332 About Magnanimous-Incident Literature
— which the grateful McSpadden more or less promptly procured for him. McSpadden consented also, after some demur, to fit William for college; but when the first vacation came and the hero requested to be sent to Europe for his health, the persecuted McSpadden rose against the tyrant and revolted. He plainly and squarely refused. William Ferguson's mother was so astounded that she let her gin-bottle drop, and her profane lips refused to do their office. When she recovered she said in a half-gasp, " Is this your gratitude? Where would your wife and boy be now, but for my son?"
William said, " Is this your gratitude? Did I save your wife's life or not? Tell me that!"
Seven relations swarmed in from the kitchen and each said, "And this is his gratitude!"
William's sisters stared, bewildered, and said, "And this is his grat—" but were interrupted by their mother, who burst into tears and exclaimed, "To think that my sainted little Jimmy threw away his life in the service of such a reptile!"
Then the pluck of the revolutionary McSpadden rose to the occasion, and he replied with fervor, " Out of my house, the whole beggarly tribe of you ! I was beguiled by the books, but shall never be beguiled again — once is sufficient for me." And turning to William he shouted, " Yes, you did save my wife's life, and the next man that does it shall die in his tracks!"
Not being a clergyman, I place my text at the end of my sermon instead of at the beginning. Here it is, from Mr. Noah Brooks's Recollections of President Lincoln in Scribner' s Monthly :
J. H. Hackett, in his part of Falstaff, was an actor who gave Mr. Lincoln great delight. With his usual desire to signify to others his sense