This is Part II of the previous entry. I still get the persistent feeling, due to lack of feedback or push-back, that people just blithely dismiss it when I say I have recognized and identified so many of my past-life works; and that I am convinced he was the original co-author of "A Christmas Carol," and author of "The Raven." I suppose I might dismiss it, too. After all, I have watched any number of "Alien Astronaut Theorist" presentations on the History Channel, and I joke with my mother about hoping that another show about "Interstellar Beans" is on. "Could it be that Interstellar Beans made the pyramids as microwave energy transmitters to run their spaceships"? I mean, I don't know, maybe they did, but it just seems so far out it's not worth the energy to worry about it.
Where they lose me is in interpreting that the Hindu gods Krishna and Vishnu were really Beans. This, folks, is new age reductionism. But that's a different kettle of fish, which I didn't intend to boil this morning.
What I want to do, here, is just prove one little thing, by way of example. I want to show you that I know how to research, and to get definitive results. Not in the big things, like "A Christmas Carol" and "The Raven"--I've done that quite effectively, I feel, in my book, "Mathew Franklin Whittier in his own words" (banner link at the top of the page). Here, I just want to prove that when my mind was forcibly pulled to the little essay on the rain in Portland, Maine, which I copied for you last entry, I wasn't blowing smoke. That was his work. He wrote these little pieces, some of them unsigned, for the Portland "Transcript" for extra cash. And he had a very distinct style, which I have now inadvertently become the world expert on (by dint of only two scholars, that I know of, ever having studied him--and they got a bunch of stuff wrong).
The following piece comes from the same newspaper as the rain piece, the "Transcript," but this is dated December 14, 1842, or roughly 15 years earlier. Keep in mind that "A Christmas Carol" was published for the following Christmas, in 1843. Mathew has been publishing, at this point, for 11 years, including launching his own newspaper for a few months in 1838. In 1843, he is 31 years old. He writes to his brother, the now-famous poet, John Greenleaf Whittier, sending him copies of this humorous essay, and the first installment of a travelogue which appeared in the February 4, 1843 edition. In-between these, there was an essay on Christmas, and a couple weeks before the first article, was a rendering of a true story, a man's premonition of his own death, worthy of anything Poe ever wrote. Poe's stories were getting reprinted in this paper as they came out. But here, I just want to show you that the little piece about the rain, which I felt I had to look at, was a matter of Mathew returning to this earlier one. He would sometimes do that--he'd go back to an idea he'd used 10 or 15 years earlier, and borrow from it. I have multiple examples.
I knew that piece about the rain in Portland was Mathew's work, by both style and through past-life intuitive recognition memory. But I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this first piece, which I'm about to share with you, was Mathew's work, through ordinary scholarship. How? Because his brother wrote to him about it, and that letter is published.
In "The Letters of John Greenleaf Whittier," edited by John B. Pickard, Vol. I, page 585, in a letter from John Greenleaf Whittier to his brother, Mathew, dated February 7, 1843, we see:
We were much amused by thy article in the Transcript about avalanche-slides etc. I got the other day the first no. of thy Travelling sketches, and we like it much.
I have a physical volume of the "Transcript" which includes years 1842/43, and I was able to find it. It looks like this:
The travelogue which John Greenleaf Whittier mentions in the same letter, is signed "Poins," and it, too, is readily found in the paper. There are no competitors for either article, in that paper, during this date-range. So we know that Mathew was using the pseudonym "Poins" at this time. There are quite a number of "Poins"-signed pieces in the "Transcript," including the Gothic-style true story just mentioned, and poetry.* Thus we have a definite anchor for his writing style, in both genres, short stories and poems. This came in very handy, as you might imagine. (The "Poins" signature was noted by his biographer, but dismissed as probably belonging to a different author--apparently John Greenleaf Whittier's letter escaped him, but we will forgive him as this compilation hadn't yet been published. Also, he was a student writing his thesis, and it strikes me that his professor may have insisted on the more conservative conclusion.)
"The Vision: A Legend of the Merrimack" (i.e., the Merrimack River), appears in the December 12, 1842 edition. It is set where it occurred, in Rocks Village (also called East Haverhill), Mass., which was his late wife, Abby's, home town. Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart" appears reprinted in the Feb. 4, 1843 edition of the "Transcript," having been published in the first edition of James Russell Lowell's paper, "The Pioneer" the previous month. Thus, the first installment of Mathew's travelogue, and the reprinting of Poe's story, appear in the same edition. I'm not making suggestions of direct influence--I'm just pointing out that they were contemporaries in every sense of the word, except that Mathew had connections with Charles Ilsley, the editor of the "Transcript" (being his personal friend), while Poe had connections with the well-heeled and wealthy Lowell.** Again, "The Vision" does not suffer at all in comparison with the quality of Poe's writing. Trust me. Except that Mathew's story is an admittedly-embellished account of a real paranormal event.
Here, however, I will simply reprint Mathew's "avalanche" piece, which we know through scholarship is his work, and you can compare it with his unsigned piece on rain, which I recognized through paranormal means, i.e., through strong intuitive recognition, before I had even done more than see it in my peripheral vision (i.e., in this life). You can draw your own conclusions--but while I am admittedly a lay historian, you might do well to take me seriously.
Again, a little preparation is in order: a "cit" is a city-dweller; "Herculaneum" is an ancient city destroyed by Mt. Vesuvius along with Pompeii. The White Mountains are in New Hampshire. The story takes place in Portland, Maine. Finally, Mathew is embedding philosophy in what appears to be casual entertainment--the human tendency to run right back into disasters, which are thus largely self-created. In short, the avalanche is symbolic. But Mathew has so little self-esteem--being the younger brother of an already-famous writer--that he presents a sensitive portrayal of Nature, as well as profound philosophy and psychology, all the while hiding it under casual humor and apologizing for his "attempt" at more serious literature. (Remember, he is no-doubt hoping for feedback--but all his brother can say is that the family enjoyed reading them, i.e., nothing as a colleague, from author-to-author.) I know this because I was he; I understand him in a depth that no scholar would ever guess at, and I can intuit the back-story of whatever he wrote about, given a little time to get over my current-life preconceptions.
Without further ado, here is Mathew's known piece on "avalanche-slides."
Avalanches--Street Scenes in Winter. There is an awful sublimity in the deep-toned thunder as it follows the blinding flash of the fierce red lightning--and in the wild wrath of the hurricane as it rushes in its strong career, bowing the sturdy moments of the forest and madly rioting with the billows of the deep. But among all the operations of Nature, we have ever considered the Avalanche as foremost in awful grandeur and terrible sublimity. What feelings of awe arise as we stand at the base of the White Mountains and contemplate the path of the one which a few years since buried in his descent the unfortunate Willey and his family! As we look upon the immense pile before us, and then glance at the fearful road it travelled, to the dizzy and dimly seen height where it was first put in motion,
"Our thoughts are strange,
Magnificent, and deep."
And when we think of the glaciers of the ever-frozen North, where the snows of a thousand winters, gradually undermined by some secret agency leave their long resting places amid the clouds--moving slow and majestically at first, until at last, gathering power as they descend, the mighty masses come thundering to the vallies below, jarring to their very centres the ice-clad hills around--when--But we are off the track.
When we indited our caption we had an article of domestic manufacture in view--viz.--the avalanches of Fore and Exchange streets. We had an idea that our pen would run such a rig--leading us off, out of the country, among the uncivilized glaciers and other barbarous and foreign matters. We had no thought we should be seduced from our plain, every-day style, and inveigled into an attempt at the grandiloquent and awful. However, we are not very guilty--we have not accomplished much in the way of sublimity. Having discovered our bearings we stopped short; and now we will return to common sense and roof-slides.
What an imposing spectacle is a patch of snow--a rod square or so--three inches thick--sliding gently down the slated declivity of some roof, and then spilling itself over the gutters into the coat-collar of some bewildered country gentleman, who, hearing the rushing sound above, runs franticly out from under the protecting eaves into the very trouble he was so anxious to avoid. And how funnily that large snow-werath, which has been for a long time pendant from the outer edge of yon gutter, contrives to drop, just in the nick of time, with great acuracy upon the hood and head of that queer old lady. And that man in the blue round-about and tarpaulin--an islander if we are not mistaken; he is a deliberate man and never leaps before he looks. He has heard the low, portentous sound of the slide in the commencement, and instead of running and leaping like the countryman--shading his eyes he prepares to take a long, careful look at the threatened evil, which he is only prevented from doing by his tarpaulin, being literally knocked into a cocked hat and completely over his eyes by the huge mass of snow, the full benefit of which he was just in season to receive.
Walking down Exchange street the other day we were highly amused by the bewilderment and temporary lunacy to which a stout citizen was reduced, by a succession of these home-made Avalanches. This individual was trotting down the sunny side of the street, bobbing and slipping about in his pattens in a manner truly pleasant to behold, when, suddenly--
"There were portents in the sky,
And hollow rumblings in the air!"
The ominous sound was well known--the citizen essayed, hysterically, to avoid the swift-coming ruin, and plunged recklessly into the deep snow by the curb-stone--right into the very places where the torrent poured, covering him with "robes of purest white." After much scrabbling and rolling, the poor man found himself on his feet in the middle of the street. As he stood shaking himself, like a Newfoundlandn dog after a bath, there was another rumble aloft. At this, some one very opportunelyl shouted, "run close to the buildings!" The unfortunate cit, half-crazed and blinded with the snow, rushed madly from his position of safety towards the pave, but only succeeded in reaching the very spot where he had so recently, like another Herculaneum, been overwhelmed and exhumed--when, whiz--splash--prone on his still reeking and devoted head falls the second edition! This was decidedly beyond the endurance of the kind of human nature he carried inside his vest. He floundered on to the side-walk, howling and sputtingering, and commenced in his clicking pattens a sort of war-dance against nature--something like a cross between a horn-pipe and a gallopade--accompanied by rather more than a fair proportion of blasphemy and invective--and in the full enjoyment of this wholesome exercise we left him, and went on our way, "a wiser," but certainly not "a sadder man."
Seriously though--aside from the rare fun accruing to lookers on, these slides are anything but jokes. To say nothing of the danger, it is far from pleasant to have one's hat knocked off and one's wits knocked out of one's head when peaceably walking the street in pursuance of one's lawful business. The mercantile man may have a mental account of sale driven out of his brains--a poet an embryo idea, and an editor (saints preserve us!) may get such a thwack on his pate, as to utterly spoil his next "leader."
These are grave considerations for the city authorities. We do not pretend to say exactly how the evil shall be abolished--that is beyond our prerogative and comprehension--whether it shall be done by a grand proclamation, after the manner of the Chinese, or by parapets on the roofs, as at Albany--though we think the railing would do more towards obliging the snow to "stay put" than the proclamation, however magnificent it might be. We leave the subject to those most interested.
P.S. A friend says there is no use in railing against these slides. He tried it last storm without avail.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
*Including an 1843 poem--two years before "The Raven" was published, and arguably in a similar style. This excerpt is from a poem entitled "The Crucifixion." Mathew had lost his wife, Abby, in 1841.
Over Hermon slowly creeping
Giant shadows silent go,
Round his hoary summit sweeping,
Veil his coronal of snow.
Earth and air are clothed in mourning,
Sheeted dead from graves appear!
From her centre, deeply groaning,
Nature testifies her fear!
**Lowell became famous with the "Biglow Papers," which began as an imitation of Mathew's character, "Ethan Spike." I present clear evidence for this in my book.
Music opening this page: "Desert Rose," by Eric Johnson, from the album, "Ah Via Musicom"