“I hate to do it,” says Corkey, “but I guess them fellers has got the drop on me.”
The battle is over. The sailors are all in the wagon. They drive off toward another precinct.
Corkey is pronounced a white-flag man. It is recalled that he let a partner play in his faro bank and did not kill the traitor.
“Oh, Corkey ain’t no good at all,” say the bad men from Bitter Creek.
It heats their blood. They shake hands with Lockwin and deploy on the threatened precincts.
When the sailors unload at the next precinct of the Fourth ward the emissaries who have arrived with notice of Corkey’s surrender—these great hearts lead the fight. A saloon-keeper rushes out with a bung-starter and hits a sailor on the head. An alderman bites off a sailor’s ear. An athletic sailor fells the first six foes who advance upon him. A shot is fired. The long line at the polls dissolves as if by magic. The judges of election disappear out the back door.
There is nothing for the unoccupied alderman to do but to place 400 Lockwin ballots in the box.
The Lockwin ballot contains the name of delegates who are sworn for all time to the alderman.
The police finally arrest all the fighting sailors and hurry them to the station.
The attempt of Corkey to carry any wards or precincts outside of the First and Second is futile. It passes the practicable. In theory it was good.
Twelve wagon-loads of fighting sailors ought to be able to vote anywhere.
A Napoleon would have massed his forces and conquered precincts.
But Napoleon himself sometimes displayed the white feather.
And that is the only way in which Corkey resembles Napoleon.
FIFTY KEGS OF BEER
“It is estimated,” says the opposition press, “that Lockwin, the rich man’s candidate, backed by the machine, the organized toughs of the ‘Levee,’ and the gamblers, has spent over $25,000 of corruption money. The primaries, which were held yesterday, were the most disgraceful political exhibitions which have ever been offered in our civic history. Harpwood was counted out in every ward but one. Corkey, the sailors’ candidate, carried two wards by the same tactics which the police made use of elsewhere. In the First and Second, the officers arrested all ‘disturbers’ on complaint of Corkeyites. Everywhere else Corkeyites were either forced off the field or are now in the bull-pens at the stations.
“As our interview with the mayor shows, he is unacquainted with facts which everybody else possesses. It is well enough to repeat that we shall never have a real mayor until the present rule-or-ruin machine shall be destroyed.
“It is to be hoped that the split which threatens the convention of to-day will herald the dawn of law-and-order rule, when bossism, clamor for office, and saloon primaries will happily be things of the past.”