Hush(ed) Sweet Charlotte

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Frozen Charlotte

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Ditto

‘Tis unseasonably cold this spring in Iowa! There’s still frost upon the grass. Ta-dah! SEGUE:

Most collectors of antique dolls have heard of “Frozen Charlottes.”  They were first created in the 1800s, and I knew them as small dolls with unjointed limbs that were baked into cakes as prizes, or used to cool tea or to people dollhouses. What I didn’t know was the story behind them.

The following is a (shortened version) of a cautionary poem:

A Corpse Going to a Ball

by Seba Smith, 1792-1868

Based on a true story of a young woman named Charlotte J. who died in 1830.

Now, Charlotte lived on the mountainside,
In a bleak and dreary spot;
There was no house for miles around,
Except her father’s cot.

In a village fifteen miles away,
Was to be a ball that night;
And though the air was heavy and cold,
Her heart was warm and light.

“O, daughter dear,” her mother cried,
“This blanket ’round you fold;
It is a dreadful night tonight,
You’ll catch your death of cold.”

“O, nay! O, nay!” young Charlotte cried,
And she laughed like a gypsy queen;
“To ride in blankets muffled up,
I never would be seen.

With muffled face and silent lips,
Five miles at length were passed;
When Charles with few and shivering words,
The silence broke at last.

“Such a dreadful night I never saw,
The reins I scarce can hold.”
Fair Charlotte shivering faintly said,
“I am exceeding cold.”

Said Charles, “How fast the shivering ice
Is gathering on my brow.”
And Charlotte still more faintly said,
“I’m growing warmer now.”

They reached the dance and Charles sprang out,
He reached his hand for her;
She sat there like a monument,
That has no power to stir.

He took her hand in his – O, God!
‘Twas cold and hard as stone;
He tore the mantle from her face,
Cold stars upon it shone.

Her parents mourned for many a year,
And Charles wept in the gloom;
Till at last her lover died of grief,
And they both lie in one tomb.

I made this for a dear friend one Christmas. A

I made this for a dear friend one Christmas. I did a little silk ribbon embroidery on top.

It was a paper mache book. I painted a wintry scene on the inside with lots of glitter.

It was a paper mache book. I painted a wintry scene on the inside lid and sprinkled it with lots of glitter. Everything looks better with glitter! Except food.

I fortuitously had a horse-and-carriage pin cushion.

I fortuitously had a horse-and-carriage pin cushion.

...because nothing says "Christmas" like a cautionary poem! Look closely at what "Charlotte" says.

Nothing says “Christmas” like a cautionary poem! Look closely at what “Charlotte” says.

Holidays! Christmas! BIRTHDAYS! SECOND SEGUE BOOM! Happy Birthday, Adam! I love you!

Adam at five.

Adam at five. I shan’t say anything, lest I gush(!)

 

Adam at 17 with his friend Chrysanthe. Well, a few days before...

Adam at 17 with his friend Chrysanthe. Well, a few days before…but he’s 17 now! Happy Birthday, my love!

 

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