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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Candidate: A Political Romance - Chapter 6. On The Road
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The Candidate: A Political Romance - Chapter 6. On The Road Post by :lingstar Category :Long Stories Author :Joseph A. Altsheler Date :May 2012 Read :2573

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The Candidate: A Political Romance - Chapter 6. On The Road


The great success of Grayson as an orator was continued at Detroit. A vast audience hung breathless upon his words, and he played upon its emotions as he would, now thrilling the people with passion, and then stirring them to cheers that rolled like thunder. It became apparent that this hitherto obscure man from the Far West was the strongest nominee a somewhat disunited party could have named, and Harley, whose interest at first had been for the campaign itself rather than its result, began to have a feeling that after all Grayson might be elected--at least he had a fighting chance, which might be more if it were not for the shadow of Goodnight, Crayon, and their kind. Part of these men had gone back, among them the large and important Mr. Goodnight; but Harley saw the quiet Mr. Crayon still watching from a high box at Detroit, and he knew that no act or word of the candidate would escape the scrutiny of this powerful faction within the party.

Ample proof of his conclusion, if it were needed, came the next morning in a copy of the New York _Monitor_, Churchill's paper, which contained on its front page a long, double-leaded despatch, under a Milwaukee date line. It was Hobart who brought it in to Mr. Grayson and his little party at the breakfast-table.

"Excuse me for interrupting you, Mr. Grayson," he said, flourishing the paper as if it were a sort of flag; "but here is something that you are bound to see. It's what might be called a word in your ear, or, at least, it seems to me to have that sound. I guess that Churchill got a beat on us all in Milwaukee."

"I wish you would join us, Mr. Hobart, and read the whole article to us, if you will be so kind," said the candidate, calmly.

Nothing could have pleased Hobart better, and he read with emphasis and care, resolved that his hearers should not lose a word. Churchill had a good style, and he possessed a certain skill in innuendo, therefore he was able throughout the article to make his meaning clear. He stated that among those surrounding the candidate--he could give names if he would, but it was not necessary--there was a certain feeling that Mr. Grayson was not quite--at least not yet--as large as the position for which he had been nominated. Keen observers had noticed in him a predisposition to rashness; he had spoken lightly more than once of great vested interests.

"Uncle James, how could you be so lacking in reverence?" exclaimed Sylvia Morgan.

Mr. Grayson merely smiled.

"Go on, Mr. Hobart," he said.

"'But some of the ablest minds in the country are closely watching Mr. Grayson,'" continued the article, "'and where he needs support or restraint he will receive it. There are certain issues not embodied in the platform from which he will be steered.'"

"Now, I think that is too much!" exclaimed Mrs. Grayson, the indignant red rising in her cheeks.

"Their printing it does not make it true, Anna," said the candidate, mildly.

"As if you did not know enough to run your own campaign!" exclaimed the indignant wife.

But Jimmy Grayson continued to smile. "We must expect this sort of thing," he said; "it would be a dull campaign without it. Please go on, Mr. Hobart."

A number of eminent citizens, the article continued, would make a temporary sacrifice of their great business interests for the sake of the campaign and the people, and with their restraining care it was not likely that Mr. Grayson could go far wrong, as he seemed to be an amiable man, amenable to advice. Thus it continued at much length, and Harley, keen and experienced in such matters, knew very well whence Churchill had drawn his inspiration.

"The editor, also, makes comment upon this warning," said Hobart, who was undeniably enjoying himself.

"I should think that the despatch was enough," said Mrs. Grayson, whose indignation was not yet cooled.

"But it isn't, Mrs. Grayson," said Hobart; "at least, the editor of the _Monitor does not think so. Listen.

"'The campaign in behalf of our party has begun in the West, and we have felt the need of thoroughly reliable news from that quarter, free from the sensationalism and levity which we are sorry to say so often disgrace our American newspapers, and make them compare unfavorably with the graver and statelier columns of the English press.'"

"He is an Englishman himself," said Harley--"American opinion through an English channel."

Even Jimmy Grayson laughed.

"'At last we have obtained this information,'" continued Hobart, reading, "'and we are able to present it to-day to those earnest and sincere people, the cultivated minority who really count, and who constitute the leaven in the mass of the light and frivolous American people. A trusted correspondent of ours, judicious, impartial, absolutely devoid of prejudices, has obtained from high sources with which common journalistic circles are never in touch----'"

"How the bird befouls its own nest!" said the elderly Tremaine.

"'--information that will throw much light upon a campaign and a candidate both obscure hitherto. This we present upon another page, and, as our cultivated readers will readily infer, the candidate, Mr. Grayson, is not a bad man----'"

"Thanks for that crowning mercy," said Mr. Grayson.

"--but neither is he a great one; in short, he is, at least for the present, narrow and provincial; moreover, he is of an impulsive temperament that is likely to lead him into untrodden and dangerous paths. Our best hope lies in the fact that Mr. Grayson, who has not shown himself intractable, may be brought to see this, and will rely upon the advice of those who are fitted to lead rather than upon the reckless fancies of the Boys who are sure to surround him if he gives them a chance. In this emergency we are sure that all the best in the state will rally with us. The eyes of Europe are upon us, and we must vindicate ourselves.'"

"Uncle James," said Sylvia Morgan, sweetly, "I trust that you will remember throughout the campaign that the eye of Europe is upon you, and conduct yourself accordingly. I have noticed that in many of your speeches you seemed to be unconscious of the fact that Vienna and St. Petersburg were watching you. Such behavior will never do."

Mr. Grayson smiled once more. He seemed to be less disturbed than any one else at the table, yet he knew that this was in truth a warning given by an important wing of the party, and, therefore, he must take thought of it. A prominent politician of Michigan was present, the guest of Mr. Grayson, and he did not take the threat as calmly as the candidate.

"The writer of this despatch is with your party, I suppose," he said to Mr. Grayson.

"Oh yes; it is Mr. Churchill. He has been with us since the start."

"I would not let him go a mile farther; a man who writes like that--why, it's a positive insult to you!--should not be allowed on your train."

The Michigan man's face flushed red, and in his anger he brought his hand down heavily on the table; but Harley did not look at him, his full attention being reserved for the candidate. Here was a test of his bigness. Would he prove equal to it?

"I am afraid that would be a mistake," said Jimmy Grayson, amiably, to the Michigan man, "a mistake in two respects: our Constitution guarantees the freedom of the press, and the _Monitor and its correspondent have a right to write that way, if they wish to do so; and if we were to expel Mr. Churchill, it would give them all the greater ground for complaint. Now, perhaps I am, after all, a narrow and ignorant person who needs restraint."

He spoke the last sentence in such a whimsical tone and with such a frank smile that they were all forced to laugh, even the Michigan man. But Harley felt relief. The candidate had shown no littleness.

"I was sure that you would return such an answer, Uncle James," said Sylvia Morgan, and the look that she gave him was full of faith. "Now, I mean to help you by converting Mr. Churchill."

"How will you do that?"

"I shall smile upon him, use my winning ways, and draw him into the fold."

There was a slight edge to her voice, and Harley was not sure of her meaning; but he and she were together in the parlor an hour later, when they met Churchill, and he had a chance to see. Churchill evidently was not expecting to find them there, but he assumed an important air, knowing that his despatches had been received and read, and feeling, therefore, that he was the author of a sensation. He anticipated hostility; he believed that Mr. Grayson's relatives and friends would assail him with harsh words, and he had spoken already to one or two persons of the six months' ordeal that he would have to endure. "But we must stand such things when they are incurred in the line of duty," he said, "and I have a way which, perhaps, will teach them to be not so ready in attacking me." He expected such a foray against him now, and his manner became haughty in the presence of Sylvia Morgan and Harley.

"We--that is, all of us--have just been reading your despatch in the _Monitor_," she said, in a most winning tone, "and on behalf of Uncle James I want to thank you, Mr. Churchill."

Churchill looked surprised but doubtful, and did not abate the stiffness of his attitude nor the severity of his gaze.

"We do feel grateful to you," she continued, in the same winning tone. "There was never a man more willing than Uncle James to learn, and, coming out of the depths of the West, he knows that he needs help. And how beautifully you write, Mr. Churchill! It was all put so delicately that no one could possibly take offence."

It was impossible to resist her manner, the honey of her words, and Churchill, who felt that she was but giving credit where credit was due, became less stern.

"Do you really like it, Miss Morgan?" he asked, and he permitted himself a smile.

"Oh yes," she replied, "and I noticed that the _Monitor alone contained an article of this character, all about those big men who are watching over Uncle James, and will not let him go wrong. That is what you correspondents call a beat, isn't it?"

Churchill gave Harley a glance of triumph, but he replied, gravely:

"I believe it is what we call a beat, Miss Morgan."

"And you will continue to help us in the same way, won't you, Mr. Churchill?" she continued. "You know who those great men are; Mr. Harley, here, I am sure does not, nor does Mr. Blaisdell nor Mr. Hobart; you alone, as the _Monitor says, can come into touch with such important circles, and you will warn us again and again in the columns of the _Monitor when we are about to get into the wrong path. Oh, it would be a great service, and I know that Uncle James would appreciate it! You will be with us throughout the campaign, and you will have the chance! Now, promise me, Mr. Churchill, that you will do it."

Her manner had become most appealing, and her face was slightly flushed. It was not the first time that Harley realized how handsome she was, and how winning she could be. It was his first thought, then, what a woman this mountain maid would make, and his second that "King" Plummer should continue to look upon her as his daughter--she was too young to be his wife.

Nor was Churchill proof against her beauty and her blandishments. He felt suddenly that for her sake he could overlook some of Mr. Grayson's faults, or at least seek to amend them. It was not hard to make a promise to a pair of lovely eyes that craved his help.

"Well, Miss Morgan," he said, graciously, "since it is you who ask it, I will do my best. You know I am not really hostile to Mr. Grayson. The _Monitor and I are of his party, and we shall certainly support him as long as he will let us."

"You are so kind!" she said. "You have seen so much of the world, Mr. Churchill, that you can help us greatly. Uncle James, as I told you, is always willing to learn, and he will keep a sharp watch on the _Monitor_."

"The _Monitor_, as I need not tell you," said Churchill, "is the chief organ in New York of good government, and it is never frivolous or inconsequential. I had hoped that what I sent from Milwaukee would have its effect, and I am glad to see, Miss Morgan, that it has."

Churchill now permitted himself a smile longer and more complacent, and Harley felt a slight touch of pity that any man should be blinded thus by conceit. And Sylvia did not spare him; by alternate flattery and appeal she drew him further into the toils, and Harley was surprised at her skill. She did not seem to him now the girl from Idaho, the child of the mountains and of massacre, but a woman of variable moods, and all of them attractive, no whit inferior to her Eastern sisters in the delicate airs and graces that he was wont to associate with feminine perfection.

As for Churchill, he yielded completely to her spell, not without some condescension and a memory of his own superiority, but he felt himself willing to comply with her request, particularly because it involved no sacrifice on his own part. He and the _Monitor would certainly keep watch over Mr. Grayson, and he would never hesitate to write the words of warning when ever he felt that they were needed.

"Why did you treat him that way?" asked Harley, when Churchill had gone.

"What do you mean by 'that way'?" she asked, and her chin took on a saucy uplift.

"Well, to be plain, why did you make a fool of him?"

"Was my help needed?"

Harley laughed.

"Don't be too hard on Churchill," he said, "he's the creature of circumstance. Besides, you must not forget that he is going to watch over Mr. Grayson."

Churchill did not join the general group until shortly before the departure for the evening speech, and then he approached with an undeniable air of hostility and defence, expecting to be attacked and having in readiness the weapons with which he had assured himself that he could repel them. Miss Morgan, it is true, had received him well, but she, so he had begun to believe, was a girl of perception and discrimination, and the fine taste shown by her would not be exhibited by others. The candidate, surprising him much, received him cordially, though not effusively, and he was made welcome in similar manner by the others. There was no allusion whatever to his despatch, but he found himself included in the general gossip, just as if he were one of a group of good comrades.

Yet Churchill was not wholly pleased. His great stroke seemed to be ignored by all except Miss Morgan, when they ought to be stirred deeply by it, and he felt a sense of diminished importance. There should be confusion among them, or at least trepidation. He closely studied the faces of Mr. Grayson and the others to see if they were merely masking their fire, but no attack came either then or later.

Thus two or three days passed, and the campaign deepened and popular interest increased. Not since the eve of the Civil War had there been such complexity and intensity of interests, and never before had the personal factor been so strong. Out of the vast turmoil quickly emerged James Grayson as the most picturesque figure that ever appeared upon the stage of national politics in America. His powerful oratory, his daring, and his magnetic personality drew the eyes of all, and Harley saw that wherever he might be there the fight would be thickest. The correspondent's intuition had been right; he had come from a war on the other side of the world to enter another and greater campaign, one in which mind counted for more.

The candidate, in his rising greatness, was even a hero to his own family; and from none did he draw greater admiration than from his niece, Sylvia Morgan. A fierce champion of the West, she always bitterly resented the unconscious patronage of the East, which was really the natural patronage of age rather than of convinced superiority; and her uncle's triumph filled her with delight, because, to her mind, it was the triumph of the West that she loved so well. Inspired with this feeling, she appealed to Harley about the sixth or seventh day of the campaign for his opinion on its result, and the correspondent hesitated over his answer. He found that his feeling towards her in this week had changed greatly, the elements in her character, which at first seemed to him masculine and forward, were now much modified and softened; always the picture of that child in the mountains, alone among her dead, rose before him, and then followed the picture of the little girl borne away on his saddle-bow by the brave borderer. He would think of her now with a singular softness, a real pity for those misty days which she herself had almost forgotten. Hence he hesitated, because what he deemed to be the truth would have in it a sting for her. But her clear eyes instantly read his hesitation.

"You need not be afraid to tell me your real opinion, Mr. Harley," she said. "If you think the chances are against Uncle James, I should like you to say so."

"I do think they are against him now, although they may not be so later on," replied he, equivocating with himself a little. "It is an uphill fight, and then one can easily deceive one's self; in a nation of eighty or ninety millions even a minority can surround a candidate with a multitude of people and a storm of enthusiasm."

"But Uncle James is the greatest campaigner ever nominated for the Presidency," she said, "and we shall yet win."

Harley said nothing in reply, but he gladly noticed her refusal to be discouraged, like other people having an admiration for courage and spirit. In fact, it seemed to him that she had a cheerfulness somewhat beyond the occasion.

Three days later--they were in Pittsburg then--she received a letter addressed in a strong, heavy hand, her name being spelled in large letters. Sylvia Morgan was alone in the hotel parlor when it was brought to her, and a strange shadow, or rather the shadow of a shadow, came over her face as she held it uneasily in her fingers and looked at the Idaho postmark in the corner. She knew the handwriting well, and she knew that it was a true index to the character of its author--rough, strong, and large. That handwriting could not lie, neither could he. She continued to hesitate, with the letter in her hand; it was the first time that she had ever done so with a letter of his, and she felt that she was disloyal. She heard a voice in the other parlor--the wide doors between were open; it was the voice of Harley speaking to her uncle, and a flush crept into her cheeks. Then she shook herself in a sudden little whirl of anger, and abruptly opened the letter with a swift, tearing sound. It was a longer letter than he usually wrote, and he said:

"MY DEAREST LITTLE SYLVIA--I have been here just two hours, and, I tell you, the sight of Idaho is good for the eyes, though it would be better if you were here with me, as you soon will be all the time, little one."

She paused a moment, looking away, and the shadow of the shadow came back to her face. Then she murmured: "He is the best man in the world," and resolutely went on:

"The more I see of the other states the better I like Idaho, and I like next best those that are most like it. Every peak out here nodded a welcome to me as I came in on the train. I've known them all for thirty years. I was a little afraid of them at first, they were so tall and solemn with their white crests, but we are old friends now--I'll have a white crest myself before long, and I'm fairly tall now, though perhaps I'll never be solemn. And I drew a deep breath and a long breath, the first one in days, the moment I crossed the Idaho line. The East sits rather heavy on me (he called Chicago the East), and my eyes get tired with so many people passing before them. Now, I'm not running down the East, which is all right in its own way, but I am glad we have so much mountain and unwatered plain out here, because then the people can never get so thick that they tread on you; not that they mean to do it, but crowds shove just because they can't help it."

Sylvia smiled, and for a moment there was a little moisture in her eyes. "Good old daddy," she murmured. Somehow, the pet name "daddy" seemed just to fit him. Then the resolute little frown came over her face again and she went on.

"As I said, Idaho is a good state. I like it when I am here, and I like it all the better when I come back to it. God's people live in these Rocky Mountain states, and that is a reason why I am so red-hot to have your uncle James elected. He is one of God's people, too, and they have never yet had a man of ours sitting in the White House down there at Washington and bossing the job. I think maybe he will teach them a new trick or two in running the old ship of state. But, Sylvia, I am not thinking so much even of him as I am of you. I know that I am a good deal older than you, as people count years, but I can truly say that my heart is young, and I think that I will be a husky chap for a good long time to come. You know I've had you nearly all your life, Sylvia, and we have the advantage of knowing each other. You are on to all my curves--that is, you don't have to get married to me to learn my failings.

"I guess I haven't the polish that those Eastern fellows put on, or that is put on them, but out here in the mountains I amount to somebody--you must let me brag a little, Sylvia--and if a man doesn't bow pretty low to Mrs. William Plummer, I'll have to get out my old six-shooter--I haven't carried one now for ten years--and shoot all the hair off the top of his head."

"He thinks he's joking, but I believe he would do it. Dear old daddy!" murmured Sylvia.

"I think you ought to become Mrs. Plummer now, Sylvia, but I guess I'm willing to wait until this campaign is over. For one ought to be willing to wait, if by waiting he can get such a good thing. Still, I hate to think of you away off there in the East, so many thousands of miles away from me, where there are no friendly old mountains to look down on you and watch over you, and I'm glad that my little girl is coming West again soon. I'll try to get down part of the way, say to Nebraska or Kansas, to meet you. I feel safer when I have you close by; then, if any of those young Eastern fellows should try to kidnap you and run away with you, my old six-shooter might have a word to say."

The sudden flush rose to her cheeks at this new joke, but she murmured nothing. The rest of the letter was about people whom they knew in Boise and elsewhere in Idaho, and it closed:

"Don't think I'm growing gushing at my age, Sylvia, but Idaho, fine as she is, isn't near complete without you, and this is why I want you back in it just as soon as you can come.

Yours, lovingly,

She folded the letter carefully and put it back in the envelope. Then she sat for a long time, and her look was one of mingled tenderness and sadness. Her mind, too, ran back into the past, and she had a dim vision of the little child, who was herself, borne away on his saddle-horn by the strong mountaineer, who held her safely in the hollow of his arm. And then the years followed, and she always looked to the mountaineer for the protection and the love that were never wanting, but it was always the protection and love of one older and stronger than herself, one who belonged to the generation preceding her own.

Mr. Grayson, Harley, and the others were gone, and she heard no voices in the next parlor. She realized with suddenness how strongly and in how brief a time this little group, travelling through a vast country, had become welded together by the very circumstances of their travel--the comradeship of the road--and she sighed. She and Mrs. Grayson were about to leave them and return to the Grayson home in the West, because women, no matter how nearly related, could not be taken all the way on an arduous campaign of six months. She had enjoyed this life, which was almost the life of a soldier--the crowds, the enthusiasm, the murmur, then the cheers of thousands of voices, the flight on swift trains from one city to another, the dash for the station sometimes before daylight, and all the freshness and keenness of youth about her. She had affiliated, she had become one of the group, and now that she was to leave it for a while she had a deep sense of loss.

There was a step beside her, and Mrs. Grayson, the quiet, the tactful, and the observant, entered.

"Why, Sylvia," she said, "you are sitting in the dark!"

She touched the button, turned on the electric lights, and noticed the letter lying in the girl's hand. Her glance passed swiftly to Sylvia's face and as swiftly passed away. She knew instinctively the writer of the letter, but she said nothing, waiting for Sylvia herself to speak.

"I have a letter from Mr. Plummer," said Sylvia.

"What does he say?"

"Not much besides his arrival at Boise--just some foolishness of his; you know how he loves to jest."

"Yes, I have long known that," said Mrs. Grayson, but she noticed that Sylvia made no offer to show the letter. Hitherto the letters of "King" Plummer had been read by all the Graysons as a matter of course, just as one shares interesting news.

"He is a good man, and he will be a good husband," said Mrs. Grayson. She was for the moment ruthless with a purpose, and when she said the words, although affecting not to watch, she saw the girl flinch--ever so little, but still she flinched.

"The best man in the world," repeated Sylvia Morgan, softly.

"And yet there are other good men," said Mrs. Grayson, quietly. "One good man does not exclude the existence of another."

Sylvia looked up at her, but she failed to take her meaning. Her quiet aunt sometimes spoke in parables, and waited for events to disclose her meaning.

Mrs. Grayson and Miss Morgan were to leave for the West the next afternoon, and shortly before their departure Harley came to tell them a temporary good-bye. Sylvia and he chanced to be alone for a little while, and she genuinely lamented her departure--they had become franker friends in these later days.

"I do not see why women cannot go through a political campaign from beginning to end," she said; "I'm sure we can help Uncle James, and there will be, too, so many interesting things to see. It will be like a war without the wounds and death. I don't want to miss any of it."

"I half agree with you," said Harley, smiling, "and I know that it would be a great deal nicer for the rest of us if you and Mrs. Grayson could go along."

He paused, and he had a sudden bold thought.

"If anything specially interesting happens that the newspapers don't tell about, will you let me write you an account of it?" he asked. "I should really like to tell you."

She flushed ever so little, but she was of the free-and-open West, and Harley always gave her the impression of courteous strength--he would take no liberties.

"You can write," she said, briefly, and then she immediately regretted her decision. It was the thought of "King" Plummer that made her regret it, but she had too much pride to change it now.

Harley was at the train with Mr. Grayson when she and Mrs. Grayson left, and Sylvia found that he had seen to everything connected with their journey. Without making any noise, and without appearing to work much, he accomplished a good deal. She had an impulse once to thank him, but she restrained it, and she gave him a good-bye that was neither cool nor warm, just sufficiently conventional to leave no inference whatever. But when the train was gone and Mr. Grayson and he were riding back in the cab to the hotel, the candidate spoke of her.

"She's a good girl, Harley," he said--he and Harley had grown to be such friends that he now dropped the "Mr." when he spoke directly to the correspondent. "She's real, as true as steel."

He spoke with emphasis, but Harley said nothing.

The group seemed to lose much of its vividness, color, and variety when the women departed, but they settled down to work, the most intense and exacting that Harley had ever known. All the great qualities of the candidate came out; he seemed to be made of iron, and on the stump he was without an equal; if any one in the audience was ready with a troublesome question, he was equally ready with an apt reply; nor could they disturb his good humor; and his smiling irony!--the rash fool who sought to deride him always found the laugh turned upon himself.

Throughout the East the party was stirred to mighty enthusiasm, and their antagonists, who had thought the election a foregone conclusion, were roused from their security. Again the combat deepened and entered upon a yet hotter phase. Meanwhile Mr. Goodnight, Mr. Crayon, and their powerful faction within the party, kept quiet for the time. Mr. Grayson was not yet treading on their toes, but he knew, and his friends knew, that they were watching every motion of his with a hundred eyes. Churchill's _Monitor was constantly coming, laden with suggestion, advice, and warning, and Churchill himself alternately wore a look of importance and disappointment. No one ever made the slightest reference to his wise despatches. He had expected to be insulted, to be persecuted, to be a martyr for duty's sake, and, lo! he was treated always with courtesy, but his great work was ignored; he felt that they must see it, but then they might be too dull to notice its edge and weight. He now drew a certain consolation from his silent suffering, and strengthened himself anew for the task which he felt required a delicate and thoughtful mind.

Harley wrote several times to Sylvia Morgan, both at Boise and at her aunt's home--long, careful letters, in which he strove to confine himself to the purely narrative form, and to make these epistles interesting as documents. He spoke of many odd personal details by the way, and even at the distance of two thousand miles he continued to touch the campaign with the breath of life, although told at second-hand.

The replies came in due time, brief, impersonal, thanking him for his trouble, and giving a little news of Mrs. Grayson, "King" Plummer, and herself. Harley was surprised to see with what terseness, strength, and elegance she expressed herself. "Perhaps there is a force in those mountains which unconsciously teaches simplicity and power," he found himself thinking. He was surprised, too, one day, when he was packing his valise for a hurried start, to see all her letters reposing neatly in one corner of the aforesaid valise. "Now, why have I done that?" he asked; "why have I saved those letters? They take up valuable space; I will destroy them." But when he closed the valise the undamaged letters were still neatly reposing in their allotted corner.

Now the campaign in the East came to its end, and their special train swung westward into the states supposed to be most doubtful--first across the Mississippi, and then across the Missouri. The campaign entered upon a new phase amid new conditions--in a new world, in fact--and it required no intuition for Harley to feel that strange events were approaching.

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CHAPTER VII. HIS GREATEST SPEECHIt was the candidate's eighth speech that day, but Harley, who was in analytical mood, could see no decrease either in his energy or spontaneity of thought and expression. The words still came with the old dash and the old power, and the audience always hung upon them, the applause invariably rising like the rattle of rifle-fire. They had started at daylight, hurrying across the monotonous Western plains, in a dusty and uncomfortable car, stopping for a half-hour speech here, then racing for another at a second little village, and then a third race and a third

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CHAPTER V. "KING" PLUMMERMeanwhile the evening was proving of no less interest to Harley than to Churchill, although in a quite different way. He had noticed, when they parted at the hotel door, the apparent sadness, or, rather, the touch of the pathetic in the manner of Miss Morgan, and he observed it again when they were all reunited at the hotel table. Heretofore she had been light, ironical, and bearing a full share in the talk, but now she merely replied when spoken to directly, and her tone had the tinge of melancholy. Mr. and Mrs. Grayson looked at her