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of brittle, yellowed photographs, postcards and letters. As the images retrogressed decade by decade, the smiling and more active poses of Bartholomew's friends and family became more still and stoic in nature, culminating in a somewhat depressing portrait taken in 1871. In it, an eight-year-old Ennis stood with a younger sister and younger brother, all dressed very primly, in front of their parents. The children's mother held a bundle in her arms, which Bartholomew tapped with a knobby finger.

"Me," he croaked.

With that same wobbly hand, he rooted under the rest of the matter at the bottom of the shoe box, much of which was disintegrating bits of newspaper clippings, until he got his weak grip on a neatly folded sheet of lambskin parchment.

Bartholomew tilted his head toward In...

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