Over the stile you go

My mother used to read me the story of The Old Woman and Her Pig, an English fairy tale in which a woman buys a pig at the market, but can’t get it over the stile in the fence. I can clearly remember asking what a stile was and the wonderful interplay between me and my mother as we discussed stiles and what they were used for. For the record, a stile is an opening or place to get over a fence, but not a gate. This fellow is in one of those “tranquil outdoor settings” that were so popular with photographers in the later Victorian era. I love his bowler hat (which I see as dove gray), his mustache, his foot up on one step of the stile, the whole thing. This is one of my favorite photos from the Dobb Long Book.

The photographer was Arnout of Troy, NY.


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