Sewanee How to Make a Yankee Southern: Memories of the 1940s
This essay Sewanee by Bert captures the flavor of that elegant southern institution even better than my uncle Will's chapter in Lantern's On the Levee: Recollection of Planter's Son.
How to Make a Yankee Southern: Memories of the 1940s
Honore invicem praevenientes
A dead mule was lying in the middle of the two-lane road. The trip in the late summer of 1940 to reach the University of the South on the Cumberland plateau had been scary enough for an eight-year old from Pennsylvania Dutch country. Although Harrisburg, my birthplace, was not at the center of that culture, I had had two teenage Amish girls for nannies. The new territory was something really different. I had no experience at all with mountains, country life, much less farm animals, alive or dead. Hairpin turns on a narrow highway, yawning vistas into the deep coves below--these motions and sights had me slightly dizzy as it was. We were riding in my much older brother Charles’s “Blue Flash,” as he had christened his 1936 four-door Ford convertible.
The mule remains in my mind more than the ride up from Chattanooga sixty meandering miles behind us. Where I was going was one of the choicest, most beautiful parts of the Appalachian range. Even the names of the most prominent sights were almost poetic: Morgan’s Steep, so named (no doubt mythically) for a Rebel general officer who had fled pursuing federals by leaping with his horse over a high bluff and escaped; Lost Cove Cave, situated below poet and memoirist William Alexander Percy’s summer place, Brinkwood; Point Disappointment; and, my favorite, Fiery Gizzard with its waterfall and swimming hole. Wonderful names for the scattered settlements near Sewanee abounded: Sherwood, presumably named for Robin Hood’s hangout, and nearby, Garnertown, perched on the side of the mountain and famous locally as the moonshine capital of Franklin County.2
Similarly poetic, for white Southerners at least, were the Confederate deities who stood watch over the place. The Episcopal college had been founded a few years before the Civil War as a refuge from lowland summer heat and malaria. In those early days, the school year began in May and closed at Christmastide. Politics also determined the choice. By situating the school on so isolated a Parnassian height, the founders hoped to quarantine planters’ sons from those dangerous abolitionist ideas and city ways that prevailed at Northern institutions of higher learning. After the Civil War, penurious Rebel officers sheathed their swords to enter a quiet, academic life. Josiah Gorgas, the former Confederate Chief of Ordnance, had served for a time as Vice-Chancellor, though not very happily. Football was played on Hardee Field, dedicated to the memory of Confederate General William J. Hardee. The papers of Leonidas L. Polk, a university founder, bishop of Louisiana and general under Joe Johnston, were deposited in the library. The descendants of Edmund Kirby Smith, one of the last Confederate generals to surrender in 1865, headed local society. His son, “Dr. Rennie,” the town’s physician, occupied a Tara-like mansion opposite Hardee Field. The oldest house in Sewanee, a spacious, sturdy log cabin, still in use, called “Rebel’s Rest,” was owned by the heirs of Major George Rainsford Fairbanks, another Civil War hero. In the college’s St. Augustine’s Chapel, fading Confederate battle flags filled casements along the side aisles.
On this first encounter, I cared little about any of such attractions, not even the Rebel ghosts. Nor had I yet had the experience of reading the Barsetshire series to notice any resemblance between Sewanee’s enclosed Anglican domain and Anthony Trollope’s imagined cathedral close. Like Oxford or Cambridge, all professors and upper-class students had to wear black gowns to class and church. The University’s buildings–classrooms, chapels, dormitories, and even the fraternity houses, designed for parties and meetings and not student living--were chiefly in the English gothic style. They were constructed, however, with skillfully cut sandstone that Sewanee village workmen had quarried. Moreover, many of the residences had so mid-Victorian an appearance that a visitor might expect to see emerging from one of them a figure resembling Archdeacon Theophilus Grantly or some other Trollopian clergyman resplendent in gates-ajar collar, gaiters, and black frock coat. In contrast to so pleasant and orderly an environment, I felt that I had been wrenched from Pennsylvania in order to live on a desolate mountain top.
We swerved around the mulish impediment. The Tennessee legislature may have passed fencing laws by then, but mountain folk--covites the University people called them–were not likely to pay much mind even when their cows and mules wandered into unlucky circumstances. To be sure, I was glad to be reunited with my grandmother, as we were old companions. Then in her seventies, Eliza Matthews Little was my mother’s mother. Yet, though things turned out better than I anticipated, that mule struck me at the time as a very inauspicious sign of the new life I was about to lead.
It was a matter of perplexity why I was taking this journey in the first place. I had loved Harrisburg. To me it seemed a great metropolis, although fairly small to more experienced city dwellers. Streetcars cheerily clanged bells; street lights blinked on when it turned dark, sidewalks teemed with all sorts of people, some well dressed, some in ragged cast-offs. A few years before, a strolling prostitute was furious when I accidentally tore her stocking while peddling my velocipede (i.e. tricycle). Sitting on the stoop in front of the house, my grandmother had shooed her off, but I recall the woman’s angry, garishly red-lipped face as if it were yesterday. Those were depression times. Across from our house at 321 North Front Street, I remember seeing men, clearly out of work, settling themselves under the trees and on the park benches overlooking the Susquehanna. They sometimes shared whiskey hidden in brown paper bags, much to the consternation of the high-toned residents on our block.
Riverfront Harrisburg had its dramatic moments. In March 1936, one of the most exciting events in my early years had occurred. The memory is still fresh. Swollen by melting snow and rain, the Susquehanna had become almost level with Front Street and had cut the flooded north end of the city away from our section which was on higher ground. The angry waters rushed underneath the Walnut Street bridge with no more than a foot or two of clearance. Fascinated, I watched the water rise within a few feet of the bank across the street. Every day I would tug the skirts or pants legs of somebody to take me out to see if the bridge were still upright. Over it traveled a seemingly endless parade of oil trucks, filled with fresh water from Philadelphia since flood water had polluted the city reservoir. Without the benefit of electricity and natural gas, a small birthday cake, with four candles, had magically appeared on March 19 with the help of a tiny kerosene stove.
No less wonderful than the vagaries of that river were the Saturday afternoon children’s concerts of the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra under the direction of a Dr. Rauschenbush. The auditorium had a sky-blue ceiling covered with gold stars. Looking upward had often set my imagination flying into the cerulean heavens, especially if the orchestra was playing the Ride of Valkyries or some other galloping music.
Apart from such experiences as sliding on waiters’ metal trays down wintry slopes at the Harrisburg Country Club or throwing rocks at debris floating in the river, I missed roaming the oversized mansion we occupied but did not own. My father’s predecessor, the elegant Episcopal Bishop James Henry Darlington, had called it “Bishopscourt.” Darlington arranged for this palace, so to speak, to be used as his diocesan office and residence. (He had married into Pittsburgh oil.) At his death in 1930, the bishop willed it to the Diocese of Harrisburg for the comfort and grandeur of his apostolic successors. In 1931, the year before I was born, Father had become the second bishop of this recently created episcopacy, which extended through central Pennsylvania from the Maryland to the New York border–some 17,000 square miles in the midst of a predominantly Lutheran and Mennonite-Amish population. At Bishopscourt, I remember measuring the distance from the front door to the end of the laundry room--one hundred and twenty feet. Though narrow in width, the house ran the length of a city block. The front parlor was furnished with Persians, uncomfortable cherry wood Victorian furniture, pictures of sailing ships mounted in gilt frames, and an ebony Steinway.
On the second floor was “the baronial hall,” as it was called. It seated at least a hundred people, with a low platform at one end and a balcony at the other. My mother used to give an elaborate Christmas reception there and sang for the guests. (She had studied in Berlin before World War I under “Signor Lamperti,” as she used to sigh nostalgically, and had an apprenticeship appointment with the Bremen Opera Company before accepting my father’s offer of marriage in 1911.) The hall was perfect for roller skating--that is, until I was caught ruining the wooden floor. On the first floor, Father held early Sunday morning family services in a small chapel with tile floor, marble altar, and a stained glass window with a dove of peace descending. Most often he was not home Sundays because episcopal duties sent him on trips to such struggling parishes as the mission at Shamokin in the coal-mining district, the railroad town of Altoona, or Hershey. I fondly remember that I once visited there with my parents and at the famous factory watched the churning of chocolate liquid in the steel vats. Before her departure to Sewanee early in the summer of 1940, my grandmother and I had lived snugly on the fourth floor. At that elevation it was possible through a window to see the glow from the lights illuminating the state capitol not far behind the house.
What had induced my parents to exile me from such grand surroundings? Until about five years ago, I did not know. What I recall, however, is an incident at our summer house, Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania. It stood within walking distance of the Mason-Dixon line which ran through the woods nearby. I had sobbed one summer evening in 1940 when it was still fairly light. Downstairs everyone else was engaged in animated conversation. Meantime, I had been consigned to early bed for what I thought was no good reason. Mother came up to investigate the noise. She offered a guess: “You miss Grandma, don’t you?” At once, I agreed. No doubt it seemed a better justification than a whine about exclusion from the goings-on below. “Well,” she said, “your father and I have decided that she needs you, too. Grandma would be so lonely down there in Tennessee, and so we are going to send you to her.” I was stunned into silence, I am sure. And so a few weeks later began the trip to that Episcopalian stronghold in the midst of the Cumberland Mountains.
Initially, Sewanee failed to excite me. Yet, by comparison with much of the South, the place was–and is–gently urbane. Its sophistication lay chiefly in the realm of learning but obviously not in the appointments of a city. Sewaneeans–a population of less than a thousand--were justly proud, though, that University Avenue, the main street, had been recently widened and concreted. Many of the tributary lanes, however, were still unpaved. Handsome sidewalks of local brownish pebbles set in concrete flanked University Avenue. Yet, unlike Harrisburg, there were scarcely any people–well dressed or otherwise--to watch as they made use of them. The college town always looked forlorn and abandoned when the students were away on vacation. No marquees of movie houses announced the shows inside; no store front windows could be inspected. One or two places sold ice-cream cones, chiefly the University Supply Store, but in Harrisburg my teenage sister Laura used to take me with her friend Mary Herman to a variety of places for sodas. Instead of city noises at night time, I heard few reassuring sounds in the vast silence of Sewanee.
After I was gradually introduced to things Southern, some compensations emerged. Grandmother had taken up temporary quarters in Powhatan, the home of Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith’s two daughters, Mrs. Ruth Hale and Miss Carrie Kirby-Smith. The former general, who had led the Rebel forces in the southwestern theater, had learned to survive on old memories and the meager salary that a professor of mathematics could draw. The widow and her sister were famous on the mountain for the astonishing range of their profanity, especially when a drunken student noisily staggered up to his boardinghouse room at night. They had a very self-possessed black servant who had charge of their wagon and horse. As a treat to the newcomer, he let me hold the reins when we clopped down University Avenue to Preston Brooks’s general store on some errand for the landladies. Preston Brooks, the proprietor, it should be added, was the grandson of the famous South Carolinian assailant of the fiercely antislavery Charles Sumner, Senator from Massachusetts, in May 1856. Delivered with a gutta percha cane, the attack aroused the fury of Northern voters and helped to prompt the great conflict. In the South, Brooks was hailed as a hero for vindicating the honor of his state and a senatorial kinsman, whom the passionate Sumner had denounced on the Senate floor in a two-day harangue about “the Crime against Kansas.” Congressman Brooks’s Sewanee grandson liked to tell the story of how Yankee soldiers had ransacked the house in Edgefield during William Tecumseh Sherman’s savage advance through the state. They seized the many canes they found on the premises. Years after the war, a looter returned one of them to the family, explaining how he had long regretted stealing the instrument that had felled Sumner in the Senate chamber. Brooks’s family had been amused: the original cane, of course, had been shattered to smithereens over the luckless Senator’s head. The Union veteran had simply sent back one of the scores of canes that Brooks had received as replacements from sympathetic admirers of his praiseworthy deed, as fellow fire-eaters saw it. I was to waste many hours avidly reading the ten-cent comic books that Brooks’s emporium had in stock and bought just enough of them to prevent being chased out for making the remainder shopworn and unsaleable.
We spent only a week or two at Powhatan boardinghouse before moving to the University’s guest-house, Tuckaway Inn, run by the outspoken, very wide-beamed, and half-blind Miss Johnnie Tucker. She had a gruff manner and a gravelly voice, but you could not help liking her. Along with the various Kirby Smith women, she was one of the many old ladies who governed the morals and social life of the inhabitants. Miss Johnnie and another Kirby Smith--known as Miss Amy, though widowed--could almost outyell the undergraduates at the football games. Usually, however, the results between the goal posts were disappointing. After a week or two at Tuckaway, we finally moved into the house on University Avenue that Mrs. Little, as Grandmother was generally called, was renovating. It had been built shortly after the Civil War. It had a two-storey porch on the front, floors made of wide plank boards, and a huge coal furnace with a red metal hopper. Grandmother had the building encased in asbestos shingling (to save future paint jobs), and she ordered the porches to be removed to give the front rooms more light. It was a mistake, I thought at the time. No doubt I had planned to roller skate on the upper veranda, even if the space could not match the old baronial hall.
My resentment about the transfer South was inevitable. From the perspective of family history, however, my presence in Sewanee had its rationale. Both region and locale were deeply embedded in the very devout Episcopal, patriarchal household into which I was born. Father never let his children call him Dad, only Father. To catch his attention in the Harrisburg days, I sometimes burst out with the forbidden word and for my temerity was tickled in the ribs, causing nearly painful spasms.
Born in 1884, Wyatt Hunter Brown, as his name then was, came from a somewhat financially-straitened family of eight children in Eufaula, Alabama. His father Eugene had been postmaster during the two Grover Cleveland administrations but otherwise was demoted to assistant postmaster under a Republican placeman. The latter, who was the assistant in the Cleveland days, was illiterate. So Eugene had to perform the same work for less money during the succession of Republican regimes–at least if family legend can be trusted. In any event, it’s hard to imagine that either one of them was overtaxed in sorting mail for the sleepy little cotton village on the Chattahoochee. At age fourteen, Grandfather Eugene had served in the Civil War. As the family tale goes, he and a brother, still younger, had arrived at the Virginia front only to get homesick after a few days. Some generous-minded officer put the pair on a train heading toward home. Notwithstanding, Eugene liked to tell the story on himself, a not so conscientious veteran of the momentous war.
My father and his favorite elder brother Bertram somehow scraped up enough money to attend both the college and St. Luke’s Seminary at distant Sewanee. Father was an excellent pool-player. If family legend is reliable, he financed his studies by his bank-shot skills at eight-ball, despite a near-sightedness that bordered on blindness. Mother, formerly Laura Hibbler Little of Montgomery, Alabama, had attended a girls’ finishing school in Monteagle, a mountain hamlet close to Sewanee. In the mid-1930s my two older brothers, Wyatt and Charles, also took their degrees at the university. Deciding to follow in our father’s footsteps, Charles was still enrolled at the theological seminary when I arrived in 1940.
Another early source of Southern-ness for me was Bishop Wyatt Brown’s dedication to the Democratic Party and the Lost Cause. Although among the more conservative Southern politicians Franklin D. Roosevelt’s standing had diminished by 1940, his stature in our house was matched only by that of Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis. They formed a kind of secular trinity for the family to worship. In the vestibule of Bishopscourt, Wyatt Brown proudly hung a steel engraving of the solemn, white-bearded general, with a Confederate flag tastefully draped over a corner. For him, as opposed to its usage today, the Rebel banner did not signify racial antipathies but did mark his sense of alien identity in the land of the Union victors. No doubt, he took pleasure in gently affronting Yankee guests in Harrisburg with the display. Had he lived to see such a sight, Simon Cameron, whose townhouse was next to ours, would have been displeased. Cameron, unsavory boss of Pennsylvania politics, had been Abraham Lincoln’s first and fairly incompetent Secretary of War. As for Jefferson Davis, family lore has it that he had taken tea at Eugene Brown’s house in Eufaula on a nostalgic post-Civil War tour of the Lower South.
Father liked to remind Governor George Earle, a one-term state executive of Pennsylvania and author of the state’s “Little New Deal,” were the only Democrats on Front Street. The governor’s residence was down the block. As if to prepare me for my coming years in the South, at bedtime Father often read aloud from the Rev. Abram Ryan’s collection of melancholy post-Confederate poems. The Catholic priest’s lugubrious “The Conquered Banner” was a favorite and closed with the immortal lines:
Furl that Banner, softly, slowly!
Treat it gently–it is holy–
For it droops above the dead.
Touch it not--unfold it never,
Let it droop there, furled forever,
For its people’s hopes are dead!
I used to read it to myself when that became possible. At one time I could recite it complete.
Those first weeks in Sewanee before school began were easy neither for me nor Grandmother. I had little to do but fidget, driving her to distraction. A stranger herself, she had no idea with whom I could get together, and the famous Southern hospitality had not materialized to our benefit. At wit’s end, she told me to run out and ask that “nice colored boy walking down the street to come over to play.” Although he was much bigger and older than I was, I took the chance. In those days, a black kid had little choice but to do what white people commanded. But Grandmother’s gesture failed to work. He only wanted to rough-house. Worse, from my point of view, he had six fingers on each hand. The vestigial double thumb could have been surgically removed if there had been money for an operation, but I found the genetic anomaly pretty alarming.
My parents and grandmother, however, had fortunately enrolled me in a little grammar school called Bairnwick. As the day for starting school approached, I thought here at last would be salvation from boredom. Housed in the airy ground floor of a great stone mansion, Bairnwick –Scottish for “Home of the Children”--was a fitting place for me. Margaret Myers, the headmistress, herself a Yankee through and through, had brought a touch of the reforming spirit from that region into a conservative society. The South changed her outlook very little. For that reason, she was not well liked by the more reactionary keepers of the old Confederate flame, who were still powerful in community life. In later years she was very active in promoting the Civil Rights cause and public-school integration on the mountain. She and Scott Bates, a professor of French in the University, ran a summer remedial program to prepare African-American pupils for entering the public school system.
Margaret Myers had to be one of the most intellectual, dynamic, and large-hearted women on the mountain, or indeed in the South as a whole. As her son Lucas puts it, she was “a force of nature” with an air of command that one dared not cross.3 In 1920, she had married the Rev. George Boggan Myers, Professor of Pastoral Care, Ethics, and Philosophy of Religion at St. Luke’ Seminary. He had two children–Alice and Alexander--by Verna, his first wife, who had died, 1919, in the devastating flu epidemic. There were six more by Margaret: George Clifton, killed in action, World War II, Henry Lee, Rosamond, Elizabeth, Lucas, and Hobart, who also has died. The highly learned professor’s new bride, Margaret Jefferys Hobart, had attended Brearly School in New York City and had graduated in classics from Bryn Mawr in 1911. Her father, Henry Lee Hobart of New York, a transplanted New England financier of note, had served as senior warden of Trinity Church at the end of Wall Street. Before her marriage, she had once marched in a mid-Manhattan suffragist parade. Hoisting her own banner in the front rank, she had boldly passed the windows of the Union League Club where her father, a deep-dyed McKinley-style Republican, stood transfixed in horror at the sight.
Placing the highest priority on education, Margaret Myers had determined to instruct her four sons and two daughters in their early years. The local public school, a typically underfunded school for the white villagers and surrounding covites, was not up to the mark. At Bairnwick, other children, chiefly sons and daughters of parents connected with the university, attended too. Their inclusion helped to create a lively environment. The tuition received doubtless assisted in paying for three of the Myers’s four boys to attend Groton. They were supposed to gain a Northern experience, a curious parallel to my assignment for immersion in a Southern one. After Bairnwick, the Myers’s two girls, Rosamond and Elizabeth, went to St. Catherine’s Episcopal School in Richmond, then on to Ole Miss and Bryn Mawr respectively.
Margaret Myers adopted the Calvert School educational system. It had been designed for children of foreign service officers and the like, stationed in remote places without sufficient means to educate the English-speaking young. If a more exciting educational program then existed in this country than the one that Margaret Myers and Helen Buck, her assistant and teacher of French, fashioned with the help of Robert Hillyer’s Calvert method, I cannot guess where it was. Looking back, it is clear that without Bairnwick, my parents would have been hard put to know what else to do about me at a time when the storm clouds of war were thickly gathering.
Caught up in school work and the new life, I gradually forgot Seiler School in Harrisburg and got used to the absence of my parents. The curriculum that Hillyer had devised in Baltimore was especially strong in history. The happiest moments in the course of the Calvert regimen were the half hours when my brother Charles’s new wife, Mary Shepherd Quintard, read me Greek myths before lunch. The class studied Hillyer’s A Child’s History of the World and Mary Tappan’s illustrated books on the ancient Greeks and Romans. Along with Mrs. Buck’s French instructions, we had lessons from Mrs. Myers in Latin.
On the first day of classes, the headmistress advanced me to the fourth grade. It must have been hard going at first. I had special trouble with arithmetic. The teacher was retired Bishop Morris’s daughter Edith, whose face would flush purple and her knuckles turn white around her clutched pencil at my inability to understand the mysteries of the multiplication tables. Her impatience did little to shore up a feeble mathematical confidence. But Mrs. Myers had no students in third grade, so it had been necessary to promote me, ready or not.
When answering questions in class, I would in ignorance say “Yes” and “No” straight out. I learned the proper lingo the hard way. Having lined themselves up on either side of the school door and armed with switches, the children yelling in glee, attacked me as I ran the gauntlet. The stings were not that painful, but the humiliation of a small-scale charivari was. (In later years I would analyze that form of public shaming and punishment in a work on Southern ethics.) What had I done to deserve such treatment? They promptly told me. “You must say, ‘Yes’m’ and ‘No’m,’ or ‘Yes, Miss Morris.’ And you must say ‘yes, sir’ and ‘no, sir’ to men, and to us, it’s ‘y’all.’” That was fairly easy to master. My Pennsylvania Dutch hard “r,” though, never did soften into the southern style. After being away from the Deep South in later years, I unconsciously lost any regional lilt and reverted to Pennsylvania dialect.
Fellow Bairnwickians Frank Smith, Barbara Ware, and some others had a further prank to play. I had been assigned to write my first term paper, a history of the Trojan War. They told me this requirement, which every pupil had to meet, could be no briefer than twenty pages. Given the limited sources available, I manfully did my best, but I think I fell about ten pages short. Complicating the assignment was the stipulation that the first letter in each paragraph had to be in Old English style--to improve penmanship and, I suppose, re-enact the tedium of a medieval scriptorium. With an almost illegible handwriting that drove Mrs. Myers to urge me simply to print, I nonetheless managed the illuminated lettering. It turned out that I had written the longest--and most repetitive and boring--Trojan War account in the annals of the little school. That was appropriate, my classmates agreed. They often called me “V” for vague, a problem in absent-mindedness from which burden I have never, unfortunately, found release.
Bairnwick had a rich supply of ritual and activities, beginning each morning with worship in a little, cramped chapel on the top floor of the house. It customarily began with the Bairnwick grace, “Benedictus, benedicat;/ Benedictum, benedicamus,/ Per Iesum Christum Dominum Nostrum. Amen.” The school motto from Romans was also in Latin, as it appears in the epigraph. Loosely, it means “Honor one another above yourselves” (New Revised Standard Version).4 Every Wednesday afternoon at Bairnwick an elaborate tea took place with special cakes we children relished. It was held for the benefit of college and seminary students and faculty and their guests. These affairs brought the pupils into the presence of such dignitaries as William Alexander Percy, whose romantic classic Lanterns on the Levee: Recollections of a Planter’s Son was published in 1941; young Walker Percy, his adopted son, medical student, and later novelist; Allen Tate, poet and editor of the literary quarterly Sewanee Review; his wife Caroline Gordon, also a prominent future writer; and Father and Mrs. Flye of nearby St. Andrews School, mentors of the writer James Agee. I remember seeing some of these notables on the campus but do not recall any particular exchange with them. Especially unforgettable were the Flyes. They were brilliant intellectuals, but when they walked to St. Luke’s Chapel or St. Augustine’s, their black cloaks and hats and small, pinched faces made them resemble a pair of underfed crows.
Some years later, though, when in college at Sewanee, I listened to a memorable conversation at one of the Myers’s weekly teas, a tradition outlasting Bairnwick School itself. Stephen Spender, the English poet and guest of honor, John Palmer, then editor of the Sewanee Review, Allen Tate, Monroe Spears, and Robert Penn Warren were discussing how to boost the circulation of the Review. The gist of it was to get T. S. Eliot into a controversy with Tate over the merits or harmful influence of John Milton’s poetry. Whether the subsequent articles did much for circulation I do not know.
The Bairnwick school year had three climaxes. The first was a New Year’s Eve party in the White Room, handsome and well designed for entertaining. After a brief service and just before the stroke of midnight, in her inimitable, New England way, Mrs. Myers would intone Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem with passionate gesture and thrilling emotion: “RRRing out, wild bells, RRRing out the old, RRRring in the new!” Then we would return to the punch bowl and the dancing, the Virginia Reel being a popular number.
The second annual rite was the presentation of a play on the Bairnwick lawn in the spring, an occasion that drew a sizable audience. I was the jester Trinculo and my good friend, John Gass Bratton, played opposite as the drunken butler, Stefano, in Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.” Lucas Myers, two years my senior, had the chief part, Prospero.5 With flashing dark eyes, fierce expression, and shock of black hair, he really looked more like the wizardly character than one might have expected of an early teen. Or at least so it seemed to me at the time. How many elementary schools could have mounted such a production? It was fun, but I preferred playing Friar Tuck in “Robin Hood,” with pillows stuffed under my brown monk’s habit. On a less ambitious scale, on Christmas eves, we also performed a mystery play, composed by Margaret Myers’s mother, in the spacious but uncompleted St. Augustine’s on the campus. Nervously I processed down the main aisle with the other two costumed potentates and sang in tremulous soprano the verse appropriate for Balthazar’s gift: “Myrrh is mine; its bitter perfume/ breathes a life of gathering gloom.” Honors, however, went to a little Bairnwickian who was dressed as a long-eared donkey in a stable stall. He brayed quite raucously–“OOObie, OOObie” [Latin “Ubi,” for “where?”].
The third event which truly outmatched all others was the annual May Day celebration at Fiery Gizzard. Werner Honig, Professor of Psychology at the University of Dalhousie, Halifax, and Bairnwick alumnus, recalls his first May Day outing in 1942 with remarkable precision. Werner was the son of a distinguished professor of Jurisprudence at the University of Berlin until in 1933 Hitler had all those of Jewish descent ousted from all universities, even scholars whose ancestors, like the Honigs, had been Christians as far back as the eighteenth century. The Honigs had fled first to Turkey and then to America, where Dr. Honig obtained a teaching position at St. Luke’s Seminary. Highly cultivated and musically gifted, the family gave Sewanee a touch of Old World sophistication sorely needed. And so we gathered sleepily in front of Bairnwick at five o’clock on the morning of May 1. Mrs. Myers handed us Books of Common Prayer, ordered picnic baskets to be stowed in the cars, and dispatched couriers to roust the laggards. According to Werner’s account, we were uncomfortably stuffed into the least number of automobiles possible. Gas rationing was in full, patriotic force. The procession of five or six vehicles headed for Fiery Gizzard in neighboring Grundy County, twelve miles away. Their car having died early in the war period, George and Margaret Myers used a motor-scooter with sidecar, gift of a sympathetic friend. In full academic attire for some college ceremony, Dr. Myers could drive only with stately progress or risk entanglement. The motor never ventured, however, as far as Grundy County. For the May day outing, the pair piled in with someone lucky enough to have a functioning sedan.
Werner remembers that on the way to the falls Dr. Honig, his father, “wanted to listen to the news of the war from a station in Chattanooga.” When the most sensational developments were about to be announced, the frequency disappeared as the road snaked through the mountain passes. “However, the signal was perfect during the ads for laundry soap and breakfast cereal,” Werner recollects. Whenever the newscaster returned to his task, the children at once raised their chatter to a pitch that drowned him out. Yet they were seemingly mesmerized into silence during the commercials. Dr. Honig fretted with growing impatience, “but mother pointed out that he would get an excellent summary” that evening from the sepulchral, “authoritative voice of H. V. Kaltenborn.”
After what seemed an endless trek through brambles and past unpainted farm cabins, we lugged the hampers of food and other heavy paraphernalia, hoping to set upon breakfast right away. But, no. Instead, we had to face the stern visage of white-haired, black-browed Dr. Myers, in full regalia of billowing vestments, chanting such verses as “O all ye Green Things upon the earth, bless ye the Lord; praise him and magnify him forever.” Werner wondered how “Green Things,” beasts, cattle, “and all things that move in the waters” were supposed to manage that exemplary feat. Birds and “the Fowls of the air” could sing and crow his praises, but whales, hills, and wells in the earth? Mrs. Myers, he recalls, then set the pitch for “All Things Bright and Beautiful.” She was slightly tone deaf so that the male voices had to screech into falsetto while the women and girls found the low notes unsingable. “The Lord may have been honored,” Werner muses, “but he probably turned down the volume.”6
I remember that we howled with the unmerciful laughter of children while Werner, thoroughly embarrassed, had to submit to his mother’s holding a towel around his middle so that he could get into his bathing suit. The rest of us had worn ours underneath our regular clothing, but Mrs. Honig had not permitted it. She thought it indecent to substitute trunks for underpants. The water spilling over the falls was just short of freezing. The Spartan spirit of the occasion--not inappropriate for a once pagan ritual--required us all to get thoroughly wet. That unpleasant condition accompanied us homeward through our re-donned clothing and onto the cars’ upholstery. These were the Bairnwick highlights–scarcely typical of Southern life--and yet events to be located neither in Harrisburg nor anywhere else in the world.
Warming to the task of making me a true Southern gentleman, Mrs. Little was wholly sympathetic to the Bairnwick curriculum and activities. She was herself a very intellectual woman. She had firm opinions about everything, yet, steeped in Southern traditions of womanhood, she had not combined her Victorianism with a feminist outlook in the manner of Margaret Myers. Born in 1869, Eliza Scott Matthews of Montgomery had been educated at Miss French’s school in Baltimore and in 1890 had married James Hibbler Little of Livingston, Alabama. In his brief life, her husband had been a highly successful solicitor general for that raw iron and coal city, Birmingham. Handsome and dashing, he was reported to have commonly worn a black cape, lined with white silk, top hat, and gold-headed walking stick. They had had two daughters, my mother and a toddler who died very early. Then in 1895, James Little fell fatally ill with what a Birmingham newspaper’s obituary column bluntly called paresis--advanced syphilis. The family insists he had died of a rapidly advancing brain tumor, and that account may well be right. The term paresis, as then used, had not fully taken on its venereal meaning. But if not, the less convenient possibility might help to explain grandmother’s antipathy toward other women, at least young and attractive ones. Seldom did she blame men who had fallen from grace. They were readily excused for their many failings on the grounds that they were hapless victims of some woman’s evil wiles.
Early rendered a widow, Eliza Little was much attracted to my father, then a young, ambitious curate at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Montgomery, to which city she and her young daughter had returned from Birmingham. Edgar Gardner Murphy, an Episcopal leader of the Social Gospel movement, had been rector of St. John’s. Under his influence, Grandmother and other ladies of the parish had sat in the galleries of the state capitol to glower at the country politicians who were loathe to pass child labor laws. On his first day in town, Father and a fellow assistant at the big city church were strolling down the sidewalk, when his companion pushed him quickly into an alleyway. “What’s the matter?” asked father. “Why, Mrs Little is passing in her carriage,” his colleague whispered. She would soon have the freshman clergy polishing brass candlesticks or passing out tracts on the street corner for some noble cause or another. But Father had ended up as a boarder in her house and fell for her beautiful daughter whom he married after a long courtship until she reached age eighteen.
Father used to say that his mother-in-law was the only person, male or female, he knew who read the philosopher Herbert Spencer for pleasure. He had ample opportunity to observe her. In a fashion familiar to small-town Southerners, she lived with and, indeed, through her daughter and son-in-law and their four offspring–Wyatt, Charles, Laura Serena, and me. I came along some ten years after Laura. The arrangement offered financial advantages. Grandmother usually bought the automobiles, furnishings and houses that the family used. Parsons made little money. After Father had served Trinity Church in Asheville, North Carolina, for several years, he received a phone call from one of the Pittsburgh Mellons. The owners of Gulf Oil had attended the church when guests at the Vanderbilt’s Biltmore estate nearby, I suppose. In any case, the vestry of Ascension urged him to accept the rectorship. Father, however, was reluctant to leave his beloved Southland for the steel city and wondered if God had called him to so rich and powerful a post. Grandmother, it was said, declared, “I hope the good Lord will decide the matter soon because I have already sold the house.” Off they went to Pittsburgh.
Grandmother was both formidable (a quality not so rare in Sewanee women) and eccentric (equally common). She had piercing gray-green eyes and a ramrod posture a grenadier would have envied. “Bertram, don’t slouch so, do sit up straight” was a command heeded only temporarily. She held strong convictions about things political and sexual. Over the next five years I was accustomed to her putting down the Chattanooga Times and exclaiming, “Oh, Bertram, you must read this splendid column by Walter Lippmann.” Seated in full view from the street at the front window, she fanned herself in the stifling heat of late spring and summer, wearing only her corset and slip, with steel curlers in her white hair. As she rifled through a magazine, she would bemoan the impending fall of civilization. Her conclusion was based on the photographs of scantily clad models advertising women’s underwear. The irony escaped her. On a more positive side, Grandmother’s teaching abilities were considerable. She had missed a calling she might have profitably entered, had it been considered acceptable for Southern women of her social status to do so. She taught me how to remember historical information. I had to repeat to her paragraph by paragraph the contents of a text, how to decide what was important and what was not, how to make an educated guess about the next exam questions. Not that the lesson was fully mastered, then or later.
After two years at Bairnwick, I had become so used to life in Sewanee that it did not occur to me to fuss about separation from my parents during the school years. But, then, early in 1942, they suddenly arrived to live temporarily with Grandmother and me. Father had had a physical and nervous collapse. He preached with an unusual fervor and specificity, especially compared with the customary Anglican hemming-and-hawing. Yet underneath his robes he would be drenched in perspiration as he stepped from the pulpit. He had long had heart trouble–ventricular fibrillation--and there were dangers of another attack like the one experienced in his forties from overwork. The diocesan trustees had given him a half-year’s sabbatical to recover. Where else to go but Mrs. Little’s? I was happy about their arrival, but Father’s health was a constant subject of conversation. No one thought it necessary to go over old ground about why I had been sent southward. At the end of six months, Father returned to run the diocese and visit parishes by trains filled with jostling soldiers, or, if gas and tire rations allowed, by car. About the time of the Normandy invasion, when I was still in Sewanee in June, 1944, he suffered a nearly fatal attack and had to relinquish work altogether. Again, my parents brought themselves to the accommodating house in Sewanee. In 1947 at age seventy-eight Grandmother died peacefully. We were summering at Blue Ridge Summit when the news arrived that her heart had stopped as she slept. By then I had left Sewanee to attended St. James Episcopal School near the Antietam battle site in western Maryland.
To be frank, leaving Sewanee for a more Northern environment suited me fine. After grammar school at Bairnwick, I had attended the Sewanee Military Academy as a reluctant day student. Missing out on dormitory life, I could not get the hang of it, disliked military science, and never got over a C+ in that unstimulating subject. Moreover, my shoes never seemed polished enough to suit the drill sergeant. Moreover, I was then very small for my age. I was therefore assigned the last place in the last platoon in military drill and usually had to run periodically to catch up with the troop. There was one advantage, though. Rather than shoulder a regular government-issued rifle, I carried a wooden facsimile.
I left Sewanee of the 1940s behind with no regrets at all. Three years later, I eagerly returned, though, for four rewarding collegiate years in which I enjoyed both school and the last years of my father’s life. But once again, while the reunion was welcome, Father’s medical situation dominated the atmosphere.
No one liked retirement better than Father. Living in the college town had its rewards. He renewed friendships with his old Sewanee and St. Luke’s classmates, including George Myers, and retired bishops Bland Mitchell of Arkansas and Frank Juhan of Florida, all three clergymen of unusual dignity. Father was accustomed to march down University Avenue with his gold-headed walking stick in hand and greet old Poss Trigg. The African-American sat waiting for him by the University’s Supply Store. Poss would ask after Father’s health and was duly rewarded with the expected tip. They had known each other since Poss had waited on tables when Father was an undergraduate. No doubt, the gratuity was repayment for past extra helpings. Never seen in public without his clericals, the Rt. Rev. Wyatt-Brown sometimes even wore old-fashioned gaiters to Sunday services.
“The Bishop,” as Mother always called him, faithfully attended the inter-fraternity and college athletic events. On some midwinter evenings, Father would have to leave the college basketball games when the action grew too exciting for his arrhythmia. After I entered the University of the South as a day student in 1949, he taught me pool at the Phi Delta Theta house. All the Sewanee Wyatt-Browns had belonged to that society. Yet Father took special interest in those who could not afford the dues for any fraternity or were otherwise rejected for membership. He harried the University authorities until a clubroom for the small non-fraternity minority was provided. In addition, he insisted that the Panhellenic Athletic Council no longer officially stigmatize them with the label of “Outlaws” but dub them respectable as the “Independents.”
Still, Father’s first loyalty was to the Phi Delts. He used to challenge the members at pool and beat them regularly. Deep in the game, Father was an almost comical sight--bending over the cue and wearing his clerical vest and a hat marked by a bishop’s rosette on the band. It sheltered his eyes from the glare of the overhead lamp as he stared with the intensity of the half-blind at the ball and signaled that it would fall in the far corner pocket. He died in 1952 during my junior year. I have missed his infectious humor, intellectual intensity, and companionship ever since.
- * *
For the Thanksgiving holiday in 1995, my wife Anne and I invited my two brothers and sister and their families to visit us in Gainesville, Florida. It was the first such gathering in which all four of our generation of Wyatt-Browns had been assembled in fifty-five years. The previous occasion had taken place in July 1940 when U. S. Army Colonel Alexander Shepherd Quintard gave his daughter in marriage to my brother Charles at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. We all had driven out in Grandmother’s 1940 Lincoln Zephyr. The ride in a wedding procession of Army caissons was more memorable to me than the ceremony. Some months later Colonel Quintard, aide to General Jonathan Wainwright, endured the Bataan Death March in the Philippines and spent the war in a Japanese prisoner of war camp in China.
By 1995 it was time for another get-together, and eighteen members of the family came. In the course of that celebration, my sister Laura asked me, “Why have you complained that Mother and Father sent you to Sewanee?” I replied, “I never understood what in heaven’s name they had in mind. It made no sense.” Laura was surprised that no one had bothered to inform me. But that was perhaps understandable. Children of my generation were seldom told important, adult things. By 1940 Laura herself had reached the age to participate in family confidences, and she was the only sibling at that time living in Harrisburg. To set the background for my parents’ decision, she reminded me on that Thanksgiving weekend about the international events so many years before. Great Britain was fighting for its life against Germany. Outraged that Adolf Hitler was threatening Western Civilization and Christianity itself, Father had been preaching boldly since the fall of Poland in 1939 that the time for another crusade had arrived. As far as he was concerned, Hitler was the Anti-Christ. It was the moral and divinely inspired duty of the United States, he thundered on every occasion he could find, to come to Britain’s aid and enter the war. Clerical pacifists righteously called for his resignation as a warmonger. When he received honorary degrees from the Philadelphia Divinity School and from Dickinson College in Carlisle, young seminarians and clergymen were there to picket and protest.
The views of these Episcopal pacifists were unpleasant reminders of how blind some were to the horrors of the Nazi regime. Father, on the other hand, had long believed that America had cavalierly rejected its obligations by failing to join the League of Nations in the first place. I remember listening with my parents to a short-wave broadcast on the old upright GE radio with the green eye in the Harrisburg parlor. Mother, who knew German from her days studying opera in Berlin, translated one of Hitler’s impassioned speeches, which to me sounded like guttural poison. The peace-loving clerics were no threat, but the Pennsylvania Nazi Bundists were. Father began to receive anonymous, menacing letters and phone calls. At first, he apparently dismissed them. But there seemed to be an escalation as he continued his denunciations of the Jew-hating Nazis. After all, if the brutality of Kristallnacht in 1938 was any indication, Hitler’s American supporters might become equally terroristic. Harrisburg was not far from the German-speaking counties to the east of the capital. Whereas most of the Pennsylvania Dutch had no use for dictatorship in any form, a small minority were loud and increasingly aggressive.
To escape the truculent phone calls, Father reached an unusual but unfortunate decision. He would change the patronym, at least enough that those unfamiliar with Bishop Brown would have difficulty locating him and his family. I vividly recall the day that I and the rest of us went before Judge Fox at the Dauphin County Courthouse in downtown Harrisburg. We could not, however, as someone must have suggested, taken Mother’s maiden name to hitch to the Brown. She was a Little, and we had no connection with any publishing house. Years after, whenever I asked Father why he had changed our name, he replied that his mother never liked the name Brown. Her grandfather, General John L. Hunter, originally from South Carolina, had married Jane Wyatt of Charleston. The militia general had driven the Choctaws out of Barbour County, Alabama, at some point in the Jeffersonian period. The Browns, on the other hand, could boast of no distinguished progenitors. And so, Father claimed, on her dying bed, she had urged him to change the patronym. Since his mother died before the World War I, that story does not, however, explain why it took thirty or so years to fulfil her request. My sister Laura’s explanation is more plausible.
Father and my eldest brother Wyatt had to dance a curious step. Both would have become Wyatt Wyatt-Browns, a confusion to be avoided. Instead, they were recast as Hunter Wyatt-Brown, (Sr. and Jr.). Father had resurrected his long unused middle name and made it his Christian name. Son Wyatt obligingly did the same. My case was simpler but perplexing, at least to me. By judicial decree I was no longer Bertram Brown III for no ostensible reason that I could fathom. (I had been named for Uncle Bertram, Episcopal minister of Tarboro, North Carolina.)7 I had been re-baptized in the judicial procedure as Bertram Wyatt-Brown. The change suited me very little. A letter to Mother from Sewanee (May 11, 1941) was signed Bertram Wyatt-Brown III, when, of course, there’s only one person by that name in all the world. Unregrettably, there never will be more.
Whether this name-changing maneuver did any good with the Nazi cranks, I cannot say. But it has been thereafter a source of vexation for all of us. For instance, I graduated from a U. S. Navy training program in the Korean War period as Brown B. Wyatt. At least three times a year, every other sort of garbling crops up on room reservations, tax forms, airline tickets or whatever.
The other decision, to send me South, was more successful though less permanent. Father had received notification from the zealots that they knew when and how I went to school down North Front Street to Seiler. If Father did not stop his war-mongering against the Führer, they rumbled, his son might be kidnaped and harmed. The Lindberg case, it should be added, was still the tragedy of the decade. At that Thanksgiving gathering in 1995, sister Laura recalled the night when I had complained about going to bed fifty-five years before. The family had been discussing what to do about my safety. Father had reached the decision that the best plan would be to pack me off, at least for the time being, to Grandmother in Sewanee.
I would guess that the Bundist threat was much more bluff than reality. The F.B.I. was then actively curious about the fanatical doings of Nazi cells. Nevertheless, the times were certainly fraught with peril everywhere. If it had not turned out as well as it did, I could boast of being one of the first American refugees of World War Two, exiled to the fastnesses of Tennessee. I make no such claim, however. The fate of so many other real victims of Nazism was much too horrifying and tragic for me to belong anywhere near their company. But at least a mystery had been cleared up, thanks to my sister Laura.
Many years later I gradually learned that a Yankee, properly Southernized, may contemplate with a degree of intellectual profit the strange and honorable behavior of that perplexing tribe of Anglo-Saxons who reside below the Potomac. The early experience of being an immigrant from another region infused my understanding of the South. It had set me on a course that I did not fully recognize until many years later. Without that sojourn in Sewanee, I could have composed neither Southern Honor nor The House of Percy.8 In fact, Southern Honor was very consciously derived from the perspective that those years had engendered. The classical references and examples in the work, the use of literary and sometimes Biblical sources, the quest to understand the cavalier mentality, the character of honor, as both internal and external to its claimants, and the functions of such public shaming rituals as the gauntlet I had had to run in the first week at Bairnwick, were partially derived from those formative years. Perhaps it all started with that overly ambitious history of war and honor on the plains of Troy. Dealing with such emotional fundamentals in my own background did not make the writing of Southern Honor a pleasure. Rather the effort oddly involved an introspection that I only discovered after the heat of composition subsided.
The Percy book also had Sewanee roots. Mary Shepherd Quintard, my brother Charles’s wife, had once been pinned by Walker Percy (an SAE from the University of North Carolina). Although separated by hundreds of miles, their friendship continued after both were married to other partners.9 When I asked Walker for a comment on Southern Honor, he kindly obliged with a few sentences for the dust jacket. More important, Sewaneeans had long found the Percys a subject of curiosity, especially Walker’s “Uncle Will” of Brinkwood, a memorable and much admired eccentric. Exploring the Percys’ family history was perhaps a substitute for delving into our own.
An alien in the midst of a strange culture–as I then was in the 1940s--may adopt a new country but never wholly forget the first homeland. The viewpoint that emerges from initiation into two worlds could well permit a degree of detachment that the native resident has less reason and perhaps less inclination to seek. But that objectivity may not be as deep as the historian, usually reticent about influences beyond the studied documents, would care to admit. Despite its outward tranquility, Sewanee had at first held little appeal for that eight-year-old, unaccustomed to dead mules, country solitude, and loneliness away from parents and familiar things. Only in retrospect have I fully come to appreciate its immense impact upon me. At this point, though, I can express enormous gratitude for the richness of the experiences, both intellectual and personal, which that extraordinary place and those gentle people generously and unwittingly provided me.
1 I wish to thank Lucas Myers, Elizabeth Winton, and John Gass Bratton of Sewanee, Tenn., Anne Wyatt-Brown and Susan Lewis of Gainesville, Fl., Charles and Mary Shepherd Quintard Wyatt-Brown of Port Royal, S.C., Laura James of Barnes, London, and Werner Honig of Halifax, N. S., for their indispensable assistance.
2 Lost Cove Cave and Sherwood appear in Walker Percy, Love in the Ruins (New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1971). The novelist, who knew these places well, has Dr. Thomas More, his hero, identify his home as “Sherwood. Tennessee. It’s a village in a cove of the Cumberland Plateau. My farm is called Lost Cove” (p. 221). According to Lucas Myers, Ralph Garner of Garnertown, who died in July 1999, had the reputation for being the last of the great moonshiners, though others claim that he was not really the last. His body was found in a pond near Sherwood, but the lungs held no water, a circumstance which has thrown up questions about his demise. In those parts, most moonshiners have disappeared, but crank production seems to be catching on, and the old traditions, alas, are dying.
3 Lucas Myers, “George and Margaret Myers of Bairnwick,” (1992), unpublished paper kindly lent by the author, p. 3.
4 A colleague, Gareth Schmeling, in Classics at the University of Florida tells me that the English translation, used above, is actually closer to the Greek original than St. Jerome’s Latin version. Literally the Latin means, he says, “anticipating (praevenientes) each other (invicem is really an adverb meaning ‘mutually’) with or in or by means of honor.” The Roman tongue apparently does poorly with such abstractions as honor, whereas the Greeks had a better grasp of the many textures of that ethical construction.
5 It may be worth mentioning that Lucas Myers, a poet and writer in his own right in later years, was perhaps the English poet-laureate Ted Hughes’s best friend. He saw Hughes through the incredible tragedies in his life. See Lucas Myers, “Appendix I” in Anne Stevenson, Bitter Fame: A Life of Sylvia Plath (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1989), 307-21. For my own limited role in the poetic circle at Cambridge University in which Lucas, Ted, and Sylvia in the 1950s moved, see Bertram Wyatt-Brown, "Reuben Davis, Sylvia Plath, and Emotional Struggle," in Peter Stearns and Jan Lewis, eds., An Emotional History of the United States (New York: New York University Press, 1998): 431-459 and idem, "Sylvia Plath, Depression and Suicide: A New Interpretation," in Frederico Pereira, ed., Eleventh International Conference on Literature and Psychoanalysis (Lisbon: Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada, 1997), 177-97.
6 Werner Honig, “May Day at Fiery Gizzard,” (1995), unpublished paper, kindly lent to John Gass Bratton and passed along to me.
7 Uncle Bertram’s saintliness reaches the mythological. The Rev. Bertram Brown was supposed to have visited an old parishioner on the edge of death and politely asked if there was anything he could do. The old man gasped that he longed for a quail dinner before he died. After a few minutes of silent prayer for the dying, Uncle Bertram was startled to see a plump and healthy quail fly through the window of the sick room and fittingly die at his feet. Uncle Bertram’s name honored his uncle Bertram Hoole, a depressed, bookish recluse of Eufaula. He survived into the 1880s by selling off his dwindling acres, until the unrepaired house alone was left. Its sale paid for the funeral. Yet he had known more sociable days. His portrait (c. 1850), hanging in our house, bears its origins to a horse-racing gambling debt owed by one or another Ravenel from South Carolina. The Ravenels, however, thought the victory highly suspicious. They gave Bertram Hoole a choice: he could demand the $1000 prize and fight a duel to get it or have his portrait painted. He took the sensible course. One of the later Ravenels told this story to my brother Hunter when they were classmates at Sewanee in the 1930s.
8 Bertram Wyatt-Brown, Southern Honor: Ethics and Behavior in the Old South (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982) and The House of Percy: Honor, Melancholy, and Imagination in a Southern Family (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994).
9 See esp., Wyatt-Brown, House of Percy, 294-95, 305-06.