Mr. M’Fadden’s soothing consolation, that, as he has become such a wonderful specimen of mankind without learning, Harry must be a very dangerous implement of progress if allowed to go about the plantation with a Bible in his pocket, seems strange in this our Christian land. “Can fiddle just as much as yer mind t’,” concludes Mr. Lawrence M’Fadden, as he again shakes the hand of his preacher, and proceeds to mingle with the political gathering, the Bible in his pocket.
How we manufacture political faith.
Mr. M’FADDEN enters the tavern, which presents one of those grotesque scenes so peculiarly southern, almost impossible for the reader to imagine, and scarcely less for pen to describe. In and around the verandas are numerous armchairs, occupied by the fashionable portion of the political material, who, dressed in extreme profuseness, are displaying their extraordinary distinctions in jewellery of heavy seals and long dangling chains. Some are young men who have enjoyed the advantage of a liberal education, which they now turn into the more genial duty of ornamenting themselves. They have spent much time and many valuable cosmetics on their heads, all of which is very satisfactorily repaid by the smoothness of their hair. Their pleasure never penetrated beyond this; they ask no more.
They ask but little of the world, and are discussing the all-important question, whether Colonel Mophany or General Vandart will get the more votes at the polls. So they smoke and harangue, and drink and swear, and with inimitable provincialisms fill up the clattering music. There is a fascinating piquancy in the strange slang and conversational intermixture. It is a great day at the crossing; the political sediment has reduced all men to one grade, one harmonious whole, niggers excepted. Spirits that cannot flow one way must flow another.
In an adjoining room sit the two candidates-gentlemen of high distinction-for the votes of the sovereign people. Through those sovereign rights they will satisfy their yearning desire to reach the very high position of member of the general assembly. Anxiety is pictured on their very countenances; it is the fruit of care when men travel the road to distinction without finding it. They are well dressed, and would be modest, if modesty were worth its having in such an atmosphere. Indeed, they might have been taken for men with other motives than those of gaining office by wallowing in a political quagmire reeking with democratic filth. Courteous to each other, they sit at a large table containing long slips of paper, each candidate’s sentiments printed thereon. As each voter—good fellow that he is—enters the room, one or the other candidate reaches out his hand to welcome him, and, as a sequel, hands him his slip, making the politest bow. Much is said about the prospects of the South, and much more that is very acceptable to those about to do the drinking part of the scene.