Rosetta-isms: For my part

One of Rosetta’s little linguistic tics is the phrase “for my part”. Here’s a sampling:

From a letter dated August 19, 1863
“…I don’t believe this war will be over as long as there is a man left, and for my part I don’t Care how long it does last. I hope that our regiment will have to go into the field before it is over. Then I shall be satisfied and not until we have to go.”

(Of course I love this for how brave and brazen Rosetta is here.)

From a letter dated September 20, 1863
“…I don’t think that it would be my luck to get a furlough to come home this fall. For my part I shan’t try for it. If I did the officers Would say, ‘No, you must let the married men go home first.'”

(It makes me smile how she doesn’t even acknowledge that she could come home any time she wanted, if she revealed her true identity!)

From a letter dated October 13, 1863
For my part, I hope we Shall go to South Carolina, for there is nothing so lovely as the Southern Sun. WHen it rises over the virginia hills and Shines into the vales of South Carolina, I then like to be a Soldier. The hotter the Sun Shines, the better I like it in the army.”

(I just love her description of the Southern sun!)

From a letter dated January 20, 1864
For my part, I see the principle of the men in this regiment and I have chosen the better part.” And “…for my part, I haven’t been punished Since I have been in the service.”

When I was writing the novel, I had no idea just how many times it appeared in Rosetta’s letters, but it must’ve lodged itself in my subconscious because when Rosetta’s voice came to me, this little phrase came too. I love the personality and flavor it adds.

Rosetta-isms: I’ll dress as I have a mind to

One of my all time favorite Rosetta-isms is from a letter dated June 5, 1863:

“I will Dress as I am a mind to for all anyone else [cares], and if they don’t let me Alone they will be sorry for it.”

I just love her! If Rosetta (the real one or the character) were to have a manifesto, I like to think this would be the first line.

I think this, more than anything, captures Rosetta’s feisty spirit, and the way she consistently asserts her independence while at the same time acknowledging the pressure she feels to conform to society’s expectations. She’s a pistol, that’s for sure.

I wanted to use the same sentiment, but while the real Rosetta wrote that line home to her family early in her service, perhaps as a bit of a justification for what she was doing, or in response to some comment in one of her family’s letters, I chose to use the line at the end of the book, when Rosetta makes her decision about what is next for her. It seemed to me an assertion of her independence at the same time that it acknowledged the difficult decision she was making and the pressures she would feel.

And as a side note, I have to say I got a kick out of thinking about what Rosetta’s response would have been if she knew that her story had been featured in both Glamour and ELLE magazines!