I continue to make progress keying in Mathew's works, stolen by Francis Durivage and published in the 1849 "Flag of Our Union." Today, I finished an adventure story set in Spain, which had a clear reference to Abby--the hero wears a "diamond star" on a gold chain, given to him by a young woman whom he has helped escape with her fiance. The story is titled "The Diamond Star"; and yet, the star hardly figures in the tale, at all. It appears to have been written at a time when Mathew had decided to cherish Abby's memory, but to "move on." But that's not the one I wanted to showcase, today. (You will recall, if you are a regular, that Abby's symbol for her soul, and for Mathew's, was a star; and that accordingly, Mathew used the printer's star as his secret pseudonym throughout his career.)
Then, I keyed in an "Old 'Un" sketch in which the narrator tells a story of his youth. He says he tried his hand at writing love poems to imaginary girls, and gives one example. His friend, without telling him, sends it to the girl he's in love with, but he is rejected. Not knowing they are interested in the same girl, the narrator sends that identical poem to her, and is not only rejected as his friend was, but is accused of plagiarism! Durivage must have chuckled when he submitted this one for publication. But that's not the one I wanted to share, either.
The third one I keyed in today, features the personification of an old town pump, in Boston. It immediately called to mind some earlier sketches Mathew had written, when he was the acting junior editor for the New York "Constellation," under the editor-in-chief, Asa Greene, in 1830-32. For that paper, he used the same premise to write as a jack-knife, and as an "album," i.e., the book that friends and school-mates would write something into.
I can't prove any of these are Mathew's work, but the circumstantial evidence is very strong that they are. One would have to compare with over 1,500 of his works that I have now collected. These aren't the only instances where he has personalized an inanimate object. He did it in a poem which is ostensibly about the autumn winds, but is actually an analogy for plagiarists. And I'm pretty sure I remember others--but I was able to find these two quickly. Oh, yes, he did it with a bed bug, as well--I can find that one, I think, fairly quickly. So I'm going to give you three examples that Mathew wrote for the New York "Constellation," which you can compare to this sketch signed "The Old 'Un," claimed by Francis Durivage.
Keep in mind there are a great number of these "Old 'Un" sketches, and a quite a few adventure stories signed with Durivage's name, which he also stole from Mathew. It's a fairly sizeable body of work, just this much--and it can be directly correlated and compared with Mathew's known "Ethan Spike" sketches, which includes something like 100 examples.
But that's just the tip of the iceberg. I have discovered that Mathew was plagiarized by something like 13 or 14 different writers over the course of his career, which spanned about 45 years. I can prove Durivage; I can prove Ossian Dodge. And to the same degree of certainty, I can actually prove Edgar Allan Poe. I could sit here with you over the course of two or three days, and show you the evidence for each of these thefts. (Or, you could read my books.) But I can make a very strong case for the others, as well.
The human mind is so stubborn. I am finding video presentations on YouTube, given by qualified historians, who insist that our historical is extremely inaccurate. So much so, that they use words like "everything you've been taught is a lie"--and then, they go on to demonstrate. This that I am sharing is just one more instance. It is not even atypical--it is typical. The theory that I am a megalomaniac, trying to inflate my ego by claiming the past-life authorship of more than one famous literary work, is a good theory. I won't say that it isn't. But it simply doesn't hold water, if you look at my evidence.
Irrational prejudice, masquerading as smug certainty, is so frustrating.
Past-life emotions bleed through; in fact, I'm convinced they actually reincarnate right along with us. They aren't even diminished. They are just unidentified, cognitively disconnected from their original sources. I have seen at least two experts on reincarnation, lately, in YouTube presentations, who blithely ask why we don't remember our past lives, and then proceed to answer their own question. But their implied assumption is wrong, and they are asking the wrong question. We do remember our past lives, on two levels--at the level of the higher mind, where we remain the same person; and at the emotional level. What we have amnesia about, is our personal identity, our personal history, and all of its mental associations. We have a new body, and with it, a new personal identity--but that's all. That is not the totality of the human being. When I look at Back Cove here in Portland, I associate it to what I've seen of it in the year that I've lived here. I cognitively associate to taking walks around it; I cognitively associate to going to the grocery store, across the street from it. I don't have any of my past-life associations, even though I can read a letter in which Mathew was considering purchasing a farm, and says he could easily bring mud and mussels, for fertilizer, from Back Cove.
But every single time I stand in front of the First Parish Church downtown, with its beveled stone corners on he spire, I feel a jolt of emotional recognition. I took Abby there, up those steps--and I can feel it.
The same thing seems to happen when I walk past a hill in my own neighborhood. Abby and I rode up that hill, once (which seems to have been cut into some, since then), laughing excitedly about it being too steep for the horse, and preparing ourselves to jump out to make the rig lighter. I feel it, every time. Just that much, no more--and no less.
I am waiting to be taken seriously by somebody. Maybe the people who I will be talking to by Skype this coming Tuesday evening, in preparation for my interview, will believe me.
Here are the pieces for comparison. The first three are from the New York "Constellation"; the fourth one is "The Old 'Un," from the 1849 "Flag of our Union." The exact dates are given in the file names. Incidentally, you will see a poem signed by Durivage immediately above the "Old 'Un" sketch. I don't suspect this for Mathew's pen. It's possible Durivage stole it from someone else; and they appeared one on top of the other, because he had sent them in to the editor, together. Or, he might have written it, himself--but I would have to guess he stole this one, as well. I don't think he had much native sensitivity.
I realize, in reading some of the other humorous sketches published in the "Flag," that there was a certain amount of style cross-over among the various authors in this genre. Some of it was imitation of Mathew, himself--but Mathew was probably inspired by the living story-telling tradition in New England, which he would have been exposed to, as a boy. It's still quite alive here, today. That's why I want to share these particular pieces. Personifying an inanimate object in this fashion was not so very common, I think. Lots of people told stories about peddlers, and courtships, and deacons, and Irishmen and Dutchmen, and so-forth. But this, not so much, I think. So when you get three very similar ones written when Mathew was writing the bulk of the creative work for the "Constellation" as the junior editor; and then one very much along the same lines, written as "The Old 'Un," the comparison carries more weight.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
Music opening this page: "The Great Beyond," by R.E.M.,
from the film, "Man in the Moon"