“Good old Callear!” The hoarse shouts succeeded each other. “Good old Machin!”
“Anyhow,” said Denry, when the storm was stilled, “we’ve got him here, without either steam-engines or His Majesty. Will the Directors of the club accept him?”
“And what about the transfer?” Councillor Barlow demanded.
“Would you accept him and try another season if you could get him free?” Denry retorted.
Councillor Barlow always knew his mind, and was never afraid to let other people share that knowledge.
“Yes,” he said.
“Then I will see that you have the transfer free.”
“But what about York?”
“I have settled with York provisionally,” said Denry. “That is my affair. I have returned from York to-day. Leave all that to me. This town has had many benefactors far more important than myself. But I shall be able to claim this originality: I’m the first to make a present of a live man to the town. Gentlemen—Mr Mayor—I venture to call for three cheers for the greatest centre forward in England, our fellow-townsman.”
The scene, as the Signal said, was unique.
And at the Sports Club and the other clubs afterwards, men said to each other: “No one but him would have thought of bringing Callear over specially and showing him on the platform.... That’s cost him above twopence, that has!”
Two days later a letter appeared in the Signal (signed “Fiat Justitia"), suggesting that Denry, as some reward for his public spirit, ought to be the next mayor of Bursley, in place of Alderman Bloor deceased. The letter urged that he would make an admirable mayor, the sort of mayor the old town wanted in order to wake it up. And also it pointed out that Denry would be the youngest mayor that Bursley had ever had, and probably the youngest mayor in England that year. The sentiment in the last idea appealed to the town. The town decided that it would positively like to have the youngest mayor it had ever had, and probably the youngest mayor in England that year. The Signal printed dozens of letters on the subject. When the Council met, more informally than formally, to choose a chief magistrate in place of the dead alderman, several councillors urged that what Bursley wanted was a young and popular mayor. And, in fine, Councillor Barlow was shelved for a year. On the choice being published the entire town said: “Now we shall have a mayoralty—and don’t you forget it!”
And Denry said to Nellie: “You’ll be mayoress to the youngest mayor, etc., my child. And it’s cost me, including hotel and travelling expenses, eight hundred and eleven pounds six and seven-pence.”
The rightness of the Council in selecting Denry as mayor was confirmed in a singular manner by the behaviour of the football and of Callear at the opening match of the season.