and the fowls making ready to sleep.  There were no village children upon the streetway.  I passed Rudy Strong’s but it was dark.

I wondered where I should go.  I put down the box and sat upon it and wept.  Then suddenly the little note in my hand came to my mind.  I opened it.  It was very dim light but I read three words.  “Are you playing?”  My heart leapt.  I was playing!  I forgot!  Then something happened.  Something warm and soft rubbed against me.  It was Gifford’s pink-nosed cat.  I just took it up and loved it.  It was warm and felt like Sally Trueblood’s hair, and I said’

“Have you supped?  I smell mutton.”

He made a long mew, and I stroked him and I said:

“Was it nice and brown?  It smells like that.”

He made another long mew.

“I guess you have sup at morning and mid sup and perhaps eve sup?”

It mewed.  I sighed, for I never remember but one sup and what Sally Trueblood had called “the evening jest.”

An on-line copy of ‘Hope Trueblood’ is available at http://openlibrary.org/books/OL6607854M/Hope_Trueblood


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