Once upon a time, out in the Rubber Boot Reservation, the Stork came staggering up to a Frame Dwelling with a hefty Infant. The arrival was under the Zodiacal Sign of Taurus, the Bull. Every Omen was propitious.
When the Gallery was admitted, on the third day, the gaping Spectators observed that the Youngun had an open Countenance, somewhat like a Channel Cat, a full head of Hair bushing at the nape of the neck, and a hypnotic Eye; so they knew he was destined for the Service of the Public.
Even while he was in the custody of the Old Women of the Township, he began reaching for everything he saw and testing his Voice. He claimed his Rations frequently and with insistence.
While he was demonstrating an elastic Capacity, the head Prophetess called attention to his aggressive Style and predicted a political Career.
It was a cinch Horoscope, for the Begetters were a successful Auctioneer and a Poetess of local repute.
The Child was christened Sylvester, in anticipation of his Future Greatness.
Several years later, when he rebelled against going to the Barber Shop and began to speak Pieces on the slightest provocation, the Parents rejoiced over these budding symptons of Statesmanship and bought him a Drum.
At school he was a Dummy in Mathematics and a Lummux when it came to Spelling Down, but every Friday afternoon he was out in the lead, wearing Bells.
Before he acquired a Vocabulary or accumulated Data, he got by on his Nerve. In later years he never forgot that Facts are non-essential if the Vocal Cords are in tune.
When the Pupils tackled the old standby, “Resolved, that Education is better than Riches,” he could tremolo on the Affirmative one week and then reverberate for the Negative one week later, never doubting his own Sincerity at any stage of the Game.
The grinding classmates who had secured the mark of A in Geometry and Rhetoric were not in the running on Commencement Day.
Our Hero got his Diploma on a Fluke, but when he appeared on the Rostrum between an Oleander and the Members of the Board, with Goose-Goose on the Aureole, the new Store Suit garnished with a leaf of Geranium and a yellow Rose-Bud, and the Gates Ajar Collar lashed fast with his future Trade-Mark: viz., a White Bow Tie–he had all the Book Worms crushed under his Heel.
He pulled out the stop marked “Vox Humana” and begged his Hearers to lift the sword of Justice and with it smite the Deluge of Organized Wealth which was crouched and ready to spring upon the Common People.
In pleading the cause of Labor, he spoke as an Expert, for once he had strung a Clothes-Line for his Mother.
He got the biggest Hand of any one at the Exercises. After denouncing the predaceous Interests he relapsed into an attitude of Meditation, with the Chin on the starched Front, very much like a Steel Engraving of Daniel Webster.
The enthralled Townsmen, seeing him thus, with the Right Hand buried in the Sack Suit and the raven Mop projecting in the rear, allowed that there was nothing to it. He was a Genius and billed through for the Legislature.
Some Boys have to go to College to get a Shellac Finish, but Sylvester already had the Dark Clothes and the Corrugated Brow and a voice like a Tuba, so, to complete his Equipment, he merely had to sit tilted back in a Law Office for a few months and then borrow Money to get a Hat such as John A. Logan used to wear.
All who saw him move from Group to Group along the Hitch Rack on Saturday afternoon, shaking hands with the Rustics and applying the Ointment, remarked that Ves was a young man of Rare Promise and could not be held back from the Pay-Roll for any considerable length of Time.