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 Beautiful Belmont, Part 26 -- The Fun of Hand-Me-Downs.

by John Salisbury Cochran.

See previous entry: Beautiful Belmont, Part 25 -- The Corn Husking Bee.

Our brother Rob was a born diplomat. He could say "yes" with a most captivating cordiality, when he would much rather have said "no." We were taught to treat our grandfather with great respect and civility. At one time in his advanced age, when we were at his residence working corn, grandfather brought out a pair of old boots which he had partially worn out and which had been hanging in the attic for over fifteen years. They were long, square-toed, without any apparent instep, and about as shapely as an Ohio River flatboat. At the noon hour, grandfather suggested these would be excellent for use in plowing corn and work around the farm, and presented them to brother Rob. The latter observed the many wry looks passing between the rest of us, but with a agreeable, polished politeness, he accepted the present with most gracious thanks. He impressed grandfather with the importance of the gift, and charmed him with the gratitude he expressed.

The boots were too large even for grandfather, and about twice too large for Rob. He could jump up and down in them. The rest of us dared not laugh, for father was there and we did not want to break the sense of pleasure that Rob's politeness had brought to our grandfather. When we arrived at the cornfield and away from our two elders, then the laughter over the boots began. It was suggested that three of us wear them all at once, one of the three to do the plowing. Rob's first experiment was to stand the boots up with their backs to him, and then from a distance, take a run and jump, to see if he could land in the boots without touching leather.

Our brother Crowner suggested there might be a dead man in them. Then Rob, who was doing the plowing while we were hoeing, decided to furnish us with an exhibition of their utility by plowing one round in the boots. It was laughable in the extreme to witness the grotesque figure he cut at the handles of the double-shovel plow, and the yells of laughter that went up from us could have been heard for a mile. When he returned he kicked each of the boots at us from his feet to see how near he could make a "center shot," as he expressed it. He then took the boots, set them dawn on a large sandstone rock under the chestnut tree, and with another smaller stone, pounded them until the uppers were broken loose from the soles. He rubbed them all over with clay from the field, and, since they were well greased, it gave them the appearance of having been worn out from use. The fact was they were somewhat rotten anyway.

When we were at grandfather's for dinner the next day, and when he was in a gleeful state of mind, Rob presented the boots, exhibited great disappointment at their wearing qualities, and in his most polite manner, asked grandfather if he could not supplement them with a new pair that would fit and wear better. Rob made his point, obtained a new set of boots, and the joke was on us.

See next entry: Beautiful Belmont, Part 27 -- The Cider Mill.

For the table of contents and first entry in this series, see: Beautiful Belmont, Part 01 -- Table of Contents and Brief Introduction.

This entry is adapted from Bonnie Belmont: A Historical Romance of the Days of Slavery and the Civil War, by John Salisbury Cochran, which was published originally in 1907. The book has been reedited extensively for inclusion in the Pierian Press Fulltext eBooks database, and is included on the Stratton House Inn Web site by special permission. This special edition of Beautiful Belmont is licensed for use ONLY on this Web site. It may not be copied or downloaded, but may be used for educational purposes and personal pleasure under fair-use provisions via this Web site. Please note that this Stratton House Inn iteration of the book does NOT include the subject headings assigned each chapter for use in the Fulltext eBooks database.

CO-AUTHOR: Wall, C. Edward. (Editor)
CO-AUTHOR: Schultheiss, Tom. (Asst. Editor)

DATABASE: Fulltext eBooks: Copyright (c) 2000 The Pierian Press, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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