“The time is coming,” concludes the article, “when lynch law will be dealt out to the repeaters who haunt the tough precincts at each election day.”
The prominent citizens say among themselves: “We ought to do something pretty soon, or these ward politicians will be governing the nation!”
IN GEORGIAN BAY
Corkey is at Owen Sound. The political bee is buzzing in his bonnet. Collector of the port—this office seems small to a man who really polled more votes than Lockwin. The notion has taken hold of Corkey that, by some hook or crook, Lockwin will get out and Corkey will get in.
When he thinks of this, Corkey rises and walks about his chair, sitting down again.
This is a gambler’s habit.
There follows this incantation an incident which flatters his ambition. Having changed his tobacco from the right to the left side of his mouth, he strangles badly. It takes him just five minutes to get a free breath. This is always a good sign. Thereupon the darkest of negro lads, with six fingers, a lick, left-handed and cross-eyed, enters the barroom of the hotel.
“Here!” cries Corkey. “What’s your name?” The boy stammers in his speech.
“N-n-n-noah!” he replies.
“Why not?” inquires Corkey. “You bet your sweet life you tell me what your name is!”
“Why not? Tell me that!”
“M-m-my name is N-n-noah!” exclaims the boy.
“Ho! ho!” laughs Corkey. “Let’s see them fingers! Got any more in your pockets?”
“N-n-n-noah,” answers the boy.
“Got six toes, too?”
“A dead mascot!” says Corkey. It is an auspice of the most eminent fortune. Corkey from this moment rejects the collectorship, and stakes all on going to Congress. Thoughts of murdering Lockwin out here in this wilderness come into the man’s mind.
“I wouldn’t do that, nohow. Oh, I’ll never be worked off—none of that for me!”
In Corkey’s tongue, to be worked off is to be hanged.
“Nixy. I’ll never be worked off. But it would be easy to throw him from the deck to-night. Some of the boys would do it, too, if they knew him.”
The man grows murderous.
“Easy enough. Somebody slap his jaw and get him in a fight. Oh, he’ll fight quick enough. Then three or four of ’em tip him into the lake. Why, it ain’t even the lake out here. It’s Georgian Bay. It’s out of the world, too. My father was in Congress. My grandfather was in. Wonder how they got there? Wonder if they did any dirt?”
Corkey’s face is hard and black. He rises. He feels ill. He swears at the mascot. “I thought he had too many points when I see him.”
The train is late. The propeller, Africa, lies at the dock ready to start.