But it’s his diplomy, an’ it’s handsomer fixed up than any in town, an’ I doubt ef they ever was one anywhere thet was took more paternal pride in.
Wife she ain’t got so yet thet she can look at it without sort o’ cryin’—thess the look of it seems to bring back the figure o’ the little feller, ez he helt his ground, single-handed, at that gradj’atin’ that day.
Well, sir, we was so pleased to have him turned out a full gradj’ate thet, after it was all over, why, I riz up then and there, though I couldn’t hardly speak for the lump in my th’oat, an’ I said thet I wanted to announce thet Sonny was goin’ to have a gradj’atin’ party out at our farm that day week, an’ thet the present company was all invited.
An’ he did have it, too; an’ they all come, every mother’s son of ’em—from a to izzard—even to them that has expressed secret dissatisfactions; which they was all welcome, though it does seem to me thet, ef I ’d been in their places, I’d ‘a’ hardly had the face to come an’ talk, too.
I’m this kind of a disposition myself: ef I was ever to go to any kind of a collation thet I expressed disapproval of, why, the supper couldn’t be good enough not to choke me.
An’ Sonny, why, he’s constructed on the same plan. We ain’t never told him of any o’ the remarks thet has been passed. They might git his little feelin’s hurted, an’ ’t wouldn’t do no good, though some few has been made to his face by one or two smarty, ill-raised boys.
Well, sir, we give ’em a fine party, ef I do say it myself, an’ they all had a good time. Wife she whipped up eggs an’ sugar for a week befo’hand, an’ we set the table out under the mulberries. It took eleven little niggers to wait on ’em, not countin’ them thet worked the fly-fans. An’ Sonny he ast the blessin’.
Then, after they’d all et, Sonny he had a’ exhibition of his little specimens. He showed ’em his bird eggs, an’ his wood samples, an’ his stamp album, an’ his scroll-sawed things, an’ his clay-moldin’s, an’ all his little menagerie of animals an’ things. I rather think everybody was struck when they found thet Sonny knowed the botanical names of every one of the animals he’s ever tamed, an’ every bird. Miss Phoebe, she didn’t come to the front much. She stayed along with wife, an’ helped ‘tend to the company, but I could see she looked on with pride; an’ I don’t want nothin’ said about it, but the boa’d of school directors was so took with the things she had taught Sonny thet, when the evenin’ was over, they ast her to accept a situation in the academy next year, an’ she’s goin’ to take it.
An’ she says thet ef Sonny will take a private co’se of instruction in nachel sciences, an’ go to a few lectures, why, th’ ain’t nobody on earth that she ’d ruther see come into that academy ez teacher,—that is, of co’se, in time. But I doubt ef he’d ever keer for it.
I’ve always thought thet school-teachin’, to be a success, has to run in families, same ez anythin’ else—yet, th’ ain’t no tellin’.