Thursday, August 21, 2008

(What is outside my window? Our ladder. My husband and son decided yesterday to scale the enormous maple tree and give it a trim. They looked glassy-eyed when they told me they were going to Home Depot to buy a chain saw --- like a kid going to a candy store. When they returned and began sawing away, they were like little boys with a new toy. Oh, that blasted machine is in the park again this morning at 7:30 am bleeping away. I feel sorry for the residents whose homes line the park.)

Every morning in my local town's newspaper, The Frederick News Post, there is a feature 20/50/100. Small clips from years past are posted. I especi
ally like reading what happened 100 years ago on this date posts. Many of them are humorous. Here is today's.

100 years ago - Mrs. Six and Mrs. Foland are cousins and the families reside in adjoining houses on East Sixth Street, and it appears that they have not been on the best of terms for some time because one swore vengeance on the other’s cat sometime ago. Since then the air has become very sulphorous at times when it is alleged, language was used of an unprintable character.

What stands out the most is the flowery writing. How about the name Mrs. Six?
'Vengence on the other's cat.' I wonder what this kitty did to deserve such a vow. 'Other's' implies they each owned a cat. Maybe the cat who has the death threat, or at least a threat to bodily harm, beat the other in a cat fight, or ate the other cat's food, or stole it's toy mouse. We will never know.

How about 'the air has become very sulphorous'? This must have been the way 'sulphurous' was spelled 100 years ago unless it is a typo. Nonetheless, it pertains to the fires of hell, hellish or satanic. It also means fiery or heated. The language was so blue they could not print it. What do you think was the exchange?

Cousin, keep your dang cat out of my side of the house.
That blasted cat of yours is going to get its what for!
That infernal puss of yours is nothin' but a nuisance.
Confounded cat! It'll pay with its life!
I'll make a fur coat outta your cat, dang nab it!

If Caturday had been around back in 1908, perhaps a photo of the victimized kitty would have said something like, 'My mistrez will have vengenze on uz.'

I hope in the end the two cousins made peace with each other and lived in harmony until carried off to their eternal rest. Their relationship certainly was dramatic, and over a pair of cats no less.

It is kind of strange, but these little clips often inspire me to write. It's interesting to read what went on a hundred years ago each day. I guess this is another way to rip it from the headlines.

Note: Announcement forthcoming about a publishing deal!

1 comment:

Chiron said...

Great post! I love how intricate the phrasing was back then.

Another possibility that struck me is that the phrase meant:

One woman swore vengeance on the other woman's cat.

Why? Perhaps Mrs. Six cherished wild birds. Tossing seed to her feathered friends, watching them nest brings her the greatest joy. Then one morning THAT CAT attacked a nest! Killed a bird! Turned her peaceful garden into a place of terror!

Thanks for sharing this! Really stirred my imagination...

Can't wait to hear of your publishing details!!