Saturday, February 27, 2016

Another Kind of Tablet!

At the time of A Buss from Lafayette, pupils often used individual slate tablets to do their work in class. They were like miniature chalkboards, but used special pencils instead of chalk. Here is a pile of slate boards for sale at Colonial Williamsburg, with a cup full of slate pencils just behind it. Please note the cedar pencils that were another writing implement used at the time. In fact, Clara uses a pencil to write in her journal, instead of an old-fashioned but perhaps more poetic-sounding quill!

I, Clara Summer Hargraves, of Gould Hill, in the Township of Hopkinton, in the State of New Hampshire, in the United States of America, in the Western Hemisphere, in the World, and in the Universe, do hereby take up my quill (well, pencil, as I am writing this by the pond so I can cool my feet in the water on this hot day) . . .

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Riding Aside

The sidesaddle in Clara's time had only one pommel, which the rider hooked her right leg around. This picture has the skirt pulled up to reveal how this worked. The lower pommel around the left thigh was added later.

When I was little girl we visited Blackberry Hill Farm in North Grafton, MA, where my father, his brothers, and my grandfather and his siblings grew up. I remember looking around in the barn and finding a very strange-looking saddle, which I learned was a side saddle. I recently asked my 93 year old uncle about this, and he said two of his aunts, born in the late 1800s, used to ride on that sidesaddle. I was nervous enough when riding horseback on a normal saddle and remember being glad I didn't have to ride "aside!"

Here's how Clara feels about riding sidesaddle:

        Father spoke up. “No ‘buts,’ my girl, you heard your mama. She knows how young ladies must behave. If she says you must ride sidesaddle from now on, that is what you must do.”
     "Sidesaddle? But that is so silly!” I protested. “I cannot hold on properly with only one knee around the horse. It is like riding half a horse!”
      Father leaned over and patted my hand. “Nevertheless, daughter, you must use Priscilla’s sidesaddle whenever you ride Feather."
                                    -A Buss from Lafayette, Copyright 2016 by Dorothea Jensen

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Another Real Person in A BUSS FROM LAFAYETTE


Here's the reference to Dr. Samuel Flagg I found in Lord's Life and Times in Hopkinson, NH:

And here's what I wrote about Dr. Flagg in A Buss from Lafayette:

    I started to pick up my brother’s dinner plate, but Joss held onto it and filled it with another helping of salmagundi. “You’re just mad because last time Hetty was here, she threatened to fetch Dr. Flagg,” he said scornfully.
Dr. Flagg was a semi-itinerant, often rum- soaked, physician who sometimes treated people in Hopkinton—mostly when none of the other doctors were available. 

  “And you’re the one who told her that Dr. Flagg was ‘out to get’ redheaded children. Well, I am not actually a child anymore, Joseph Hargraves, and I no longer believe that Dr. Flagg is a bogeyman. Though the man certainly does not like my hair. He sniffs whenever he looks at me.”  
                              - A Buss from Lafayette, Copyright 2016 by Dorothea Jensen

Friday, February 12, 2016

Lucy Locket's Lost Pocket

An embroidered pocket on exhibit
at Colonial Williamsburg.

     I curtsied to my father, and thanked him for the birthday pennies. I then reached through the slit in my skirt and carefully placed the pennies into the linen pocket that hung underneath by strings tied around my waist. My cousin Hetty scorned the old-fashioned pocket, saying that all young ladies these days carried embroidered reticules on their wrists instead. But this old-fashioned pocket had belonged to my mother, whose name was Caroline. She had embroidered it with the words, “Carrie, Her Pocket” in the staggering stitches of a young girl. I would never trade it for a fashionable little wrist bag, especially when this cherished pocket might now hold what I needed to fulfill my greatest dream.
 – from A Buss from Lafayette, Copyright 2016 by Dorothea Jensen
     When I was a child, the “Lucy Locket Lost Her Pocket” nursery rhyme baffled me. How could someone lose a pocket?? Later I learned that pockets started out as items that were separate from clothing. They had strings that could be tied around the waist underneath a skirt, which had a slit in the side. The wearer could reach through the slit to reach the pocket. Lucy probably lost her pocket because the strings came untied or broke.
    I once played Lucy Lockit (not exactly the same but close) in Beggar’s Opera. I did not lose any pockets, but I did .lose the hero. To the soprano. As usual.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Friday, February 5, 2016

Holding it (Finally) in My Hot Little Hands!

Woo hoo!   The book itself!

Since I first got the idea for A Buss from Lafayette nearly 18 years ago, you may imagine my delight at holding the real, live book in my hands a few days ago.

(This is an advance copy, as the official release date won't be until April 22.)

However, if you want a copy of your own, pre-order it here:

Paperback from BQB Publishing

Paperback and Kindle book from Amazon

Paperback and Nook book from Barnes and Noble

Kobo e-book from (naturally) Kobo

Buss can also be pre-ordered from iTunes, but I can't figure out how to get an actual link for that so you iBookers are on your own.

Meanwhile, I have been having fun writing "author insights" and background information about A Buss from Lafayette. Click here to take at peek at my Bublish pages where I write that kind of thing.

And by the way, today the number of "hits" on my Bublish stuff came to this amazing total. 

Thanks again to all of you who helped me reach this lovely number. 



Tuesday, February 2, 2016