At the very least, you can bet that Mark Spahn (did you know he hails from West Seneca, new York? We did!) stimulates no end of discussion among the Gormogonorati. A couple days back, he asked the Czar about the nature of Christmas songs, and whether they really are so specific to Christmas or just generalized Winter songs.
The Czar indicated that he, um, goofed off for a short while with Christina Rossetti, as well as Emily Dickinson (not at the same time, although that might have been a blast). The Czar mentioned he found Ms. Dickinsonat least in the 1860sto be a bit of a party animal. This alarmed Nightfly, who hurriedly wrote in:
|O Dreadful Awfulness –
You have inadvertently described a plot point in a story I’ve written, of a time traveler who finds Ms Dickinson to be unexpectedly chipper and carefree. The traveler, fearing for the future she remembers but unable to tip her hand, decides that Ms Dickinson needs to be depressed to write her amazing poetry, and sets about the task. It’s more challenging than she imagines: “Wouldn’t you feel better if you didn’t feel better?” isn’t a logical appeal.
Ms Dickinson obviously didn’t agree and to cheer up the visitor – as you surmised – she sings her “the Yellow Rose of Texas.”
My source neglected to mention your presence, so my guess is that this was after your time there, since the story occurs in March of 1853, around the time Ms Dickinson’s friend, Benjamin Newton, passed away. That event affected Ms Dickinson strongly and the traveler felt rather unqualified to comfort her, since she’d spent days trying to discomfit her. It was quite an awkward situation.
If you were in fact present, I shall have to correct it in the story – unless you should prefer to maintain your incognito.
From the Mobile Command Unit
Two minor points of interest. First, the Czar was hanging out with Ms. Dickinson in the summer of 1861, when she was just thirty and the Czar was just 594 years old. So that was after the setting of the story, which would explain it. The Czar thinks she remained a bit carefree and wild well after her summer of cray-cray with us, but whatever.
Second, your story is just fiction. The Czar, of course, really knew her. Did you know she couldn’t stand the thought of pickled herring? Bet you never found that written anywhere else.
Wait, what’s this, now?
|Oh most Fearsome and Harmonious Monarch:
I wish to confirm for Mr. Mark Spahn, of West Seneca, New York, that a great many of the popular songs played leading up to the Christmas holiday are, in fact, winter songs. Not the ones about Santa Claus, of course. A partial list includes:
And my personal favorite:
Having read about some of the concoctions served at the Leaping Peacock, I believe that last is a relevant question.
Most sincerely yours,
Excellent research as always, even down to identifying that Mark Spahn is from West Seneca, New York.
The Czar might add a song from his childhood, «Ноги Мула есть Бородавки», or The Legs of the Mule Have Warts, which is not specifically a Christmas song, but the lyrics were changed to account for the animal carrying Mary had to stop at that particular manger.
Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.