Saturday, August 14, 2010

"Take as much as you want"

I was reminded recently of the story of the woman who asked Thaddeus Stevens for a lock of his hair. By way of background, Stevens was totally bald and wore a wig that was apparently recognizable as such on sight. Here is a version I found in Ballou's Monthly Magazine (1891):
Thaddeus Stevens, it is narrated by a New York paper, was sitting in his office one day chatting with a few friends, when an old lady wearing a poke-bonnet and blue goggles, and carrying a green umbrella, walked into the room. She looked about her as if in search of some one, and then asked solemnly, "Can you tell me where to find Thaddeus Stevens, the Apostle of Liberty?"

"I am Thaddeus Stevens," replied the owner of the name curtly — for he was not a man given to sentiment.

"Are you Thad-de-us Stevens, the Apostle of Liberty?"

"I suppose I am, ma'am."

"Well," said the old lady, "I came from Bucks County to see Thaddeus Stevens, the Apostle of Liberty, and to take home with me a lock of his hair."

"The Apostle of Liberty" took off his red wig and handed it to her.

"There it is, ma'am," said he. "Take as much as you want."

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