"As regards which?"
"H'm, well, the nominations?"
"Who can tell," ejaculated Mr. O'Meagher. "Who can tell? What is more uncertain, Mr. Ruse, than the action of a nominating convention?"
"To be sure," responded Mr. Ruse. "What, indeed?" Whereupon each statesman looked at the other out of the corners of his eyes.
"There's only one thing I care about," continued Mr. Ruse, "and that is reform. If my successor is a reformer, I shall be satisfied."
"Make yourself easy," replied Mr. O'Meagher. "He'll be a reformer. I've been paying some attention during the last two years to the education of our people in the matter of reform. My success has been flattering. I think I can truthfully say now that Tammany Hall has a reformer ready for every salary paid by the city, and that there's no danger of our stock of reformers giving out as long as the salaries last."
Mr. Ruse hesitated a moment, as if reflecting how he should take these observations. Finally he laughed in a feeble way and said, "Good, yes, very." Then he added, "But, speaking seriously, I do feel that my duty to the public requires me to exert all the influence I have for the protection of reform."
"I feel the same way," said Mr. O'Meagher, "exactly the same way. I'm just boiling over with enthusiasm for reform."
"Then our sympathies and desires are common. Now, if I could feel sure that I ought to run again in the interest of reform—"
"You've done so much already," Mr. O'Meagher hastily put in, "you've sacrificed so heavily that I don't think it would be fair to ask it of you."
"N-no," said the Mayor, dubiously, "I suppose it wouldn't, now, would it?"
"Of course not."
"And yet I don't like to run away from the call, so to speak, of duty."
"Don't be worried about that."
"But I am worried, O'Meagher. I can't help it. By every mail I am receiving hundreds of letters from the best citizens of New-York, urging me to let my name be used. Deputations wait on me constantly with the same request, and, as you know, they are going to hold a mass-meeting to-morrow night, and they threaten to nominate me, whether or no. What can I do? I tell them I don't want to run, that my private business has already suffered by neglect, but they answer imploring me not to desert the cause of reform just when it needs me most. It is very embarrassing."
"Very," said Mr. O'Meagher. "It's astonishing how thoughtless people are. But they wouldn't be so hard on you if they knew how you were fixed."
"That's just it. They don't know, and I don't want to appear selfish."
Mr. O'Meagher coughed, not because he needed to cough, but for want of something better to do.
"The Tammany ticket," Mr. Ruse continued, "will be hotly opposed this year, and I'm bound to say that I don't think it is sufficiently identified with reform. They tell me you are going to nominate Wimples for the Supreme Court. Wimples is a good lawyer, but he has no reform record. Neither has Colonel Bellows, whom you talk of for District-Attorney. McBoodle for Sheriff does not appeal to reformers. Bierbocker for Register might get the German vote, but how could reformers support a common butcher? I don't know whom you think of for my place, but it seems to me that there's only one way to save your ticket from defeat and that is to indorse the candidate for Mayor presented by the citizens' mass-meeting to-morrow night. That would make success certain. The public would praise your noble fidelity to reform, and you'd sweep the city! Think of it, Mr. O'Meagher! What a glorious, what a golden opportunity!"
"My eyes are as wide open as the next man's for golden opportunities, Mr. Ruse," replied Mr. O'Meagher. "But the question is, who will be nominated."
"Well, 'hem! of course I can't definitely say. I'm trying to get them to take some new man. But if they should insist on nominating me, I'm afraid I'd have to—h'm, what—what do you think I'd have to do?"
"Well, being a pious man and a reformer, I should think you'd at least have to pray over it."
The Hon. Perfidius Ruse gave a keen, quick glance at the Hon. Doyle O'Meagher, and slightly frowned.
"I should certainly consider it with care," he said stiffly.
"So should I."
"Is that all you will say?"
"No, I'll say more," and he picked up the sheet of paper on which he had written the names of the Tammany candidates. "Look here," he continued. "This is my list of nominees. The space for the head of the ticket is still blank. I have not told any one whom I mean to present for the Mayoralty, but I will promise you now to insert there the name of the man nominated by your Citizens' meeting to-morrow night."
"Whoever he may be?"
"Whoever he may be."
"And I may rely on that?"
"Did I ever tell you anything you couldn't rely on?"
"All right. Good-by."
They shook hands, and Mr. Ruse departed wearing an expansive smile. As he left the room, Mr. O'Meagher smiled also and picked up his pen. "I may as well fill in the name now," he said softly, "and save time," and with great precision he proceeded to write: "For Mayor, the Hon. Doyle O'Meagher. Assessed in the sum of—" but there he stopped. "We'll consider that later," he said.
The personal history of the Hon. Doyle O'Meagher strikingly proves how slight an influence is exerted in this young republic by social prestige and vulgar wealth, and how inevitably certain are the rewards of virtue, industry, and ability. I am credibly told that Mr. O'Meagher first opened his eyes in a little ten by twelve earth cabin in the County Kerry, Ireland, though I can not profess to have seen the cabin. Being from his earliest youth of a reflective disposition, he became impressed, when but a small lad, with the conviction that thirteen people, three pigs, seven chickens, and five ducks formed too numerous a population for a cabin of those dimensions. In the silent watches of the night, with his head on a duck and a pig on his stomach, he had frequently revolved this idea in his young but apt mind, and at last, though not in any spirit of petulance, he formed the resolution which gave shape and purpose to his later career.
He had communicated to his father his peculiar views about the crowded condition of the cabin.
"Begob, Doyley, me bye," the old man had replied, "Oi've bin thinkin' o' that. Whin the ould sow litters, Doyley, it's sore perplexhed we'll be fer shlapin' room. Divil a wan o' me knows how fer to sarcumvint the throuble widout we takes you, Doyley, an' the young pigs, an' shtrings ye all up o' nights ferninst the wall."
Doyle waited developments with a heavy heart, and when they came and he found that it required all the fingers on both his hands wherewith to calculate their number, he took down his hat, dashed the unbidden tear from his eyes, and made the best of his way to Queenstown.
The opportunity is not here afforded for an extended review of the stages of progress by which Mr. O'Meagher, having landed in New York, finally secured almost a sovereign influence in its municipal affairs, and yet they are too interesting to justify their entire omission. He first won a place in the hearts of the American people by discovering to them his wonderful fistic attainments. From small and unnoted rings, he steadily and grandly rose until the newspapers overflowed with the details of his battles with the eminent Mr. Muldoon, with Four-Fingered Jake, with the Canarsie Bantam, with Billy the Beat, and with other equally distinguished gentlemen of equally portentous titles, and at last none was to be found capable of withstanding the onslaught of the aroused Mr. O'Meagher. When he went forth in dress-array, belts and buckles and chains and plates of gold armored him from head to heel, and diamonds as large as pigeons' eggs blazed resplendently from every available nook and corner all over his muscular expanse.
Mr. O'Meagher's retirement from the ring was rendered inevitable by the fact that no one would enter it with him, and he found himself compelled to employ his talents in other fields of labor. Reduced to this extremity, he resolved to go into politics, and as an earnest of this intention he fitted up a new and gorgeous saloon. It was a novelty in its way, with its tiled floors, its decorated walls, its costly and beautiful paintings, its rare tapestries, its statues in bronze and marble, its heavy, oaken bar, and its pyramid of the finest cut glass—and when he threw it open to the public he celebrated the occasion by formally accepting a Tammany nomination for Congress.
In the halls of the National Legislature, Mr. O'Meagher soon let it be known that he cared not who made the country's laws, so long as a fair proportion of his constituents were supplied with places and pensions, and his aggressive and successful championship of this principle soon won for him a proud position in the councils of his party. He was a friend of the common people, and the commoner the people the friendlier he was, until, having clearly established his claims to leadership, in obedience to the summons of his organization, he gave himself up to the management of its destinies.
It was as the Boss of Tammany Hall that Mr. Doyle O'Meagher's genius attained its largest and highest development. Notwithstanding the opposition of rival factions engaged in bitter competition with Tammany, Mr. O'Meagher contrived to let out the offices at larger commission rates than Tammany had ever received before. Under no previous Boss had Tammany's heelers enjoyed such vast opportunities for "business." It was all in vain that envious and less-gifted bosses sought to undermine and depose him. Steadily and courageously he pursued his policy of reducing the labor of self-government to individual citizens until he had placed their taxes at a maximum and their trouble at a minimum. They had but to pay, Mr. O'Meagher did all the piping and all the dancing too.
He was in capital humor now as he dropped the pen with which he had written his own name as that of the Mayoralty candidate for whom he had finally decided to throw his important influence, and when a boy entered with the information that Major Tuff was below, the Hon. Doyle O'Meagher was actually whistling.
"Tuff," he said. "Good, I'm wanting Tuff. Send Tuff up."
Tuff entered. Tuff's hat was new and high and shiny. Tuff's hair was all aglow with bear's grease. Tuff's eyes were small and snappy. Tuff's nose was flat and wide and snubby. Tuff's cheeks were big and bony. Tuff's cigar was long and black. Tuff's lips were thick and extensive. Tuff's neck was huge and short. Tuff's coat was a heavy blue one that did for an overcoat, too. Tuff wore diamonds as big as his knuckles. Tuff's scarf was red. Tuff's waistcoat was yellow, and every color known to the spectroscope was employed to make up Tuff's copious trousers.
"Well," said Tuff, "I'm on deck."
"Thank you, Major. How are things looking?"
"Dey couldn't be better. I got t'irty-six tenement houses wid at leas' two hundered woters to de house. Dey's two t'ousan' Eyetalians, five hunered niggers, more'n a t'ousan' Poles, and de res' is all kinds. An' every dern one of em's eddicated!"
"Educated! Really, you don't mean it?"
"Eddicated! You kin betcher boots. De performin' dogs in the circus aint a patch to dem free and intelligent Amerikin citerzens. I got 'em trained so dat at de menshun of de word 'reform' dey all busts out in one gran' roar er ent'oosiasm. I had eight hunered of 'em a-practisin' in de assembly rooms over Paddy Coogan's saloon las' night. I tole 'em de louder dey yelled when I said de word 'reform' de more beer dey'd get w'en de lectur was done. Some of 'em was disposed ter stick out for de beer fust, an' said dey could do deir bes' shoutin' w'en dey was loaded. But my princerple is work fust, den go ter de cashier. So I made 'em a speech.
"I sez: 'Feller-citerzens: Dis is de lan' er de free an' de home er de brav,' an' den I give a motion wot means 'stamp de feet.' Dey all stamped like dey was clog-dancers. Den I cleared me t'roat an' perceeded: 'Dis is de haven of de oppressed, de pore an' de unforchernit from all shores.' I give de signal wot means cheers, an' dey yelled for two minits. 'Dis is our berloved Ameriky!' sez I, 'where no tyrant's heel is ever knowed,' sez I, 'where all men is ekal,' sez I, 'an' where we, feller-citerzens, un'er de gallorious banner of REFORM—' an' at dat word, dey all jes' got up on deir feet an' stamped, an' yelled, an' waved deir hats an' coats till you'd er t'ought dey was a Legislatur' of lunatics. Oh, I got 'em in good shape—doncher bodder about me."
"Ahem," said Mr. O'Meagher thoughtfully, as he cracked his finger-joints and puffed on his cigar. "You've done well, Tuff, excellent. Ah, Tuff, there's going to be a meeting in the Cooper Union to-morrow night. The people that are getting it up—er, well, I'm afraid they're not very friendly to me, Tuff. The doors open at seven. Now, do you think the proceedings would be interesting enough to your friends for them to attend in such numbers as will fill the hall, Tuff?"
"Say no more, Mr. O'Meagher, dey'll be dere."
"In large numbers, Tuff?"
"Dey'll jam de hall."
"By half-past six."
"Good. I think you'll find the policemen on duty there very good fellows. You might see me to-morrow morning, Tuff, and I'll have something for you."
THE HON. DOYLE O'MEAGHER.
All bedecked with light and all ablaze with color, the Cooper Union was fast filling up with the friends of Reform. So enormous had the crowds in Astor Place become that, although the hour was early, Colonel Sneekins had wisely concluded to wait no longer, but at once to let them in. They poured through the wide doorways in abundant streams, while Colonel Sneekins led the superb brass band of the 7th Regiment, done up in startling uniforms and carrying along with it a tremendous battery of horns and drums, to its place in the gallery.
Colonel Machiavelli Sneekins sustained an important relation to the Reform movement, and at this Grand Rally of Non-Partisan Citizens in the Interest of Reform, he had, with great propriety, selected himself to be Master of Ceremonies. Colonel Sneekins was a non-partisan citizen. He looked upon partisanship as the curse of the Republic, and in his more enthusiastic moments had declared that if he could have his way about it, any man so hopelessly dead to the nobler impulses of the human heart as to confess himself a partisan should be declared guilty of a felony and confined for a proper period of years at hard labor. What the country called for, according to Colonel Sneekins, was Reform. The first step in bringing about the triumph of Reform was to put all the offices in the hands of Reformers. If the public wished to intoxicate its eyes with the spectacle of the kind of men who would then administer the Government, it had but to look upon him. He was a Reformer. As a Reformer he was in possession of a lucrative municipal office, wherein he was mightily prospering, and which for the honor and glory of Reform he was willing to retain.
Colonel Sneekins was the leading spirit of this citizens' movement. He had prepared the call of the meeting. He had obtained the 1500 signatures now appended to it, representing estimable business men who, in observing that useful maxim of trade, "We strive to please," esteemed it one of their functions to sign all the petitions that came along. Colonel Sneekins had hired the hall and the band; had made up from the City Directory a formidable list of Vice-Presidents and Secretaries; had secured the orators, and finally had arranged for the attendance of a sufficient audience. In perfecting these details he had had the valuable assistance of other distinguished Reformers and non-partisan citizens. Editor Hacker, of The New York Daily Sting, had boomed the movement with great zeal and effectiveness. General Divvy, the ex-Governor of South Carolina, who had grown wealthy reforming that State and had thereafter naturally come to be regarded as an authority on all matters connected with reform, had written an earnest letter commending the rally as one of the most important steps that had ever been taken in the direction of pure and frugal government. The Rev. Dr. Lillipad Froth, from his pulpit in the Memorial Church of the Sacred Vanities, had taken occasion to say that great results to the community might be expected from the success of this patriotic enterprise, and ex-Congressman Van Shyster, being interviewed by a reporter of The Sting, after expressing his unqualified opinion that all political parties were utterly corrupt and abandoned, whereof his opportunity of judging had certainly been excellent, since he had suffered numerous defeats as the candidate of each of them successively, emphatically declared that he saw no hope for the city except in the cause this meeting was called to foster.
No definite purpose had been expressed in the published call as to what should be done at the Rally, but Colonel Sneekins's plans were fully matured. The Hon. Doyle O'Meagher, the Boss of Tammany Hall, had promised that his organization should indorse for the office of Mayor the nominee presented by the Reformers. As to the identity of their candidate there was but one mind among the Reformers. Who should he be but that champion of Reform, the Hon. Perfidius Ruse? Mr. Ruse was not an experiment. He had already served as the City's Chief Magistrate, and had filled many remunerative offices with Reformers. Being of a modest and retiring disposition, he was now holding aloof from the honors sought to be thrust upon him. He had begged his friends to take some new candidate, he had pleaded his well-known dislike of office and the pressing demands of his private affairs. But, nevertheless, zealous as he was in the Reform cause, he had consented to furnish a delegation of 500 citizens from his morocco factories in Hoboken to swell the Grand Rally in the Cooper Union, and had given his friend, Colonel Sneekins, an ample check wherewith to procure portraits and pamphlets presenting to the public the features and the services of the Hon. Perfidius Ruse. It was Colonel Sneekins's intention totally to disregard Mr. Ruse's plea for rest from official cares, and as he now from behind the wings contemplated the great crowd that was surging into the Cooper Union, he rubbed his hands and gleamed his teeth with such intensity of emotion that the Rev. Dr. Lillipad Froth, who was standing near by, felt his flesh a-creeping.
It was certainly an extraordinary crowd. It had assembled almost in an instant. Scarcely had the policemen taken their places at the doors of the Cooper Union when a bulky, variegated young man stepped up to one of them.
"Hello!" he said.
"Hello, Meejor," responded the officer.
"When'll yer open de door?"
"Air ye wantin' t' git in, Meejor?"
"Doncher know I got a gang to-night?"
"So ye have, Meejor, so ye have. Oi was hearin' about it, av coorse. It's the Tim Tuff Assowseashun, aint it?"
"Now, looker yere!" said Tuff sharply, "Aincher got no orders 'bout dis meetin'?"
"Oi have that, Meejor. Oi was towld that you an' some friends av yourn moight be a-wantin' seats, an' Oi was ter see that ye got 'em."
"Dat's all right, den. Me an' my frien's 'll be along in about ten minutes, an' dey'll be enough of us ter fill de hall, an' dere's one t'ing yer wants ter keep in yer head, and dat's dis—ef me an' my frien's don't get a chance ter jam dis house before anybody else is 'lowed inside de door, de Hon'able Doyle O'Meagher 'll be wantin' ter know de reason why!"
Having thus delivered himself Tuff sauntered down the Bowery, and presently from all points of the compass a tremendous rabble began to pour into Astor Place and to mass itself in front of the Cooper Union. Tuff himself reappeared in a few moments, and when Colonel Sneekins gave the signal for the doors to be opened Tuff and his friends took easy and complete possession of the house.
Meanwhile the Hon. Perfidius Ruse stood in a little room at the rear of the stage receiving the invited guests of the occasion. Mr. Pickles, the well-known Broome Street grocer, assumed a look of intense morality and importance, as the Mayor asked him how he did and expressed his gratification at seeing the honored name of Pickles—a power in the commercial world—enrolled among the friends of reform. The appearance of General Divvy put the Mayor in quite a flutter, and when the General told him that he positively must consent to run again, and that he was the only hope of the Reformers, the Mayor was much affected.
"I fear I am," he replied, with a mournful shake of the head, as much as to say what a commentary that was on the absence of virtue in public life.
Editor Hacker was equally earnest in his appeals. He said the Mayor must come right out, and referred to a conversation he had had with the President only last week, in which the President had confidentially said he was as much in favor of Reform as ever. Dr. Punk, who stands at the very head of the medical profession, informed the Rev. Lillipad Froth that it was his deliberate opinion, should Mr. Ruse desert them in this crisis, all would be over. Something like dismay was created by the ominous remark of ex-Congressman Van Shyster that others might do as they pleased, but as for him, his mind was made up. At this critical juncture the Hon. Erastus Spiggott, the orator of the evening, opportunely arrived, and upon being told that Mr. Ruse was still hesitating, he boldly declared that the only thing to do was to take the bull by the horns. Fired by the cheers elicited by this observation, he proceeded to say that the occasion which had brought together the large and representative body of citizens assembled in the hall beyond, and waiting only for the opportunity to indorse the wise and safe and honorable administration of Mayor Ruse (loud cheers) and to place him again in nomination, would live in history. (Cries of "good! good!") That vast and intelligent audience was not there to record the edict of corrupt and selfish bosses, but as thoughtful, independent, and patriotic citizens, free from the shackles of partisanship (loud applause), they had come together to promote the honor and the prosperity of this imperial metropolis.
Mr. Spiggott was entirely satisfied that among them there was no division of sentiment as to the course that should be pursued to secure this noble end. They knew as well as he, as well as any of the gentlemen about him now, that the Reform cause stood in peril of but one misfortune—the retirement of the great, unselfish, popular, and devoted man who had already led the Reformers to victory. (Rapturous applause.) He did not fail to appreciate the modesty that led Mr. Ruse to undervalue his magnificent services to the city. He could well understand his (Mr. Ruse's) desire to return to his counting-room and his fireside free of the burdens and anxieties incident to a great trust. But—and here Mr. Spiggott's bosom swelled and his eyes flashed with a noble fire—he was not here to-night to consider Mr. Ruse's feelings and wishes; he was here, as they all were, in the discharge of a public duty. (Cheers.) That duty required of Mr. Ruse an act of self-sacrifice. He must accept the nomination. He could not, he would not dare desert the Banner of Reform. (Cheers.)
Mr. Spiggott paused, wiped his brow and his eyeglasses, and continued. He might say in this small and select company of Reformers what it might be imprudent to assert later in the evening, when he came to address the great assembly in the outer hall, that the outcome of this meeting was being keenly watched by the spoilsmen. They were a cunning and sagacious lot. The one thing they most dreaded was the very thing this meeting was going to do. He had the best reasons for knowing that Boss O'Meagher mightily desired to nominate a candidate of his own at the Tammany Hall convention. Who had been selected by this unprincipled partisan, this arrogant and odious dictator (loud and long applause), he did not know. But he was certain to be a partisan, a spoilsman, a tool of Tammany Hall and its corrupt boss. Mr. Ruse's nomination to-night would deal a deadly blow to that plot. Tammany Hall would not dare risk the defeat of its entire ticket by nominating a candidate against the Hon. Perfidius Ruse. (Immense enthusiasm.) Indeed, Mr. Spiggott had reason to believe that Boss O'Meagher, cunning trickster that he was, would seek to avail himself of Mr Ruse's popularity and would indorse the nominee of this meeting. Under these circumstances it was folly to think of permitting Mr. Ruse to retire. (Cheers.) It could not be done.
Mr. Ruse was deeply affected by these remarks, and at their conclusion he touched his handkerchief to his eyes and said he did not think it would be right for him to resist any longer. Thereupon Colonel Sneekins, in a tone of voice that highly distressed the nerves of the Rev. Lillipad Froth, cried out "Hurrah!" and forthwith led the way from the little dressing-room in which they were assembled out upon the stage.
The Reformers had been so busy bolstering up the shrinking nature of Mr. Ruse that they had given small heed to the enormous concourse of citizens in the hall. Indeed, Colonel Sneekins, having ascertained that it would be sufficient in point of numbers for the purposes of a "grand rally," had not bestowed a further thought upon it, so that when he and his vice-presidents and his distinguished guests finally got upon the stage and began to look about them, the spectacle that met their eyes was as unexpected as it was bewildering. From the reporters' tables to the remotest recesses of the gallery the hall was packed tight with a motley mob, in which the element of born cut-throats largely predominated. It was the kind of crowd that could only have been gathered from the three-cent lodging-houses in Chatham Street. A dense volume of tobacco smoke, produced from pipes and demoralized cigar-stumps, choked the room. The evening being rather warm, all surplus clothing had been disposed of, and so far as could be observed through the hazy atmosphere, the audience was attired only in shirts. In one sense it was a highly representative audience. It represented every nation and every clime on the face of the earth. Had it been selected for the purpose of showing the cosmopolitan character of the population in the tenement-house district surrounding Chatham Square, it could not have been more picturesque. Bristle-bearded Russians and Poles, heavy-bearded Italians, dark-visaged Hungarians, and every other manner of unwashed man had been drawn into this Grand Rally of Non-Partisan Citizens in the Interest of Reform.
Colonel Sneekins looked aghast at General Divvy, and whispered hoarsely, "There's been a mistake!" Drawing Mr. Spiggott, Editor Hacker, and ex-Congressman Van Shyster about them, a hurried consultation took place. It was quickly decided that retreat was now impossible and that the meeting must go on. They were assisted in coming to this conclusion by the chorus of lively and altogether friendly apostrophes that came from the audience in cries of "Wot's de matter wid Reform? Oh, it's all right!"
"Let's go right ahead," said Editor Hacker. "This is a democracy, and it is not for us to assume that even the humblest citizen lacks lofty aspirations."
Colonel Sneekins thereupon advanced to the footlights, and was greatly reassured by the hearty applause which his appearance evoked.
"Gentlemen!" he said, and immediately a storm of cheers arose, delaying for several minutes his further utterance. "It affords me pleasure to propose as your chairman to-night the Hon. Cockles V. Divvy."
General Divvy came forward, and as he bowed and smiled in answer to the wild welcome he received, the band played a few bars from "Captain Jinks." When quiet had been restored, the General said that this was the proudest moment of his life. He should not venture, however, to make a speech. The occasion was one that called for a power of eloquence he could never hope to attain. (Cheers.) He would, however, advert for one brief moment (more cheers) to the significance of this great assembly. He was rejoiced to see so representative a gathering of intelligent citizens, drawn from every walk of life, brought here to consider how best to fix and establish upon the government of the city the great principle of Reform!
The roar of applause that greeted this declaration was simply deafening. For full five minutes the audience cheered and shouted, while Sneekins opened his lips and gleamed his teeth with such vigor as to compel the Rev. Dr. Lillipad Froth to take a more distant chair.
General Divvy called upon Editor Hacker to read the resolutions, which Mr. Hacker, having procured them from Mr. Ruse a moment before, at once proceeded to do. The first resolution, being a declaration in favor of Reform, was instantly carried. The second, which indorsed Major Ruse's administration, was likewise put through with entire unanimity. The third declared that this meeting of non-partisan citizens, anxious to continue to the city the unexampled prosperity it had enjoyed for the past two years, hereby placed in nomination for a second term the Hon. Perfidius Ruse; whereupon, to the horror and dismay of the Reformers, from all parts of the hall came a deafening roar of protesting "noes!"
In an instant confusion and uproar possessed the house. General Divvy pounded the desk before him frantically and screamed for order until he was black in the face. Above all the din arose the shrill shout of Colonel Sneekins, as he called upon the police to clear the room. In the body of the house men were shaking their fists and waving their hats and coats, and calling, "O'Meagher! O'Meagher! 'Rah fer O'Meagher!" So unbounded was their enthusiasm for O'Meagher, so unanimous and determined were they to listen to nothing but O'Meagher, and so fierce and bloodthirsty did their devotion to O'Meagher appear to make them, that General Divvy, warned by the sudden contact of a projected cabbage with his mallet, ceased at once to hammer and picked up his hat and coat. The Reformers about him accepted this as the signal of retreat, and they fled precipitately through the door at the rear of the stage. Of them all only four tarried in the wings, Ruse, Sneekins, Divvy, and Hacker; and as they grasped each other's hands in sorrow and sympathy, they saw the stalwart figure of Major Tuff mount the stage. Immediately the hall was quiet.
"Gents!" said Tuff. "Fer reasons dat I don't see an' derefore can't explain, our leaders 'pear ter hev deserted us and ter hev left dis gran' rally of non-partisan citizens in de int'rust of Reform (cheers) in de lurch. Dis is werry unforchernit, but we, as Reformers, must hump ourselves ter meet de crisis. I nomernate fer Mayor of New York de Hon. Doyle O'Meagher! Long may he wave!"
A cyclone of cheers swept the hall, and as it echoed and re-echoed around them, the four stranded Reformers betook themselves away. "O'Meagher said he would accept the nominee of this meeting as the candidate of Tammany Hall," said Mr. Ruse sadly, "and I guess he'll keep his word."
Bright and gay was the smile of Mr. Juniper Gallivant. Merry and artless was the flash of his bright blue eyes. Brisk and chipper was the step at which his dainty feet bore him along Broadway. Warm and impulsive was the grasp of his hand.
Mr. Gallivant was a young man, surely not over forty. He was a little fellow with just the slightest perceptible tendency toward stoutness. He could say more words in a minute than any other man in New York, and he, at least, always believed what he said.
Most men, I suppose, believe in themselves, and largely for the reason that most men are but superficially acquainted with themselves. But Mr. Gallivant had been on terms of long and ardent intimacy with himself, and the implicit trust he placed in his own words was therefore as surprising as it was beautiful.
Mr. Gallivant was born a gentleman and educated a lawyer. He had an office in the Equitable Building, and, during his periods of ill-luck, a large and paying clientage. For it was only when luck was against him that he consented to practice at his profession. When it was known that he was in distressed circumstances, clients flocked to him in large numbers. Other less eloquent attorneys retained him to try their cases for them. He had business in plenty.
But when fortune favored him, Mr. Gallivant didn't bother with musty old law books. Not much. He spent all his time spending his money. He had the most novel and ingenious ideas on the subject of loafing. He loafed scientifically, and with great enthusiasm. He put his soul into it, and when Mr. Gallivant's soul got into anything it straightway began to hum. Mr. Gallivant's soul was in many respects similar to a Corliss engine.
Just now, Mr. Gallivant was in very poor circumstances—a condition of things all the more hardly felt because it succeeded, and succeeded suddenly, upon a period of bewildering prosperity. Early in the year 1888 it was observed that Mr. Gallivant's dark red mustaches were curling away at the ends with a lightness and vivacity that they only displayed when things were going well. The quality of the curl in the ends of his mustaches invariably indicated to his friends the state of the market. They could tell exactly whether stocks were up or down and how much so. The sensitive rhododendron is not more surely responsive to the temperature of its environment than was the curl in Mr. Gallivant's mustaches to the tale of the ticker.
In no other way, mark you, did he reveal his interest in the Street and its doings. By not a single quaver was the cheeriness of his snatchy, racy, merry voice affected. By not the fraction of an inch nor a second was his gay little trot altered. But when the ends of his mustache stood out straight, his friends, no matter how slight was their acquaintance with financial matters, knew they were safe in concluding that the country was going to the dogs, while, on the other hand, when those same mustaches finished off in a sprightly little twist, the fact that we were living under a wise and beneficent dispensation was too clear for argument.
Early in 1888, as I said before, Mr. Gallivant's mustaches began to curl. They became elastic. They twisted themselves this way and that in graceful good-humor. They twined themselves lovingly about his nose and danced in constant ecstasy. Mr. Gallivant's office in the Equitable Building saw less and less of him. He left his lodgings in Harlem and took a suite of large and beautiful apartments in a fashionable hotel. Every afternoon he drove a pair of superb black horses over the Boulevard and through the Park. All his friends were happy. They asked and it was given them. He lavished diamond buttons and scarf-pins among them as if he were a prince and they were pugilists. He got up a party and made a palace-car excursion to the Yellowstone Park. He purchased a stock-farm in California. He hired a steam yacht and cruised in the Baltic. From the middle of March until the end of September he used the world as if it were his.
But then, a change came o'er the spirit of his red mustaches. They ceased to sport about his nose. They were distinctly less playful than they had been, and by degrees they became positively stiff. In the mean time, Mr. Gallivant had returned to his law office. He had also gone back to live in Harlem, and one night last December he shut himself in his room—a hall bed-chamber on the third floor, rear—sat himself upon the only chair at hand, stretched his legs in front of him, thrust his hands in his pockets, and murmured:
"I feel curiously like writing an essay on the 'Vanity of Human Wishes'!
"Let me see, let me see," he continued in a ruminating tone, "what's to be done?"
He ran his hands through his pockets and produced a handful of change. Inspired by this success he rose and went to the closet and continued his search through a choice collection of coats, waistcoats, and trowsers that hung upon its hooks. "Nine dollars and seventy-six cents!" he said, when he had counted the proceeds of his investigation. "Well, I've had a great variety of ups and downs in my short but checkered career, but I never thought the sum total of my cash assets would be expressed in nine dollars and seventy-six cents! After all, life is but an insubstantial pageant, so I think I'll take a pony of brandy and go to bed."
The next day Mr. Gallivant was at his office bright and early. His face shone with its perennial radiance, but his mustache told a cheerless tale. Mr. Gallivant had a number of principles. That which led all the rest was his steadfast refusal to borrow money. He sat down to the contemplation of ways and means, therefore, without the usual recourse taken by impecunious gentlemen with a large circle of wealthy acquaintances to relieve temporary embarrassments. He drew his check-book from his desk and made a careful calculation. "There's the judgment and costs in the Gauber case," he said, "the interest of Robbins's mortgage, the $3000 paid to settle Riker vs. Buckmaster, and the money Hunt paid my client Frabsley. Deduct these from my balance in bank, and I have left of my own money the munificent sum of $2.17. There's no way out of it—I must draw on Thwicket!"
It must be owned that in the privacy of his office this conclusion brought something very like a frown upon Mr. Gallivant's brow. "It'll ruin me!" he said. "It'll show Thwicket that I'm as dry as Mother Hubbard's pantry, and when a man loses credit with his broker he might as well shut up shop. But, gad! there's no other way. I must have that balance, positively must, can't wait an hour longer. I've got $380 with Thwicket—$380, all that remains of—well never mind, there's no use grumbling over what's gone. I had a royal good time while it lasted, so I'll just think of the good time and not of what it took to get it. But that $380! H'm, I'll step down and see Thwicket!"
Mr. Gallivant slid into his overcoat, prinked up his scarlet tie, and walked breezily into Wall Street. He chanced to meet Thwicket on the street, and they greeted each other effusively.
"Where under the sun have you been for the last month or so?" exclaimed the broker. "I haven't seen a thing of you."
"Oh, I've been around," answered Mr. Gallivant, with a general wave of the hand.
Mr. Thwicket's face assumed a reproachful look.
"Oh, no," said Gallivant, responsively, "I haven't been doing business with anybody else. Fact is, old fellow, I think I've got a bit flustered. I don't seem able to get the hang of the market. Gad, I've lost a whole fortune since September—must have lost every dollar of a hundred thousand. Now I can't go on like that forever, you know. I give you my word of honor I couldn't stand another such loss. It would put me in a hole."
"Nonsense!" said Thwicket; "come, walk down to the office and we'll talk it over. By the way, where are you living now? I dropped in at your hotel and they said you'd given up your rooms and gone into the country. Queer time o' year to go to the country?"
"Um—well, dunno 'bout that. Found my rooms stuffy. Like country, sleighing, skating, ice yachting, don't you know. Fine air, healthy. Think I'll buy a place up the Hudson. Fact is, negotiating now."
"Really? How's your stock farm?"
"Oh, sold it long 'go. Got tired of it. Can't play with one toy forever, you know. How's the market?"
"It looks to me a little queer to-day," replied the broker.
"That's it! That's what I say. That's the reason I haven't been in lately. Found I was getting rattled. More I figured, further away I got from real conditions."
"It's time to try again."
"H'm; not so sure."
"Luck must change."
"Oh, I'm certain."
"How's Hollyoke Central selling?"
"It closed yesterday at 86-3/4."
"Good time to buy."
"I doubt that, Mr. Gallivant. It seems to be slowly going the wrong way for buying. But you might sell to advantage."
"There, now, that shows you. I tell you I'm rattled. You see, the very first thing I suggest you discourage. Think I'd better hold off."
They had now reached the broker's office, in which Mr. Gallivant was presently ensconced at ease.
"You are right," said Thwicket, handing out a case of cigars, "in saying that the market is queer. Something very curious has got hold of it. As you know, I avoid giving advice to my customers, and I'm not going to advise you; but if you will notice the state of affairs with regard to Snapshot Consolidated, you will see something that ought to make you open your eyes."
"What is it?"
"Didn't you read the market reports in this morning's papers?"
"Haven't looked at a market report for three weeks."
"I guess that explains why you don't understand the situation, then. Well, Snapshot Consolidated opened at 42. At about noon it began to mount, and it rose peg by peg till it closed at 57-1/2. Now, what do you think of that?"
"I think it's a warning for discreet men like me to keep away from Snapshot. I have no overweening desire to monkey with Mr. Gould, Thwicket." Mr. Gallivant jingled the remnant of six or seven dollars in his pocket and softly added, "He has more money than I."
"You're your own best judge, of course. But if that stock opens this morning above the point at which it closed last night, there's going to be more fun to-day in Wall Street than we've had for many a year. It looks to me like a rock-ribbed corner."
Mr. Juniper Gallivant bowed his head as if in deep reflection. As a matter of fact, he was fermenting with excitement. He looked at his watch. It was within fifteen minutes of the time for the Exchange to open. "A corner!" he softly exclaimed to himself. "A corner, ye gods! and my balance in the Chemical Bank is $2.17. A corner, and I not in it!"
Mr. Gallivant's fingers began to itch viciously, and the perspiration broke out copiously under his thick red hair. By a great struggle he managed to suppress all outward signs of his emotion, while he continued to commune with his own mind. "It's no use," he thought. "I must give up all idea of laying in with a corner when I haven't got money enough to set up a decent champagne supper. No, I must draw that $380, and the question is, how to do it and keep my credit good. Ha! an idea strikes me!" He turned quietly to the broker and said aloud: "Give me a pen, Thwicket!"
He took a blank check from his pocket-book—a check on the Chemical Bank, wherein $2.17 reposed peacefully to his credit.
"I don't think you have very much money of mine here, Thwicket?" he continued, as he slowly wrote the date-line in the check.
"Don't think we have. Robert, what is Mr. Gallivant's balance?"
The clerk turned over his ledger and presently replied: "Mr. Gallivant has a credit of $382.22."
"I don't think we'll bother with Snapshot Consolidated, Thwicket. Truth is, I'm afraid of it. My wits haven't been working right here lately. But I'll just give you a check for $20,000, and you can buy me a nice little block of Michigan Border—say a hundred shares, just to see how the cat jumps, you know."
Thwicket took the check, but with a troubled air. "My dear Gallivant," he said, "why do a thing like that? I'm very glad to have another order from you, but I don't want to see a valuable customer like you lose any more money. Michigan Border was doing very well a month ago, but it is declining now, and for good reasons. Let's take a flyer in Snapshot!"
"Hand me that check!" said Mr. Gallivant in a most decisive tone and with a profoundly irritated air. "Hand it back, Thwicket! Hand it right over, and draw me a check for my balance of $382.22. I'm going to cut the d—d Gordian knot and get out of this! No use talking, my head's all bemuddled. 'F I was to go into the Street to-day I'd lose my whole fortune. Now, don't argue with me, old man, I'm out of sorts, and the best thing for me to do is to stop right short till I get clear-headed again. Draw me that check. Let me have every penny I've got on your books. I'm going up to my place in the country and spend a month reading Greek plays. If anything 'll calm me, that will."
The broker looked vastly disappointed, but smiled consentingly. He returned the $20,000 check, which Mr. Gallivant tore to pieces with a great show of nervousness and irritation, and in another moment, possessed of his precious $382.22, he departed gloomily.
But a long and cheery smile, that reached nearly to the tips of his mustache and almost sufficed to give them a faint curl, spread itself over his face as he turned from Wall Street into Broadway. He caressed the check with his fingers and softly observed, "H'm, I flatter myself that was well done. I have the money, and Thwicket has an abiding confidence in my wealth,—but oh, ye gods! what would I give to be able to put my fine Italian hand into that Snapshot corner!"
Mr. Gallivant returned to his office and endeavored to fasten his attention upon the records of a title search prepared by his clerk, but he found himself ever going over the figures, 57-1/2, 57-1/2, 57-1/2.
"Heavens!" he said presently, "I can't stand this any longer. I must see the ticker. I must find out how it opened to-day. Gad, I'll go crazy if I sit here all day mumbling '57-1/2!'"
He started up and had half put on his coat, when the office door was flung open and Thwicket rushed in breathless.
"Seventy-two," he shouted wildly. "Opened at sixty-five! Leaped right up to 68, then to 70, then to 72. Now's your chance, old man. Say the word and say it quick. Never mind about the $20,000. We'll settle up when the day is over, and every second you lose now will cost you hundreds of dollars. It's sure to go to 160. Don't keep me waiting—say the word?"
Mr. Gallivant jammed his hands deep into his pockets to prevent their betraying his excitement, and hemmed and hawed.
"Do you really think it's worth while, Thwicket!"
"Great guns, man! You make me—"
"Now, don't be nervous, Thwicket. When I trust a man to spend my money for me I want him cool and calm."
"But you're losing valuable time! It's jumping up every minute. The Exchange has gone wild! Everybody's in a furor. You can make a mint if you go right in."
"All right, drive ahead. But use judgment, Thwicket. Remember I don't want to invest more than $20,000, and you should preserve your equanim—"
But Thwicket was gone, and when the door closed behind him Mr. Gallivant gave a leap from the floor where he stood to the sofa eight feet away! Then he leaped back. Then he picked up a pair of dumb-bells and swung them fiercely at the imminent risk of his head and the furniture of the room. Then finally he drew from his desk a bottle of brandy and took a long, strong pull.
"Ah," he said, smacking his lips, "now I'll get ready and go to the street and watch the tumult."
Disposing, as soon as he could, of the correspondence on his desk, he presently made his way to Thwicket's office. The broker was still at the Stock Exchange. He grabbed at the tapes and looked for Snapshot. There was nothing on them but Snapshot. "Snap. Col. 93," "Snap. Col. 96-3/8," "Snap. Col."—even as he stood by the ticker and watched the machine roll out its stream of white paper—"Snap. Col. 108!"
Mr. Gallivant's eyes blurred. He felt queer in his knees. The perspiration broke out fiercely all over his plump little body. "Why the mischief doesn't Thwicket come in?" he murmured. "Why don't he sell and get out of this? Ten, twenty, thirty—great guns! I've made $50,000 already! It can't go on like this much longer. It'll break in half an hour, 'gad, I know it will—I feel it in my bones! If Thwicket doesn't sell inside of thirty minutes I'm a goner, and what's worse, he'll be a goner with me! What's this! 117! By the great horn spoon, I must get hold of Thwicket! Thwicket! Thwicket! My kingdom for Thwicket!"
Mr. Gallivant dropped the tapes and rushed frantically into the street and across to the entrance of the Exchange. He dispatched a messenger across the floor to find his broker, but who could find which in that tumultuous mob? The Exchange floor was crowded with a crazy body of yelling men, their faces boiled into crimson, their eyes glowing with a fierce fire, their hats banged out of shape, their coats in many cases torn into shreds, jostling, tumbling, jumping, stretching all over each other in riotous confusion. Fat men were being squeezed into pancakes, little men were being covered out of sight, tall men were being clambered upon as if their manifest destiny were to serve as poles, and every man of them, big, short, thin, fat, lank, and heavy, was flourishing his arms in the air and howling at the top of his voice!
Mr. Gallivant's messenger returned in a few moments with the report that Mr. Thwicket could not be found. Quivering with excitement, Mr. Gallivant started forth in further search. At the door of the Exchange he met his office-boy, who told him the broker was searching for him high and low—had been at the office and was now in the Savarin cafe. Thither Mr. Gallivant rushed as fast as his legs could carry him, only to learn that Thwicket had just gone out asking every man he met if he had seen Gallivant. The lawyer was in despair. He glanced at the ticker—"Snap. Col. 134-1/2!"
"Heavens!" he shrieked, "will nobody seize that crazy Thwicket and hold him till I come!"
He ran at full speed to the broker's office. Thwicket had left two minutes before, having learned that Gallivant was at the Savarin. He turned around again and started once more to dash forth, when he saw the broker coming along in reckless haste.
In an instant Mr. Gallivant was all repose—all serenity and ease. He dropped quietly into a chair and picked up the morning paper. In rushed Thwicket, disheveled, frantic, breathless.
"At last!" he cried. "It's 136. It'll break in another ten minutes! Hadn't I better get from under?"
"Still excited, Thwicket?" answered Mr. Gallivant reproachfully. "My dear boy, I'm afraid you've not got a proper hold upon yourself. Yes, probably you'd better unload. Perhaps now's as good a moment as any. But be—"
Thwicket did not wait for the rest. He fled. When he returned half an hour later his face was radiant, but his collar wilted. "Sold!" he cried, "at 148, and busted at 152!"
By a quick, spontaneous motion, Mr. Gallivant's mustaches drew themselves in a loving curl around his nose, but for the rest he was merely cheery—gently cheery—as he always was.
"You've done very well, Thwicket," he said commendingly. "You've quite justified my confidence. You're a knowing fellow, and I'll—er—what's the proceeds?"
"A hundred and thirteen thousand—rather a fair day's work."
"That it is. Send around your check for the hundred, and let the thirteen stay on account. By-by, I'll see you again in a day or two."
Mr. Gallivant walked out into the street upon his usual ramble. "Strikes me," he said musingly, "that I ought to do something handsome for Thwicket now—I really ought. My profit is $113,000. I doubt if his will reach even $500. That doesn't look quite fair, seeing that he did the business all on his own money. The deuce of it is, though, that it's demoralizing to make presents to your brokers. After all, business is business!"
With the circumstances that brought Tulitz into trouble we have nothing to do. Indeed, whatever I may have known about them once I have long ago forgotten. I seem to remember, but very vaguely, that he stabbed somebody, though, at the same time, I find in my memory an impression that he forged somebody's name. This I distinctly recall, that the amount of bail in which he was held was $5000—a circumstance strongly confirmatory of the notion that his assault was upon life and not upon property. In this excellent country, where property rights are guarded with great zeal and care, and the surplus population is large, we charge more for the liberty of forgers than of murderers. Had Tulitz committed forgery, his bail bond would scarcely have been less than $10,000. Since, beyond all question, it was only $5000, I think I must be right in the idea that he stabbed a man.
It was in default of that sum, $5000, that Tulitz, commonly called the Baron Tulitz, alias d'Ercevenne, commonly called the Marquis d'Ercevenne, was committed to the Tombs Prison to await the action of the Grand Jury. At this time Tulitz—I call him Tulitz without intending any partiality for that name over the alias of d'Ercevenne, but merely because Tulitz is a shorter word to write. I doubt if he had any preference between them himself, except in the way of business. He was just as likely, other things being equal, to present his card bearing the words "M. le Marquis d'Ercevenne," as his other card with the words upon it "Freiherr von Tulitz." It has been remarked frequently that when he was the Baron his tone and manner were exceedingly French, while when he was the Marquis he spoke with a distinct German accent. None of his acquaintances was able to account for this.
But as I was saying, when Tulitz was sent to the Tombs he was in hard luck. Formerly he had whipped the social trout-stream with great success. As the Marquis he had composed some pretty odes, had led the German at Mrs. de Folly's assembly, had driven to Hempstead with the Coaching Club, and had been seen in Mrs. Castor's box at the opera. As the Baron Tulitz, he had attended the races, and had been a frequenter of all the great gaming resorts. The newspapers called him a "plunger," and a story went the rounds, in which he was represented to have wrecked a pool-seller, who thereupon committed suicide. The Baron always denied this story, which the Marquis often repeated. Indeed the Marquis was often quoted to the Baron as an authority for it.
But the tide had turned, and now Tulitz was on his back with never a friend to help him. "Fi' t'ousan' tollaire!" he exclaimed, as the Justice fixed his bail, blending both his French and his German accent with strict impartiality, "V'y you not make him den, dwenty, a huntret t'ousandt!"
A penniless prisoner in the Tombs is not an object of much consideration, as Tulitz discovered to his profound disgust. For two days he paced his cell with the restless, incessant tread of a caged hyena. He disdainfully rejected the beef soup, the hunk of bread and the black coffee served to him more or less frequently, and for two days and nights he neither ate nor spoke. The Tombs cells are built of thick stone, entered through a heavy iron door, that is provided with a small grating. Tulitz's cell was on the second tier. Around this tier extends a narrow gallery, along which the guard walks every now and then, to see that all is as it should be. The guard annoyed Tulitz. Every time he passed he would peer in and give a sort of grunt. This became painfully exasperating to the Baron.
Late in the afternoon of the second day of his imprisonment, Tulitz, desperate with hunger, rage, and despair, sat down upon the stool in his cell and glared viciously at the grating. The guard's face was there.
"Ha!" cried Tulitz, in a shrill voice, "keep avay! You tink I von tam mouse, and you ze cat, hey? You sit outside ze cage viz your claw out and your tail stiff, ready to pounce on ze mouse. Mon Dieu! How I hate!"
The guard unlocked the iron door and stepped inside. "Don't make sech a racket over nawthin'," he said. "De warden says yer gotter do some eatin'."
"I kill ze warden if he keep not his mechant chute!"
"Wotcher goin' ter do? Starve?"
"If I choose starve, how you prevent him, hey? How make you me eat? Voila, bete!" Tulitz drew himself to his full height, turned up his shirt-sleeves and bared his great, muscular arm.
"Oh, all right," said the guard. "It's all one to me. Starve if yer wanter. I'm agreeable."
"I vant notting, rien, rien!" said Tulitz. "I vant to be leave alone."
"Dat aint much. Mos' people wat comes here is more graspin'. Mos' people wants ter git out."
"Ha!" said Tulitz.
"De warden said fer me ter come in here an' tell yer' he'd send fer anybody yer wanter see."
"Zere is nopotty."
"Aincher got no friends?"
"Ven I haf money, I have friend—beaucoup, more friend as I know vat to do viz. I haf no money now."
"Wot's your bail?"
"Fi' tousant tollaire! Bah! Vat is fi' tousant tollaire? Many time I spend him viz no more care as I light my cigar. A bagatelle! But," and he added this with a curiously grim expression, "I haf no bagatelle to-day."
The guard sidled up to Tulitz and whispered in his ear, "What'll yer gimme if I gitcher a bondsman?"
"Ha!" said Tulitz, "you haf ze man?"
"I knows a man," replied the guard reflectively, "who might do it on my recommend. Sometimes, w'en a man aint got no frien's, but kin lay aroun' 'im an' scoop tergedder a couple er hundred dollars, I mention him ter my frien' wid a recommend, an' dat settles it, out he comes."
"Two hundret tollaire!" cried Tulitz, almost piteously. "Ven I efer t'ink my liperty cost me two huntret tollaire and I haf not got him. Zis blow kill all zat is to me of my self-respect! Je suis hors de moi-meme!"
"Why, you orter be able to raise dat much tin," said the guard.
Tulitz jumped from his bed to the floor with a cry such as a wild beast might have given as it sprang from peril into safety. He demanded pencil and paper, and with them he scribbled a message. "Send for me zat note!" he said. "Bring me a filet de b[oe]uf, a pate de fois gras, and a bottle of Burgundy, and bring him all quick! Corinne! La belle Corinne! Cherie amie, vot I haf svear I lofe and cherish! I haf not remember you, Corinne!"
A throng of people, big and little, young and old, were waiting in the corridors of the warden's office the next morning, eager for the bell to strike the signal that would admit them into the prisons. They were mostly women. Here and there in the crowd was a little boy carrying a tin can with something in it good to eat, sent, doubtless, by his old mother to her scamp of a son. The little beggar has his first experiences of a prison administering to the comforts of his big, ruffianly brother, probably a great hero in his eyes.
For the most part, the crowd is made up of young women. There, muffled closely, is the wife of a defaulter, who was caught in the act. Three days ago she held her head as high as any. Now it is bent low and hidden with shame. Yonder, terrified and broken-hearted, is the sister of a man who shot another. He is no criminal. There was a quarrel about a matter of money. The lie was given, a blow followed, and then a shot. Her brother a murderer! Her brother, all kindness, docility, and goodness, locked up in a place like this with thieves and hardened convicts! It was a fatal shot—ah, me, so very fatal, so widely fatal!
Many of them, though, are laughing and joking with each other. They have got acquainted coming here to look after their husbands, lovers, brothers, fathers, and sons. They bow cheerily as they come in, and say what a fine day it is, and how they missed you yesterday, and they hope nothing was the matter at home. Among them are brazen jades who chatter saucily with the guards, and these are the best treated of all. They are asked no gruff, surly questions, but with a wink and a jest in they go.
On the outer edge of the crowd, among those who waited till the first rush was over, stood a dark, wiry little woman with a face remarkable alike for its resolution and its innocence. She could not have been more than twenty-five years old. She looked as if she had seen much of the world, but had illy learned the lessons of her experience. This combination of strength and simplicity had wrought a curious effect upon her manner. There was no timidity about her, but much gentleness. She was modest and clothed with repose, and yet the outlines of her face plainly informed you that in the presence of a sufficient emergency she was quite prepared to go anywhere or do anything.
"I want to see Monsieur Tulitz," she said to the entry clerk, when her opportunity came.
He gave her a ticket without asking any questions, except the formal ones, and then turned her over to the matron.
The matron of the Tombs has been there many years, and she knows how to read faces.
"Your ticket says you are Madame Tulitz?" said the matron.
"I must search you."
"It must be thorough."
"Please take off your hat and let down your hair."
She did as she was bidden, and a great mass of dark hair tumbled nearly to her feet. The matron immediately and with practiced dexterity twisted it up again. Then her shoes, dress, and corsets were removed, until the matron was enabled to tell that nothing could by any possibility be concealed about her.
"It's all right," said the matron. "I'm sorry to trouble you so much, but I have to be very careful."
"You needn't apologize. Now can I go?"
She adjusted her hat and proceeded through the long corridors out into the prison yard, and thence into the old prison where Tulitz was confined. The guard who had sent her Tulitz's letter led her to his cell, and brought a stool for her to sit upon outside his grated iron door.
"My ravissante Corinne!" cried Tulitz.
She put her fingers through the bars, and he bent to kiss them, coming, as he did so, in contact with two little files of the hardest steel.
"Diable!" he said.
"I had them in my hat. I made them serve as the stems of these lilies."
"Ze woman she make ze wily t'ing. How young and charmante she seem for one so like ze fox! Ah, Corinne, my sweetest lofe—"
"You don't mean that."
"Not mean him! Mon Dieu! How can you haf ze heart to say ze cruel word. Corinne, you are ze only frient I haf in ze whole bad worlt."
"Yes, I know that. But not the only wife."
"Why you torture me so, Corinne?"
"I wont. We'll let it go. You need me, I suppose?"
"You use all ze cold word, Corinne. I neet you! Oui, oui, I efer neet you. I neet you ven I stay from you ze longest. I neet you ven ze bad come into my heart and drive out ze good and tender, and leave only ze hard, and make me crazy and full of dream of fortune. Zen I am out of myself and den I neet you ze most, Corinne. Zat I haf been cruel and vicked, I know, but I am punish now. Now, I neet you in my despair, but if you come to speak bitter, I am sorry to haf send for you."
"I'll not be bitter, Tulitz. I don't believe you love me, and I never will believe it again. So don't say tender things. They only make me sad. Tell me what—"
"You do pelief I lofe you."
"You know I haf a so hot blood. It tingle viz lofe for you and I am sane. Zen I dream. I see some strange sight—power, money, ze people at my feet—ze people I hate, bah! I see zem all bend. Zen I am insane and my very lofe make me vorse. Ah, Corinne, if you see my heart, you vould not speak so cold. If I could preak zis iron door zat bar me from you and draw you close to me, Corinne, vere you could feel ze quick beat zat say, 'lofe! lofe! lofe!'—if I could take your hand and kees—"
"Hush, please, Tulitz. Don't say those things now. I can't stand them. I shall scream. Tulitz, I love you so!"
"Ah, I know zat. You haf no dream zat rob you of your mind. And I shall haf no more soon. Ven ze trial come, and ze shury make me guilty, and ze shudge—"
"No! no! You must escape."
"Ze reech escape, little von. Ze poor nefer. Zat is law. Ha! ha! you know not law. Law is ze science by vich a man who has money do as he tam please and snap his finger—so! and shrug his shoulder—so! and say, 'You not like it? Vat I care, Monsieur?' and by vich ze poor man, vedder he guilty or not, haf no single chance, not von, to escape. I haf not efen ze two huntret tollaire zat gif me my liberty till ze trial come."
"Neither have I, Tulitz, and the only way I can get it is to part with something I love better than—never mind, you shall have the two hundred dollars."
"You mean our ring, Corinne?"
"You shall not sell ze ring. Nefer!"
"But I must. We will get it back."
"No, I forbid! I stay here first." Corinne's face fairly glowed with tenderness.
"Let me do as I think best, darling," she said. "The first thing is to get you out of this wretched place. Now tell me all about it."
He told her all, or, at least, all he needed to tell, and she left him with the understanding that she should meet the guard in the City Hall Park two hours later and arrange about the bail-bond with a man whom he should present to her. She hurried up-town and collected in her lodgings half a dozen valuable pieces of jewelry. These she took to a pawnshop and upon them she realized something more than the sum necessary to obtain Tulitz's bondsman. At the appointed hour she was walking leisurely through the Park, and soon found herself approaching two men. One she recognized as the guard. The other was an elderly man dressed in a black suit of broadcloth which, in its time, had been very fine indeed. But it was made for him when he was younger and less corpulent than now, and he bulged it out in a way that was trying to the stitches and the buttons. His silk hat was shiny, but exceedingly worn, and the boots upon his feet, despite his creditable efforts to make them appear at all possible advantage, were in a rebellious humor, like a glum soldier in need of sleep. His hair was bushy and gray, and his mustache meant to be gray, too, but his habit of chewing the ends of his cigars had resulted in its taking on a yellow border.
"Dis is the gen'l'man wot'll go on Mr. Tulitz's bond, mum," said the guard. "His name's Rivers."
"Madam Tulitz, I am your humble and obedient servant. Colonel Rivers, Colonel Edward Lawrence Rivers, and most happy in this unfortunate emergency to serve you. I have read in the papers of M. Tulitz's disagreeable—er—situation. It is a gross outrage. The bail is $5000, this gentleman tells me. Infamous, perfectly infamous! The idea of requiring such a bond for so trivial an affair. When I was in Congress I introduced an Amendment to the Constitution providing that no bail should be demanded in excess of $500. It didn't get through; the capitalistic influence was too much for me. However, I'd just as lief, to tell the truth, go on M. Tulitz's bond for five thousand as for one. I know he'll be where he's wanted when the time comes, and if he isn't, the bail-bond will. They'll have that to console themselves with, anyway."
"Where are we to go?" asked Corinne.
"To the police court. I'll show you; but when we get there you mustn't ask me any questions. Ask anybody else but me. I'm always very ignorant in the police court—never know anything, except my answers to the surety examination. Those I always learn by heart. Now—" he turned to the guard, and said parenthetically, "All right, my boy," whereupon the guard disappeared. "Now, just take my arm, if you please; you needn't be afraid, ha! ha! I'm old, and wont hurt you. You see, we must be friends, old friends. Bless you, my child, I've known you from a baby, knew your father before you, dear old boy, and promised him on his dying bed I'd be a father to his—er—by the way, my dear, what's your name?"
"Corinne. Do you want my maiden name?"
"No, never mind that. I always supply a maiden name myself when I deal with ladies, on the ground, you see, that it's much better to keep real names out of bail-bonds, even where they don't signify. In fact, the less real you put in, anyhow, the better. My signature must be on as many as a thousand bail-bonds first and last, in this city, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and other places, and I've never yet experienced the slightest trouble. I think my good fortune is almost wholly due to the circumstance that I never repeat myself. I always tell a new story every time."
"Do they know you at the place where we're going?"
"I fervently hope they don't, my dear. It wouldn't do M. Tulitz any good, or me either, if they did. No, no, you must introduce me. I am your friend, your lifelong friend, Colonel Edward Lawrence Rivers. I am a retired merchant. Formerly I dealt in hides—perhaps you had better say in skins, my dear; on second thought, it might be more appropriate to say in skins, and then again it would be more accurate. I like to tell the truth when I can conveniently and without prejudice to the rights of the defendant. If I haven't dealt in skins as much as any other man on the face of the earth, then I don't know what a skin is. Ha! ha! my dear, I think that's pretty good for an old man whose wits are nearly given out with the work that has been imposed upon them. Let me say right here that the clerk of the court is a knowing fellow, and you want to mind your p's and q's. You want to be very confiding and affectionate in your manner toward me, and I'll do all the rest."
"Is there any danger, sir? Will we be found out? Oh dear! I'm dreadfully nervous."
"Well, now, you needn't be, my child, you needn't be. I've had a great deal of experience in delicate matters of this kind, and I guess we'll fetch your husband out all right. As for the danger, it's all mine, and as for getting found out, that will come in due time, probably; but when it comes we'll all of us endeavor to view it from a remote standpoint, where we can do so, I dare say, with comparative equanimity. So keep up your spirits, my dear, and trust to your old friend, the friend of your childhood, Colonel the Hon. Edward Lawrence Rivers, formerly a dealer in skins. Ah, here we are! Just take a look at my necktie, child. Is it tied all right? And is my diamond pin there? No? Well, where the mischief can it be? Ah, yes, here it is in my pocket. My jewel cases are all portable. There! Now, we're ready. Look timid, my child, but confident in the final triumph of your just and righteous cause. Come on."
They entered the court-room. Seated in an inclosure in the custody of an officer was the Baron Tulitz. His sharp face lighted when he saw them approaching, and, as Corinne took her seat by his side, he pressed her hand. Presently his case was called, and his lawyer arose to offer bail. He presented Colonel Rivers. The old man was a spectacle of grave decorum. He answered the questions put to him about his residence, his family, his place of business and his property, which he conveniently located in Staten Island, Niagara County, Jersey City, and Morrisania. He was worth $300,000. He owed nothing. He displayed his deeds. He had never been a bondsman before. He didn't know Tulitz, but was willing to risk the bail to restore peace to the troubled mind of this poor little child, the orphan of his old friend and neighbor. Never was there a bondsman offered more unfamiliar with the forms and ceremonies necessary to the record of the recognizance. He had to be told where he should sign, and even then he started to put his name in the wrong place. But at last it was done, and Tulitz was free.
Corinne's eyes were full of tears when the old man gently drew her arm within his and led her from the court-room, with Tulitz and his lawyer following. He walked with them as far as Broadway, and then he turned to say good-by. He kissed her hand gallantly, and called Tulitz aside.
"Skip!" he said, "and be quick about it!"
An incident of the late municipal election has recently come within my knowledge, which I hasten to communicate to the public, in the hope that an investigation will be ordered by the Legislature, and, if the facts be as they are represented here (this being a faithful record of what I have been credibly told), in the further hope that the men who have tampered with the honor of Dennie McCafferty and his friend, The Croak, will speedily be brought to justice.
Late one night toward the close of September Dennie was walking down Houston Street toward the Bowery, when he suddenly espied The Croak walking up Houston Street toward Broadway. As suddenly The Croak espied him, and both stopped short. They looked at one another long and intently, and then Dennie wheeled around and without a word led the way into a saloon near at hand.
"Dice!" said he to the bartender. He rattled the box and threw. "Three fives!" he cried.
The Croak handled the dice-box with great deliberation. Presently he rolled the ivories out. "Three sixes," he said slowly, "an' I'll take a pony er brandy."
"That settles it!" cried Dennie joyously. "It's you, Croaker, sure pop. My eyes did not deceive me. I thought they had, Croaker. I thought I must be laboring under a mental strain. When I saw you coming up the street I says to myself, 'That's The Croak.' Then I took another look, and says, 'No, it can't be. The Croak's in Joliet doing three years for working the sawdust.' Then I looked again and I says, 'It must be The Croak. There's his cock-eye looking straight at me through the wooden Indian in front of the cigar-store across the street.' Then I looked once more, and says, 'But it can't be. Three years can't have passed since The Croak and I were dealing faro in old McGlory's.' Once again I looked, and I says, 'If it's The Croak, he'll chuck a bigger dice than mine and stick me for drinks, and he'll take a pony of brandy.' There's the dice, there's the pony, and there's The Croak. Drink hearty!"
They lifted their glasses and poured down the liquor, and Dennie continued, "How'd you get out, Croaker?"
"Served me term," said The Croak shortly.
"What! Then is it three years? Well, well, how the snows and the blossoms come and go. We're growing old, Croaker. We're nearing the time when the fleeting show will have flet. And hanged if I can see that we're growing any wiser, or better, or richer—hey? Thirty cents! Ye gods, Croaker, that man says thirty cents! Thirty cents, and my entire capital is a lonely ten-cent piece that I kept for luck. Thirty cents, and my last collateral security hocked and the ticket lost! Croaker, I'm in despair."
The Croak dived into his trowsers pocket, took out a small roll of bills, handed one to the bartender and another—a ten-dollar greenback—to Dennie.
"Dear boy!" said Dennie, expanding into smiles. "What an uncommon comfort you are, Croaker. Virtues such as yours reconcile me to a further struggle with this cold and selfish world. It has used me pretty hard since I saw you last, Croaker. Not long after you left for the—er—West I met an elderly gentleman from Bumville, whom I thought I recognized as a Mr. Huckster. I spoke to him, but found myself in error. He said his name wasn't Huckster, of Bumville, but Bogle, of Bogle's Cross Roads. I apologized, left him, and at the corner whom should I see but Tommy, the Tick. Incidentally I mentioned to Tommy the curious circumstance of my having mistaken Mr. Bogle, of Bogle's Cross Roads, for Mr. Huckster, of Bumville.
"'Bogle!' said Tommy. 'Bogle! Why, I know Bogle well. He's a great friend of my uncle's.' Whereupon Tommy hurried off after Bogle. I am not even yet informed as to what took place between Bogle and Tommy, further than that they struck up a warm and agreeable acquaintance; that they stopped in at a dozen places on their way up-town; that poor old Bogle got drunk and happy; that they went somewhere and took chances in a raffle, and that they got into a dispute over $2000 which Bogle said Tommy had helped to cheat him out of. A couple of Byrnes's malignant minions arrested Tommy, and not satisfied with that act of tyranny and oppression, they actually came to my lonely lodgings and arrested me. What for? you ask in blank amazement. Has an honest and industrious American citizen no rights? Must it ever be that the poor and downtrodden are sacrificed to glut the maw of that ten-fold tyrant at Police Headquarters? They charged me with larceny, with working the confidence game, and despite my protestations and the eloquence of my learned counsel, who cost me my last nickel, a hard-hearted and idiotic jury convicted me, and that sandy-haired old flint at the General Sessions gave me a year and six months in Sing Sing. Now, Croaker, when you live in a land where such outrages are committed upon a man simply because he is poor, you wonder what your fathers fought and bled and died for, don't you, Croaker?"
"I dunno 'bout dat, Dennie, but 'f I cud talk like er you I'd bin an Eyetalian Prince by dis time, wid a title wot ud reach across dis room an' jewels ter match," and The Croak looked at his friend in undisguised admiration.
But Dennie's humor was pensive. "Croaker," said he, drawing the ten-dollar bill out of his pocket and nodding suggestively to the bartender, "look out there in the street. See that banner stretched from house to house. It reads: 'Liberty and Equality! Labor Must Have the Fruits of Labor!' Now what infernal lies those are! There's no liberty here; and as for equality, that cop blinking in here through the window really believes he owns the town. That stuff about labor is all humbug—molasses for flies. They're going to have an election to choose a President shortly. What's an election, Croaker? It's political faro, that's all. The politicians run the bank. Honest fellows, like you and me, run up against it and get taken in. The crowd that does the most cheating gets the pot. Ah, Croaker, what are we coming to?" This thought was too much for Dennie. He threw back his head and solaced himself with brandy.
"As I remarked a moment ago, Croaker," he said, "I have just returned from—er—up the river. You have just returned from—er—the West. Our bosoms are heaving with hopes for the future. We want to earn an honest living. But when we come to think of what there is left for us to do by which we can regain the proud position we once had in the community, we find ourselves enveloped in clouds."
"I was t'inking er sumpin', Dennie," The Croak replied, reflectively, "jess when I caught sight er you. Your speakin' bout polertics makes me t'ink of it some more. W'y not get up a 'sociashun?"
"A 'sociashun. Ev'rybody's workin' de perlitical racket now; w'y not take a hack at it, too?"
"Anything, Croaker, anything to give me an honest penny. But I don't quite catch on."
"Dey's two coveys runnin' fer Alderman over on de Eas' Side. One of 'em's Boozy—you knows Boozy. He keeps a place in de Bowery. De udder's a Dutchman, name er Bockerheisen. Boozy's de County Democracy man, Bockerheisen's de Tammany. Less git up a 'sociashun. You'll be president an' do de talkin.' I'll be treasurer an' hol' de cash."
"Croaker, you may not be eloquent, but you have a genius all your own. I begin dimly to perceive what you are driving at. I must think this over. Meet me here to-morrow at noon."
The district in which the great fight between Boozy and Bockerheisen was to occur was close and doubtful. Great interests were at stake in the election. Colonel Boozy and Mr. Bockerheisen were personal enemies. Their saloons were not far apart as to distance, and each felt that his business, as well as his political future, depended on his success in this campaign. A third candidate, a Republican, was in the field, but small attention was paid to him. A few days after Dennie and The Croak had their chance meeting in Houston Street, Dennie walked into Colonel Boozy's saloon. Boozy stood by the bar in gorgeous array.
"How are you, Colonel?" said Dennie.
"It's McCafferty!" cried the Colonel, "an' as hearty as ever. As smilin', too, an' ready, I'm hopin', ter take a han' in the fight fer his ould frind."
"I am that, Colonel. How's it going?"
"Shmokin' hot, Dennie, an' divil a wan o' me knows whose end o' the poker is hottest."
"It's your end, Colonel, that generates the heat, and Dutchy's end that does the burning."
"There's poorer wit than yours, Dennie, out of the insane asylums. I'll shtow that away in me mind an' fire it off in the Boord the nexht time I make a speech. If I had your brains, lad, I'd a made more out av 'em than you have."
"You've done well enough with your own," said Dennie. "They tell me it's been a good year for business in the Board, Colonel."
"Not over-good, Dennie. The office aint what it was once. It useter be that ye cud make a nate pile in wan terrum, but now wid the assessmints an' the price of gettin' there, yer lucky if ye come out aven."
"The trouble is that you fool away your money, Colonel. You ought not to hand over to every bummer that comes along. You should be discreet. There's a big floating vote in this district, and you can float still more into it if you go about it the right way."
The Colonel looked curiously into Dennie's ingenuous blue eyes, and said with an indifferent air, "Ye mought be right, and then agin ye moughtn't."
"Oh, certainly, we don't know as much before election as we do after."
"Is yer mind workin', Dennie? Air ye figgerin' at somethin'?"
"Oh, no; I happened to meet The Croak this morning—you know The Croak, he's in the green-goods line?"
"Do I know him? Me name's kep' on his bail-bond as reg'lar as on the parish book."
"Yes, of course; well, I met him, as I was saying, and, to make a long story short, I found that Bockerheisen had got hold of him, and they've packed a lot of tenement-houses with Poles and Italians and organized an association. There are about 600 of them. Dutchy keeps them in beer, and that's about all they want, you know."
Colonel Boozy had been about to drink a glass of beer as Dennie began this communication. He had raised the glass to his lips, but it got no further. His eyes began to bulge and his nose to widen, his forehead to contract and his jaws to close, and when Dennie stopped and drained off his amber glass, the Alderman was standing stiff with stupefied rage. He recovered speech and motion shortly, however, and both came surging upon him in a flood. He fetched his heavy beer-glass down upon the bar with a furious blow, and a volley of oaths such as only a New York Alderman can utter shot forth like slugs from a Gatling gun. When this cyclone of rage had passed away he was left pensive.
Dennie, who had remained cool and sympathetic during the exhibition, now observed: "It is as you say, Colonel, very wicked in Dutchy thus to seek to win by fraud what he never could get on his merits. It is also most ungrateful in The Croak. Well, I've told you what the facts are. You'll know how to manage them. So-long," and Dennie started for the street.
But the Colonel detained him. "Don't be goin' yet, Dennie," he said. "I want ter talk this bizness over wid ye. Come intil the back room, Dennie."
They adjourned into a little private room at the rear of the bar, and the Alderman drew from a closet a bottle of wine, a couple of glasses, and a box of cigars.
"Dennie," he said nervously, "we must bate 'em. That Dootch pookah aint the fool he looks. Things is feelin' shaky, an' you mus' undo yer wits fer me an' set 'em a-warkin'. If the Dootchy kin hev a 'sosheashin, I kin, too. If he kin run in Poles an' Eyetalyans, I kin run in niggers an' Jerseymen."
Dennie contemplated a knot-hole in the floor for several minutes. "No, Colonel," he said, at last, "that wont do. There's a limit to the number of repeaters that can be brought into the district. If we fetch too many, there'll be trouble. Dutchy has put up a job with the police, too, I'm told; they're all training with Tammany now. Besides, if you get up your gang of six or seven hundred, you don't make anything; you only offset his gang. You must buy The Croak; that'll be cheaper and more effective. Then you'll get your association and Dutchy will get nothing. You will be making him pay for your votes."
Boozy grasped Dennie's hand admiringly. "It's a great head ye have, Dennie, wid a power o' brains in it an' a talent fer shpakin' 'em out. I'll l'ave the fixin' av it in your hands. Ye'll see The Croak, Dennie, an' get his figgers, an' harkee, Dennie, if ye air thrue to me, Dennie, ye'll be makin' a fri'nd, d'ye moind!"
While Dennie was thus engaged with Boozy, The Croak was occupied in effecting a similar arrangement with Mr. Bockerheisen. In a few gloomy but well-chosen words, for The Croak, though a mournful, was yet a vigorous, talker, he explained to Bockerheisen that a wicked conspiracy had been entered into by Boozy and McCafferty to bring about his defeat by fraud, and he urged that Mr. Bockerheisen "get on to 'em" without delay.
"Dot I vill!" said the German savagely, "I giv you two huntered tolars for der names of der men vat dot Poozy mitout der law registers!"
"I aint no copper!" cried The Croak, angrily. "Wot you wants ter do is ter get elected, doncher?"
"Vell, how vas I get elected mit wotes vat vas for der udder mans cast, hey?"
"You can't," said The Croak, "dey aint no doubt 'bout dat."
"If dey vas cast for him, dey don't gount for me, hey?"
"Den I vill yust der bolice got und raise der debbil mit dot Poozy."
"Hol' on!" the Croak replied. "If dey was ter make a mistake about de ballots, an' s'posen 'stead of deir bein' hisn dey happens to be yourn, den if dey're cast fer you dey wont count fer him, will dey?"
Mr. Bockerheisen turned his head around and stared at The Croak in an evidently painful effort to grasp the idea.
"If Boozy t'inks dey're his wotes—"
"Yah," said Bockerheisen reflectively.
"And pays all de heavy 'spences of uniforms an' beer—"
"Yah," said Bockerheisen, with an affable smile.
"But w'en dey comes to wote—"
"Yah," said Bockerheisen, opening his eyes.
"Deir ballots don't hev his tickets in 'em—"
"Yah!" said Bockerheisen quickly.
"But has yourn instead—"
"Yah-ah!" said Bockerheisen, rubbing his hands.
"Den an' in dat case who does dey count fer?"
Mr. Bockerheisen leaned his head upon his hand, which was supported by the bar against which they were standing, slowly closed one eye, and murmured, "Yah-ah-ah."
"I t'ought you'd see de p'int w'en I got it out right," said The Croak.
"How you do somedings like dot?"
"Dat aint fer me to say," The Croak diffidently remarked. "But dey do tell me dat dat McCafferty has a grudge agin Boozy, an if you wants me ter ask him ter drop in yere an hev a talk wid ye, I'll do it."
Mr. Bockerheisen did not fail to express the satisfaction he would have in seeing Mr. McCafferty, and Mr. McCafferty did not fail to give him that happiness. The association sprang quickly into being, and its rolls soon showed a membership of nearly 700 voters. Two copies of the rolls were taken, one for submission to Alderman Boozy and one to Mr. Bockerheisen. This was in the nature of tangible evidence that the association was in actual existence. In further proof of this important fact, the association with banners representing it to be the Michael J. Boozy Campaign Club marched past the saloon of Mr. Bockerheisen every other night, and the next night, avoiding Mr. Bockerheisen's, it was led in gorgeous array past the saloon of Colonel Boozy, labeled the Karl Augustus Bockerheisen Club. As Mr. Bockerheisen looked out and saw Colonel Boozy's association, and realized that whereas Boozy was planting and McCafferty was watering, yet he was to gather the increase, a High German smile would come upon his poetic countenance, and he would bite his finger-nails rapturously. And, on the other hand, as Colonel Boozy heard the drums and fifes of the Bockerheisen Club, and saw its transparency glowing in the street, he would summon all his friends to the bar to take a drink with him. It is said that even before election day, however, the relations between Dennie and the Colonel on the one hand, and between The Croak and Bockerheisen, on the other, became painfully strained. It is said that Boozy was compelled to mortgage two of his houses to support Bockerheisen's club, and that Bockerheisen's wife had to borrow nearly $10,000 from her brother, a rich brewer, before Bockerheisen's wild anxiety to pay the expenses of Boozy's club was satisfied. Dennie acknowledged to the Colonel a couple of days before the election that he had found The Croak a hard man to deal with, and that it had been vastly more expensive to make the arrangement than he had supposed it would be. The Croak's manner, as I have said, was always subdued, if not actually sad, and in the presence of Bockerheisen, as the election drew near, he seemed to be so utterly woe-begone and discouraged that the German told his wife he hadn't the heart to quarrel with him about having let McCafferty cost so much money. Besides, as the Colonel remarked to Mrs. Boozy on the night before election, when she told him he had let that bad man, McCafferty, ruin him entirely, and as Bockerheisen said to Mrs. Bockerheisen when she warned him that that ugly-looking Croak would be calling for her watch and weddingring next—as they both remarked, "What is the difference if I get the votes of the association? Business will be good in the Board of Aldermen next year, and I can make it up."
Who did get the votes of the association I'm sure I can't say. All I know is that the Republican candidate was elected, and a Central Office detective who haunts the Forty-second Street depot reported at Headquarters on Election Day night that he had seen Dennie McCafferty, wearing evening dress and a single glass in his left eye, and Tozie Monks, The Croak, dressed as Dennie's valet, board the six o'clock train for Chicago and the West.
Mr. Maddledock did not like to wait, and, least of all, for dinner. Wobbles knew that, and when he heard the soft gong of the clock in the lower hall beat seven times, and reflected that while four guests had been bidden to dinner only three had yet come, Wobbles was agitated. Mrs. Throcton, Mr. Maddledock's sister, and Miss Annie Throcton had arrived and were just coming downstairs from the dressing-room. Mr. Linden was in the parlor with Miss Maddledock, both looking as if all they asked was to be let alone. Mr. Maddledock was in the library walking up and down in a way that Wobbles could but look upon as ominous. Again, and for the fifth time in two minutes, Wobbles made a careful calculation upon his fingers, but to save his unhappy soul he could not bring five persons to tally with six chairs. And in the mean while, Mr. Maddledock's step in the library grew sharper in its sound and quicker in its motion.
There was nothing vulgar about Mr. Maddledock. His tall, erect figure, his gray eyes, his clearly cut, correct features, his low voice, his utter want of passion, and his quiet, resolute habit of bending everything and everybody as it suited him to bend them, told upon people differently. Some said he was handsome and courtly, others insisted that he was sinister-looking and cruel. Which were right I shall not undertake to say. Whether it was a lion or a snake in him that fascinated, it is certainly true that he impressed every one who knew him. In some respects his influence was very singular. He seemed to throw out a strange devitalizing force that acted as well upon inanimate as upon animate things. The new buffet had not been in the dining-room six months before it looked as ancient as the Louis XIV. pier-glass in the upper hall. This subtle influence of Mr. Maddledock had wrought a curious effect upon the whole house. It oxydized the frescoes on the walls. It subdued the varied shades of color that streamed in from the stained-glass windows. It gave a deeper richness to the velvet carpets and mellowed the lace curtains that hung from the parlor casements into a creamy tint.
Mr. Maddledock's figure was faultless. From head to heels he was adjusted with mathematical nicety. Every organ in his shapely body did its work silently, easily, accurately. Silver-gray hair covered his head, falling gracefully away from a parting in the middle of it. It never seemed to grow long, and yet it never looked as if it had been cut. Mr. Maddledock's eyes were his most striking feature. Absolutely unaffected by either glare or shadow, neither dilating nor contracting, they remained ever clear, large, gray, and cold. No mark or line in his face indicated care or any of the burdens that usually depress and trouble men. If such things were felt in his experience their force was spent long before they had contrived to mar his unruffled countenance. Though the house had tumbled before his eyes, by not a single vibration would his complacent voice have been intensified. He never suffered his feelings to escape his control. Occasionally, to be sure, he might curl his lip, or lift his eyebrows, or depress the corners of his mouth. When deeply moved he might go so far as to diffuse a nipping frost around him, but no angry words ever fell from his lips.