April 25, 2011

Mr. & Mrs. Edgar Allan Poe

Written by: Rosa Morgan

Edgar clasped the still hand of his wife, pleading, "Sissy, please don't leave me." As if swimming upwards from a great depth, Virginia struggled towards the air she longed to breathe. Her eyes fluttered, and the face of her beloved came into focus. She coughed into the handkerchief Edgar put to her pale lips, her consumption turning it crimson. "I'm still with you, Eddie, as always," she replied with a forced smile.

Edgar hung his head. "I can't survive without you." She couldn't argue the point.
As first cousins, they'd lived together since she was seven, and even with her constant love, he'd fallen into the depths of melancholia.
She demanded, “Promise me you'll not drown your sorrows.”

“If you would but live, I swear I'll never ...”

His oath faded away. He'd promised sobriety before, only to be carried home unconscious from drink. He tore at his hair, “I've killed you with the scandal I've brought to your good name. It began with our marriage. You were only thirteen and I twenty-seven, and gossipmongers said we wed because of an impropriety. Truth is, we had to marry in order for me to find a semblance of sanity.”

She considered the poverty and heartache he'd brought her, and of the women he'd publicly cheated on her with, but their love prevailed. She whispered, “Eddie, I'm ever so proud to be your wife,” and then she took her last breath. Horrified, he realized his wife, only twenty-four, was truly gone to him. Having not a single image of her, he frantically sent a message to an artist, who came to her death bed. "My darling little wife, you've been my greatest and only stimulus to battle with this uncongenial, unsatisfactory, and ungrateful life."
(Two years later Edgar Allen Poe was found wandering the streets of Baltimore in an incoherent state, wearing clothes that were not his own. He was hospitalized and remained in a confused state until he died a few days later.)

(Dear Reader, Please leave a comment listing your favorite Poe story!)

April 18, 2011

Wilson T. Lightfoot at the Battle of San Jacinto

written by: Rosa Morgan

“Remember the Alamo, remember Goliad, but who, besides loyal Texians, remembers the Battle of San Jacinto? I'm Wilson T. Lightfoot, and this is my story of how I came to be on that bloody battlefield.

In 1807, I was born a Kentuckian, but Ma and Pa weren't ones to settle for long. We lived a spell in Missouri and Arkansas, until we heard of a fellow by the name of Stephen F. Austin. He was colonizing Texas, and needing settlers. That was Mexican territory back then, and to be qualified, we swore to have no history of drunkenness, and to learn Spanish and become a Catholic, taxpaying, Mexican citizen. I was twenty-three and itching for adventure, so I hitched up my saddlebags and headed South with my brothers. Can't say I followed any of Austin's stipulations, but I gladly accepted the fourth of a league of land he gave me.

The living was mighty good in Texas, and the land especially suited to cotton and cane. I built a pole cabin and started my ranch, not realizing I'd stepped into a powder keg. The Mexican government was getting antsy over the swelling numbers of Anglos. They limited immigration, raised tariffs, and started enforcing their law against slavery. Most settlers, especially slave owners started whispering revolution. I wasn't raring for a fight, but when Santa Anna threw over the government, dashing our hopes of forming an independent state of Texas within the Republic of
Mexico, I had to step up.

My brother William John was the first to head out, ending up at the Alamo. I can't express the horror we felt upon hearing of the slaughter of those brave men. His name is chiseled on the cenotaph just opposite the garrison. I sold my land, and along with my brothers William Webster and Henry, joined the Republic of Texas Army. I was 2nd sergeant in Captain William JE Heards Co of Citizen Soldiers.

For forty days we were on the move, scorching crops along the way, leaving nothing behind for the Mexican troops to plunder. They were always at our heels, and finally met up with us where the Buffalo Bayou feeds into the San Jacinto River. The Mexicans established their camp on the other side of a ridge, so close I saw their black flag flying. With reinforcements arriving, they had 1,400 men to our 800. That night I didn’t sleep a wink, and their morning reveille sounded like a calling of arms, but our General Sam Houston held back our attack until three-thirty that afternoon.

With my belly full of beaver, we'd hunted the day before, I crawled across that muddy field, only to find the Mexican troops sleeping. Our cannons, the Twin Sisters, were loaded with broken horseshoes, and incited instant terror, as did our gunfire. 'Me no Alamo, me no Goliad,' they cried, but Santa Anna showed no mercy to my brother William, and I showed none in return. The battle lasted only eighteen minutes, but the massacre continued till dark with 630 Mexicans losing their lives to our 9 Texians. Am I proud to have scalped those men with tomahawks, leaving their bodies to the alligators? Nope. Would I fight that day again, knowing it would create our great state of Texas? Yep, and a hundred times again.

By the way, the 21st of this month is the 175th anniversary of the battle, and Rosa Morgan Lockwood is my great-great-great granddaughter.

( Dear Reader, leave a comment if you have ever visited the San Jacinto Monument)

April 11, 2011

Lincoln Argues for Whiskers

Written by: Rosa Morgan

Everyone knows I'm Honest Abe, 16th president of the United States, and that I emancipated the slaves, but are you also aware of the impact my beard had on men's fashion? Take note, not one president of our fine country had a beard before me! I did not come to the decision to sprout whiskers readily. During my 1860 election run, I'd received much comment on my homeliness. When Stephen Douglas called me two-faced, I shot back, “If I had another face, do you think I’d wear this one?” Joking aside, those jabs hurt, and when I received a letter from Grace Bedell, an 11-year-old who suggested a beard would improve my appearance, I took it too heart.

If you are considering growing a gentlemanly adornment, I offer a few fashionable suggestions. From the medieval Greek, moustakion, mustaches grow above the lip. If you're temperament is of a cautionary nature, then by all means start your follicle experimentation with a mustache.

Sideburns are a daring alternative. Named after Civil War general Ambrose Burnside, these patches of hair grow on the sides of the face and are worn with a clean shaven chin. Burnside cleverly finessed his sideburns, also referred to as mutton chops, into his mustache.

The frugality of growing a beard cannot be overlooked. This fine gentleman has no need for timely trips to the barber, nor the expenditures on shaving cream, razors, or styptic for the inevitable nick.

Facial hair has vacillated in popularity throughout history; either representing virility and masculinity, or eccentricity and crudeness. This fellow's beard is too much of a good thing unless he wishes to appear the wizened Methuselah.

If you are one of those poor devils, unable to produce more than a wisp of hair, there's no need to hang your head in shame. The beard generator is guaranteed to exceed all your bewhiskered expectations.

And if you happen to be a woman with mustache or beard, I say, 'Embrace it fair lady', for you shall stand out in any crowd.

April 4, 2011

Sex and Avoiding the Family Way

Written by: Rosa Morgan

Due to the graphic nature of this post, I shall remain anonymous. Pray trust me when I say this is not dependent on a lack of conviction in my beliefs, but rather the certainty of being ostracized from genteel society, or worse.

The American doctor, Charles Knowlton, published The Fruits of Philosophy, or the Private Companion of Young Married People, wherein he discussed delicate matters, including limitation of offspring. He served three months of hard labor for his "obscene" publication.

It is an accepted belief that all good women long for the domestic tranquility of a husband to protect her, and a large brood to give her empty hours a sense of meaning. An equally deep rooted conviction is that the fairer sex has no carnal appetite of her own, only engaging in congress at the behest of her husband. Of course there are those who resemble the above descriptions, however there are millions who wish to engage in natural inclinations while limiting motherhood. I encourage both gentlemen and ladies to peruse the following catalog of the latest contraceptive products. Be forewarned to lock your bathroom door for privacy.

All manner of fruit rinds can be used as a pessary, however it is the pomegranate that I find most effective. Husbands will be completely unencumbered by its presence. If the lady forgets to insert it beforehand, then eating the seeds afterward will achieve the same result.

If a more modern method is preferred, then look no further than this womb guard made of vulcanized rubber and designed by Dr. Marie Stopes, a woman who thoroughly understands the female body. With her Prorace brand, you too can do your part in the eugenic movement to improve the quality of the human race by selective breeding.

Herbs have been used throughout time as fertility regulators. Queen Anne's Lace, Smartweed leaves, and apricot kernels are just a few of Mother Nature's remedies to exposure to the man's seed. I strongly warn against foraging for these on your own, but rather visit your apothecary. Misidentifying plant material may result in death, a far worse condition than having a bun in the oven.

I cannot comment on the rhythm system because all those charts make me dizzy, but I do know that "withdrawal", when done correctly, has only a 4% failure rate per year. Also douching with quinine is a good female preventative. If the husband is agreeable, the French safe made of animal gut membrane is a popular alternative. Gone is the stigma of being associated with brothels.

If the man in your life is truly a saint, then he may agree to use Revere's Ice Water Belt, as pictured in this advert. Though it's designed to prevent spermatorrhea, or night time emissions, which will lead to retardation, it would also be quite effective in decreasing natural urges during the woman's most fertile period.

And ladies, if you do not want to "Lay back, close your eyes, and think of England" as Queen Victoria has advised,

then may I suggest, as a last resort, the chastity belt. With the key in your possession, you will be in complete control of your body. Use of a velvet lining may prevent chaffing.