It was going splendidly. We had 47, the opponents 42 votes. Eight votes were still to be cast. Two more for us and the day would have been ours. The legally appointed moment for closing the ballot-box had come. All looked at the clock and called for the dilatory voters. Then there was a trampling of feet in the corridor. A group of eight persons pushed noisily into the hall, at their head the vulgar wine-merchant Piepenbrink, the same one who at the fete the other day—
We know; go on—
Each of the band in turn came forward, gave his vote and “Edward Oldendorf” issued from the lips of all. Then finally came this Piepenbrink. Before voting he asked the man next to him: “Is the professor sure of it?” “Yes,” was the reply. “Then I, as last voter, choose as member of Parliament”—[Stops.]
No. “A most clever and cunning politician,”
so he put it, “Dr. Conrad
Bolz.” Then he turned short around and his henchmen followed him.
ADELAIDE (aside, smiling).
Oldendorf is member by a majority of two votes.
It is a shame! No one is to blame for this result but these journalists of the Union. Such a running about, an intriguing, a shaking of hands with all the voters, a praising of this Oldendorf, a shrugging of the shoulders at us—and at you, dear Sir!
That last is not true.
ADELAIDE (to SENDEN).
Show some regard, and spare those here.
You are trembling, my daughter. You are a woman, and let yourself be too much affected by such trifles. I will not have you listen to these tidings any longer. Go, my child! Why, your friend has won, there is no reason for you to cry! Help her, Miss Adelaide!
IDA (is led by ADELAIDE to the side door on the left; entreatingly.)
Leave me! Stay with father!
Upon my honor, the bad faith and arrogance with which this paper is edited are no longer to be endured. Colonel, since we are alone—for Miss Adelaide will let me count her as one of us—we have a chance to take a striking revenge. Their days are numbered now. Quite a long time ago, already, I had the owner of the Union sounded. He is not disinclined to sell the paper, but merely has scruples about the party now controlling the sheet. At the club-fete I myself had a talk with him.
What’s this I hear?
This outcome of the election will cause the greatest bitterness among all our friends, and I have no doubt that, in a few days, by forming a stock company, we can collect the purchase price. That would be a deadly blow to our opponents, a triumph for the good cause. The most widely-read sheet in the province in our hands, edited by a committee—