Wednesday, 1st May, 1867

Raining again this morning, and no corn planted worth speaking of and no planting today. Clarissa came to plant but got her breakfast and left, too wet. – – Uncle David top dressed the clover lot in later this morning. Bill commenced taking “Osgood’s India Cholagogue” this morning. Had the potato ground manured by Uncle David after dinner. – – This has been another unpleasant day to me, everything seems to worry and annoy me. I suppose its owing to having new servants altogether, who know nothing of any of my old rules and want so much looking after to get them to do anything as I want it done. Charles and Ellen would wear the patience of Job out. They are both sprightly and full of glee and mirth, all the time singing, dancing, playing or something of the kind, which little accords with our feelings, poor downtrodden, subjugated “Poles,” weary, worn and sad, dragging heavily along, even those bright sunny days of Spring, tantalizing us as they come and go. I am often reminded of the Captive Jews when they sat by the rivers of Babylon and wept. They bring their harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.1

  1. Adapted from Psalm 137:2, KJV.  (back)

One comment on “Wednesday, 1st May, 1867

  1. Peter H. Wood says:

    More than most days, CL uses May Day to briefly allow some of her troubled emotions to show through. For her, it does not seem a reach to compare herself to Job or the Captive Jews of the Old Testament, and she is indignant that her “old rules” are hard to enforce and that ex-slaves seem unduly sprightly and gleeful over their partial liberation from 12 generations of unpaid labor.

    Though she rarely mentions current affairs, domestic or foreign in her brief daily musings, it is interesting to see that she knows what has been transpiring in Eastern Europe and identifies with the “downtrodden and subjugated” Polish people. A major Polish Uprising had been put down by the Russians in 1863, and in the next year the Czar incorporated Poland directly into the Western Region of the Russian Empire. That same year Russia officially emancipated the Polish serfs, bringing major changes to Poland’s agrarian society and prompting once-prosperous Polish landowners to feel mistreated by the new order.

    By 1867, CL would not be the only unreconstructed white Southerner to identify with the Polish saga. They would have known of the freedom of the serfs, of Poland’s recent assimilation by Russia, and of the dictatorial rule over the region by Mikhail Muravyov-Vilensky, the “Hangman of Vilnius.” Misery (however self-centered and misguided it may appear in retrospect) loves company.

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