The Materialistic Maiden

Where I sip coffee and judge everyone.

Sweet Caroline

CarolineSearlesGriswold
Caroline F. Griswold, née Searles, was the quiet, humble wife of Reverend Rufus Wilmot Griswold. The daughter of sea captain Edward Searles and, then, Eliabeth Searles, the family was a wealthy family from Long Island. The family prospered due to their father’s business as a ship owner, sailing to ports and bringing rich cargoes back to his warehouses. It is said he “died of a broken spirit,” and his death resulted in the family moving to New York. Her mother was able to support her daughter Caroline, and son Randolph Searles, from proceeds of a local boardinghouse (Hatvary, Bayless 15). After the death of her first husband, Elizabeth remarried John Angell, who also passed, however she kept the last name Angell and thus became Elizabeth Angell (Bayless 15).

Not a lot is known about Caroline’s childhood and teenage years, however we do know she was described as a “quiet, devoted girl,” who, on one fateful March evening, caught the heart of Rufus Griswold. Griswold and Marcus Butler, a fellow employee of his at Harpers, were attempting to escape a downpour when they found themselves in the home of Mrs. Angell at 51 ½ Clinton Street, where Butler was well known. Griswold was introduced to Randolph Searles (then about 26) and the nineteen-year-old Caroline. “This beautiful girl, with her dark, shy eyes and her glossy auburn hair, immediately became the center of Griswold’s world; and he learned later that from the moment she saw him her heart was his” (Bayless 15). 

Upon their first meeting, a love story began to develop between the two, and Griswold frequently visited the Searles home. “The self-styled hermit soon abandoned his somber robe and donned the habit of a gay, entertaining man of the world, whose colorful tales of his adventures enlivened the household” (Bayless 16). He even performed “Zip Coon” for the family, accompanied with a dance whilst singing. (You can listen to this song here.)

Caroline would not see Griswold once more, after his leave of New York, until around 1836, where he left his paper, The Olean Advocate, to return to Caroline, who he had not forgotten nor had stopped thinking about. During that time, he had even written a small poem, inscribed to “Caroline F.S.”, which is below,

When years have rolled o’er thee
     And Summers have fled,
And this comes before thee,
     Like one from the dead;
When these scenes and these days
     Shall be past and afar;
Let them live in the blaze,
     Of bright Memory’s Star.

Then when friends long departed,
     Before thee appear;
And the gay and warm-hearted,
     In fancy are near;
When all fond things together,
     Remembrance shall bring;
For me let one feather,
     Be plucked from his wing.
(Borrowed from this source.)

He confessed his love to her, finding she loved him from their first meeting, and the couple wedded March 20(also stated elsewhere as being on the 19th), 1837. “…Griswold, romanticizing himself into the rôle of tragic outcast rescued from his exile by a good angel, was happier than he had ever been in his life” (Passages, Bayless 16). After their wedding, the couple moved in with her family at 51 ½ Clinton Street. Rufus adored her with all of his being, and “…as his practical, sensible wife, she furnished the wheel which for five years was to stabilize his life” (16, 21). At the end of that year, he was licensed to preach, and it is said Griswold’s literary interests superseded his religious interests (Hatvary). Perhaps Caroline motivated, influenced, or inspired him to become a reverend?

By 1837, Caroline was expecting their first child, and was left in the care of her mother while Griswold was off doing business in Vergennes, Vermont. February 12, 1838, their first daughter, Emily Elizabeth, was born. Caroline, three months later, joined her husband in Vergennes. They arrived to a rented, incomplete brick house, and were transferred to the village inn temporarily. Caroline only wanted to live comfortably in her own home and take care of the family income, rather than associate with the overwhelming fashionable citizens also boarding at the inn. Rufus fit in with this scene, however Caroline did not, nor did she seem to enjoy it (Bayless 25). Although pleased with her husband’s success there, she did “have to exert herself a little too much to play the lady.” Caroline was practical, whereas Rufus was impulsive. She loved her husband and supported him, regardless, and was a proud wife. The family moved into their home a week later, where they settled very well (Bayless 26).

In 1840, their second child, Caroline, was born, and by 1841, Rufus was commuting back and forth between Philadelphia and New York, where Caroline and the girls lived. “As often as possible Griswold went to New York to see them, for he loved his wife and children dearly and disliked being separated from them” (32, 37).

Griswold was described as being erratic, colorful, and pampered, and Caroline’s family seemed to accept him—nay, tolerate him. Caroline and Griswold never owned a house of their own for every time Griswold attempted to put money away to save for a home, he would take it back and purchase little gifts for Caroline, who was appreciative of them nevertheless (51). For example, he had an original manuscript of “The Spanish Student” by Longfellow bound and gifted to Caroline for her autograph collection (57). 

 Caroline was said to wait for Griswold late at night for his arrival back home, with a meal and often a song to sing while he ate. “Often when she left the room he would almost involuntarily give thanks to God for such a blessing” (52).  Despite Griswold’s commuting and rather flamboyant behavior, Caroline loved her husband all the same, and quite dearly at that.

He once again left his family, and not thinking it suitable for Caroline and the girls to tag along with him, he left them behind. A third child was expected that autumn as well, so the travel and readjusting to a new city would have strained Caroline. Thus the commuting recommenced (52).

Griswold rejoined his family numerous times throughout summer and early autumn, and their son was born November, 1842. On the sixth day of November, he returned to Philadelphia for work, and all seemed well.

Three days later, Rufus received news while dining at the Jones Hotel, that his wife and newborn son were dead.

Taken from "Universalist Union, Volume 8, pg.16"

“Universalist Union, Volume 8, pg.16″

Grief stricken and completely and utterly distraught, Rufus fled to his wife on the night train to New York, and stayed by his wife’s coffin for thirty hours, adamantly refusing to leave her side. He kissed her cold lips and embraced her, as his two little children clung to him and cried for their mother (64).

That midnight, Griswold wrote to his friend Fields,

You knew her my friend—she was my good angel—she was the first to lead me from a cheerless, lonely life, to society…She was not only the best of wives, but the best of mothers. You have seen our dear children—she taught them as children are rarely taught, and when she went her way they were left by her at the feet of Christ, at the very gate of heaven…They will bury her then [11:00 that day]—bury my dear Caroline and my child from my sight!…then I must set about tearing up the foundations of my home. Alas for me, I shall never more have a home to fly to in my sorrows—never more a comforter in my afflictions—never more a partner to share in all my woes or to be a source and author of all my pleasures…May God forever keep you from all such sorrow—farewell (65).

The funeral was held November 11, and the procession was moved to Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn. According to Bayless, “When the body was placed in the tomb, Griswold uttered a shriek, fell upon the coffin, and burst into agonized weeping” (65). Those standing by, including Hamilton Randolph Searles and his wife, gently urged him to leave the tomb. After seeing they could not ease the reverend’s throbbing heart, they left him to make peace with Caroline’s death. Captain Waring, Caroline’s uncle, finally had to pry Rufus from her grave, stating, “In Heaven’s name, Rufus, have done with this nonsense and come along home with me,” to which Rufus obliged and followed (65).

The night after Caroline’s death, Rufus wrote a poem, “Five Days,” to release more grievous feelings, which was printed anonymously in The New-York Tribune for November 16, 1842. You can view the poem, so graciously discovered and transcribed by a man whose name I shall protect, here.

Forty days after Caroline’s death, Griswold, still completely beside himself, escaped to her tomb once more. Below is the following account as stated by him:

I could not think that my dear wife was dead. I dreamed night after night of our reunion. In a fit of madness I went to New York. The vault where she is sleeping is nine miles from the city. I went to it: the sexton unclosed it: and I went down alone into that silent chamber. I kneeled by her side and prayed, and then, with my own hand, unfastened the coffin lid, turned aside the drapery that hid her face, and saw the terrible changes made by Death and Time. I kissed for the last time her cold black forehead—I cut off locks of her beautiful hair, damp with the death dews, and sunk down in senseless agony beside the ruin of all that was dearest in the world. In the evening, a friend from the city, who had learned where I was gone, found me there, my face still resting on her own, and my body as lifeless and cold as that before me. In all this I know I have acted against reason; but as I look back upon it it seems that I have been influenced by some power too strong to be opposed. Through the terrible scenes of the week I have been wonderfully calm, and my strength has not failed me, though it is long sine I have slept. It is four o’clock in the morning—I am alone—in the house that while my angel was by my side was the scene of happiness too great to be surpassed even in heaven. I go forth today a changed man. I realize at length that she is dead. I turn my gaze from the past to the future (67).

Weeks, months, and years passed with Caroline still remaining an aching memory in his heart. He questioned God, he blamed God, and his faith was ultimately shaken after her death. How could a just God take his angel away from him? He believed it was the result of God’s punishment, but despite how Griswold yearned to end this suffering, he knew he must continue on, if even only for his two girls (then three and five). Never again would he feel the same compassion from his darling, however, never again the same love and tenderness from a woman, his angel sent from God.
The world lost a mother, a devoted child of the Lord, and a faithful, adoring wife. For Griswold, his world had fallen completely apart, may have changed for the worse, and ultimately for him, and the rest of society who knew her well, “It was one thing to theorize and theologize; it was another to live without Caroline” (67).

Happy Birthday, Thomas Lovell Beddoes!

tlb_portrait_branwhite2This strange, eccentric, dark poet, dramatist and physician of the nineteenth century was quite the odd fellow of his day. Beddoes, born July 20, 1803,* at Rodney Place, Clifton, was born to parents Anna and Thomas Beddoes (show below). Thomas Beddoes, who passed when Lovell Beddoes was only five years old, was a prestigious physician, and his mother was related to acclaimed novelist, Maria Edgeworth.

thomas_beddoes anna_beddoes

Beddoes’ earliest writing, written at just fourteen or fifteen years old, was “Cynthio and Bugboo,” written somewhere between 1817-1819. His next big piece, written in 1819, was the “Bride’s Tragedy,” which is one of his more famous and known works today. He was known to be mischievous in school, but was greatly interested in Elizabethan drama and continued to write into college. Attending Oxford, just his freshman year he released a pamphlet called the “Improvisatore,” however he made great attempts, later on in college, to rid of all evidence of these pieces. In 1822, he published the “Bride’s Tragedy,” which then took onto great praise by critics, and he was deemed a budding writer.

According to the Phantom Wooer online, “In an unpublished letter in 1824 Procter describes Beddoes as ‘innocently gay, with a gibe always on his tongue, a mischievous eye, and locks curling like the hyacinth…'” Just a little later, his mother passed away, and Beddoes was unable to see her for she had passed before he reached her. This put a hold on his career, however he graduated in 1825 with a bachelor’s and then took off to working on new pieces including “Torrismond,” one of his other very well known works today. He also began his great work, “Death’s Jest-Book.”

In July 1836, he went back to college at the university of Göttingen, where he remained for four years studying physiology, surgery, and chemistry. During this time, he finished his great piece, in its earliest form, “Death’s Jest-Book,” went back to Oxford in 1829 to obtain his M.A. degree, and obtained a degree of doctor of medicine in 1832.

It is said, “He had, however, by the open expression of democratic opinions, made himself obnoxious to the government, and before the diploma was actually conferred upon him he was obliged to fly out of the Bavarian dominions, and to take refuge at Strassburg. In 1833 he visited Zurich, and was so much pleased with it that, when his political intrigues had again made it impossible for him to remain in Germany, he settled down at Zurich in June 1835. He brought with him a considerable reputation as a physiologist, for Blumenbach, in a testimonial which exists, calls him the best pupil he ever had; and he now assumed his degree of M.D. The surgeon Schoelieu proposed him to the university as a professor, and he was elected, although the syndic, for a political reason, refused to ratify the election. Beddoes, however, continued to reside in Zurich for several years, and amassed there a scientific library of 600 volumes” (Phantom Wooer Online).

During this time, he witnessed the assassination of the minister, Hegetschweiber, a close friend of his, and this sparked great political fire in his heart. In August of 1842, he was in England, and went back and forth between England and Zurich before settling in England once more in 1846. According to Phantom Wooer, “his friends found him very much changed, and most eccentric in manner. He complained of neuralgia, and shut himself up for six months in his bedroom, reading and smoking. In June 1847 he finally quitted England, and settled for twelve months at Frankfort in the house of an actor named Degen, practising a little as a physician. Here in the early part of 1848 his blood became poisoned from the virus of a dead body entering a slight wound in his hand. This was overcome, but seriously affected his health and spirits. His republican friends had deserted him, and he felt disgusted with life.”

It is said he fell off a horse and shattered his leg in 1848, was hospitalized, and due to gang-green, his leg was amputated. He seemed in good spirits, and talked freely and happily about literature to his friends, however he mysteriously passed at 10:00pm January 26, 1849. On his bed was found a note stating to give a man named Kelsall, a good acquaintance of his and biographer and anthologist of Beddoes’ works, his manuscripts and works, as well as the following statement: “I ought to have been among other things a good poet.” He was buried in the cemetery of the hospital in Basel, Switzerland.

(All information taken from this webpage.) I suggest you take a look around their website, as it is full of a lot of information about Beddoes not stated here.

You can find Beddoes’ works, specifically his dramatical pieces, here and here; his letters here; and his poetry here and here.

*According to another source, on Wikipedia: “Although older sources give 20 July 1803 as Beddoes’ birthdate, recent ones favor 30 June. Compare Moulton’s Library of Literary Criticism (1966) against The New Moulton’s Library of Literary Criticism (1988) and subsequent sources. Ewulp (talk) 05:20, 28 May 2011 (UTC)” However, Kelsall, Thomas Lovell Beddoes’ very good friend and biographer, stated in his memoir written for Beddoes that he was born July 20th. I believe he was born July 20th.

Happy Bastille Day!

No, not the band. 

[No one better have thought the day was dedicated to the band, or I may have to punch a wall.]

Why I Love Rain | Don’t Wake Me Up Early

There are many reasons to love rain. It’s cooling and refreshing, it soothes the soul, and it ultimately provides tranquility that deeply calms and rejuvenates (yes, I just iterated what I said with other words). Really, it’s a fantastic part of nature that God has provided for us countless times again. I love it.

It is also wonderful when it rains down on outside workers around my apartment complex working at (FREAKING) 9:45 in the morning. Seriously, go find something else to do and come back once I’ve woken up and had my coffee. I do not mean to be a grump, but none of you (save one maybe) have encountered me on little sleep [I went to bed at 3am (okay, it was 4am, but we'll say 3:00 to convince myself I received one more hour of sleep)]. 

That being said, I was able to fall asleep thanks to the rain coming to save the day and usher them away so as to give me three more hours of sleep. And now, with a cup of coffee in hand (should be wine after the morning I’ve had), here I am to complain and explain to you all why I am not a morning person. 

Goodness gracious, this is all over the place. 

Have a good day. 

Ten Things Currently Making Me Happy

1) nevilletetts (one of my favorite bloggers and my dear man).
2) Thomas Lovell Beddoes.
3) Coffee.
4) My internship.
5) Edgar Allan Poe.
6) Korean Dramas (currently watching Boys Over Flowers).
7) Victorian music boxes.
8) The color pink (always).
9) Hershey’s hugs. (I love white chocolate, goodness.)
10) This lovely hurricane weather. (In all seriousness, I love when it rains.)
11) (Bonus) My cat Froofer (who Steve insists I call “Froofus”).

photo (1)

What are the top ten things currently bringing you joy in life? Please link back to me so I can read what you post, as I certainly would love to!

-A.N.

New Beginnings

Sometimes new beginnings are a good thing–a very, very good thing. 

After many years of dealing with drama, be it with friends, family, work, what have you, I finally realized I did not need those things in my life. I did not need to suffer through all of that to grow and learn and succeed in life. 

Giving up these things to start fresh can always be a wonderful thing. I am not advising you completely drop everything and begin anew; oh, no, not unless you are comfortable and stable enough to do so. All I am saying is you don’t need to carry these pieces of baggage on your back forever. You are your own person, only you can make yourself happy, and only you can decide who is worthy of staying in your life and who you should drop. 

I am now twenty-one and am realizing these things. This year alone, I have been releasing old relationships and gaining new ones. I currently am interning at the one place in the world I have ever wanted to truly intern, nay, work at, and I find myself currently talking to a wonderful man who is enriching my life and affecting me for the better. I feel freer than I ever have; freer of depression, of the drama, of so many things. 

People are going to annoy you–get rid of ‘em. People are going to step on your toes–get rid of them. People are going to lie to you, cheat you, abuse you, hurt you, kill your spirit, strike your ego, and try to ruin you. But you know what? You just need to toss them out of your life. Toss all of the worthless trash, your worries, out of your life.

And remember, 
“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” 
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Haunting Kelly

Originally posted on Isle of Eau:

Were I today

To die, my love

You’d not be free of me.

 

Lingering here,

Tethered, I will

Haunt you desperately.

 

I’ll be your wraith

And prove your faith

Was not placed errantly.

 

But will you know me,

This shade that hungers

For you still?

 

I will be the creaking of the floorboards that halts outside your chamber door.

The music box that sudden tinkles from the silent darkness.

The clock upon your wall that no longer keeps the hour true.

The curiously misplaced volume of verse that we loved so dear.

The rapping that emanates from everywhere and nowhere.

The vague form that takes shape within the morning mist.

The wind that howls and sobs as you recall to mind my voice.

The glass that shatters jealously to mark your forgetfulness.

The fog of breath collected on the glass as you prepare for bed.

 I

View original 110 more words

Amnesia

Ann Neilson:

Isle of eau.

Originally posted on Isle of Eau:

Sometimes

When comes morning and I first arise,

Dream fragments spilling carelessly from my lifted head

As I break the caul of sleep,

For the briefest of moments I forget about you;

I forget that solitude is no longer my companion;

I forget that you love me as I love you;

That you inhabit my heart, that you are

My souls only, beloved, tenant;

The air again begins to thin, suffocation looms as

Pangs of loveless hunger overtake me;

But before dry sobs erupt from my breast

And I curse the day for my wretched loneliness,

Your gentle spirit washes over me and  my amnesia flees;

And I remember;

You are mine as I am yours, in love,

And though I cannot hold you, kiss you, love you now, as I would like

Once day soon we will be as one, in love, conjoined

Your shy smile, a blessing, will…

View original 12 more words

Ex Libris

Originally posted on Isle of Eau:

I imagine you as an antique book, preserved for untold years.

This volume is far more precious to me than any I have yet possessed.

I would keep it safe, close to me always, and not consign it to a shelf unworthy of this volume.

This book is untouched by any other, and will be read by no one but me.

I turn to this precious volume when in need of inspiration, or solace, or love.

I run my fingers along the marbled page edges.  I caress the raised bands adorning the spine.

I gently ease it open.  That familiar fragrance emerges to greet me.

I tenderly peel back the tissue that protects the gorgeous plates scattered throughout.

I read and am haunted, rapturous, utterly absorbed by what I read.

This book tells a story, old as time and known to many, but I attend its import as my own.

View original 50 more words

Kiss these lips, and I’ll stay forever true – Poetry

Originally posted on Poetic Depression - Melancholy for those who need it...:

What is right? What is justice?

Shall i be wrong when i come to fuck this all up.

I don’t think i will…

I know I won’t

But fear strikes the very core of your soul

And that saddens me, frightens me

I can’t leave you be

I’m alone

So are you

Together we could share ordeals that no one could ever do

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you

Kiss these lips, and I’ll stay forever true

View original

prettybooks

Fiction, Young Adult and Children's Books & Reviews

Austenprose - A Jane Austen Blog

Join the celebration of Jane Austen novels, movies, sequels and the pop culture she has inspired

Retrospective Regurgitations

Wherein I Embarrass Us All With My Very Old Drivel [August '95 - May '97]

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 78 other followers