FOUR MEN OF HUMBLE BIRTH HOLD WORLD DESTINY IN THEIR HANDS





BY WILLIAM G. SHEPHERD



WASHINGTON--Out of a dingy law office in Virginia, out of a cobbler's

shop in Wales, out of a village doctor's office in France and from a

farm on the island of Sicily came the four men who, in the grand old

palace at Versailles, will soon put the quietus on the divine right of

kings.



In 1856, three days after Christmas, a boy named Thomas was born in the

plain home of a Presbyterian parson in Staunton, Va. When this boy was 4

years old, there was born in Palermo, on the island of Sicily, 4,000

miles away, a black-eyed Sicilian boy. Into the town of Palermo, on that

July day, came Garibaldi, in triumph, and the farmer-folk parents of the

boy, in honor of the occasion, named their son Victor, after the new

Italian king, whom Garibaldi had helped to seat.



Three years later still, when Thomas was playing the games of 7-year-old

boys down in Virginia, and when Victor, at 3, spent most of his time

romping on the little farm in Sicily, there was born in the heart of the

foggy, grimy town of Manchester, in England, a boy named David. His home

was the ugliest of the homes of all the three. It was of red brick, two

stories high, with small windows, facing a busy stone sidewalk. Its

rooms were small and little adorned, and not much hope of greatness

could ever have sprung from that dingy place.



There was one other boy to make up the quartet. His name was George. He

was a young medical student in Paris twenty-two years old when David was

born in England. He thought all governments ought to be republics, and,

by the time he was 25, he came over to the United States to study the

American republic, and, if possible, to make a living over here as a

doctor. He had been born in a little village in France, in a doctor's

household.



While George was in New York, almost starving for lack of patients, and

later, while he taught French in a girls' school in Stamford, Conn.,

little Thomas, down in Virginia, at the age of 10 years, had buckled

down to his studies, with the hope of being a lawyer; Victor, at 6, was

studying in a school in far-away Palermo, and David, at 3, fatherless by

this time, was getting ready for life in the home of his uncle, a

village shoemaker, in a little town of Wales. The only city-born boy of

the four, he was taken by fate, when his father died, to the simplicity

of village life and saved, perhaps, from the sidewalks.



The years whirled on. George married an American girl and went back to

France, to write and teach and doctor. Thomas went to a university to

study law. David, seven years younger, spent his evenings and spare time

in his uncle's shoe shop or in the village blacksmith shop, listening to

his elders talk over the affairs of the world.



Victor, with law as his vision, crossed the famous old straits of

Messina from his island home and went to Naples to study in the law

school there.



In the '80s things began to happen. Down in Virginia, Thomas was

admitted to the bar. In old Wales, David, who, by this time, had learned

to speak English, was admitted to practice law in 1884, and, in 1885,

the black-eyed, hot-blooded Sicilian Victor received the documents that

entitled him to practice at the Italian bar.



George, in France, by this time had dropped medicine. Bolshevism had

arisen there in the form of the Commune, and he had fought it so

desperately that he had been sentenced to death. He hated kings, and he

also hated the autocracy of the mob. He fled from Paris.



Soon they will sit at a peace table together, the first peace table in

all human history from which divine-right kings are barred. The future

and the welfare of the world lie in their four pairs of hands. Their

full names are: Georges Clemenceau, premier of France; David Lloyd

George, prime minister of England; Victor Emanuel Orlando, premier of

Italy, and Thomas Woodrow Wilson, president of the United States.



* * * * *



_(Saturday Evening Post)_



Three half-tone reproductions of wash-drawings by a staff artist.





Foundation Stones FOUR SERIES OF PHYSICAL EXERCISES facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Feedback