Heard High-tone Language

18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Wednesday, November 4, 1913:  If ever a girl heard high-tone language, I heard some this afternoon.

This doesn’t happen very often, but this afternoon I came to earth with a thud. Was positive there were no spectators, but afterwards learned that I had been mistaken.


Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Who said the high-tone words? . . . and what did he/she say?

This is a relatively long diary entry for Grandma.  Are the two paragraphs both referring to high-tone language? . . . or is the second paragraph about an actual fall?

18 Responses

  1. I love the picture. I am assuming that by “high-tone” she means aristocratic or better than you language. I am wondering if she took a “high-tone” with someone and was overheard.

  2. That’s a very mysterious diary entry. To me, at least!

  3. Grandma is becoming so cryptic.

  4. I think she fell down and was observed in paragraph 2. Wonder what and where the high toned language she heard was. That sentence I just wrote was definately NOT in high toned language!

  5. What does high-toned mean? pretentious? I, too, think it was an actual fall and have done the same; fallen, jumped up quickly to see if anyone saw and walked away as if nothing happened!

  6. Perhaps she used inappropriate language or screamed because of her fall. HMMM.. interesting.

  7. She is being very secretive in her entries lately, which makes me wonder if she is trying to write “in code.” As if she’s worried someone is reading the diary.

  8. Wow, I wonder what this means?

  9. I hope the “coming to earth with a thud” doesn’t mean the end of the “romantic dreams” of the previous few days

  10. High-tone…wonder what that means??
    And it sounds as though Grandma actually took a physical fall to me, since she didn’t think there were any spectators….

  11. Beautiful photo. It’s funny how after all these years, we are wondering what Grandma meant and what really happened. She probably never would have guessed we would all be reading and speculating on what her diary was all about. :)

  12. Oh, Helena! You’re teasing us with your mysterious entries!

  13. You’re killing us here, Grandma! So many mysteries; like a previous poster, I hope that didn’t mean her romantic expectations came to an end.

  14. IF Grandma only knew how much we are hanging onto every word a hundred years later. Who would have thought?? Not Grandma. Great work Sheryl.

  15. I think Grandma did fall, said some unsavory words, and was chagrined to learn she had been seen and overheard. I can’t wait to learn more if she wrote about the incident in later days.

  16. Great photo. In all the research I’ve done for the time period 1910-1925, I haven’t heard the phrase ‘high-tone language or high-tone words’. This is a mystry. I hope I haven’t mentioned a blog wherein you tell us what it actually means.

  17. I’ll weigh in. If I were just reading this out of the blue — which I almost am — I would assume: She fell. She hoped no one saw, She learned someone HAD seen, when she heard something like, “You’d better watch yourself, young lady.” Or she may even have been mocked as a clumsy farm girl by someone skilled in sarcasm.

  18. What’s high tone language? Is it cursing? That’s probably something a woman didn’t hear too often then. Maybe she fell off a horse? Mysterious indeed.

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