February 19, 2010

Ichabod A. Paine and A. Bronson Alcott

Ichabod walking about the garden and picking flowers for Auntie Nicey Ethlaurinda.
He was met whilst antiquing, which led to his employment at The Corgyncombe School.

Ichabod A. Paine is an Assistant Professor and helps Auntie Nicey with the children's Botany lessons. He has taken quite a shine to Auntie Nicey Ethlaurinda and oft' times can be seen picking bouquets to delight her with. Well, the bouquets delight Auntie Nicey, but she really isn't interested in him romantically. He reminds her far too much of Bronson Alcott (also known as "Abel Lamb" in Louisa May Alcott's "Transcendental Wild Oats"). Ichabod knows his field of Botany but other than that all he seems to do is have his head up in the clouds.

An old Botany book published in 1850.

In "Transcendental Wild Oats", Louisa May Alcott wrote about her family's trials at Fruitlands.
Louisa's father Bronson Alcott took his wife Abigail (May) Alcott and their little girls and, along with Charles Lane, aspired to build an utopian community, which they called Fruitlands. In Louisa's "Transcendental Wild Oats", Bronson Alcott is called "Abel Lamb" and his wife Abigail is called "Sister Hope" or "Mrs. Lamb". Bronson's partner in the utopian society, Charles Lane, is called "Timon Lion" and is also referred to as "Dictator Lion" by Louisa.

Louisa was only a child of ten when her father began his Fruitlands folly in 1843, which lasted only a few months. Louisa May Alcott wrote "Transcendental Wild Oats" many years later and it was published in 1873. Louisa describes the goings on at Fruitlands in a comical way but you also see in her writing how painful the whole ordeal was for her mother.

When speaking of the Fruitlands community, Louisa describes her mother as "unconverted but faithful" to her father.

The book "Louisa May Alcott, Her Life, Letters, and Journals", edited by Ednah D. Cheney, speaks of Abigail (May) Alcott and Fruitlands: "Mrs. Alcott did not share in all the peculiar ideas of her husband and his friends, but she was so utterly devoted to him that she was ready to help him in carrying out his plans, however little they commended themselves to her better judgment."

Dried flowers from Corgyncombe Gardens.

In this Fruitlands community the members were vegetarians, animal products were to be shunned as the leaders Bronson Alcott and Charles Lane did not want the community members to use animal products.

No one worked harder than Sister Hope and in "Transcendental Wild Oats" Louisa describes that upon being asked by a member of the practically perfect society: "'Are there any beasts of burden on the place?' Mrs. Lamb answered, with a face that told its own tale, 'Only one woman!'"

"Abel Lamb" and "Timon Lion" went out on their perfect society lecturing jaunts with no thought to the completing of the harvest of the crop at Fruitlands. In "Transcendental Wild Oats" Louisa describes how, due to an impending storm, the bringing in of the meager crop that managed to come up at Fruitlands was completed by Sister Hope, her little daughters, and the young son of Timon Lion. How pathetic to go out lecturing about the perfect society when such labor was left for the wife and little children to accomplish on their own.

The Corgyncombe Courant does not have too high of an opinion of Bronson Alcott, for you see dear readers, Abigail (May) Alcott was a cousin. Diane's 5th great grandfather Eliakim May was 1st cousin to Abigail (May) Alcott's grandfather Samuel May. As May kin, Diane and Sarah are outraged at the way Bronson Alcott treated their cousin Abigail (May) Alcott. Auntie Nicey Ethlaurinda feels the same way, as she is also of May ancestry.

The Corgyncombe Courant is doing more research into the Pratt family of New England that Louisa's sister Anna Alcott married into.

Looking Through The Corgyncombe Kaleidoscope


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