McQuade lost his temper and his discretion. He kicked Jove cruelly in the side, at the very moment when Warrington had succeeded in breaking the grip. Bennington thrust McQuade back violently, and he would have fallen but for the dense pack bolstering him up.
“I’ll remember that kick, Mr. McQuade,” said Warrington, white in the face.
“I don’t think you’ll be mayor of Herculaneum, Mr. Warrington,” replied McQuade, glaring venomously at the man who had brushed him aside so easily.
“Perhaps not, Mr. McQuade,” said Warrington; “but at any rate there’ll be a reckoning for that kick. You’ve been trying for months to bring these dogs together. You have finally succeeded, and your dog has been licked soundly. You ought to be satisfied.”
Warrington took Jove under his arm and pressed toward the door, followed by Bennington, who was also in a fine rage. The dog, bloody and excited, still struggled, though the brutal kick had winded him.
McQuade was no fool. He saw that if Warrington left this way the impression would not be favorable to the boss contractor. So he made haste to approach Warrington.
“Hold on there, Warrington. I apologize for kicking your dog. I admit I was excited; and my dog was getting licked. I am sorry.”
“All right, Mr. McQuade,” said Warrington, who would have preferred leaving, minus any apology. He understood perfectly well McQuade’s reason for bending.
“By George!” whispered Bennington, “I’d give a thousand for one good punch at that ruffian’s head. Brute, double-dealing brute! Look out for him after this, Dick.”
“I can take care of myself. Officer, will you kindly get a carriage for me?”
“Sure, Mr. Warrington,” said the policeman.
The two managed to get out. In fact, everybody was moving toward the exits. They had forgotten Mr. Rudolph, who completed his effort before a two-thirds empty hall. They say that he went back to his hotel that night disgusted with humanity and, mayhap, with the fact that the fight had not occurred nearer the stage. Orators are human also.
As Warrington followed Bennington into the carriage the door closed and a head was thrust inside the open window.
“Don’t forget me when you’re mayor, Mr. Warrington,” said Bill Osborne.
“Well?” Warrington was in no mood for banalities.
Bill glanced hastily from side to side, then said, in a stage whisper that sent Bennington into a roar of laughter:
“I sick’d ’em!”
The Republican caucus or convention was uneventful. Warrington was nominated for mayor of Herculaneum, with little or no opposition. Everybody expected it. It was, in the phraseology of the day, cut and dried. There was no surprise on the part of the public. Still, Senator Henderson was jubilant; he had nominated his man.