I suppose all of us who are mothers can feel some sympathy for poor Mrs. Fleming. She discourages Henry from enlisting, but when he enlists anyway, she gives him some advice. Sage advice, in my opinion. While continuing to peel potatoes, as tears “leave their trails on (her) scarred cheeks,” she calmly tells Henry to
1. Take care of yourself.
2. Keep quiet and do what they tell you.
3. Choose your company carefully, avoiding those who drink, swear and carouse.
4. Do what’s right.
Simple, yet wise words from a grieving mother. Henry listens with an air of irritation and impatience, anxious to be on his way. I wonder if these words will come back to him when it really counts.