"I shouldn't have asked you that," she said. "One reason I came was because--because I wanted to hear the worst. You were too considerate to tell me--all."
He looked mutely into her eyes, and a great desire arose in him to be able to carry her away from it all. Many times within the past year, when the troubles and complications of his life had weighed upon him, his thoughts had turned to, that Western country, limited only by the bright horizons where the sun rose and set. If he could only take her there, or into his own hills, where no man might follow them! It was a primeval longing, and, being a woman and the object of it, she saw its essential meaning in his face. For a brief moment they stood as completely alone as on the crest of Sawanec.
"Good night," she said, in a low voice.
He did not trust himself to speak at once, but went down the steps with her to the curb, where Hastings Weare was waiting in the runabout.
"I was just telling Miss Flint," said that young gentleman, "that you would have been my candidate."
"Thank you, Mr. Weare," he said simply; and to Victoria, "Good night."
At the corner, when she turned, she saw him still standing on the edge of the sidewalk, his tall figure thrown into bold relief by the light which flooded from the entrance. The account of the Ripton meeting, substantially as it appeared in the State Tribune, was by a singular coincidence copied at once into sixty-odd weekly newspapers, and must have caused endless merriment throughout the State. Congressman Fairplay's prophecy of "negligible" was an exaggeration, and one gentleman who had rashly predicted that Mr. Crewe would get twenty delegates out of a thousand hid himself for shame. On the whole, the "monumental farce" forecast seemed best to fit the situation. A conference was held at Leith between the candidate, Mr. Tooting, and the Honourable Timothy Watling of Newcastle, who was preparing the nominating speech, although the convention was more than two months distant. Mr. Watling was skilled in rounded periods of oratory and in other things political; and both he and Mr. Tooting reiterated their opinion that there was no particle of doubt about Mr. Crewe's nomination.
"But we'll have to fight fire with fire," Mr. Tooting declared. It was probably an accident that he happened to kick, at this instant, Mr. Watling under cover of the table. Mr. Watling was an old and valued friend.