FROM the night of my memorable drive with Alice Holworth, I realized fully that I loved her. The boyish adoration had ripened into an intensity of feeling that seemed at times to leave no room in my mind or being for anything else. This love disturbed and puzzled me to no small degree. I had always been a methodical sort of fellow, cool and dispassionate at all times. Rivalry in sports at school or the sterner clashes of business had never aroused in me anger or excitement. But with the growth of my love for Alice Holworth, new thoughts and emotions stirred in me. I felt that I would fight for her—madly, savagely, to the very end. The thought of her belonging to another man was sufficient to plunge me into bitter melancholy or rampant pugnacity. It was a clear case of atavism. I had reverted to the most primitive of types.
This feeling caused me to enter the fight with Larry Barlow almost with eagerness. Barlow was the only rival that I had, so far as I knew, and on that account I took a zest in the contest. His final discomfiture became not a business success but a personal triumph.
During the year that followed Barlow’s vain attempt to close me out of business, I called on Alice regularly. She
encouraged me, I think, though at times a fancied aloofness in her manner almost drove me to despair. Alice had developed from a fluffy-haired, slender girl into a very handsome and gracious woman, blessed with most accomplishments and doubly blessed with that rarest of gifts, a gentle, discerning tactfulness. She had always liked me, I think; and now she undoubtedly took a pleasure in my society. Whether her interest went any deeper was a question that I pondered more often than I did the figures on my ledger.
I had long since gotten over the stagefright period when a glance from beneath those long lashes of hers would subject me to an attack of galloping paralysis. Still, it took me three months to get my mind made up to propose to her. I realized so completely how much too good she was for me that I was frightened at the enormity of my own presumption. Finally, however, I decided to test her opinion on the matter.
It was on a cold evening early in December that I slipped on my great coat and my resolution at the same time. The Holworth home was in upper town and, as I wended my way in that direction who should I run into but my old chum, Charlie Cutshaw, striding along over the
slippery walks with the fine air of physical superiority that made him a marked figure wherever he went. Charlie had finished his law course some years before and had been engaged since with a Toronto firm. Within the past fortnight he had returned to Martinville and had hung out his shingle.
“Hello, Harry,” he greeted, as we fell into step. “How’s the native son? I hear you’ve developed into quite a merchant prince. Fairly rolling in money and all that, eh?”
“Not exactly,” I replied. “I’m not quite out of the woods yet, but I can see the open space ahead of me now. But what has brought you back?. I thought Martinville would be hardly a big enough field for you, Charlie.”
“Well, it’s just this way,” boomed Charlie, in his old expansive way. “You can break into politics easier in a small place than a big city. Back here in Martinville I should have no difficulty in getting a start. I don’t mind acknowledging that I’m building big hopes for a political career, —er—Haven. Just let me find a seat and I’ll guarantee to make them sit up at Ottawa.”
He talked along with all the grandiose optimism that had made him cock of the walk at school, telling me what he would
do and what he wouldn’t do—but chiefly the former. Finally, as we kept right along together, curiosity got the upper hand.
“Where are you going?” he asked.
“To make a call,” I answered. “Where are you off to?”
“Perhaps,” I suggested, with a sinking of the heart, “we’re going to the same place.”
“The saints forfend!” said Charlie with candid disfavor. “I object to splitting calls. It’s whole hog or nothing with me.”
But we were. We turned in at the gate of the Holworth house without comment on either side. I rang the door bell and Charlie glared as though he resented my taking the initiative.
“Good evening, Harry,” greeted Alice, who had come to the door herself. She looked particularly charming that evening and was wearing something new-
whether a dress or merely a new collar or such, I couldn’t say. I missed the details but got the general effect. Could it be that she had discerned-? “I’m de-
lighted that you have brought Charlie with you.”
“Brought me, nothing,” said Charlie. “I came myself. And I don’t like this ‘brought’ business at all, Alice my dear. Has old sobersides Harry here been calling on you?”
“Why, I see him sometimes,” replied Alice, with a smile. And, glory be, the smile quite unmistakably was for me.
“Well, it’s got to stop. Harry, this is your last call,” said Charlie, with a jaunty masterfulness that made me long to put the gloves on with him. “I serve notice that from now on I intend to monopolize the time of this young lady. Trespassers will be prosecuted.”
“Don’t go too fast,” I said darkly. “It may take a little of your time to work up that law practice of yours.”
“It’s coming already. I’ve got nicely started on the high road to fame and fortune. Why it’s even been suggested that Ï run for mayor this year, and I’ll acknowledge that I’m thinking the idea over.”
He was off. He was the same old Charlie, acknowledged boss as a boy, arrant braggart, domineering and selfish, but strong and capable and a mighty handsome figure of a man, with his leonine head of fair wavy hair, his square hewn face, bright blue eye and broad shoulders.
Talk? Charlie could make a loquacious book seem mute and constrained. The floodgates of his conversational powers once opened, there was little chance for me.
He breezed along, settling political issues,
laying down social mandates, giving interesting bits of his personal history and falling on me like the proverbial ton of bricks whenever I ventured into the conversational area. That Alice was a little fascinated by it all I could plainly see, and it nettled and alarmed me.
“Now as to my running for mayor,” babbled Charlie, about the time I looked at the clock and discovered it was nearly ten already, “it looks as though I’m needed there. You know these old busybodies in town who call themselves reformers are out to get a new council in. The crowd in power were thinking of putting up Halbery this year for mayor, but he’s got in bad on a few deals recently and it’s a certainty that the reform crowd would make a set on him. So a candidate is needed who would appeal to the people and yet be above attack of any kind. I’m the rising lawyer of the town so it’s perhaps not strange that they’ve thought of me.”
I woke up at this. “Don’t get mixed up with that city hall crowd, Charlie,” I urged. “If you run for mayor with Connel and Harvey and Shandler Cone behind you, your chances for a career in this town will be ruined. You don’t want to be the tool of Larry Barlow, do you?”
“What’s Barlow got to do with my running for Mayor?” demanded Charlie.
“Just this. The town used to be run by the three crooks I’ve just named, but during the last couple of years another member has been admitted to the cabinet. Larry Barlow is a power in civic politics here now, if he isn’t actually the boss.”
“When I’m mayor of Martinville, I’ll be boss,” said Charlie, with finality.
I did not propose to Alice that night. I stayed late for the purpose but Charlie stayed also. We finally left together after Mrs. Holworth came into the room and shook hands with us, gazing rather fixedly at the clock the while.
Before proceeding any further with my narrative it will be necessary to give some particulars of the situation in town with reference to civic politics. It may seem improbable that a city as small
as Martinville would have “boss” rule, but such nevertheless was the case. As far back as I could remember the best men of the town had considered themselves above civic politics and the control of the city hall had fallen into the hands of a “ring.” If it were suggested to a man of good standing and undoubted probity that he stand for alderman, the invariable answer would be: “Do you think I would get mixed up with that gang at the city hall?”
For a number of years civic affairs had been administered by a triumvirate of slippery celebrities who unobtrusively manipulated the wires that controlled all civic expenditures. The first of these was John Connel, the inspector of everything from rubbish to rum shops. The second was Jim Harvey, an excessively fat and unctuous specimen of politician who controlled the vote of the north ward and got as his share of the patronage all contracts for street watering, garbage collection, and so on; in fact Jim Harvey had staked down and registered his claim on everything in the way of public service that offered to the enterprising grafter a chance for nicking the public purse. The last member of the estimable trio was a meek-looking little lawyer named Shandler Cone, behind whose rabbit-like blandness of countenance lurked a degree of cunning that no one would suspect — until they had had dealings with him. Cone kept a dingy little office above a tobacconist’s store but seemed to have no clients. He was a bachelor, living alone in a tumble-down cottage that no one ever entered but Cone himself. All civic contracts, by-laws and agreements were drawn up by him and he sunk the jokers so far below the surface that they remained hidden until the time for operation arrived. It has always been my opinion that Shandler Cone was the brains of the organization.
Of recent years, however, Larry Barlow had wedged his way into civic politics and, as Jed Jarvis put it in the Blast, “the trio of tainted trust had been converted into a quarrelsome quartette.” It is probable that in many respects Larry had become the real boss of the town. No part but the “lead” would have satisfied
About the time that Charlie Cutshaw and I came together, as already narrated, a section of the citizens had started a movement to oust the grafting element from the civic life of Martinville, and a hot election was promised. I was strongly in sympathy with the reform movement but had been disappointed, as had many others, in the men selected to lead the fight; S —ith, the produce merchant
who led the First Baptist choir but whose piety was sometimes challenged by those who dealt with him, Cotton a retired minister whose continual agitationhad wearied the town, Antley who could talk an audience of confirmed insomnia sufferers into a state of dreamless coma, and others of like ilk.
During the month that ensued before the elections I worked hard in the reform cause and was very much disappointed to find that Charlie enlisted himself on the other side. His candidature for the mayoralty was given out early and it was apparent from the first that he would run strong. Charlie was well liked in town and everyone thought highly of his ability. He backed up his candidature by some rattling good speeches that “got across,” as the politicians say. Reduced to the test of literal transcription Charlie’s speeches might not have appeared powerful in print, or even grammatical, but when delivered with the spell of his handsome personality behind them, they certainly took with the crowds. He proved a lively candidate.
Despite the time that he necessarily had to put to the campaign, he was generally at the Holworth’s when I called there. My declaration had to be postponed time and again and finally I decided to leave it off indefinitely. I dreaded to tempt the fates while the influence of my rival was so strong. For, as candidate for so exalted an office, Charlie was undoubtedly an object of interest and I could see that he attracted Alice strongly. I cannot say that she was less friendly with me than she had always been, but it takes a jealous lover to find out when a rival star has swung into the firmament.
The reform candidate for mayor was an honest but not exactly brilliant lawyer who had served a term or two in the council years before. Harry Ware was not what might be termed a strong candidate but I had felt confident from the first that the whole reform ticket would be swept in and that Charlie would be beaten. As polling day drew near, however, this feeling of certainty gradually disappeared. The defects in the organization of the reform element became more marked every day. In fact they had no practical organization whatever. The men at the head of the movement had as much notion of running a campaign as a Cherokee Indian has of Greek roots. No meetings were held except in the churches, no arrangements had been made for livery rigs, the canvassing committees did their work in a haphazard way; and all through the campaign, the Star fought viciously for the “machine.” The candidates put up on the reform ticket were not the type of men who would be picked as likely to make good civic administrators. The question began to simmer in the public mind, In what respect would incompetent honesty prove a better form of government than greedy competence? I could see that question every-
where and knew that it was going to cost the reform ticket a lot of votes.
Nevertheless I was not prepared for what followed. The voting was held on New Year’s day and the splendid organization of the “stand-patters” was soon very much in evidence. Every livery rig in town had been pressed into service for conveying voters to the polls while, to compete against this, our people had a few family democrats out. They did not think it incumbent upon them to see that those who had promised to vote for a civic housecleaning got out and did so.
At five o’clock the polls closed and at a quarter to six the first division was heard from: Wade 68, Cutshaw 73. And thus it went, the two candidates running neck and neck, first one in the lead and then the other. At half-past six Wade
had 33 majority, with two polls to hear from and it looked to the crowd as though the old lawyer had beaten his younger rival. At the same time it was evident that most of the old council board had been returned. Lack of organization had beaten the housecleaning ticket. Some had been elected, of course, but the old crowd would have a working majority and to all intents and purposes the result was as good as a sweep.
A large crowd had gathered in the square before the city hall, where the returns were read out. Interest, of course, centered in the race for the mayoralty
and a loud cheer broke out when the vote from one of the two remaining polls gave Charlie a majority of 17.
“The young cock will win yet!” shouted an adherent in the crowd.
Almost immediately afterwards the clerk appeared on the city hall steps and announced, amid complete silence: “Polling subdivision 19, Cutshaw 101, Wade 71. Cutshaw is elected on an unofficial count by 14.”
There was great enthusiasm on this announcement. I had been standing toward the outskirts of the crowd and was turning away for home when an automobile pulled up not ten feet from me. In the tonneau sat the new mayor of Martinville, smiling happily and quite plainly in two minds as to whether the occasion called for calm dignity or exuberant enthusiasm. And beside him, wrapped up to the chin in furs, sat Alice Holworth !
I stood rooted to the spot, while Charlie addressed the crowd from the machine, Three lusty cheers and a tiger followed; and through it all Alice seemed to be enjoying the situation immensely.
I plodded home wearily. All zest had gone out of life for the time being. Alice’s presence in the car could be construed in one way only; that Charlie’s star was
in the ascendant. And the reason was quite clear to me. Alice was of the temperament that is attracted by achievement. The importance that attached to Charlie as candidate for mayor, and his participation in a brisk eampaign, had captured her interest. I realized to the fullest how far from spectacular is the running of a dry goods store.
And then suddenly a resolution came to me. I would do something spectacular myself. I would achieve something besides a good profit in my dry goods store. I would head a movement that would put the civic machine out of business at the next election!
“A rotten town this,” said a voice behind me.
It was Jimmy Wallace, a reporter on the Star—an undersized fellow of unquenchable energy who had become known around town on that account as “GoDevil” Wallace. As far as anyone had ever been able to find out, Wallace never slept. No matter how late the hour he was always to be seen on the streets. If you got up before the sun, Wallace would be ahead of you, talking to a belated policemen or chatting with milkmen. He dragged the town for news items like a fine hair brush. I had become rather intimate with him and had learned one thing; Wallace was a man of ideals.
“Rotten?” I said. “Didn’t the results suit you? The crowd backed up by your paper won out.”
“Do you suppose for a second that I believe in the policy of the Star?” asked Wallace, explosively. “I’ve kept my mouth shut and have gone on working for my weekly envelope all through this campaign. But do you see this letter? It contains my resignation.” “What’s the matter?”
“Matter? I’ve been bottling up my contempt for the policy of the Star so long that I can’t hold it in any longer. I know enough about the inside workings of civic government in this town to put a few men in jail. And I’m not going to stay quiet any longer. If the town knew what I know there would have been a different story to tell to-day.”
“What we need is a second paper here,” I suggested.
“A second paper—run on independent lines—would rip this old town open,” went on Wallace with staccato fervor. A second paper—it’s something I’ve dreamed of for years. With a paper to back us up we could run these grafters out of business next year!”
I had a long talk with Wallace during which he initiated me into some of the secrets of the civic government of Martinville.
The next day I called upon Silas Hennesly, a contractor, who had accumulated a huge fortune—basing the estimate, of course, on Martinville standards. Hennesly had heavy pouches in the place of cheeks, a forehead that wrinkled continuously and a nose that turned broadly and aggressively upward. Put a spiked
EDITOR’S NOTE.—“The Tortoise" is a series of business stories, each more or less complete but with a connected train of narrative running through them. The third installment will deal with certain business transactions, involving a struggle for the control of a large corporation. The interest in the three-sided dicel between Barlow, Cutshaw and Haven will intensify in the third story of the series.
Continued, on Page 134
Continued from Page 16
collar around his neck and he would have passed for a blood brother of the British bull dog. And his motto, as might be expected, was : “What we have, we’ll hold.”
No one had ever sold anything to Silas Hennesly. He had sometimes bought certain commodities from certain parties ; and that is a distinction with a difference. To interest old Silas in the financing of a new enterprise, one that had a certain element of doubt attached to it, was just as easy ordinarily as to teach the Maxixe to a one-legged drayman. But on the present occasion I approached him with a certain degree of confidence, remembering how the Star, at the dictate of interests behind it, Lad several times in the past hammered old Silas unmercifully.
“We’re in a bad position in this town with only one newspaper,” I began. “When that one paper is prejudiced, like the Star, it becomes a menace to business.”
“My opinion about the Star is well known,” said Silas.
“We need an opposition paper,” I urged.
“We do. Badly,” replied Silas. “But, son, I’m willing,” and he almost smiled, “to let someone else have the undoubted credit that would go with the financing of the scheme.”
It was always his way to beat the other fellow to the point. His heavy bilious eyes seemed to see right into you the moment you began to talk. And convincing Hennesly, once he had your drift, was like arguing with a devil-fish. His habit was to shoot an argumentative tentacle at you, that wound itself right around you and choked you off. Your only chance was to get him in a vital spot before he had an opportunity to incapacitate you. Accordingly I jumped into the breach without further sparring.
“If you had the interests that are cutting down the earnings of Union Electric snugly cased in a coffin and the last nail
could be driven in by advancing $2,500 would you see that the lid was made
That interested him. His eyes blinked as dully as ever, but he let me go on.
“The men behind the Star have an advantage in every deal they start; the advantage of influencing public opinion in the hundred and one ways that a newspaper possesses. They control the council, they swing conventions, they hush up matters that would expose their own methods and they ruthlessly show up their opponents when opportunity arises. If you owned the Star what would you do to Harvey, J. K. Wilson and Barlow?”
Hennesly let me go on. I had set him thinking how his old business enemies, Jim Harvey and “Fifty-percent” Wilson, had used their newspaper to not only beat him but to hold him up to public ridicule as well. The thoughts I had aroused would leave his mind in plastic mood for the suggestion I had to make.
I continued to enlarge upon my scheme. To start a daily paper in opposition to the Star would require an initial capital of $20,000. If he would come in for $2,500, I could get six other citizens—I intended to take an equal amount myself —to come in on the same basis. A good location was available the need was keenly felt by all classes in the community; it was an opportunity that should spell big profits.
“I’ll think it over,” said Hennesly, when I left him. And that was almost as good as a promise.
The Times Publishing Co. was launched a month afterward, with Silas Hennesly president, myself secretary, and every cent of stock paid up in eight equal shares. A month later the Times made its first appearance. I got the first sheet off the press, capturing it after a struggle with Jimmie Wallace who had rushed out of a glass cage, marked “managing editor,” to get the precious copy him-
self. For Jimmie, of course, was managing editor of the new paper; also city editor, telegraph editor, sporting editor, financial editor, society editor and art editor. Some of the titles were more or less ornamental as the Times would devote its columns very largely at first to local news and the telegraph service would consist of a few special wires sent through to us by a correspondent on a Toronto newspaper, engaged at a fixed remuneration of $10 a month. Jimmie’s duties, therefore, simmered down pretty much to covering the local news, in which occupation he was to be assisted by a gangling cub reporter, just out of school. The editorial page was to be handled by an old newspaper man who had once held some important position or other on a London paper, and who had settled down in Martinville on a small competence. Poor management had considerably reduced this competence, however, and he was glad of the opportunity to take over the dual part of editorial writer and proof reader on the new born Times.
Jed Jarvis was in charge of the composing room and had a page to himself in the Saturday edition. We gave him the title “mechanical superintendent and Saturday editor,” and that more than satisfied old Jed.
The plant consisted of three linotype machines, a hoe press and a small press for job work (all bought on time), a fairly good supply of type and printing accessories, a typewriter for Jimmie, a set of office books and a safe.
We carried a fairly good showing of advertising matter in the first issue, including a half page from myself. Jimmie had seen to it that the first issue was a credit editorially. He had half a dozen “scoops” featured up on the front page in panels, under double column headings and so on—items of local news that the Star had missed.
Time will not permit of any extended account of the ups and downs of the Times. It had plenty of them; mostly downs. We got over three thousand subscribers in no time, but collections on at least half of the number were very slow. The advertising slowly dwindled to a, minimum, due to caution on the part of the merchants who did not want to spend money on a medium in the experimental stage. In five months from the date of the first issue we reached a position where we had to either secure more capital or go out of business unless business picked up. Business did pick up, however. Advertising started to come back slowly, circulation increased rapidly and in the course of a year we reached the point where the paper was carrying just enough revenue to make both ends meet. Men who have had experience in the publishing business tell me that this was a record seldom equalled.
Our success was largely due to the energy of Jimmie Wallace. He turned out a brisk paper, full of live local news, presented in snappy style. With all repression removed, he developed beyond the work he had done for the Star and he scooped that paper right along. It was due to his almost uncanny faculty
for picking up readable news that the circulation of the Times started to climb up and that ultimately our advertising patronage increased.
We kept up an active campaign against the civic authorities, pillorying them at every opportunity and turning the strong white light of publicity on every move that they made. But, by prearrangement with me, Jimmie kept his heavy artillery under cover.
But I am getting in advance of my story. During June I found an opportunity to invest my current profits—they were getting better all1 the time—in a new venture. The country around Martinville was noted for its fruit products but there was no apple evaporator in the district so that the products of the orchards were shipped to neighboring towns. An apple and turnip buyer saw the opportunity to work up a good business by establishing an evaporator and talked me into the venture with him. The business paid us almost from the start, and inside of three years we had a string of evaporators throughout the country. The first foundations of what has developed into a fairly substantial fortune in my case were laid in the apple business.
But once again am I getting ahead of myself. I continued to see Alice Holworth regularly; and so did Charlie. The latter had taken on a shade more pompous manner than before and had changed his signature to C. Forrest Cutshaw. His practice was growing fast and he was justifying the confidence of the public by winning his cases right along. Perhaps this accounted for the fact that the race between us continued. He did not have sufficient time to really press his suit and I did not feel that the time was ripe to come to the point myself.
That was how matters stood on August when Hartley Herman, the member for our riding at Ottawa, died very suddenly. The Government opened the riding at once, setting the day for the election during the first week of November. Charlie started in to canvass the riding from Roach’s Crossing to Parkinville, and did it so thoroughly that his party almost unanimously nominated him to succeed the late member. His election followed and in due course C. Forrest Cutshaw, M.P., departed for Ottawa, one of the youngest men ever to attain that exalted post.
About the time that my rival took his plunge into the political field, I started to work out a plan that I had been figuring on ever since the previous civic election. I did almost as much canvassing as Charlie did, but my work was entirely beneath the surface. I did not let my activity show. It is surprising how many men there are in a small city who can be depended upon to keep a secret. All the men I approached were of this class, and no one was taken into the confidence of those working with me until we were convinced that he could be relied upon to the fullest extent.
And in that way a new civic reform association was quietly built up, without our opposition getting any wind of the matter at all. I am convinced that they
thought the reform movement had received its quietus at the last election and were not giving us a thought. Thus we perfected our plans under cover.
Nominations were held one week prior to election and the candidates we had selected were quietly nominated along with a number of others who could be counted upon to drop out. I was among those nominated for alderman. Charlie had given notice of his intention not to run for a second term as mayor, so Halbery was entered by the other side in his place, and we nominated Alfred Hutchings, one of the shareholders of the Times and a solid reliable business man. It had been customary for the well-intentioned citizens of Martinville to nominate a number of reputable men for office but, with the exception of the previous year, few had ever stood for election. Little attention was paid to our movements there-
The candidates had until 9 o’clock the succeeding evening to qualify. At eight o clock John Connel and Larry Barlow walked over to the city hall and looked over the papers that had been filed. None had qualified but the “machine” candidates who had filed their papers early. The pair stood around and chatted for a quarter of an hour and then Larry turned to go.
all over but the voting,” he said. “We have a walkover this year. You’d better come along with me to Darwin’s. I’m driving.”
They went out together and drove off. At exactly twenty minutes to nine, there was a sudden hum of voices and a clatter of many feet on the stairs leading up to the city clerk’s office. That official stared over the tops of his spectacles with amazement as a steady stream of reform adherents flooded into the room. By five minutes to nine every reform candidate had duly qualified; and the big fight was
Larry Barlow and John Connel drove back to town about 10.30, and were surprised to find quite a lively crowd still in the streets. Newsboys were calling out Times extras, bill-posters were busily pasting up huge bills on all the boards around town.
“What’s all the fuss about?” asked Connel, as they drew up at a livery stable near the city hall. “Somebody assassinated? War broken out?”
“The church crowd have put one over on you,” said the livery keeper. “They’ve put a good ticket in the field this time.”
“The hell you say!" exploded Connel, who was always moved to profanity by bad news. “Why Barlow and I were at the city hall until nearly closing time and not one of the Band of Hope crowd had a's much as showed his face all day.”
That’s all right,” said the liveryman. “They were too busy to get around before. They just piled in at the last minute and announced their intentions. They’ve kind of caught you napping.”
“We’ll beat them again,” said Larry. “Don’t you worry about us, Sims. How about your rigs for election day?”
“Sold,” announced Sims. “I hear the church crowd have bought up everything that runs on wheels. They engaged all
the halls and have the bills printed for their meetings already. Some bang-up speakers have been secured. They’ve bought up all the bill-boards. And their committees have been out working all evening. The town’s divided up and each canvasser has his own district to cover. Jim Harvey was in half an hour ago and he seemed as happy as a little dickie bird over the way things were going. I wouldn’t want to be bitten by him in the state of mind he was in.”
“Suffering cats!” growled Connel, “we’re left at the post this time, Barlow.”
“Who engineered this deal, anyway?” demanded Larry. “It’s not the way of the moralists to run things so quietly. Somebody must have planned it out for
“The Times extra gives Harry Haven as the president of the new association,” announced Sims.
“Haven!” roared Larry. “Connel peel off your coat! We won’t have a second’s rest until after this election is over. Do you get me? We’ve got to beat this gang to a pulp!”
This conversation reported back to us in due course, spurred our forces on to renewed action. Our organization was beautifully complete and the work proceeded without a hitch. We canvassed the town from top to bottom. Every evening saw a meeting somewhere and we made sure that the speakers gave their audiences something to keep their interest up. The bill-boards blazed with “clean-up” literature.
But the big feature of the campaign was the work done by the Times. Immediately after the declaration of war, Jimmy Wallace unlimbered his heavy guns and brought them into action. Every night during the rest of the week, he shelled the enemy with corruption charges. Civic contracts were analyzed and facts about them exposed. The financial administration for the past few years was raked fore and aft. The charges made were not mere generalities. Wallace had facts, and in some cases affidavits, to back him up.
To say that the broadsides of the Times created a sensation would be expressing it mildly. The Star attempted a defence but its efforts simmered down to mere violent fulminations. The Times had “the goods” on the “machine,” and no amount of invective could clear away that fact. There was some talk of legal proceedings against the leaders of the administration on the strength of the Times charges, but no definite steps were taken ; we did not encourage the idea, being content with the prospect of a thorough housecleaning.
Election day came and it was apparent from the first that the tide had turned. Barlow kept his cohorts working with frenzied energy. But public opinion had been aroused at last, and the good citizens of Martinville flocked to the polls in sufficient numbers to sweep the old crowd clean out; and a sufficient number stayed around after the polls closed to make sure that there was no switching of ballots or juggling with the ballot-boxes. There was not a time when any of the ballot-boxes
were out of the sight of our scrutineers. We took no chances on the fruits of our hard work being stolen from us.
As the time for the returns to come in drew near I confess that I grew nervous. Barlow and the other leaders had worked feverishly and they would stop at nothing, I knew. In addition Charlie Cutshaw had been induced to come out in favor of Halbery and the moral effect of this would perhaps be sufficient to turn a large number of votes There was a strong feeling against Charlie as a result of his action. I could hardly understand why he had entered the civic fight at all, unless very strong pressure had been brought to bear on him.
But my fears were soon dissipated. The first returns showed heavy majorities for our candidates. My own election was assured early and as one sub-division after another came in it was apparent that we had made a clean sweep. Halbery was snowed under and every one of the old aldermen went by the boards.
Final figures showed that we had elected our entire slate.
About eight o’clock that night I again met Charlie Cutshaw. As on a previous occasion we were going in the same direction.
“Well, you beat us,” said Charlie, grudgingly.
“Yes, we won,” I replied. “And I want to tell you this, Charlie. Unless I am very much mistaken, you will find it difficult to secure your own election next time. You should have stayed out of this.”
“How could I help it?” exclaimed Charlie. I could see that he was chafing at the part he had played. “But look here, Haven, don’t run away with the foolish idea that my hold on the people of this riding has been weakened. I’ll win in a walk next time.”
“I hope so,” I said, in all earnestness.
“Where are you off to?” he asked, after a pause.
“Upper town. Coming along?”
“No-1—I think I’ll go home to-