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A Buss from Lafayette:

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INTERIOR SITE LINK

Chapter 1

"Dickon Weeks says his mother told him that they eat salmagundi on pirate ships."


Hearing the name of one of my chief tormentors brought a momentary blush to my face. "Really?" I asked. "Dickon claims that pirates eat salmagundi? Is not salad rather too girlish a dish for them? I always picture them gnawing on joints of beef. Maybe even bloody joints of beef."


"I think Mrs. Weeks—or perhaps Richard Weeks himself—is confusing two different dishes, Joseph," Prissy said. "Perhaps she is mistaking salmagundi for Solomon Gundy, a kind of pickled fish paste from Jamaica.—"A Buss from Lafayette, Chapter 1

Solomon Gundy. Yuck.

Chapter 3

The room my stepmother referred to was not the upstairs bedroom she shared with Father. For the last two months, she had found difficulty in climbing the very steep stairs, so we had emptied out the large pantry next to the kitchen at the back of the house. We had set up a temporary bedroom for her there, containing only a narrow bed, a small chest of drawers, and a low bookcase. —A Buss from Lafayette, Chapter 3

A pantry in an 1830s house in Peterborough, NH. Food would be stored here as well as pans. It would be a bit tight for a bedroom, however temporary.

Chapter 5

"Prissy pumped water into the sink to rinse the last plate from breakfast. The shallow granite slab, with its small pump and its drain to the outside, was one of the modern conveniences Father had installed in our old colonial house when he had married Mother. —A Buss from Lafayette, Chapter 5

"We need at least ten gallons of syrup by Friday, Clara. The strawberries are ripening fast in this heat; we shall have to make them into preserves before this weekend. Oh, and tell Mr. Towne we need at least ten dozen glass jars, a ream of letter paper, a big roll of soft paper, and one large bottle of brandy." —A Buss from Lafayette, Chapter 5

I saw this in an apothecary shop in Colonial Williamsburg and thought it well illustrated how jars were sealed before screw-on lids or mason jars were around.

I removed my pinafore and hung it on the peg near the door. There was certainly no need to wear an extra layer on what promised to be another scorchingly hot day. If only I could take off my ankle-length pantalettes as well!" —A Buss from Lafayette, Chapter 5

A pinafore, usually worn over a dress

to keep it clean when working or playing.

A picture showing a young girl wearing pantalettes.

Chapter 6

When I got to the barn, I greeted Humpty and Dumpty, the two oxen who pulled the plow in the springtime, the wagon at harvest time, and the sledge in the winter. Too bad I cannot ride an ox, I thought. I doubt anyone could put a sidesaddle on Humpty or Dumpty. I patted the noses of the large, gentle, brown beasts and fed each of them a handful of fresh hay before moving on to Feather's stall.—A Buss from Lafayette, Chapter 6

Clara's family has a pair of oxen called Humpty and Dumpty that pull plows, wagons, etc. Here is a team of oxen pulling a cart at Old Sturbridge Village. When I was there recently, I asked one of the costumed interpreters there what an ox is, exactly. He told me that it is a steer (castrated bull) that has been trained to pull ploughs, carts, wagons, etc., that is at least 4 years old. Before reaching this age, it is simply regarded as a trained steer.

 

A video of the oxen which I took at OSV is posted on the Buss Videos & Audios page here.

"Taking the detested sidesaddle off its stand, I put it on Feather and cinched it tight. Once that was done, I took a small chunk of sugar out of my pocket and held it out for Feather to lip happily into her mouth. Then, leading the mare outside to the mounting block, I climbed up, put my left foot into the single stirrup, and carefully settled my right knee around the pommel." Buss from Lafayette, Chapter 6

A 19th Century Mounting Block

"Soon we were passing by the Putney Tavern, a venerable old inn catering to farmers and others traveling with goods to deliver. I always loved to watch the long wagons pulling in and out of the field adjacent to the building, and enjoyed imagining what distant places they came from and were going to. There were some smock-clad drivers cooking breakfast over campfires, and others lifting buckets of water for their horses from the well. I gave them a cheerful wave as I went by." Excerpt From: Dorothea Jensen. —A Buss from Lafayette, Chapter 6

At that time "tavern" did not mean a bar, but a hotel. Here are some rules I found which just might have applied to the Putney's clientele, the truckers of the day. They might have been a bit more homespun than the lawyers and legislators who stayed in Hopkinton Village taverns, like Perkins.

"Not all the stories the teachers read had been so enjoyable, however. One in particular, a sickening story named Goody Two Shoes, had a heroine so sweet and, yes, so extraordinarily good that she could give real girls the toothache faster than the hard peppermint candy in Mr. Towne's glass jars. Goody Two Shoes was probably just the sort of person my stepmother wished me to be: the kind of person my cousin Hetty pretended to be when adults were around."A Buss from Lafayette, Chapter 6

1820 Edition: Goody Two Shoes (1.95 MB)

Here is a link to a downloadable PDF of  the story Clara found so nauseating in A BUSS FROM LAFAYETTE. 

 

 

Chapter 7

I spied Mr. Towne, his gray hair combed forward in the fashionable "Brutus" style, although his receding hairline made this look a bit odd. —A Buss from Lafayette, Chapter 7

In the story, Mr. Towne's hair might have looked similar to this. (I actually have no idea what the real Storekeeper Towne looked like.

I gave him a balding "Brutus" hairstyle so it would parallel someone else who looks quite a bit better with his hair like this.)

—Image courtesy of A Private Portrait Miniature Collection. 

He leaned over his counter, which was laden as always with large glass jars of pickles, candy, and other delicacies. Behind him, shelves reached to the ceiling, stuffed with items fascinating to the eye. On one wall, the lower spaces held large wooden barrels of brandy, rum, gin, wine, and molasses, with boxes of oranges, lemons, figs, spices, and sugar loaves on the shelves above. My eye was drawn to the other wall, however, where a rainbow of lace, silk, cotton, wool, linen, gingham, and calico occupied most of the shelves. On the very top level were more personal items: hairbrushes, mirrors, pomatums, patent medicines, and combs. My miracle-working lead comb was up there waiting for me. —A Buss from Lafayette, Chapter 7

"Well, my girl, just then, what did I see but an open carriage—a most elegant barouche decorated with roses and flags, drawn by four horses. Both the driver and his passenger appeared to be —A Buss from Lafayette, Chapter 7

A Barouche

I recently watched a presentation by Sandy Lerner on a Jane Austen Society of North America's virtual annual meeting. She said that modern readers of JA don't realize that a barouche would have been comparable to a Bentley or another costly vehicle as a status symbol. She added that about the same percentage of the 19th C British population owned a barouche as 21st C Americans own private airplanes. Thus Lafayette was traveling in great elegance when he arrived at the huge reception in Concord, NH, on June 22, 1825.

Chapter 9

The egg-shaped stagecoach came into view at the other end of the village, and the driver soon pulled his four horses to a stop in front of the store. The leather curtains on the sides of the coach were all rolled up, so we could see that the inside seats were jammed with passengers.—A Buss from Lafayette, Chapter 9

Had he grown even taller since I saw him last? Under his well-patched smock, his cotton trousers barely reached his ankles, which certainly hinted that he had.—A Buss from Lafayette, Chapter 9

 

This is a smock, which is a garment worn by farmers and other manual laborers over regular clothes to protect them from dirt, etc. As in England, these were worn by New Englanders up through the 19th C.  (They were sometimes called "smock frocks.")

Chapter 12

I also stood out from the other girls because my dear father had given me a very special gift: a pair of white gloves he bought in Boston, with the image of the famous Marquis printed right on them!"

—A Buss from Lafayette, Chapter 12

Hundreds of sourvenir items such as these gloves were imprinted with Lafayette's image during his Farewell Tour.

Chapter 13

Mrs. Weeks had sent over plenty of cold fried chicken, a salad made with tomatoes and cucumbers, and some freshly baked Anadama bread. —A Buss from Lafayette, Chapter 13

Anadama Bread Recipe (148 KB)

There is a colorful story about the name of this bread. Anna was a sailor's wife in New England. She was not a good cook, and served her husband corn meal mush night after night. Finally, he lost his temper and used the mush to make bread. He named it after his wife. So to speak. Probably not true, but colorful, nevertheless.

"Marching behind them were twenty companies of New Hampshire militia. Twenty! It was quite a sight, I tell you."

 

"Was 'the Troop' there?" asked Joss eagerly. "I think its uniforms are better than those of any other militia in New Hampshire!"

 

"The Troop" was an independent militia company famous for the horsemanship of its riders and the beauty of its horses. My brother yearned to wear one of the Troop's scarlet coats with buff facings and one of its leather, bell-crowned caps with long white feathers tipped in red."—A Buss from Lafayette, Chapter 13

A picture of mounted militia from the Old Sturbridge Village website. I think this is a close approximation of the splendor of "The Troop's" uniforms and horses! (Although the color is not red.)

After the famous hero had visited the legislature, he came out of the Capitol to find two hundred Revolutionary soldiers, assembled under the command of General Benjamin Pierce, waiting to pay him their respects. After Pierce was formally presented to Lafayette, he presented each individual veteran in turn to the esteemed visitor.

 

"It was very affecting," said the major. "All the veterans shed tears and some of them sobbed aloud. Many had served under Lafayette at one time or another during the Revolution. In fact, Lafayette remembered a number of them by name!"

 

Father asked, "Were you able to speak to General Lafayette?"


"Yes, of course. In fact, later I had the honor of sitting right next to him at the huge banquet on the State House grounds. Over six hundred people sat down to dine." —A Buss from Lafayette, Chapter 13

The historic plaque on the New Hampshire State House, commemorating Lafayette's visit to Concord on June 22, 1825. It reads:
General Lafayette was welcomed to New Hampshire in this State Hous by Governor Morril, the General Court*, many veterans of the Revolution and the public at a banquet held near tis spot. Lafayette planted a tree to commemorate his visit. June 22, 1825. 
 
 
*what they called the state legislature

Chapter 14

Major Weeks reached inside his jacket and pulled out a pretty little fan decorated with a picture of Lafayette. "The town was full of such fripperies and gewgaws sporting his portrait. Handkerchiefs and dinner plates and ribbon badges and such. Dickon bought a couple of things, too." He looked at his son, who did not say a word. "After all, 'twas a truly historical event and no mistake."—A Buss from Lafayette, Chapter 14

This fan, at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, shows bignetts of Lafayette's career. It appears to be French, but still might have been sold in America during the Farewell Tour.
A souvenir fan from 1824. "Center vignette "Welcoming Lafayetter to Our Shores" with gilt border,  two classical vignettes with gilt borders, French and American flags crossing staff with Phrygian cap and tied with bow; floral swags above, decorative blue and gilt border, silvered binding at top. Carved and pierced ivory sticks decorated with gilt-silver and steel piqué work. Diamond paste studs in rivet." Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Chapter 15

"Today must be even hotter than yesterday, and here we are standing over a stove!" I took a step back from the Rumford range. "Stirring preserves on the boil is hot work even on a cool day! I could swear that the red bricks of this stove are glowing with heat just as much as I am!"

 

"Just remember, Clara, we could be standing over an open hearth," Prissy replied. "I am so grateful to your mother for asking Samuel to build her this newfangled stew stove. It is so much easier and safer than cooking with a fireplace." —A Buss from Lafayette, Chapter 15

This shows a Rumford stew stove (under the window, the "boilers" covered by a removable countertop) at the Rundlett-May house in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, built in 1907. How a stew stove worked, as described on the website: "a series of three fires, above each of which a pot or stew-pan fitted into a circular, iron-rimmed opening. The heat of each fire could be separately regulated by varying the draught through its ash-pit door and the smoke was carried away by flues leading through the brickwork to the main chimney." Above is a link for a virtual tour of this kitchen. (It's at the bottom of the page.)

"By the way, Joss, did you know that our very own stepmother here was actually switched with a ferule by a schoolmistress?"
"Really? Stings like the very devil, does it not, ma'am?" Joss winced at the memory."

—A Buss from Lafayette, Chapter 15 

A ferule, used  for two things in 19th century classrooms: pointing out items to be learned, and whipping the hands of children who failed to learn them or otherwise misbehaved! (Pinned from owpeducation.)  Ouch.

Chapter 19

"You must tell us all about meeting Lafayette, Henrietta," said Prissy, motioning them all to follow her into the parlor and to sit down. "How very interesting that must have been!"

 

Hetty looked around the room as if in search of the piece of furniture most becoming to her attire, then sank down gracefully on the blue damask sofa. She pulled out a lacy white fan and waved it in front of her face. "La, it was quite wonderful. Such a handsome gentleman! So noble. And so famous!"

 

- A Buss from Lafayette, Chapter 19 

A parlor from an early 19th century house in Old Sturbridge Village, a living history museum set in the 1830s
 
The sofa isn't blue and probably not covered in damask, but Hetty would have posed on it, anyway, don't you think??

Chapter 21

My stepmother helped me into the stays and laced them up, then said, "Um. There is also this." She held up something that looked even more peculiar than the stays: two small cushions, each with narrow tapes on both sides.


"What on earth is that?" I narrowed my eyes and looked suspiciously at her. "Please do not tell me that I must wear a false bosom!"


Hetty scoffed. "Oh, Clara, you know nothing at all about fashion. Those are the puffs for your sleeves! You tie them around the tops of your arms and stuff them inside the sleeves."

—A Buss from Lafayette, Chapter 21

19th C sleeve puffs. These likely got bigger and bigger as sleeve styles became enormous!

Chapter 22

"You have been a witcracker, Miss Clara Hargraves, ever since you were a little bit of a thing. I can still see you now, giggling away at some foolishness or other with your red locks peeking out from under your little pudding cap. You know, I have always thought your hair absolutely glows with good humor."

 

A Buss from Lafayette, Chapter 22 

I saw this pudding cap at Colonial Williamsburg.
 
Parents put them on toddlers to protect their heads when they were learning to walk.

I curtsied at this pleasing compliment. We then moved past the captain into what was being called "the ballroom" that evening—although it was really just the large dining room at the back of the tavern. It did look particularly grand that evening. Many candles lit up the walls, covered with elegant gold-striped paper, and the tall windows, framed by ivory damask draperies, reflected their glow. Nearly all of the dining tables had been removed to make space for dancing, and the chairs moved to line the walls. —A Buss from Lafayette, Chapter 22

This is a parlor at the Old Sturbridge Village Bullard Tavern, which probably looks similar to the room used for the dance at Perkins Tavern - minus the glass display case and the furniture in the middle of the space.

A Dickon Weeks dressed in far more elegant clothing than I had ever seen him in before. He looked nothing like a penguin, however. Although his shirt, cravat, and vest were white like the other young men's, his pantaloons were of tan nankeen, and his jacket was a rich green" —A Buss from Lafayette, Chapter 24

Chapter 24

I'm not sure of the exact date of this men's outfit, but it grabbed my attention because it matches my description of what Dickon wore to the Perkins dance so well, except for the cravat and vest, of course.

Chapter 27

The sound of the Revere bell came to a stop. This hurried us the last few yards into the church where we quickly sat down in the pews inside our family's box. As always, I looked around at the inside of the sanctuary. Galleries lined the upper walls on three sides. At the front was a tall, imposing pulpit, its floor fully six feet above the one our pews stood on. Over the pulpit was a large wooden canopy, a sounding board that magnified the minister's voice. When I was a little girl, dozing off in the pew next to my mother, I used to fancy I was hearing the voice of God himself.—A Buss from Lafayette, Chapter 27

This Old Sturbridge Village church looks similar to Clara's First Church interior, with its enclosed pews and upper galleries. Of course, this church lacks the wooden sounding board over the minister. 

Father leaned forward to put in a word. "There is some talk of replacing the musicians with a seraphim, a reed organ with a keyboard. That would be a loss, I think. I would rather see the lively faces of these friendly fiddlers, er, violinists, up in front than see the back of some stranger seated at a keyboard."—A Buss from Lafayette, Chapter 27

 

This is a seraphim (or seraphine) in the collection

of the Metropolitan Art Museum. It worked by pumping air

(using the foot pedals) across a set of reeds to make them vibrate. Hopkinton's First Church did replace instrumental musicians with a seraphim later in the 19th century. For an idea of how this was received by the musicians, watch the 2005 video of Under the Greenwood Tree, based on a novel by Thomas Hardy. It can be watched on Prime Video and YouTube.

(A number of my forbears played instruments in a

church "band" in New England, so I really loved this movie!)

At the end of the lengthy sermon, the minister made an announcement somewhat at odds with his previous theme.

 

"I have heard that the great Nation's Guest is traveling back from Maine today and will be coming through our town tomorrow. There will be a formal reception in front of the Wiggins Tavern at about noon. I urge you all to come to the village to witness this historic occurrence. I hope you younger members of the congregation understand just how great a man General Lafayette is. You will never see his like again."—A Buss from Lafayette, Chapter 27

There is a tradition that when Lafayette stopped in Hopkinton on June 27, 1825, he went across to visit the home of Dr. Ebenezer Lerned in order to view the costly French wallpaper there.

This is one section of the costly wallpaper from Dr. Lerned's home in Hopkinton, It is now in the collection of Historic New England. Here is information on it from their website. To read it there, follow this link: HistoricNewEngland.org.
 
French Scenic wallpaper "Palais-Royal" pattern. Twenty length pattern depicts groups of men and women walking, sitting, riding horses, reading, and playing games. Each panel framed by a leafy arch at top and tree like columns on sides. Block printed in grisaille on blue ground. Original manufacturer and designer are unknown. Removed from a ca. 1800 house in Hopkinton, New Hampshire.




In early nineteenth-century New England, wallpaper was a luxury, and scenic wallpapers like this one were an extravagance. Scenic papers were designed to fill an entire room without repeating a pattern. This example shows three of the thirty-one panels that came from a house in Hopkinton, New Hampshire. The paper may have been installed in preparation for Lafayette's visit to the town in 1825."
 
Detail from Palais-Royal wallpaper at Dr. Lerned's house. Note the lady riding sidesaddle, as Clara's stepmother insists she does.(Clara thinks it is too much like riding "half a horse.")

"I rode past the crowd and stopped on the other side of the street at Dr. Lerned's house. It was not the most modern home in town, but it was large, dignified, and solid, just like its owner. Hip-roofed, with a huge central chimney, Dr. Lerned's place had old-fashioned, stately windows with twelve panes over twelve panes, unusual in the village. It also had the most enormous door I had ever seen, stretching up nearly seven feet tall." —A Buss from Lafayette, Chapter 31

Detail from Palais-Royal wallpaper at Dr. Lerned's house. Note the style of clothing worn. This wallpaper was evidently manufactured in 1810, about fifteen years before A BUSS FROM LAFAYETTe is set. The style had changed somewhat by then, with lower waistlines, poofier sleeves, and wider skirts.

Chapter 31

"I slid quickly down from Flame, tied her to the granite hitching post in the front yard, then ran to the door and rapped on it smartly."

A Buss from Lafayette, Chapter 31

Dr. Lerned's home in Hopkinton Village. It is across the street and down a few doors from where the reception for Lafayette was held.

Actual granite hitching post in Dr. Lerned's front yard, where Clara hitches up Flame. Unlike other places, granite is used for many things in New Hampshire, "The Granite State."

My dad's medical bag, probably not much different from Dr. Flagg's in the story. It had compartments for storing medicines, bandages, medical instruments etc.  Just like Clara, for many years of my childhood I believed that when he went to deliver a baby, it was inside this bag. I doubt that doctors still carry these, as very few make homecalls any more.

"The doctor turned, carefully set his glass down on the counter, and picked up the black medical bag that he had set there. When I was a little girl, I had thought that such bags carried by doctors had babies inside them. After all, I had reasoned, when they said they were going to "deliver" babies, they always brought their bags along. I no longer believed this was what actually happened, but I was not quite sure what did. In any case, I was happy to see that the doctor had his bag along, so there would be no delay, whether there was a baby inside or not." —A Buss from Lafayette, Chapter 31