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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 300 pages of information about The Landloper.

She was ready to own that she loved that tall young man of mystery whose face had refuted the suspicion that he was a mere vagrant.  It was strange—­it was unaccountable.  But she had ceased to wonder at the vagaries of love.  In her prostration of mental energies and of hope she confessed to herself that she had loved him.

But now between his face and hers, as she shut her eyes and reproduced his features, limned in her memory, those fiery words danced—­there was a “play-mamma” who with him had loved the little girl named Rosemarie.

Checking her sobs, she sighed, and her heart surrendered him.

Her sacrifice had been made both easier and yet more difficult.

Then she snuggled close to her pillows and gazed out into the gathering night, and pondered on the fact that if Walker Farr won his fight in the state convention that victory put an end to her poor little truce in the matter of Richard Dodd.

Then she was sure that she had put Walker Farr out of her heart for ever, because she found herself hoping that he would win.  The girl had not yet grown into full knowledge of the dynamics of a true and unselfish love—­she did not fully know herself.

XXVII

A DICKER FOR A MAN’S SOUL

The populace came first and packed solidly into the galleries of the great auditorium of Marion city.

For years the state conventions of the dominant party had attracted but little public attention.  They had been simple affairs of routine, indorsing the men and the principles of the Big Machine.  The next governor had been groomed and announced to the patient people long months before the date of the convention; platforms protecting the interests were glued placidly and secretly and brought forth from the star chamber to be admired; and no delegate was expected or allowed to joggle a plank or nick the smooth varnish which had been smoothed over selfish privilege.

But this year came all the people who could pack themselves into galleries and aisles.

Below on the main floor were more than two thousand delegates.  Every town and city sent the full number accredited.  After these men had been seated the men and women who thronged the corridors and stairways were allowed to enter and stand in the rear of the great hall.

Strange stories, rumors, predictions, had been running from lip to lip all over the big commonwealth.  It was reported that the throne of the tyrant was menaced at last by rebellion which was not mere vaporings of the restless and resentful; organized revolt had appeared, marching in grim silence, not revealing all its strength, and therefore all the more ominous.

A military band brayed music unceasingly into the high arches of the hall.  The music served as obbligato for the mighty diapason of men’s voices; the thousands talked as they waited.

The broad platform of the stage was untenanted.  The speakers, the chairman, the clerks, the members of the state committee, did not appear, though the hour named as the time of calling the meeting to order arrived and passed.

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