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ID
b126
Title
"A Happy Man."
Genre
Story
Page Count
6
Word Count
1760
Publisher
Lilliput
Publication Year
1939
Document Types
Film & Television
First-Person Narratives
Uncle Silas Stories
Topics
Gardening, Age

An uncharacteristic Uncle Silas story, dwelling not on Silas's antics and escapades but on the friendship between Silas and Walter Hawthorn, a distinguished veteran of foreign wars retired to a quiet life of gardening. Bates shares his love of flowers in describing the contrasting tastes of the two gardeners, Silas growing "huge and wonderful...roses into which he could bury his face," and Walter growing tiny forget-me-nots and roses "no bigger than a thimble." One day on their walk for a midday pint, Walter hallucinates flowers in his buttonholes to be medals and Silas to be his General; as Walter is taken away to an institution, flowers in hand, "in that moment it seemed to Uncle Silas that Walter Hawthorn was a happy man." A television adaptation starring Albert Finney was aired in 2003. In Lilliput (November 1939), My Uncle Silas (1939).