In one of the States of the Sunny South there stood a war-time House that had six white Columns along the Veranda, and the Chimney ran up the outside of the Wall.
This House was the Abode of a Colonel who had a silver-gray Goatee and the Manners of the Old School. All the First Families in the State were related to him, and therefore he was somewhat Particular as to who Lined Up with him when he took his Toddy.
He was proud of his Ancestry, and he carried the Scars to prove that he would Resent an Insult.
Now it happened that the Thirteenth Amendment signified nothing to him. He had been Reconstructed, but it didn’t Take.
While on a Business Trip to the North he stopped at a Gaudy Hotel with all kinds of Mirrors and Onyx Stairways.
The Head Waiter at this Hotel was a Colored Gentleman with a False Front and a Dress Suit that fit him too soon. His Name was Mr. Winfield. He was President of the Colored Waiters’ Union, Vice-President of the Republican County Central Committee, and Regal Commander of the Princes of Ethiopia.
His Honors lay Heavily upon him. He showed People where to sit in the Dining Room, and those who failed to Obey usually had to wait fifteen or twenty Minutes for their Vermicelli.
Mr. Winfield favored his Feet somewhat, which caused him to walk Syncopated, but, everything considered, he was quite Important and fairly Warm.
One morning the Colonel went into the Dining Room, and after he had seated himself he called Mr. Winfield to him and said he wanted some Hot Biscuit. At the same time he addressed Mr. Winfield as a Black Hound. Mr. Winfield did not know that this was a Term of Endearment in Apahatchie County, so he picked up a Silver Fruit Dish and bounced it against the Colonel’s Head.
The Colonel arose and pulled his Persuader, expecting to make it a Case of Justifiable Homicide, but two Waiters named George and Grant grabbed him and backed him up against the Wall.
There were other guests in the Dining Room, but they did not jump in with any Gun Plays and make it a Race War, because Apahatchie County was Eight Hundred Miles away. One of them Co-Operated to the extent of Ringing three times for a Policeman.
The Officer of the Law who arrived in a few Minutes was Mr. Otis Beasley, Most Worshipful Scribe of the Princes of Ethiopia, of which Mr. Winfield was the Regal Commander.
Mr. Beasley walked up to Mr. Winfield, and placing his Left Hand on his Brow, said, “Hail, Brother.”
“Hail, Most Noble Prince!” responded Mr. Winfield, making the Mystic Sign.
“What are the Objects of our Beloved Fraternity?” asked Mr. Beasley, in a whisper.
“Hope, Coslosterousness, and Polotomy,” replied the Regal Commander.
“‘Tis Well,” said the Most Worshipful Scribe, giving him the Grip.
Having completed the Secret work, Mr. Beasley wanted to know what he could do for Brother Winfield.
“Remove this Pusson,” said Mr. Winfield, pointing at the Colonel.
So it came about that He who in Apahatchie County had trained them to hop off the Sidewalk and stand Uncovered until he had passed, now suffered the Hideous Degradation of being marched downstairs by One of Them and then slammed into the Hurry-Up Wagon. Under which Circumstances the Colonel had the Rabies.
At the Police Station he was dragged before a Magistrate and was charged with Disorderly Conduct, Carrying Concealed Weapons, Assault and Battery, Assault with Intent to Kill, and Resisting an Officer.
The Magistrate was a White Man, and to him the Colonel appealed for Justice, claiming Brotherhood as a Caucasian. He told what would have happened in Apahatchie if any Coon had dared to lay a finger on a Colonel.
Here was an opening for the Court. It must be known that the Court lived in a Ward that was Dark in one End, and he was out for the Colored Vote in case he ran for Judge. This was his Chance to make a Grand-Stand Play.
He handed down a Decision to the Effect that all Men are Free and Equal, with incidental References to the Emancipation Proclamation and Striking the Shackles from Four Millions of Human Beings. He Ratified the Constitution and Permitted the Negro to stand in the Free Sunlight. In Apahatchie County he would have been used for Target Practice, but Apahatchie County was still Eight Hundred Miles away.
In Conclusion he Soaked the Colonel for $32.75 in Fines and Costs, Confiscating the Weapon, which he afterward presented to Officer Otis Beasley as a Slight Token of Esteem.
Next Morning, as a south-bound Passenger Train was crossing the Ohio River, the Colored Porter on the Atlanta Sleeper jumped eighty feet from the Trestle into the Water in order to Escape with his Life.
MORAL: A Head Waiter must be Ruled by Kindness.