They have all gone mad

Dear Journal,

This place has driven the entire family mad!  First of all Mother sensibly did not like the abode   hovel    building we were abiding within and so we had to move which I had hoped oh so sincerely would mean back to Colorado as, if one is going to go through the bother of packing up and placing things on a wagon, one might as well get on with it and go somewhere a bit more settled and civilized but NOOOOOO where did we go?  You will not believe it, nor did I.. across the street!  Yes, all that work and there we are, across the way smushed between a boarding house and a restaurant.  This is madness.

True, it is an improvement if we must stay.  The house is bigger though still I must share the room with Marrant and her paints but we are near the river which is better than near the door to the mine with all those dirty miners and the shooting range with all the loud bangs night and day.  And the man who runs the boarding house is very handsome. And not wed.  He is a little old, but not so much.  I believe he must have money to run a boarding house.   We are also near Auntie Bluebird's kitchen and she is much nicer than America though even darker skinned.  And her food is delicious.  If from her I can learn to cook, surely I will be able to find a husband worthy of me.

But I wander from the madness.  Mother, Father, America and Marrant are all mad.  They insist I have done awful things. Am I gone mad also?  No one will tell me what exactly it was that I did.  Father eyes me sternly in that manner he has and says, "You know what you have done," and "I should expect this from your sister, not from you."  Then he begins to raise his voice and say something about boys and young girls and turns red and storms out.  Mother merely nods in agreement with Father and tells me I must not "talk back" when all I do is ask for an explanation.  America, to be expected, says nothing but laughs in that silent way she has, right behind Mother and Father!  Marrant says I did wander to the river in my sleep and met up with a boy!  Surely I would remember that!

My punishment is not so dreadful anyways, except the disappointment of Papa who has never before raised his voice at me, his favorite I am sure.  And it is fine to see Marrant doing my chores as I sit in my room and read my cooking book and magazine - I do not really need to leave and it is only another day before I can.  Papa has forgotten about the writing of the entire Bible, which is good as I did run out of papers and inks rather fast.  Further, I did slip out to a baking contest, Father thinking I was Marrant. She was left behind, doing my chores and hers, muttering and kicking things as so she did, while America grinned and Mother felt her way around the new home.   They are mad.

Deadwood - located in Phoenix Pass, Second Life (not really in South Dakota)


It is not Fair!!

Dear Journal,

It is not Fair!  I was only playing with Frederick who is Robinson Crusoe (I must find a copy of the book to see if there is a Mother Crusoe).  We did nothing wrong.  Out on his raft on the river, doing nothing wrong.  Up comes this lady, who I asked him was she his mama?  He understood and indicated no.  She is ordering us off the raft, out of the river and saying soldiers are coming to tear down the little tiny dam he made.

What possible harm can a dam do anyway?

I try to tell him about the soldiers.  Of course, he thinks I mean we should play soldiers.  But he is fairly smart for a boy who does not speak English.  After we get off, up comes this ugly man.  He says Indians are coming.  So I have to tell that to Frederick.  Of course, he thinks I mean we should play Indians.  He is such a child. 

Then the man says he will defend us from Indians only if I give him Buttercup to eat.  What?!!!  No!!!!  Up comes another man, who starts using swear words at the other man.  Then they both have this look upon them as if which they are going to spit or punch, as I have seen the cats back home do to each other if there is a food bowl in between them.

The lady has me and Frederick go into the laundry house, which is clean I must say, but very wet.  (I wonder, is that what happens if you have a laundry?  There is water everywhere?  And where was the soap?)  The lady comes in too and bolts the door and then BANG there are guns firing.  Buttercup goes behind the stove - what a guard dog she would be.  Frederick dives behind some boxes and I am under a bed.  The lady, I do not know where she went. Upon the floor I think.   After a while there is silence. What an adventure!

Me and Frederick crawls out and from the window we can see one man on the ground and the other standing there.  It is the dog EATER!  I shriek and run back in, dragging Buttercup who had followed me.  The lady says it is fine, the man has gone away.  But then I see something as bad, perhaps worse.  The shape of America approaching!

Shove Buttercup again behind the stove, and me dives beneath the bed.  For what seems hours I do hide, not so in fear that America would harm me physically.  But tattle she will.  She thinks she is Mama and Papa in one.  And yes, certain enough eventually she is right inside the laundry house.  I hide as best I can, holding my breath.  Frederick hides also, I think as because he senses my fears.  I am in fears she finds my wool dress sopped again, she will blab to Mama and Papa and I will be never let out again for the rest of my life which would be horrid.

To be in that house with only Mary to talk to, and only the walls to see!  When it is so much more interesting out here.  Not so beautiful, perhaps, as Colorado.  But close.  Things are green and there are deer and people, and one can only draw and paint so much looking outside a window which if one complains of its cleanliness, one must clean it oneself with a rag handed to one by a smirking America who will also say something smirking from her lips.

But of course, the lady who helped us shows America where I am and there is naught to do but emerge from beneath the bed.  I think America's eyes will explode from her head when she points at my skirt and my shoes, of course, are ruined.  Thank goodness I found my eyeglasses which had slipped from my ears yet again, but slid down my blouse and were caught on my underwears rather than floating away down the river! Should that have happened it would have been the end for me!  Blinded again, for I cannot see beyond my nose without them and as has been told me over and over and over, they cost a fortune.

America after splathering my ears with sharp words of this and that sends me and Buttercup home ahead of her, shouting behind us as we go-- I think she could have beat me home but she considers herself a grown up though I think she is but four or five years older than Mary and me.   Her false dignity, I thought, had saved me!

As into the house I went, there was father asleep in his chair - ah good!   But no, he awoke - ah bad!  But he calls me Mary!  Aha, in a flash I see a way to keep myself from being imprisoned forever.  Mary does not want to leave the house anyway, so what bother to her would it be?   And so I continue to encourage him in his confusion, and - as Mary - I confess to my wrong-doing and suggest my own punishment, to be housebound.  Ah, good!

Outside I hear America talking to the dog and so into Mary's and my room I do run, careful not to awaken her.   As I remove my drenched clothing and dry off, then prepare for bed, I hear America and Father - the truth of my identity may be revealed.  Ah, bad!

But no, Father says he knows his daughters and he will not be corrected - hurrah!  I am saved!  It is hard not to smirk and smile as I look down at my sleeping sister, who has so often turned things around on me,  passing her own naughty doings off as mine - and so I do smirk and smile as I slip into my bed.

And then I hear America  suggest  to Father that while Mary is room bound, I, Marrant Alderton, am to do her chores as well as my own!!!  This is not FAIR, for this will as good as confine me also to the house as long as Mary is!  I believe in my heart of hearts, America works for the devil!

It is not FAIR, it is NOT fair!    I am determined I shall find a way out for if I am housebound, I shall go mad!

Roleplay dialog on this is here

Deadwood - located in Phoenix Pass, Second Life (not really in South Dakota)


I speak French

Dear Journal,

What a interesting place is Deadwood!  

I am now allowed outside, all the way to the newspaper office and to the Grocer's!   Also, I have taken Buttercup and gone a bit further into the hills.  There is the door to the MINE nearby!!!!  Sometime I am going to take a lantern in there.  Men leave it at night.  Night is when all are asleep.  This would be an excellent adventure!

But for the most exciting thing!  There is a little boy I have met, name of Frederick.  He is only a child.  But he speaks French.  He has taught me and I have taught him some words.  This will help when I am older and go to France.  I will live in Paris and paint.  One must speak French. 

I can say "fut" for foot and "dog" for "dog" and "goot" for "good" and more which I have forgot to write down. It will be difficult, but I will have him teach me to say  "I come from America", "do not bother me",  "I am an artist",  "where is the cafe?" "Buy my art" and other necessary things a young woman artist must know in Paris.

Mary is not leaving the room.  She does not like it here. She was crying a lot. But America told her if she kept it up her face would wrinkle and her nose would stay red.  That made her stop! 

America is banging on a pan now, it must be time to prepare supper.  I will write here later!

Deadwood - located in Phoenix Pass, Second Life (not really in South Dakota)


Marrant's Journal Entry - Of dogs and humans

April 11, 1876 -

This week the most exciting thing that has happened was the finding of Buttercup. Though perhaps he found me. As Mother and Father now allow visits to the Grocer's (which is thirty-four steps away, I counted!) it so happened that outside, returning from there with purchases for supper, I heard strange panting noises.

At first I thought Daisy might have followed. Upon turning, I did see a massive (my word of the day, as Father requires) beast all grey and wolf-like, and me with a basket - as if I were Red Riding hood herself.  He did not attack nor ask about my grandmother (who is back home as of this writing) but wagged his tail most cheerily. 

 He then followed the remaining twenty-nine steps.  America would not allow him in, nor would Mother.  A bowl of water and some chicken remains from mid-day lunch kept the beast happy.  While America was gone for errands and Mother lay napping, I set about scrubbing down the beast and did find lovely black and white hairs beneath his crust of  grey.  He told me his name is Buttercup.  It makes no sense,  Mary said I made that up, America laughed and Mother looked perplexed.  Father merely said, "that's nice," and nodded upon looking up from a book.  But truly, Buttercup did say his name to me in dog barks.

Dogs are so much nicer than people, most of the time, unless pushed to rudeness by mistreatment.

 Dogs are not false - they mean it when they smile, wag their tales and great you - if they do not like you they growl.   Dogs easily become your friend and are happy to see you all the time.  Dogs do not talk about their friends - or even their enemies behind their backs. Dogs do not say hurtful things about other dogs. They do not laugh at each others mistakes.  Dogs forgive easily - they don't sulk and seek revenge for days and months if you step on their paw by mistake or even on purpose.   Dogs don't gossip or laugh at others.  Dogs don't tell anyone the things you tell them in confidence.  Dogs do not get drunk and fall down and throw up all over (and I think if they did, at least they could be trained not to throw up on someone's porch). Dogs do not shoot other dogs nor rob banks. Those that do attack are merely defending their homes, their children and their lives, as anyone would do.

Dogs run together in packs but usually they will welcome strangers in.   I suppose sometimes dogs do turn upon the weakest in their pack but one would think humans could be as good as or better than dogs, instead of worse.

If ever I would marry, I think I would insist my husband were at least as good a person as Buttercup is a dog.

Deadwood - located in Phoenix Pass, Second Life (not really in South Dakota)


Mary's Journal Entry - Bored Bored Bored

April 8, 1876

Dear Stupid Journal which Mother and Father insist I write into.

I am bored bored bored.  There is little to do here.  Here is my schedule.

6 a.m. arise and make our beds, wash and dress.
6:15 help lazy America who is ALWAYS up before we are and snorts "'bout TIME you lazy girls gits up" as if getting up before there is any SUN is normal and who should be doing it herself because she is a servant prepare breakfast
7:00 have breakfast
8:00 help lazy America who should be doing it herself because she is the servant not ME clean up after breakfast
8:00 - 9:00 Read a book Father has suggested and discuss with others. (BORING) Because it is the Centennial, he is making us read Uncle John's story of his first visit to the Centennial.  

 (If we MUST read something, I would much rather it were a cookbook or a fashion book or a story of a courting followed by a wedding.  But of course Father does not see the merit in that.)

9:00 - 10:00 help lazy America who should be doing it herself with whatever she cannot seem to do herself, and listen to her telling us her view of our future which does not bode well.  (the other day she told me I would marry a PIG FARMER! and then called me out to introduce me to an ANCIENT celestial who raises pigs.  She snickered and winked at me and nudged Marrant, who tried not to giggle but did.  I am NOT marrying a PIG FARMER unless he owns 100 pig farms and is young and handsome and is NOT a CELESTIAL!

10:00 - 11:00 Most often needlepoint for mother, who insists on trying. Helping her means wiping the blood from her fingers and telling her she is doing well even though her design looks RIDICULOUS.  She has designs that are done for the blind with little holes that tell her where to stitch.  They do not work so well.

 11:00 - 11:30  Study the dictionary. Father's assignment is for us to find a NEW word a day and use it in a sentence at least once.  Today I have found the word INSOLENT. 

11:30 - 12:00 help lazy America prepare mid day meal.  Really, she thinks she is the boss of everyone, including Mother who is TOO NICE!  When I have my own house, I shall NOT put up with such INSOLENCE, and I did so tell her she was being INSOLENT!

And so on and so on.  After helping lazy America clean up, we must then do afternoon math work, which shall be helpful Mother says, in running a household so fine.  We are allowed a breath of fresh air and a short walk with an ADULT not alone before supper which of COURSE we must help lazy America prepare.

I do NOT understand why we bothered to bring her if she is to always need our help.  Can she not serve four people three meals, do laundry and housekeeping and simple chores without requiring the assistance of two?  There are, after all, twenty four hours in each day, and it is not as if she needs beauty sleep. Four hours should suffice.  Perhaps six on Sunday.

Deadwood - located in Phoenix Pass, Second Life (not really in South Dakota)


Marr's Journal

April 3 1876

Mother and Father have suggested Mary and I keep a notebook of our adventures to Deadwood.  Because I do not like writing, at first I thought not. But they did not say we had to write only. So I will use mine for a sketch book.

The trip was long. It was hard. Mary cried the first half. Mother did not. Neither did father. I only cried because Daisy could not ride with us. But now she is here so that is fine.

We did not see any wild Indians nor get killed.  Father keeps comparing everything to Mother's books.  It is not like Mother's books.  In Mother's books, you are warm and comfortable when you read them.  America and her mother make biscuits and warm milk with honey. You sip and eat and read.  You can sleep in your own bed when you are tired with Daisy at your feet. It is not bumpy.  You do not wish you could stop because you need to go to the lady's room because you have your chamber pot in your own room.

On this adventure, the stagecoach stops when they come to a station.  Not before, not even if you really really need it to stop.  Then everybody has to use the "facilities" (as Mother calls them) and you only have a minute and it takes at least five minutes to get through all the layers of leggings and pantaloons and slips and lining and the skirt and little bustle. 

Now I do not really mind all this. It is an adventure.  (But it is not like reading the ones in Mother's books - Father can be so silly sometimes).

When we got to Deadwood, I ran ahead.  That was a mistake.  Deadwood is not like at home where there are nicely dressed ladies and men on the street. There are hundreds of people here but practically none are ladies.  They hardly smile except the lady at the restaurant.  The men do not tip their hats.  They growl like dogs or just stare at you, even if you are running by lost.

Fortunately for me, America saw me and yelled my name and thus ended my lostness.  Unfortunately for me she yelled at me for being alone and "where is Mister and Mrs. Alderton" and "did yo' lose yo' own sistah too?" came out of her mouth more than I should have liked, rather than a sweet and friendly "Welcome Miss Alderton!"   America does not do sweet to me nor Mary, and she certainly does not "Miss" us hahahaha.

America left to go find them and I went up in the loft to her sleeping place.  I wish it was mine.  It is big and away from everyone.  My room is downstairs and tiny, about the size of our closet at home.  I do not mind sharing it with Mary because we have shared living space from before we were born.  But I know it bothers her. She says I talk in my sleep about wizards and elephants and that sometimes I even laugh or scream.  She may be imagining this, as I do not recall any of this.  My only worry was where to put my drawing and painting supplies, as Mary does not like the "fumes" and she laughs at my pictures which she says do not look like anything real. 

After Mother and Father and Mary got to the house, which is cozy and right on the main street which pleases Father as he says he will be able to see all the shootings and perhaps set his camera up right there so as to capture pictures for the newspaper, Mary indeed was bothered by the size of the house, of her room and the dust although it looked clean to me.  She stayed to sweep and beat her mattress while the three of us had a nice chicken soup dinner at a restaurant down the street (where the lady talked funny but smiled). Then we walked about and up the hill.

The view was beauteous as you can stand up there and see no houses but some small cabins.  You can look for miles and all you see is green trees and blue skies.  At home you might see the sky but the trees would be mostly hidden by the buildings except those in the park.   I did see a squirrel, which made me feel at home.  At first I thought it was Albie, the squirrel who is my friend from our home, but I do not think Albie followed us this far.  Albie is a bit fatter though he could have lost weight because of traveling so far.

Father says I can have a small corner in the newspaper office to set up my easel and painting supplies.  As soon as I do that, I shall paint a picture of Albie the Second, from the sketch I have made in this notebook.
Father and Mother say we are not to wander about, but we can go with them or America. I do expect to make friends and then I can wander.

I must go back to the hills again.

Deadwood - located in Phoenix Pass, Second Life (not really in South Dakota)

Mary starts a journal...

The third day of the Fourth Month of 1876.

Mother and Papa INSIST Marr and I keep journals which I do not understand as there is no reason to be writing down things which are nobody's business and anyway it takes too much time and it is hard to do so and your handwriting gets impossible to read and the ink goes everywhere when you are in the stagecoach which we had to be on because Mother does not like trains because of "The Accident" as if nobody but she has ever HAD an accident and then continued to ride whatever, the horse or the wagon I mean what  EVER would have happened if she'd had an accident walking, would she then have had to be carried about forever?

Of course Marr, child that she is being 30 minutes younger than I which in her case is the same as 30 YEARS,  has no complaints but obediently does obey which of course I do but I do believe she does not even have a thought that she should NOT have to obey every order which we or at least I shall not have to do once wed but if we must go to this place to which we arrived yesterday I begin to doubt that I ever SHALL wed as there are naught but old men and young drunken men or poor ones as I can tell by the clothing which they wear which are covered with dirt as is not surprising as when you walk down the street there is filth and nobody seems to clean it and Mother stepped in something from a horse which was DISGUSTING and our house which is TINY was somewhat clean as America had been sent ahead though I did see something small moving on the mattress though Marr said she did not but she wears GLASSES so what does she know and yet still how will I EVER meet a proper husband if all that is ever done while in this horrid town is 1) CLEAN the house 2) TRY to keep oneself clean 3) WORK in the newspaper helping typeset 3) STEPPING OVER drunkards (which I saw two of already) and filth from HORSES which is left on the streets unlike at home.

FURTHER, Marr and I cannot leave the house alone unattended which suits myself fine as there is NOWHERE to go, no shops as at home, no theatre, no church, no school wherein one might meet friends although I must say I am done with school almost as at 13 there really is little more I need to learn except that which will make me the wife of the best and most excellent husband such as cooking, managing a household, ordering fine furniture and linens, keeping up with fashion and there is NO WAY to do that here as a) there is nothing to cook with that is nothing but CHICKEN and DEER, America and Mother both say sugar and flour are dear and hard to get, and as to managing a household, one would THINK at least she does that America was the one who is managing and in charge and probably she will find a husband before I ever do although of course hers would be a lowly dark man so I would lose nothing EXCEPT there is NO WAY I can ever find a husband here and oh yes, fashion is not here, there are no ladies dressed the way they dressed back home and OF COURSE Mother does not see that as she has no sight and does not CARE as she says clean clothes that keep you covered and warm or from the sun are all you need worry about which is RIDICULOUS although I cannot tell her this and so I keep my lips tightly shut and even if there WAS fashion here it would soon be covered with dirt and mud and DUST so what does it MATTER and I should tell Papa when he says it is NOT SAFE for Marr and I to wander the streets that I do not CARE as if we are here forever, then I may as well be, dare I say, DEAD!

  Deadwood - located in Phoenix Pass, Second Life (not really in South Dakota)