of a time-traveling freelance hussy
and Other Thanksgiving Pleasures
Ah, that subtle curve of a black wool
stocking, the saucy shine of a shoe buckle...pilgrim lust...did it
exist? There may have been damn good reasons they called each other
Let me take you back...back into the past
of this fairly young country, to a time when a new population began
their lives, their farms and families in and around the Plymouth, Mass.
area after fleeing religious persecution.
According to Wikipedia -
|Pilgrims is the name commonly applied to early settlers of the Cape Cod in present-day Plymouth, Massachusetts. Their leadership came from a religious congregation who had fled a volatile political environment in the East Midlands of England for the relative calm of the Netherlands to preserve their religion. Concerned with losing their cultural identity, the group later arranged with English investors to establish a new colony in North America. The colonists faced a lengthy series of challenges, from bureaucracy, impatient investors and internal conflicts to sabotage, storms, disease, and uncertain relations with the indigenous people. The colony, established in 1620, became the second successful English settlement in what was to become the United States of America, the first being Jamestown, Virginia, which was founded in 1607. Their story has become a central theme in United States cultural identity.
Now, don't get me wrong, these folks were
pious and followed their heartfelt religious laws and commandments, but
there are always other things involved. At least...wherever you
find humans procreating, you'll find oddities and fetishes. But,
considering the Pilgrims favorite source for carnal law was Leviticus,
it's no wonder for the most part, they stayed true to the biblical
commands. Death was the inevitable end result for those disobeying
the laws regarding lust. Bestiality, homosexuality, etc. The
final curtain was drawn and it was death.
A bit rigid for most tastes, even in
those days, but it seemed to work for the Pilgrims. Or did it?
Nope, it didn't. Only one execution
ever took place and that was a keystonecopian tragedy of the best kind,
involving a young man's testosterone-driven behavior, a number of sheep
and possibly other farm animals and a hanging. Not a pretty
picture, but it stands alone as the only execution for lustful acts seen
in that area.
Lustful acts brought harsh punishments,
whipping, beating, public displays of guilt, stocks and other
undesirable practices. Life and lust were not part and parcel of every
day. One had to push the lustful thoughts from one's mind, in and
effort to be less corrupt on this very corrupt earthly plane...yes
yes. We get it. Purity, pioty, and prudence.
A few women were known to dally with a
local native or two and each faced whipping or the stocks,
page after page, the Deetzes dispel the image of the Pilgrim
Fathers and Mothers as models of godliness and self-control.
" *In 1637, John Alexander and Thomas Roberts were found
guilty of ‘often spending their seed one upon another.’
" *In 1639, Mary Mendame was convicted of committing
adultery with Tinsin, an Indian, and was condemned to wear a
badge that read ‘AD’ (short for ‘adultery’) on her
sleeve as long as she lived in the colony. [Nathaniel Hawthorne,
call your agent.]
" *In 1652, Katheren Winter was found guilty of sleeping
with her stepfather, James Turner.
" *In 1685, Hannah Bonny gave birth to a mixed race child;
the father was a black man named Nimrod."
It was the babies and pregnancies
that ultimately outed at least the guilty woman. No hiding that
result. The timing of a birth told the tale.
As with any society, short of the most
militant and brutal, there were pilgrims who could not or would not
follow the laws of their community and their god. They were the
fringe of their time. They lusted and likely paid for their
"crimes" in some way.
Nathaniel Hawthorne had plenty of fodder
for his Scarlet Letter.
The Scarlet Letter
Nathaniel Hawthorne's Novel
The Scarlet Letter
online at Bartleby
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