The Corner

George Washington’s Pants

A couple of late follow-ups to the controversy I stirred a couple of weeks ago concerning George Washington’s trousers.

My final opinion on the actual matter under discussion is that Rick Brookhiser was, as usual, correct: those are seals dangling out from under Washington’s waistcoat in Leutze’s painting “Washington Crossing the Delaware.” OK, follow-ups:

  • Some gimlet-eyed viewers of the Boris Derbyshire Memorial Web Page have detected a similar enigma in the first of the photographs I posted. In this case, I don’t think it’s seals — more likely something related to an old Chuck Berry song I recall. Though the sweetest dog ever made, Boris could sometimes be a little … excitable.
  • In the same regrettable vein, but more so — strictly for you South Park conservatives out there, in fact — is this little tribute to the nation’s father. Look, patriotism comes in many forms.

Last chapter in the Boris story: We went to a nearby mason to get a wee stone cut, that we can put on the grave. They were very nice & helpful, and we have ordered something suitable.

A mason’s yard always remind me of a brief spell I did as a mason’s assistant, during my career as a construction worker in college vacations forty-plus years ago. We were putting up an office building, and the masons were doing the stone facing. I asked the old boy I worked with why he’d become a mason. I had a vague idea it was a traditional father-son thing. Not at all, he said. He got his apprenticehship for the asking, at a time when there was a huge demand for stone workers. When was that, then? “1918.” Ah.

John Derbyshire — Mr. Derbyshire is a former contributing editor of National Review.

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