Sunday, March 25, 2012
Well, after we finished reading our entries in "The Book Club Cookbook" (see yesterday if you missed our fame and fortune...)
We settled down for lunch and a discussion about this month's book, The Diary of Mattie Spenser"
The book traces newly married Mattie Spenser as she travels in a covered wagon to build a home on the Colerado frontier. Mattie's only company is a slightly mysterious husband and her private journal, where she records the joys and frustrations not just of frontier life, but also of a new marriage as she and Luke make life together on the harsh and beautiful plains. Dramatic and suspenseful, this is an unforgettable story of hardship, friendship and survival.
In keeping with the theme of the book, I prepared a pioneer style lunch - one pot chicken noodle stew, homemade bread with jam and field green salad.
Sorta like they might have had on the prairie only kicked up a notch (I hope)
And our main character Mattie's most favorite dessert was chocolate cake - so of course we had an incredibly decadent chocolate cake for dessert.
Excerpt from the book:
My name is Mattie Faye McCauley Spenser. I am twenty-two years old, and this is my book. It was given to me on Sunday last by Carrie Collier Fritch on the occasion of my marriage to Luke McCamie Spenser. Carrie says I am to use it to record my joys and sorrows, and to keep a thorough record of our wedding trip overland to Colorado Territory and the events in the life of an old married woman. Then I’m to send it back to her.
Well, maybe I will, and maybe I won’t.
I was married in my navy blue China silk with the mutton-leg sleeves, a sensible dress, because I am not given to extravagances. Besides, there was not time to make a proper wedding ensemble, since Luke was anxious to be married and on our way out west. As I did not care to begin my new life with a matrimonial squall, I dutifully agreed, although meekness is not in my nature.
This marriage happened so fast that it took away my breath. I had no idea Luke thought of himself as my beau. Everyone believed I was a confirmed old maid, destined to do no more in life than spend my afternoons tutoring refractory scholars in grammar and penmanship, as I have done for two years.
My plainness does not bother Luke. He says it is an asset, since we will be living in a Godless land, where men become crazed where women are concerned. I would not want to cause him vexation by attracting admiring glances, so it seems that neither one of us has to worry about me on that score. Well, it’s the first time I ever was glad to be plain.
“You are a suitable cook and well made for work, and you’ll have plenty of that where we’re going. You are a strong-minded woman and not given to foolish ways. I’m glad you’re not the kind to attract men like bees around the honey,” he said when he proposed. “I’m bound for Colorado, and if you’re agreeable, you may come, too. I’m clean in my ways and a Christian, and I promise to be the best husband I know how. So if you’ll agree, Mattie, I’d be proud to take you as my wife. I require a yes or no right away.”
It wasn’t a pretty speech. Surprised and pleased though I was, I wished there had been a little less common sense, and more passion to his proposal. I suppose a prudent man (and Luke is that) should choose a wife with the same expert eye he turns on a cow. Still, I chided him a little before giving my answer. “You didn’t say a word about love, Luke Spenser,” said I.
He rebuked me, and rightly so. “I thought you to be a practical girl. If it’s words you want, you ought to wait for Abner. He’ll be along directly,” replied he. Then he blushed and added, “I’m not much for that kind of talk, but do you think I would be here if I did not have feelings for you?”
Well, having studied mathematics to discipline the mind during the two years I spent at Oberlin College, I think I am a practical girl—practical enough to know Luke might find another if I did not reply at once. And perhaps it was best he spoke his mind in such a direct way, giving me a clear view of our future together instead of sugarcoating it with silly speeches. I believe Carrie is right in saying that strong men are not given to declarations of love, anyway.
So I meditated on it for a few moments. Marriage is life’s most serious step for a woman, and the proposal, catching me unaware as it had, seemed to call for contemplation. Still, at that instant, I knew he had won my heart and should have my hand, as well. I replied promptly, in the manner of his proposal, “You suit me, Luke, and so does your proposal.”
at 5:00 AM