A local option contest was going on in W -- , and Mrs. Kent was trying to influence her husband to vote |No License.| Willie Kent, six years old, was, of course on his mamma's side. The night before election Mr. Kent went to see Willie safe in bed, and hushing his prattle, he said: |Now, Willie, say your prayers.|
|Papa, I want to say my own words, tonight,| he replied. |All right, my boy, that is the best kind of praying,| answered the father.
Fair was the picture, as Willie, robed in white, knelt at his father's knee and prayed reverently: |O dear Jesus, do help papa to vote No Whiskey tomorrow. Amen.|
Morning came, the village was alive with excitement. Women's hands, made hard by toil, were stretched to God for help in the decision.
The day grew late and yet Mr. Kent had not been to the polls. Willie's prayer sounded in his ears, and troubled conscience said: |Answer your boy's petition with your ballot.|
At last he stood at the polling place with two tickets in his hand -- one, license; the other, |No License.| Sophistry, policy, avarice said: |Vote License.| Conscience echoed: |No License.| After a moment's hesitation, he threw from him the No License ticket and put the License in the box.
The next day it was found that the contest was so close that it needed but one vote to carry the town for prohibition. In the afternoon, Willie found a No License ticket, and, having heard only one vote was necessary, he started out to find the man who would cast this one ballot against wrong, and in his eagerness he flew along the streets.
The saloon men were having a jubilee, and the highways were filled with drunken rowdies. Little Willie rushed on through the unsafe crowd.
Hark! a random pistol-shot from a drunken quarrel, a pierced heart, and sweet Willie Kent had his death wound --
They carried him home to his mother. His father was summoned, and the first swift thought that came to him, as he stood over the lifeless boy, was: |Willie will never pray again that I vote No Whiskey.|
With a strange still grief he took in his own the quiet little hand chilling into marble coldness, and there between the fingers, firmly clasped, was the No License ballot with which the brave little soul thought to change the verdict of yesterday.
Mr. Kent started back in shame and sorrow. That vote in his hand might have answered the prayer so lately on his lips now dumb, and perhaps averted the awful calamity. Fathers, may not the hands of the |thousands slain| make mute appeal to you? Your one vote is what God requires of you. You are responsible for it being in harmony with His law as if on it hung the great decision.
-- The Issue