James Whitcomb was a slender lad, with corn-silk hair and wide blue eyes. He was shy and timid, not strong physically, dreading the cold of winter, and avoiding the rougher sports of his playmates. And yet he was full of the spirit of youth, a spirit that manifested itself in the performance of many ingenious pranks. His every-day life was that of the average boy in the average country town of that day, but his home influences were exceptional. His father, who became a captain of cavalry in the Civil War, was a lawyer of ability and an orator of more than local distinction. His mother was a woman of rare strength of character combined with deep sympathy and a clear understanding. Together, they made home a place to remember with thankful heart.