Although Alfred had arrived at the age of 21 years he showed no inclinaton either to pursue his studies or in any way adapt himself to his father’s business.
“I don’t know what I will ever make of that son of mine,” bitterly complained his father, a hustling business man.
“Maybe he hasn’t found himself yet,” consoled the confidential friend. “Isn’t he gifted in any way?”
“Gifted?” queried the father. “Well, I should say he is! He ain’t got a thing that wasn’t given to him.”
The time was registration day; the place was a a small town in Southern Illinois. There was no girl. He was a gentleman of color, and the registrar was having considerable trouble explaining the whys and wherefors of the registration. At last Rastus showed a faint glimmer of intelligence.
“Dis heyah registrashum fo’ de draf’ am a whole lot like ’lection votin’, ain’t it?” he asked uncertainly.
“Yes,” answered the kindly registrar.
Rastus scratched his head in troubled doubt. He was thinking deeply. Presently his brow cleared and a smile spread over his face. He had come to a decision.
“Den I votes for Julius Jackson ter be drafted,” he said. “I nebah did hab no use fo’ dat niggah.”
James, 4 years old, had been naughty to the point of evoking a whipping from his long-suffering mother, and all day long a desire for revenge rankled in his little bosom.
At length bedtime came, and, kneeling beside her, he implored a blessing on each member of the family individually, his mother alone being conspicuous by her absence. Then, rising from his devout posture, the little suppliant fixed a keenly triumphant look upon her face, saying, as he turned to climb into bed:
“I s’pose you noticed you wasn’t in it.”
Little Willie—in small boy stories the central figure is nearly always named Little Willie—came running into the house, stuttering in his excitement.
“Mommer,” he panted, “do you know Archie Sloan’s neck?”
“Do I know what?” asked his mother.
“Do you know Archie Sloan’s neck?” repeated her offspring.
“I know Archie Sloan,” answered the puzzled parent; “so I suppose I must know his neck. Why?”
“Well,” said Willie, “he just now fell into the back-water up to it.”
“The Kaiser and Hindenburg,” said Edsell Ford, son of Henry Ford, “and the crown prince and the other German big-wigs can never mention the war without saying that it was forced upon them, that they are fighting in defense of the fatherland, that their enemies are to blame for all the bloodshed, and so forth.