"Can" B. Worth
Epilogue - Part Eleven
Once past “the problem”; that I’d found the pocket map lot in the candy box, wanted them, determined the lack of price upon it and/or all, configured the “price attack position”, acted on that, successfully purchased the lot and …watched the old Tyrolean put the lid back on the candy box, set the box on the workstation table and… dutifully pencil down the “$1500.” as a separate column head notice on his account-balance-due from-me… “paper trail”… “I can leave now?”.
No. I COULD leave now but I “did not go there” because I was already… gone-HERE-fussbudget-ONTO… that other lone protruding spine end I’d “too expensive – drop it” mere minutes ago. Spirited by commercial success upon the map lot… I hesitated not at all to return, revive and RE-THINK that third “old book”.
“Re-think” is the wrong word for the actual action. The actual action was denoted at the beginning of the Americana self wall inspection start: “remind myself to let it come to you”. This gets a little past “listening to your gut” but not TOO far out into the spirit worlds of divining in a beyond realm. Simply, if an “I” go around on and on constantly all the time seeking Rare Americana, it WILL come to “I”. I have faith, confidence, years of commercial evidence and legacy of “having a good eye” meaning “having good historic sensitivity” meaning “I can smell it” meaning LISTEN TO ALL THAT and ACT ON IT. Here, when the “too expensive – drop it” “old book” KEPT SPEAKING TO ME wordlessly from it’s pulled spine poise… I returned to it.
I looked at the spine as I pulled the whole book out… CAREFULLY and NOT BY THE SPINE TOP… and read the gilt spine end title “BAYONET EXERCISES FOR THE ARMY” again: “Huh”. I opened the volume and glanced over the publisher’s promotional end papers: “Huh”. I skipped to the title page (but noted a hand written ink name at the fly leaf head) where I …title paged it: “Huh”. I skipped BACK to the ink note and read it and… understood that …this 1861American military manual on bayonet use by “George B. McClellan, Commander-in-Chief, U. S. Army” was, evidenced by owner’s signature, owned by a Maine Lieutenant named Hovey Austin of Co. C. 16th Maine Infantry: “Huh”. I skipped back to the penciled price of “$300.-“: “Huh”.
I really didn’t want it at that price. Even less thirty percent OFF ($210.00) …I didn’t want it.
“THAT WAS OWNED BY A MAINE SOLDIER” came to my ears from the old Tyrolean.
“Had that a while?” I said back… holding the book in my right hand.
“GREAT CONDITION on THAT” he said.
“A great price today?”
“Let me see it”.
I hand him the book. He opens it and views the “$300.-“ and… does nothing but makes a …slightest release of air from his mouth. Then HE title pages it, looks at the ink name, closes the book, look the condition over quickly and says “TWO HUNDRED”.
He hands the book back to me. I take it and… put it directly up into its shelf spot and… again very carefully… push the tome into its shelf spot and… get it almost all the way back into that shelf spot when… a little tiny something from deepest darkest of black hole space-beyond twitches somewhere beyond the universe I stand in and my darkest, deepest and black holed internal furthest space-beyond universe CAPTURES that MESSAGE and I… pulled the tome back out VERY CAREFULLY and… hand it back to the old Tyrolean and say “ok”.
HE sets the book on top of the candy box and pencils “200” under the “1500” on his paper slip and… looks up at me. “I’m done.” I say.
It was THREE MONTHS at least before I “look at” that book. It’s just the way I found it when I do. I punch Hovey Austin into internet search land. UP he comes: Maine. 31 years old. Enlists Oct. 1862. First Lt.. Goes to Washington D.C. with 16th. Goes to Fredericksburg Dec. 12th, 1862. The morning of Dec. 13th finds him on the Union left entering combat and the War for the first time. The 16th advances under orders. 16th continues to advance after ordered “Charge bayonets. Forward double-quick”. Hovey hit. March 23, 1863 Hovey is discharged due to his wound. Dies.
Two things come out of this. One: On the one day that Hovey Austin is in the Civil War, he orders and participates in… a bayonet charge. In that charge he is wounded so badly he is discharged and dies. He was in the Civil War one day. His only action taken while he was in the Civil War was to order and participate in a bayonet charge. The book, including its how to bayonet charge text, he probably purchased in Washington just prior to going to Fredericksburg.
Two: WHEN Hovey is hit (wounded), the bullet “glances off” a “tintype picture” thereby only severely wounding him and not killing him there and then. THIS occurrence, remarkably, is recorded in passing by a seventeen year old soldier in Hovey’s company. Thomas S. Hopkins, Company C, 16th Maine, writing after the battle for “THE YOUTH’S COMPANION” magazine not only records in detail the whole saga of Company C, 16th Maine going to Washington - Fredericksburg and arriving upon the Union left Dec. 13th, but details the bayonet charge wherein he TOO is wounded AND: He also specifically records that “Lieutenant A------ of my company was saved by a tintype picture…”. This narrative is reprinted by the 16th in their regimental history (A. R. Small, author, Portland, Maine, 1886).
In Rare Americana, the reach to the heartstring of real history lived …and having that heartstring captured in ink… IS the poignant purposeful passion… of “rare” Americana. To find truly …poignant, purposeful, passionate… rare Americana, I “let it come to you”.