to smell of sweat and stale underwear and whiskey.nFor he had also understated the power of his thirst. Onnthe first night and always afterward he never strayed far fromnthe jug and when not actually pouring from it would castnamorous glances in its direction. He drank George Dickelnneat or sometimes with sugar water and praised the qualitynof the bourbon in ardent terms, saying, for example, “Ifnwe’d a-had a little more of this at Chancellorsville itnwould’ve been a different story.” Liquor seemed to affectnhim little, however; he never lost control of his motornreflexes or slurred his speech.nYet the quality of his address had changed since thatnsunny first moment with the Beachams. It was no more Yesnsir and No sir to Harry, but our friend Harry here and OldnBuddy and Old Hoss. He still spoke to Lydie as Ma’am, butnwhen talking indirectly would refer to her as our mighty finenlittle fernale of the house. He was never rude or impolite, butnhis formal manner slipped into an easy camaraderie andnthen sagged into a careless intimacy. His social graces frayednat about the same rate as his gray uniform, which by the endnof the second week was positively tattered.nThe lieutenant, though, had not been ordered to thenBeacham residence as a dancing master, but as a representativenof History which, as the largest division of the Departmentnof Reality, shared much of its parent organization’snproud autonomy. And of Living History Lieutenant Aldershotnoffered a spectacular cornucopia. The outline of hisncareer that came with him from the government agencynbarely hinted at the range and length of his fightingnexperience. He had fought at Vicksburg, Fredericksburg,nand Gettysburg; he had survived Shiloh, Antietam, andnRichmond; he had been brave at Bull Run, Rich Mountain,nWilliamsburg, and Cedar Mountain; he had won commendahonsnfrom Zollicoffer, Beauregard, Johnston, Kirby-nSmith, Jackson, and Robert E. Lee. The latter commandernhe referred to as “General Bobby” and described him asn”the finest Southern gentleman who ever whupped hisnenemy.”nHarry’s knowledge of history was by no means asnprofound as his enthusiasm for it and he had not found timenbefore Aldershot’s arrival to bone up on the battles andncampaigns that occurred a century and a half past. Even so,nthe exploits of the ambeer-spattered and strongly waterednlieutenant began to overstretch his credulity. In order to benon all the battlefields he remembered Aldershot must havenspent most of the War on the backs of two dozen swiftnhorses and to survive the carnage he had witnessed mustnhave kept busy a fretting cohort of guardian angels. Anynsoldier of such courage, coolness, intelligence, and resourcefulnessnmust have left his name in letters of red blaze in thenhistory books, but Harry could not recall hearing ofnAldershot. Of course, it had been some seven years since henhad looked at the histories; perhaps he had only forgotten.nFor in many ways it was hard to disbelieve the soldier’snaccounts, he was so particular in detail and so vivid innexpression. When telling of some incident that displayednone man’s valor or another’s timidity, he became brightlynanimated, and then heated, and would squirm in his chair atnthe table, sputtering tobacco and gulping bourbon, his eyesnwild and bloodshot. He rocked back and forth in the chair asnif he were in the saddle, leaping the brushy hurdles at thenBattle of Fallen Timber. He broke two chairs that way, andnhis host supplied him a steel-frame lawn chair brought innfrom the garage.nHe was vivid and particular most of all in his accounts ofnbloodshed. Although he spoke only plain language, as henaverred a soldier should, he so impressed Harry’s imaginationnand Lydie’s trepidation that they felt extremely close tonthe great conflict. In Aldershot’s bourbonish sentences theynheard the bugles at daybreak, the creak of munitions wagons,nthe crack of rifles and bellow of canon, the horses screamingnin pain and terror. They saw the fields clouded over withngunsmoke and the hilltop campfires at night and the restlessnshuffle of pickets on the sunset perimeters. They couldnsmell corn parching and mud waist deep and the stink ofnlatrines and the worse stink of gangrene in the hospital tents.nThe lieutenant’s accounts of battle went from bloody tonchilling to gruesome, and the closeness with which hendetailed blows and wounds and killings made the Iliad seemnvague and pallid. He appeared to take a certain relish inndemonstrating on his own body where a minnie ball hadngone into a comrade and where it came out and what rawnmischief it had caused during its journey. He spoke ofnshattered teeth and splintered bone and eyes gouged out.nWhen he began to describe the surgeries and amputations,ndwelling at great length on the mound of removed bodynparts at the Fredericksburg field hospital, Lydie pleaded withnhim to spare her.n”Please,” she said. “Perhaps we needn’t hear all thisnpart.” Her eyes were large and teary in her whitened facenand her voice trembled.n”Uh, yes,” Harry said. “I think Lydie has a point. Maybenwe can skip a few of the gorier details now and then.” Hentoo was obviously shaken by what he had heard.n”Well now,” Aldershot said, “of course I didn’t mean tonalarm our mighty fine little female of the house. I hopenyou’ll forgive a plainspoken soldier, ma’am, one who nevernlearned the orator’s art. You’re a brave un in my book, fornthere’s many a refined Southern lady who will faint whennshe hears the true story of things. Especially when I tell hownit is to be gutshot.”-n”Please, Lieutenant,” Lydie said. She took three sips ofnher chardonnay, recovering her composure pretty quickly,nbut looking with dismay at her plate of stewed pork.n”How about you?” Harry asked. “Were you ever wounded?”n”Me?” Aldershot snorted. “No, not me. I was always onentoo many for them bluebellies, not that they didn’t try plentynhard.”nThis discussion took place at the end of the second week.nAt first Aldershot had referred to his ancient opponentsnas the enemy and then changed his term to the Northernninvader. In the second week, though, it was bluebellies everyntime, and in the third week it was them goddam treacherousnYankee bastards, to which epithet he always appended an•parenthetical apology to Lydie:—saving your presence,nma’am.nEven that small gesture toward the observance of chivalrynseemed to cost him some effort. In the third week the wearynConfederate appeared to have aged a decade; his clothesnwere now only threads and patches, his moustache annnMARCH 1991/19n