But my bathrobe is thick, and the coffee is cooking, and my little garden needs the rain.
Yesterday before dinner I finished painting the bedroom walls, washed the spackled walls in both studies, and slapped primer over some weird stains. Meanwhile, Tom tore off the back stoop, which was a hideous conglomeration of rot. Today he's going to frame out space for the new kitchen door and window, and I will paint and paint and paint. The bedroom walls came out beautifully, so I am feeling enthusiastic, despite the sloppy boredom of the job. The brand of paint Tom chose turns out to have a thick velvety sheen that is very satisfying to stare at. Texture-wise, it sort of feels like painting with pudding.
I have made some headway in the John Brown biography, and thus far I've been struck by how Miltonic his version of Puritanism seems . . . not that Brown was a scholar, but the way in which their stern beliefs fed their social radicalism does seem to have parallels.
Here's what Reynolds writes, in John Brown, Abolitionist:
Normally Puritanism does not factor in histories of the Civil War. A widely held view is that Puritanism, far from stirring up warlike emotions, had by the nineteenth century softened into a benign faith in America's millennial promise. Supposedly, it buttressed mainstream cultural values, fostering consensus and conformity.
For many in the Civil War era, however, Puritanism meant radical individualism and subversive social agitation. In 1863, the Democratic congressman Samuel Cox typically blamed the Civil War on disruptive New England reform movements that he said were rooted in Puritanism. He insisted that fanatical Abolitionism caused the war, and, in his words, "Abolition is the offspring of Puritanism. . . . Puritanism is a reptile which has been boring into the mound, which is the Constitution, and this civil war comes in like a devouring sea!"