“I should like to know what they are.”
Neither spoke again till the canoe glided around the dock and a landing was made. Warrington strung the fish, and together he and Patty went toward the kitchen. At seven-thirty the family sat down to a breakfast of fried bass, and Patty told how the catch had been made.
“He’s a better fisherman than you, John.”
“Just as you say, Patty. I care not who catches bass, so long as I may eat them,” in humorous paraphrase.
There was no little excitement over the arrival of the mail-boat. They were all eager to see what the Times had to say. There was a column or more on the first page, subheaded. Warrington’s career was rather accurately portrayed, but there were some pungent references to cabbages. In the leader, on the editorial page, was the master-hand.
“In brief, this young man is to be the Republican candidate for mayor. Grown desperate these half-dozen years of ineffectual striving for political pap, Senator Henderson resorts to such an expedient. But the coup falls flat; there will be no surprise at the convention; the senator loses the point he seeks to score. Personally, we have nothing to say against the character of Mr. Warrington. After a fashion he is a credit to his native town. But we reaffirm, he is not a citizen, he is not eligible to the high office. If he accepts, after this arraignment, he becomes nothing more than an impertinent meddler. What has he done for the people of Herculaneum? Nothing. Who knows anything about his character, his honor, his worth? Nobody. To hold one’s franchise as a citizen does not make that person a citizen in the honest sense of the word. Let Mr. Warrington live among us half a dozen years, and then we shall see. The senator, who is not without some wisdom and experience, will doubtless withdraw this abortive candidate. It’s the only logical thing he can do. We dare say that the dramatist accepted the honor with but one end in view: to find some material for a new play. But Herculaneum declines to be so honored. He is legally, but not morally, a citizen. He is a meddler, and Herculaneum is already too well supplied with meddlers. Do the wise thing, Mr. Warrington; withdraw. Otherwise your profit will be laughter and ridicule; for the Republican party can never hope to win under such equivocal leadership. That’s all we have to say.”
Warrington, who had been reading the articles aloud, grinned and thrust the paper into his pocket.
“What shall you do?” asked John curiously.
“Do? Go into the fight tooth and nail. They dub me a meddler; I’ll make the word good.”
“Hurrah!” cried Kate, clapping her hands. She caught Patty in her arms, and the two waltzed around the dock.
The two men shook hands, and presently all four were reading their private letters. Warrington received but one. It was a brief note from the senator. “Pay no attention to Times’ story. Are you game for a fight? Write me at once, and I’ll start the campaign on the receipt of your letter.”