Read CHAPTER SIX of Watch Yourself Go By , free online book, by Al G Field, on

Blessings on thee, little man,
Barefoot boy with cheek of tan;
With thy turned-up pantaloons
And thy merry, whistled tunes;
With the sunshine on thy face
Through thy torn brim’s jaunty grace;
Outward sunshine, inward joy,
Blessings on thee, barefoot boy.

Alfred’s parents concluded it would be good for the boy to send him to the country for a time, freeing him from the influence of town boys. Therefore they sent him to Uncle Joe’s, a prosperous farmer, a little inclined to take too much hard cider or rye at sheep-washing or hog-killing time, fond of fox chasing and hunting and shooting at a mark.

Uncle Joe went to town at least once a week when Aunt Betsy accompanied him. He observed the proprieties and respected his good wife’s wishes. Long had she labored to get him to join the church of which she was an exemplary pillar. Thus far she had not succeeded.

A neighboring farmer, the leading member of the church, was the barrier. Uncle Joe and this neighbor, “Old Bill Colvin,” as Uncle Joe designated him, had been at logger-heads for years over line fences and other trifles that farmers find excuses to quarrel over.

Uncle Joe’s prejudice was so strong that when questioned as to whether he did not want to go to heaven, he defiantly informed the minister, “Not if Old Bill Colvin is there.”

If a cow strayed, hog died or turkey was lost, it was attributed to Old Bill Colvin. When the bees swarmed and Uncle Joe with the fiddle scraping out “Big John, Little John, Big John, Davy,” Aunt Betsy beating a tin pan with a spoon, poor old granny, bent with age, following slowly jingling a string of sleigh bells, and in feeble, squeaky voice asked Uncle Joe if the bees were going off, although no swarm had ever left the place, Uncle Joe, vigorously scraping the fiddle, walking under the cloud of circling bees, not heeding granny’s query, would say:

“Look at ’em, look at ’em, they’re leaving; we can’t get ’em to settle. There they go. Look at ’em, look at ’em. Dam ’em, headed for Old Bill Colvin’s.”

Uncle Joe was noted for his honey, watermelons, peaches, turkeys, maple-sugar and sweet potatoes and loud voice. He was the loudest voiced man in Red Stone township. Every living creature on the farm stood in fear of Uncle Joe’s voice. If the stock jumped the fence into another field, Uncle Joe’s voice awed them into jumping back again. Fence rails, hoes, rakes or anything that came handy had so often been wielded by his powerful arms on them that his voice was sufficient almost any time to frighten horse, cow or hog into seeking safety in flight when he shouted.

The day for Alfred’s going to the country arrived. Aunt Betsy had the neuralgia and Uncle Joe came alone on horseback. Meeting former friends, he tarried long at the Tavern. When under the influence of stimulants he became even louder. John Rathmell, the town watchman, endeavored to quiet him. Finally, he ordered Uncle Joe to go home or he would arrest him.

Uncle Joe was riding Black Fan, his fox-hunting mare. She was seventeen hands high, mostly legs, a natural pacer. She could jump over anything under the moon. Her hind legs the longer, they seemed to be the propelling power and appeared to move faster than her front legs. When at top speed she traveled sort of sideways. This seemed a wise provision of nature as it prevented her running over herself, or like a stern-wheel boat, with too much power going by the head.

Uncle Joe obeyed the order of the officer of the law. Tardily, leisurely and tantalizingly mounting Black Fan, taking Alfred up behind him, he headed the mare in the opposite direction from home. Alfred feared he was going down the hill into the “Neck” to get more liquor and he almost decided to get off and go back home.

At a pace as respectable as ever a funeral cortege traveled, Uncle Joe rode until opposite the old market house, there turning the mare around heading her homeward. Straightening her out in the middle of the road, rising in his stirrups to emphasize his contempt for the law in the person of the watchman, Uncle Joe gave vent to a yell that brought store-keepers to the doors, pedestrians to turn around and drivers to pull to the side of the street.

He gave the mare her head. At the sound of the voice nearer and consequently louder than ever before, she shot forward at a speed never equalled on that street. At every revolution of her hind legs her body under Alfred rose and fell like a toy boat on a ruffled bay. Uncle Joe rose and fell with the movement and at every rise he yelled even louder than before.

The minion of the law and several idlers, always seeking an opportunity to meddle, rushed to the middle of the street, but as well might they have attempted to arrest the wind. The shoes of Black Fan struck the flinty limestones on the pike, the sparks flew, and her trail was a veritable streak of fire. As the mare rounded the turn at Workman’s Hotel, Uncle Joe, as a parting shot, yelled:

“You can all go to h ll.”

How Alfred maintained his hold he never knew nor did the mare slacken pace greatly until home was reached. Alfred is of the opinion to this day that Uncle Joe forgot he carried a handicap.

The corn-cob stopper in a large bottle which Uncle Joe, (as was the custom of farmers in those days), carried in his right hand overcoat pocket, came out, the contents splashed in Alfred’s face and saturated his clothing. Alfred was almost stupefied with the fumes of the liquor and had the distance been further he surely would have fallen from his seat.

As the mare halted, Uncle Joe vigorously threw his leg over her back to dismount, sweeping Alfred from his seat as though he had been a rag-doll. Down he fell head first and no doubt sustained bodily injury had not Providence, or a kindly cow deposited a cushion as soft as velvet for his reception, and curls. His yells and calls brought the family to the rescue. Alfred was not received as courteously as on former visits; however, after a bath in a tub of not overly warm water, the family were a trifle less distant.

The wife was very much provoked over the husband’s actions.

Reinforced by Billy Hickman, the preacher, and several church members, renewed her efforts to have Uncle Joe ally himself with the church. Uncle Joe assured one good brother that if sheep-washing time was over it was then September and sheep are washed in May or June he would join the church. He explained that he felt he must have a little “licker” sheep-washing time or he would “ketch the rheumatiz.”

The District Fair was on, Black Fan was entered in the free-for-all pace. She was considered a joke by horsemen and the knowing ones. But Alfred would have bet all he had that Black Fan was the fastest goer in the world. Ike Bailey’s Black Bess, John Krepps’ Billy, John Patterson’s Morgan Messenger, were the other entries, all under saddle except Morgan Messenger. Patterson drove him to a sulky, the only sulky in the county, the wheels higher than the head of the driver. It was the idea of the builder the larger the wheels the greater the speed.

Black Fan had much the worst of the get-away and it looked as if she would be left in the stretch. It was a half-mile track. Twice around completed the heats. The crowd laughed themselves hoarse at Uncle Joe’s entry and rider.

The other riders leaning forward, holding their bridle reins close down to the bit, seemed to lift their horses as they sped away from Black Fan whose rider was leaning back holding the briddle reins at arm’s length as if he feared she would go by the head.

There was no grandstand, the populace standing thick along the track, separated from it by a rough board fence.

As the horses neared the starting point on the first turn, Black Fan far in the rear, Uncle Joe was seen pushing through the crowd, towering above the multitude. He made his way to the side of the track, climbing up on the fence-board next to the top, he stood erect.

The leaders flew by and, as Black Fan got opposite, he raised his arms as if to throw a stone or club at her, at the same time, in stentorian tones, yelling: “Git up! Git up! Git! Git out of that, you Black B h! Git up Fan. Gin her her head! Don’t hold her, dam her! Let her go! Scat!”

As the last yell left his lips over he went onto the dusty track head-first. Black Fan surely imagined Uncle Joe was after her, she shot forward, her hind legs going so fast she looked in danger of running over herself, taking up nearly the width of the course. John Patterson and his high-wheeled sulky were swept off the track. Black Bess jumped the fence, ran off with her rider and was disqualified. Only John Krepps kept his little horse on the track, but Black Fan had the race in hand.

Great confusion reigned. Several fights started, Uncle Joe being in the midst of all of them. Everybody surrounded the judges, and the other horse owners protested the race. As the judges were all farmers with the usual fairness pervading decisions as between town folks and country ones, Black Fan was given the race.

Uncle Joe led the mare all over the fair grounds with Alfred mounted on her, and notwithstanding the boy was surfeited with ginger bread, cider and other District Fair delicacies, he importuned the uncle for more. Finally the uncle impatiently handed him two cents, “So there go eat ginger bread till you bust.” Uncle Joe celebrated his victory all afternoon. When he advised Alfred that they would soon start home and that he could ride behind him on Black Fan, Alfred slid down and requested a neighboring farmer to permit him to ride home in his dead axe wagon.

Uncle Joe did not get home until very late, claiming that he did not know that Alfred had gone before and that he was searching the fair grounds for him. Alfred’s aunt gently chided him and advised that when he went anywhere with his uncle thereafter he must remain until his uncle came, but to urge his uncle to come early.

Uncle Joe was very sick the next day. Aunt Betsy said it served him right. She hoped he’d “puke his innards out.” Alfred was busy carrying the afflicted man water by the gourdful from the spring. Uncle Joe would not permit him to bring it in a pail: he wanted it cold and fresh.

“Dip her deep, son,” he would say as he emptied the gourd and sent the boy for more.

The sufferer grew worse and finally Aunt Betsy’s womanly sympathy impelled her to go to the sick man. She began by saying:

“I oughtn’t to lift a hand to help you. Any man that will pour licker down his stomach until he throws it up is a hog and nothing else.”

Catching a whiff of that which had come up, she turned up her nose and contemptuously continued:

“I don’t see how any one can put that stuff down them.”

She held her nose and turned her head in disgust. The sick man raised his head and feebly answered:

“Well, it don’t taste that way going down. Go away and let me die in peace. I deserve to die alone; I don’t want any of ye to pity me. Just bury me is all I ask.”

The woman’s sympathy entirely overcome her anger as the man well knew it would. She begged to be permitted to do something for him. He was obdurate. He was “not worthy of being saved”; all he desired was to “die alone and be forgotten.”

She asked him if he were not afraid to die.

“No, no” he answered, “I’m not afraid to die but I’m ashamed to.”

Feeling his heart was softening, she begged to do something to relieve him, a cold towel for his head or hot tea for his stomach. No, nothing could do him any good, so he declared.

“If you don’t have something done for you, you might die.”

“Let me die, but if I ever get over this one, it’s the last for Joe. I hope every still house in Fayette County will burn down afore night and all the whiskey ever made destroyed.”

The wife exulted greatly at these words and renewed her entreaties to do something for him.

“Well, if you insist on doing something for me”, and he hesitated, “but I know it will do no good go down to the kitchen, fill a big coffee cup half full of bilin’ hot water, dissolve a lump of loaf sugar in it, drop in a little lump of butter ’bout as big as a robin’s egg. Then reach up in the old cupboard in the hall, top shelf and way back in the corner, you’ll find a big, black bottle. Pour quite a lot out of this bottle into the cup, fill it up. Grate a little nutmeg into it and fetch it up yar.”

Then holding his hands to his head as if suffering great pain, dropping his voice to a faint whisper as if he were about to collapse, he said:

“Bring it up here and if I don’t want to take it you jes’ make me.”

Not long afterwards the whole neighborhood was talking of the conversion of Uncle Joe and the day of his baptism marked an epoch in that section. The lion and the lamb were roaming together. Old Bill Colvin and Uncle Joe were making cider on the shares. Many were the strange tales told of how the conversion of Uncle Joe came about.

The day of baptism saw the largest gathering in the history of Red Stone meeting house. Alfred, Cousin Charley and all the country folks round about were there and many from town. Many were the conjectures made by the idle gossipers as to whether Joe would hold out. Tom Porter prophesied that the first time Joe got on a tear he would lick the preacher. Billy Hickman, the preacher, was a mite of a man, while Uncle Joe was a giant in comparison.

Uncle Joe had never been ducked or put under water but once, that the writer knows of. It was sheep-washing time. The sheep in a pen on the bank of the creek. Uncle Joe and another man in the creek up to their middles washing the sheep. Alfred and another boy in the pen catching the sheep dragging them to the bank as the workers called for another sheep. There was one old bell-wether that was too strong for the boys. After futile attempts to drag him to the creek Alfred decided to ride him. Jumping astride of the animal it made frantic efforts to free itself from the burden. Round the pen, bleating and panting it ran. It started for the creek and from a height of several feet it plunged, hitting Uncle Joe square between the shoulders.

Its weight and Alfred’s sent the powerful man under the water. Where one sheep leads another will follow. As he attempted to rise, sheep after sheep hit him on head or back. Under he went again as often as he arose until the whole herd were out of the pen.

This experience probably accounted for Uncle Joe’s actions the day of the baptism. Grouped on the banks of the creek, in fence corners, some lying on the grass under the red haw trees, were the rabble all there out of curiosity.

Standing near the creek, chanting a familiar hymn as only an earnest congregation of good people can sing, were the church members. Walking slowly from the church was the preacher and Uncle Joe, the disparity in their size all the more marked as they waded into the water.

Uncle Joe seemed ill at ease and it appeared as though he was sort of holding back. By the time the minister was in up to his middle, the water only flowed about Uncle Joe’s knees. The little preacher paused, folded Uncle Joe’s hands across his breast. Uncle Joe looked behind him as much as to say:

“It’s a long ways down to the water.”

The minister began the solemn baptismal service. At the last word he attempted to lay Uncle Joe back, immersing him in the usual manner but Uncle Joe resisted. Alfred said afterwards he “knowed Uncle Joe was skeered, that Hickman couldn’t rise him up after he got him under.” Alfred explained that it was hard to keep from strangling when you went down backwards. “That’s the way I nearly drowned. They ought to baptize ’em forward,” was his conclusion.

The silence was oppressive. The minister sort of squirmed around and began the service over. At the last word he made another effort to immerse the sinner. Again his strength was insufficient, both men jostled around.

Sam Craft, who was watching the proceeding from a fence corner, at the failure of the second attempt to dip the penitent, drawled in a voice thick with hard cider:

“Trip him Bill dam him trip him.”

Uncle Joe quickly took hold of his nose with thumb and finger; stooping, he put his face under water to his ears, left the preacher standing in the creek as he rushed out, not to the church members but to his old cronies, until led to his proper place among the congregation.

The conversion of Uncle Joe made Aunt Betsy happy. Alfred had liberties he never enjoyed previously. He rode Billy, the pony, when and where he chose. He ran rabbits, chased through the woods until the scant wardrobe he brought from home was in rags and tatters.

The great Civil War had just begun. All the country was marching mad soldiers passing and repassing along the pike. Aunt Betsy and Lacy Hare, the hired girl, decided that Alfred should have a soldier’s suit that would surprise the natives. Neither had ever been blessed with children, neither had ever attempted to make a garment such as they fashioned in their minds for Alfred.

The original that Alfred’s suit was patterned after was a military uniform worn by John Stevenson in the War of 1848 between Mexico and the United States.

As the faded garment was brought from the garret and Alfred, with wood-ashes and vinegar brightened up the ornaments and medals, he thought John had been a mighty general, judging from the medals he wore. When he learned John was only a fifer his admiration for him greatly increased and often he coaxed John to play the old tunes that cheered the warriors on to victory in the many battles John graphically described not recorded in history.

Lacy with a pair of sheep shears cut out the coat, while Aunt Betsy held the pattern down on the heavy grey cloth. The goods were of the home-made quality, known as “linsey-woolsey,” a material worn by farmers almost universally in those days. The household scissors were too dull to cut it, hence the sheep shears were pressed into service by Lacy.

The coat cut, Alfred had to stand out in the entry while the women used his nether garments to pattern by. The door a little ajar, Alfred impatiently watched the two women cut out the pants. Lacy remarked, after he had asked for his pants twice:

“Land sakes! Have a little patience. You climb trees, run through thickets, till you’re rags and tatters, and I hope when we get these clothes done you’ll settle down and save them to wear when you go anywhar.”

The women decided, or rather endeavored, to make the suit after the cut of the uniforms worn by the soldiers. Lacy insisted that a blouse would not look well on Alfred and it was decided to make him a jacket at the bottom “close fittin’” as Lacy expressed it.

Nothing like this suit was ever seen before or after the war. Angles and folds were, where should have been smoothness; too short at the bottom, too high at the top, too tight where they should have been loose and vice versa. The jacket was short in the waist and high in the neck. Lacy remarked as they basted the thing that there seemed too much cloth in some parts but she thought it would take up in the sewing. The surplus cloth in the west side of the pants hung to the boy’s calves, covering the limbs that far down. Therefore, it was difficult to decide at a distance where the jacket ended and the pants began. In fact, the boy, from a backside view at a little distance, seemed to be wearing a long-tailed coat.

Going from you, Alfred looked like a grown man; coming towards you he looked more natural. Wherever there appeared a bunch or angle that seemed out of place, Lacy endeavored to modify the over abundance by tacking on one of the ornaments taken from the old uniform of which a great number were used. The shoulders of the jacket seemed to fit to suit Lacy, therefore she used the epaulets from the shoulders of the old soldier’s uniform elsewhere. The seat of the pants hanging so low, Lacy said looked too bare, whereupon she tacked the epaulets on that part of the pants, with the yellow and red fringe hanging down.

There was a very large lump resembling “Richard the Third’s” hump; on this Lacy perched a brass eagle with wings spread as if about to fly off with the coat. Red and yellow stripes ran up and down the outside seam of the pants.

Lacy said they “looked so purty it was a shame the folds of the cloth kivered so much of the stripe”; she “allowed it was too bad that more of the folds had not found their way into the seat of the pants cos it wa’n’t noticed there, the epaulets hid it.”

Lacy had such a great quantity of this yellow and red material, she insisted on running a double row around the cuffs of the coat and around the bottom of the pants. Aunt Betsy gently dissented but Lacy seemed the moving spirit in the project and the elder woman deferred to her. The aunt said the only fear she had was that folks might think the suit too gaudy. Aunt Betsy said she feared they had not sewed the braid on straight or the pants wouldn’t pucker so at the knees.

All the ornaments, space could not be found for elsewhere, were tacked on the cap. The vizor or brim was the only disappointment to the women. No stiff leather procurable, they used cardboard and blackened it with shoe polish. This soon broke and crumpled. Lacy remarked:

“The blame rim spiles the whole outfit.”

It dangled in Alfred’s eyes all the time, hence he generally wore the vizor behind.

The soldier clothes were to Alfred a thing of beauty and joy until he went to town. Alfred collected all the country boys he could enlist and called them the “Red Stone Blues.” He found an old, rusty sword, its scabbard a load, yet he carried it wherever he went. Others of his company had corn cutters, old scythes and muskets.

Alfred attempted to drill the boys as he had seen the home guards and Sam Graham’s Zouaves do in town. Two old stove pipes were mounted on wheels for cannon.

It was Alfred’s ambition to ride at the head of his command as did the commander of the Ringold Cavalry, but Lacy had attached the epaulets to the seat of Alfred’s trousers as they came from the shoulders of the old coat, and the tin shape frames prevented Alfred assuming any attitude while in the uniform than that of standing. When Alfred spoke to Lacy as to the advisability of changing the location of the epaulets she explained that they had nothing suitable to replace them. When Alfred complained he could not sit down, Lacy said:

“Law sakes, you shouldn’t think of it. Them ’air things are too purty to kiver up.”

The battle of Bull Run had been fought. The country was ablaze with excitement, war and rumors of war, war stories, war talk. Everybody was up in arms, soldiers moving everywhere, as the locality was not far from where battles were soon expected.

Uncle Joe and Aunt Betsy went to town to hear the news. Alfred, left alone, marshalled his hosts in battle array.

In the romance of Pierce Forrest, a young knight being dubbed by King Alexander, he was so elated he galloped into the woods, cut and slashed trees until he eased his effervescence and convinced the army he was a most courageous soldier.

Alfred at the head of his army, strode down the column as Jupiter is said to have strode down the spheres as he hurled his thunderbolts at the Titans.

Alfred and his army charged and recharged, Uncle Joe’s hedge fence. On and on they charged, coming on the enemy standing ten deep in line, asking or giving no quarter; the enemy fell bruised and bleeding. Every stalk of Uncle Joe’s broom corn patch lay on the ground, not one stalk standing to tell the tale.

How vain are the baubles of war. Alfred standing in the midst of the field of slaughter he could not sit down heard a roar that froze his hot blood and scattered his army to the winds of anywhere and to the thickets.

Uncle Joe, returning, had witnessed the slaughter of his broom corn from the top of the hill by the big shell-bark hickory nut trees. His yells not only struck terror to Alfred’s heart but Black Fan and other stock broke from the fields into the big road where they stood trembling.

Lacy said she hadn’t heard Uncle Joe chirp since he was baptized. When he hit his finger with a hammer she felt certain he would “break out,” but he stuck to his religion.

As he crossed the apex of the hill and saw the broom corn falling before Alfred and his minions, the roar that floated across the flat sounded very much like:


When Alfred saw Ajax drawing nearer, his sword fell from his hand and Alfred fell on the broom corn, an object of abject fear. Ajax grabbed him by the nape of the neck and seat of his uniform, nearly ruining one of the epaulets.

Never was warrior so ignobly driven or dragged from a field of victory. Aunt Betsy could find no excuse for Alfred. Broom corn was a necessity in the household work. Every farmer made his own brooms.

After a very short trial by court martial it was decided that the country was too quiet for Alfred and that he should be transferred to town at once.

Although tried and found guilty, Alfred, to his delight, was permitted to retain his side-arms and wear his uniform. The next day, standing between Aunt Betsy and Uncle Joe in the old buggy driving the old mare, he began the journey home. He was arrayed in full regimentals, the brim of the cap turned behind, his yellow hair hanging in strings, (it had never been curled since he went to the country).

Everyone they met cast admiring glances at Alfred’s uniform. The aunt was proud of the attention attracted. Passing through Sandy Hollow, Sid Gaskill, the roughest girl in the neighborhood, motioned the buggy to stop. As Sid inspected Alfred she requested him to turn around. Looking him over she asked:

“Who made ’em?” referring to the uniform.

Alfred promptly replied:

“Lacy Hare helped Aunt Betsy make ’em.”

The aunt’s face showed her satisfaction. Not even when Sid inquired if the clothes were made to wear in a show did the aunt’s pride in Alfred’s suit diminish, although the inference is that it was the military character of the clothes rather than the cloth or fit, she was proud of, as Aunt Betsy was very patriotic.

All the way to town she was picturing what a surprise the suit would be to Mary and John, and it was.

Alfred was driving the old mare as she had not been driven in years. Uncle Joe made him slow down. Uncle Joe sometimes exceeded the speed limit leaving town but usually went in at a respectable gait.

Alfred’s desire to see the loved ones at home was so strong that he jumped out of the buggy as they entered the town. Running ahead of the buggy he passed Uncle Bill’s: Waving a welcome to Martha and Hester, who stood in the front yard, he regarded their laughter as evidence of their pleasure at seeing him back home again.

When Martha shouted, “What devilment are you up to now?” he never imagined it was his appearance that so amused the girls.

Over the fence, across lots to the rear of the house he scampered. Lin was out mopping the floor of the back porch. Perched on the top of the fence he caught sight of her.

“Hello, Lin? How-dye?”

Lin heard the voice. She did not recognize the speaker at once.

“Hello, Lin?” he shouted again.

Lin shaded her eyes, gazed hard at the boy, dropped the mop, and Alfred heard her call:

“My Gawd, Mary! Come out here, quick!”

The mother appeared as Alfred neared the house. Looking curiously at him, she covered her face with her apron and began to laugh. Lin ran into the house screaming and laughing. The boy stood abashed. The mother motioned him to approach her, pushing him into the house. She obtained a view of the rear of the warrior’s uniform and a fresh outburst of laughter prevented her even speaking to him. Lin and the mother clasped each other in their arms as they swayed, weakened with laughter. Lin was the first to recover her speech. The boy’s feelings were hurt.

“Where’s your regular clothes?” Lin first asked, “you bin in a-swimmin’ agin and lost ’em, I reckon.”

The children came romping home from school, Sister Lizzie rolled on the floor as she caught sight of the boy and asked Lin, between screams: “Who dressed brother Al up like that?”

The mother ordered him to remain in the room until they got other clothes for him. They did not want the neighbors to see him dressed as he was.

The boy’s spirit began to assert itself.

“Laugh, if you feel like it. Lacy Hare and Aunt Betsy made me these clothes, they’re regular soldier clothes. I’ll bet if you laugh at them when Aunt Betsy comes she will tell you something. I don’t see nothin’ to laugh at.”

“Landsakes,” spoke up Lin, “step in the parlor and look at yerself. Ef you don’t laugh you’re not the kind I took ye fer.”

Alfred did laugh and he got out of the clothes mighty quickly. Lin was delegated to explain to Aunt Betsy why they changed Alfred’s clothes so quickly.

Aunt Betsy informed them:

“The boy had jes’ romped until he was most naked. They didn’t want to send to town for clothes for him, so Lacy and her jes’ banded together and made him the suit. They had plenty of time and they concluded to make him a suit different from any other boy’s. And it warn’t much trouble to trim it up and make it nice rather than to make it plain. It took two days more to trim it than it did to make it.”

Lin told the good, honest soul they could not think of Alfred wearing the clothes every day in town. “We’ll keep ’em off him ’til the next battle and when the peepul are all sad over their friends that’s been killed, we’ll dress him up and send him down the street.”

Many years afterwards, the writer, rummaging through the garret of the old home, the odd garments fashioned by Lacy Hare and Aunt Betsy were discovered. Recollections of the mirth they aroused when first brought to the notice of the family, prompted the carrying of the old musty outfit to the sitting room below.

But somehow the odd looking suit failed to excite any merriment. It was rather regarded with reverence. The sight of it sent the thoughts of all traveling back to other and happier days. The mother thought of those whose kindly hands had fashioned the fantastic garments; of an elder sister who had filled a mother’s place in the family. She remembered a happy home, its like unknown in all the country about, where hospitality was liberally dispensed, visitors always welcome. She thought of the first wife’s passing, the coming of another to the big house. The lowering of the family name by the second marriage. The shunning of the old home by friends and relatives; of the rapid decline of the master; evil associates whom he preferred to those who had honored and loved him; the estrangement of family and friends.

In her mind she could see in him a bent old man, prematurely old, leaving his home to seek shelter with strangers, lost to the sight of former friends, his whereabouts known only when the final summons came to him; his identity made known by his last request:

“I have left money with George Gallagher to bury me. Bury me beside Betsy.”

And in her mind she saw two graves side by side, one with a marker reading “My Beloved Wife,” the other unmarked.

The mother softly said as she folded the coat and nether garments:

“Put them away again.”