Matters of More Importance

A story in a "Letter to the Editor from a Rebel Prisoner"

from Harper's New Monthly Magazine's "Editor's Drawer"

            The following may be old, but is as true as Gospel:

            In Southwest Missouri, where I used to live, there resided several years ago an excellent old farmer by the name of Lanceford. He was a stanch Democrat, of course, and the patty had rewarded his faithful services by electing him Judge of the County Court. He was very proud of his prominent position, and filled the station, if not within ability, at least with dignity. A short time after the Judge’s elevation the “unterrified” held “a large and enthusiastic meeting” in the county, and Judge Lanceford was chosen chairman. While presiding over the deliberations of the body one of his sons came into town “under whip and spur,” and, rushing into the meeting, he told his father that the prairie was on fire, that the farm was in danger of being destroyed, and that his mother wanted him to go out immediately and assist in “fighting the fire.”

            Hereupon the Judge assumed all the dignity of a Roman Senator, and speaking very deliberately, in a voice loud enough to be heard all over the room, he said, “My son, go back and tell your mother to do the best she can. I can not go at present, as I have matters of more importance to attend to I”

Smith, Dr. J. F., "Editor's Drawer", Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Volume 28, Issue 164, January 1864, page 282, New York: Harper and Brother's

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