“Thelismer,” he said, familiarly, “I’ve been trying to get something out of Luke. He won’t say. Now what do you know about it? Is the party going to be honest? Are we going to get that resubmission plank in the platform this year?”
“They haven’t asked me to write the platform, Phon.”
“I tell you, the people want a chance to vote on this prohibitory question. It’s been stuck into our constitution where the people can’t get at it. I ain’t arguing high license, but I tell you the people want a chance to vote on the question, and the Democrats are going to offer ’em a chance.”
“That’s a Democratic privilege,” said the Duke, calmly, preparing to push past his interlocutor. “The Republican party stands for prohibition, and hasn’t had any trouble in rounding up the votes for the last twenty-five years.”
But the disputant caught hold of him when he started away.
“Look here, Thelismer, you ain’t so much of a hypocrite as the most of ’em. Why don’t you help us make a break in this thing? Damn it, let’s be decent about it! Rum enough running in that bar-room downstairs to drive the turbine-wheel in my woollen-mill! Half the delegates to this convention with a drink aboard, and a third of ’em pretty well slewed! I am myself. But I’m honest about it. They’re drinking rum in about every room in this hotel. And they’re going into convention to-morrow and nail that prohibitory plank into the platform with spikes. By Judas, I’m honest in my business; now I want to have a chance to be honest in my politics!”
The Duke gazed down on him good-humoredly. He was accustomed to overlook the little delinquencies of his fellows on such festal occasions as State Conventions.
“You’re asking too much out of party politics, Phon,” he declared. “There are drawbacks to all the best things; seeing that the National platform won’t let you vote as you think, you can hardly ask the State platform to be perfect and let you vote as you drink.”
But his friend was not in the mood for jovial rallying.
“By the gods, if you old bucks that have been running things ain’t going to give us a show—if we ain’t going to get our rights from our own party—I know what I can do! I can vote the Democratic ticket, and I know of a lot more that will. You’re asleep, you managers!”
“Well, Phon, when you vote as you drink—voting the Democratic ticket—you’ll vote for a popocratic tax on corporations that will make your woollen-mill look sick. And that’s only one thing!”
“I know what I will do,” insisted the rebel.
The Duke took him by his two shoulders.
“So do I,” he returned. “You’ll have a bath, a shave, four hot towels, and a big bromo-seltzer—all in the morning, and you’ll go into the State Convention and stick by the party, just as you always have done. But as for to-night—why, Phon, I wouldn’t be surprised to see you pledge yourself to Arba Spinney.”