THE LADY IN MY ATTIC

(Click the image above to see a larger picture)

Depending on which records one checks, my house was built at some point between the mid-1840s and the late 1850s.  Some records incorrectly list it as being built in the late 1890s, but there are photos which show the house decades earlier.  It does, however, appear to have been altered during the 1890s as the carved wooden mantle with a copper insert in the front parlor dates to that period while the black stone mantle with a cast iron insert in the dining room is earlier.  Most recently, I've seen it listed as 1857, but I know it was occupied at least a year before that.  I'm (very) slowly piecing together a timeline of the house's previous owners (including a shoemaker, a lawyer, a cartman, and a retired grocer).  

The house has a very low attic.  It's a bit higher than a crawl-space, but not by much.  Since I dislike ladders, I've only ventured up to the attic once.  It was, for the most part, empty. There was a small crocheted bonnet for a child not too far from the hatch.  And, far back in a corner that appears to have been untouched since the 1940s (if not longer), there were fragments of a picture.  There were several small pieces depicting a bird of some sort.  It may be a little parrot with dark green and plumage and a small crest.  The bird is perched on what seems to be a gold hoop and it appears to have come from a lower portion of the picture above.

I'm not sure whom the picture depicts, though she is very lovely.  The two fragments show a young woman with a band of pearls set in gold in her hair.  She wears two strands of pearls around her neck and there's a hint of a ruffled blue dress.  Whether it depicts the heroine of a popular story or some fanciful representation of an ideal or some historic lady, it's impossible to say.  The reverse has no mark to identify the publisher, subject artist.  It must have belonged to one of the early owners of the house.  I can just imagine the picture when it was whole and framed; it would have looked quite fine hanging in the front parlor or in the room where I now have my office.

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