The book 'The Sport of the Gods' by Paul is about an African American servant named Berry Hamilton who lived with Fannie and two kids, a son named Joe and daughter named Kit. They lived in a little cottage that sat in the back of the mansion of his employer Maurice Oakley. Berry had been a butler for Mr. Oakley for twenty years. Berry was a loyal and hard working man for Mr. Oakley. Mr. Oakley treated him with so much respect and gave him so much that Berry felt that he had no choice but to serve him the way he did.
Mr. Oakley could always depend on Berry Hamilton, until the day that Francis Oakley noticed that he hadn't locked up the drawer where he hide his money. When he opened the drawer, praying that no one had took the money, to his surprise it was gone. Francis told his brother Maurice and after the party was over and everyone was gone they called a detective to find the missing money. While walking around the room the detective noticed Berry's cottage out of the window. He said that it was a possibility that Berry was the thief. Mr. Oakley couldn't believe what he was hearing.
He had always trusted Berry and thought that he would never steal from him, especially after all that he had done for him. The next day the detective was at Mr. Oakley's home waiting to speak with him about his case of the missing money. The detective reported that the same day the money was missing Berry had deposited over eight hundred dollars, the same amount of money that was missing. Mr. Oakley couldn't believe this.
He became angry and rang for Berry to come to him. When Berry came into the room, Mr. Oakley was unable to talk to him without getting angry and calling him a liar, so the detective asked Berry all the questions. Berry told them that he didn't steal the money and that the money he deposited in the bank was money that he and Fannie had been saving for some years. Mr. Oakley kept calling him a thief and a liar and said that he knew that he stole the money.
He asked the detective to arrest Berry, because he stole the money and he knew it. Berry kept pleading and telling him that he didn't steal any money and they could ask his wife Fannie. Fannie was summoned to the room and she told the same story that her husband Berry told, but that didn't help. Mr. Oakley still insisted that they take Berry to jail.
Fannie was crying and begging them not to take her husband to jail, but they took him any way. Berry asked Mr. Oakley if he really thought he did this, and he said yes now take him away. The whole town was talking about the arrest of Berry Hamilton. Mr. Oakley and Berry were known all over town. Berry was a good servant and Maurice Oakley was a solid businessman.
Berry's friends and even members of the church that he belonged to for so many years would defend him. A man who was once known for his loyalty to his master was now known as a thief. People began to think back about Berry Hamilton and find things that could link him to being a thief. The arrest of Berry Hamilton was very hard on his family. His son Joe couldn't get a job because people thought that his father was a thief and he would be one too.
Joe got so upset that he thought that his mother, sister, and him should move to New York and start over. His mother didn't mind the idea, she told Joe to write a letter to his father and tell him what they were going to do. It was really heard for them to adapt to the city life after living in the country for so long. Everyone's life began to go in different directions over the years, contact between the rest of the family was rare, and non-existing to Berry Hamilton in his southern prison. The family went through a lot of changes living in Harlem, New York. The southern family struggled to survive.
Mr. Skaggs a messenger went to retrieve a secret message from Maurice Oakley like his brother Francis Oakley instructed. When Mr. Skaggs tried to get the letter from Maurice's secret pocket, Maurice put up a fight and said that he would never give the letter up until he was dead. Maurice was too weak to keep up a fight, so Mr. Skaggs took the letter and began to read it. The letter stated that his brother was the thief and not Berry Hamilton. So all this time Berry Hamilton was serving time for a crime that he didn't commit.