Friday, February 20, 2015

"The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell"

William Klaber is a part-time journalist. He lives in upstate New York on a hill overlooking Basket Creek, a short way upstream from where Lucy Lobdell lived 160 years ago.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell, and reported the following:
It is 1855. Lucy Lobdell has cut her hair and run off to live as a man. She goes to Honesdale Pa, a busy canal town awash in new anthracite money and pre-civil war politics. Taking the name Joseph Lobdell, and calling herself the Professor of Dance, Lucy opens a dance school (all true). It goes well. No one suspects. But one student, Lydia Watson, rebellious daughter of a prominent family, takes a liking to this new guy who kinda knows what a girl likes. Lydia arranges for violin lessons after the twice weekly dance classes. In their private time together Lucy (as Joseph) and Lydia discover a friendship. Lydia is ahead of her time. She thinks church is stupid and is outraged by the lot given to women. Drawn to Lydia but afraid to tell the truth, Lucy continues posing as a man. Things progress. When others are not there Lydia addresses Lucy as Joseph and not Professor Lobdell. She is smart and provocative. On page 69 the violin lesson is interrupted by a sudden thunder storm and they both go to the window. Lydia seems entranced.
“When I was little,” she said, “Mother would let us run in the rain behind our house wearing hardly a thing.” She paused in the remembering. “If we were in a meadow out of sight, Joseph, I would do it now. Would you join me?”

“You would not,” I said, all the while imagining her in the rain, shift clinging to her flanks. “And no I wouldn’t join you. I’d like to keep my reputation and remain in town a little longer.”

Lydia laughed. “Well, aren’t you the modest one. You’d have to promise to cover your eyes and never tell a soul.”

Cover my eyes? Never tell a soul? I knew what she was doing and this time I wasn’t going to play the prude. “I think, dear Lydia,” I said, now meeting her eye, “the most I could promise is that I would not tell.”

I saw her start to color….
Visit William Klaber's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue