The Emancipation of Billy (Henry)

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The Emancipation of Billy
Summary of the Short Story
from the Collection «Roads of Destiny»
Microsummary: A talented lawyer lived in the shadow of his father, a former governor, and declined a prestigious appointment to stay with his aging father, finding happiness in his hometown.

In a small southern town called Elmville, an old war governor named Pemberton was highly respected and revered by the townspeople. Every morning, he would take a walk to the post office, accompanied by his loyal friend General Deffenbaugh and other prominent citizens.

Governor Pemberton — Billy's father; former war governor; elderly, proud, and dependent on his son.
General Deffenbaugh — influential town leader; friend of Governor Pemberton; commanding, public-spirited.

The townspeople would greet him with great respect and admiration, and he would often hold informal gatherings at the post office.

Pemberton's son, Billy, was a successful lawyer who had worked hard to make a name for himself. However, he was always overshadowed by his father's reputation and was known simply as "the son of" the war governor.

William B. Pemberton (Billy) — talented lawyer; son of ex-Governor Pemberton; humble, caring, and ambitious.

Despite his accomplishments, Billy longed for recognition from his fellow townspeople.

One day, Billy received a prestigious appointment as a federal judge in the country's new island possessions. He was excited about the opportunity, but also knew that the townspeople would still see him as his father's son. After discussing the appointment with his father, who expressed concern about his own declining health and dependence on Billy, the son decided to decline the offer and remain in Elmville.

What would I do without you, my son?

As time went on, Billy began to embrace his role as the son of the war governor and found happiness in the simple pleasures of life in Elmville. He even adopted a more casual appearance, wearing a soft hat instead of the formal "plug" hat he had previously worn.

When a touring presidential party visited Elmville, the town prepared a grand reception. During the event, General Deffenbaugh introduced Pemberton to the president, but instead of focusing on the war governor's accomplishments, he praised Billy as the town's most distinguished citizen and a model Southern gentleman.

Allow me to present to you one who has the honour to be the father of our foremost, distinguished citizen, learned and honoured jurist, beloved townsman, and model Southern gentleman.

This unexpected recognition finally gave Billy the acknowledgement he had longed for, and he felt content with his life in Elmville.