Friday, April 7, 2017

Gansevoort Melville at seventeen, almost

Herman's older brother Gansevoort Melville was born on December 6, 1815. Their father Allan Melvill had died in January.

Albany Argus, October 19, 1832 / found at Fulton History
A LARGE and general assortment of Fur and Hair Caps, Fur Collars and Buffalo Robes, for sale, wholesale and retail, on liberal terms, by
364 S. Market st. near foot of State st.

1 comment:

  1. > and Buffalo Robes

    Tell me, why this strong young colt, foaled in some peaceful valley of Vermont, far removed from all beasts of prey -- why is it that upon the sunniest day, if you but shake a fresh buffalo robe behind him, so that he cannot even see it, but only smells its wild animal muskiness -- why will he start, snort, and with bursting eyes paw the ground in phrensies of affright? ... Thus, then, the muffled rollings of a milky sea; the bleak rustlings of the festooned frosts of mountains; the desolate shiftings of the windrowed snows of prairies; all these, to Ishmael, are as the shaking of that buffalo robe to the frightened colt!

    So thanks to Gansevoort's notice, I have just now learned that a buffalo hide is called a "robe":

    (Proving once again that Melville's vocabulary is always superior to mine.)