Frozen Charlottes

Perhaps a bit morbid but these little Frozen Charlotte figurines are so delicate and pretty. The Charlotte doll stems from a New England Folk tale. William Lorenzo Carter wrote a song in 1834, describing a girl named Charlotte who wore a beautiful dress for a ball on a cold Maine night. Charlotte’s mother advised her to cover up with a blanket and coat. Charlotte said no, she’d be fine with her bonnet & gloves. In reality she just didn’t want to cover up her beautiful dress! She hopped onto her sleigh to ride to the ball but by the time she arrived she had frozen to death.

I’ll let you determine the moral of that folk tale and share a little more about the facts of the figurine. All of these Frozen Charlottes were made between 1850 and 1920. And in case you are interested here is a poem later written by Seba Smith in the early 1900

Now, Charlotte lived on the mountainside, In a bleak and dreary spot; There was no house for miles around, Except her father’s cot. And yet on many a wintry night, Young swains were gathered there; For her father kept a social board, And she was very fair.

One New Year’s Eve as the sun went down, Far looked her wishful eye Out from the frosty window pane As merry sleighs went by.

In a village fifteen miles away, Was to be a ball that night; And though the air was heavy and cold, Her heart was warm and light.

How brightly beamed her laughing eye, As a well-known voice was heard; And driving up to the cottage door, Her lover’s sleigh appeared.

“O, daughter dear,” her mother cried, “This blanket ’round you fold; It is a dreadful night tonight, You’ll catch your death of cold.”

“O, nay! O, nay!” young Charlotte cried, And she laughed like a gypsy queen; “To ride in blankets muffled up, I never would be seen.

“My silken cloak is quite enough, You know ’tis lined throughout; Besides I have my silken scarf, To twine my neck about.”

Her bonnet and her gloves were on, She stepped into the sleigh; Rode swiftly down the mountain side, And o’er the hills away.

With muffled face and silent lips, Five miles at length were passed; When Charles with few and shivering words, The silence broke at last.

“Such a dreadful night I never saw, The reins I scarce can hold.” Fair Charlotte shivering faintly said, “I am exceeding cold.”

He cracked his whip, he urged his steed Much faster than before; And thus five other dreary miles In silence were passed o’er.

Said Charles, “How fast the shivering ice Is gathering on my brow.” And Charlotte still more faintly said, “I’m growing warmer now.”

So on they rode through frosty air And glittering cold starlight, Until at last the village lamps And the ballroom came in sight.

They reached the door and Charles sprang out, He reached his hand for her; She sat there like a monument, That has no power to stir.

He called her once, he called her twice, She answered not a word; He asked her for her hand again, And still she never stirred.

He took her hand in his – O, God! ‘Twas cold and hard as stone; He tore the mantle from her face, Cold stars upon it shone.

Then quickly to the glowing hall, Her lifeless form he bore; Fair Charlotte’s eyes were closed in death, Her voice was heard no more.

And there he sat down by her side, While bitter tears did flow; And cried, “My own, my charming bride, You never more will know.”

He twined his arms around her neck, He kissed her marble brow; His thoughts flew back to where she said, “I’m growing warmer now.”

He carried her back to the sleigh, And with her he rode home; And when he reached the cottage door, O, how her parents mourned.

Her parents mourned for many a year, And Charles wept in the gloom; Till at last her lover died of grief, And they both lie in one tomb.

Lindsey Rose

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