During this conversation Hiram Maxwell had come in to do an errand for Mrs. Mason, and several more platform idlers, having heard the Professor’s loud words, also entered.
Strout was angry. When in that condition he usually lost his head, which he did on this occasion. Turning to Quincy he said with a voice full of passion:
“What’s yer name, anyway? You’ve got so many of them I don’t know which comes fust and which last. Is it Quincy or Adams or Sawyer? How in thunder did you get ’em all, anyway? I s’pose they tucked ’em on to you when you was a baby and you was too weak to kick at being so abused.”
At this sally a loud laugh arose from the crowd gathered in the store, and Abner Stiles, who was the Professor’s henchman and man-of-all-work, cried out, “Fust blood for the Professor.”
Quincy faced the Professor with a pale face and spoke in clear, ringing tones, still holding his lighted cigar between the fingers of his right hand. When he spoke all listened intently.
“Your memory has served you well, Mr. Strout. You have got my names correct and in the proper order, Quincy Adams Sawyer. I do not consider that any child could be abused by being obliged to wear such honored names as those given me by my parents. My mother was a Quincy, and that name is indissolubly connected with the history and glory of our common country. My father’s mother was an Adams, a family that has given two Presidents to the United States. If your knowledge of history is as great as your memory for names you should be aware of these facts, but your ignorance of them will not affect the opinion of those knowing to them. My father, Nathaniel Adams Sawyer, has a world-wide reputation as a great constitutional lawyer, and I am proud to bear his name, combined with those of my illustrious ancestors. It is needless for me to add that I, too, am connected with the legal profession.”
Here Hiram Maxwell called out, “First round for Mr. Sawyer.”
“Shut up, you dough-head,” cried Strout, his face purple with rage. Turning to Quincy he said in a choked voice, “My name is Obadiah Strout, no frills or folderols about it either. That was my father’s name too, and he lived and died an honest man, in spite of it. He raised potatoes and one son, that was me. When the nation called for volunteers I went to war to save the money bags of such as you that stayed at home. It was such fellers as you that made money out of mouldy biscuits and rotten beef, shoddy clothin’, and paper-soled boots. It was such fellers as your father that lent their money to the government and got big interest for it. They kept the war going as long as they could. What cared they for the blood of the poor soldier, as long as they could keep the profits and interest coming in? It wasn’t the Quincys and the Adamses and the other fellers with big names that stayed at home and hollered who saved the country, but the rank and file that did the fightin’, and I was one of them.”