But ez for book-readin’, wife an’ me aint never felt called on to read no book save an’ exceptin’ the Holy Scriptures—an’, of cose, the seed catalogues.
An’ here Sonny, not quite twelve year old, has read five books thoo, an’ some of ’em twice-t an’ three times over. His “Robinson Crusoe” shows mo’ wear’n tear’n what my Testament does, I’m ashamed to say. I’ve done give Miss Phoebe free license to buy him any book she wants him to have, an’ he’s got ’em all ‘ranged in a row on the end o’ the mantel-shelf.
Quick ez he’d git thoo readin’ a book, of co’se wife she’d be for dustin’ it off and puttin’ up on the top closet shelf where a book nach’ally belongs; but seem like Sonny he wants to keep ’em in sight. So wife she’d worked a little lace shelf-cover to lay under ’em, an’ we’ve hung our framed marriage-c’tificate above ’em, an’ the corner looks right purty, come to see it fixed up.
Sir? Oh, no; we ain’t took him from none o’ the other schools yet. He’s been goin’ to Miss Phoebe’s reg’lar now—all but the exhibition an’ picnic days in the other schools—for nearly five months, not countin’ off-an’-on days he went to her befo’ he settled down to it stiddy.
He says he’s a-goin’ there reg’lar from this time on, an’ I b’lieve he will; but wife an’ me we talked it over, an’ we decided we’d let things stand, an’ keep his name down on all the books till sech a time ez he come to long division with Miss Kellog.
An’ ef he stays thoo that, we’ll feel free to notify the other schools thet he’s quit.
Yas, sir; this is it. This here’s Sonny’s diplomy thet you’ve heerd so much about—sheepskin they call it, though it ain’t no mo’ sheepskin ’n what I am. I’ve skinned too many not to know. Thess to think o’ little Sonny bein’ a grad’jate—an’ all by his own efforts, too! It is a plain-lookin’ picture, ez you say, to be framed up in sech a fine gilt frame; but it’s worth it, an’ I don’t begrudge it to him. He picked out that red plush hisself. He’s got mighty fine taste for a country-raised child, Sonny has.
Seem like the oftener I come here an’ stan’ before it, the prouder I feel, an’ the mo’ I can’t reelize thet he done it.
I’d ‘a’ been proud enough to’ve had him go through the reg’lar co’se o’ study, an’ be awarded this diplomy, but to ’ve seen ’im thess walk in an’ demand it, the way he done, an’ to prove his right in a fair fight—why, it tickles me so thet I thess seem to git a spell o’ the giggles ev’y time I think about it.
Sir? How did he do it? Why, I thought eve’ybody in the State of Arkansas knowed how Sonny walked over the boa’d o’ school directors, an’ took a diplomy in the face of Providence, at the last anniversary.