And now, before this chapter which contains these memorable events is closed, one more strange and significant fact is to be chronicled. On the evening of the day which saw Mr. Crewe triumphantly leading the insurgent forces to victory, that gentleman sent his private secretary to the office of the State Tribune to leave an order for fifty copies of the paper to be delivered in the morning. Morning came, and the fifty copies, and Mr. Crewe's personal copy in addition, were handed to him by the faithful Waters when he entered his dining room at an early hour. Life is full of disillusions. Could this be the State Tribune he held in his hand? The State Tribune of Mr. Peter Pardriff, who had stood so stanchly for Mr. Crewe and better things? Who had hitherto held the words of the Leith statesman in such golden estimate as to curtail advertising columns when it was necessary to print them for the public good?
Mr. Crewe's eye travelled from column to column, from page to page, in vain. By some incredible oversight on the part of Mr. Pardriff, the ringing words were not there,--nay, the soul-stirring events of that eventful day appeared, on closer inspection, to have been deliberately edited out! The terrible indignation of the righteous arose as Mr. Crewe read (in the legislative proceedings of the day before) that the Pingsquit bill had been discussed by certain members--of whom he was one- -and passed. This was all--literally all! If Mr. Pardriff had lived in the eighteenth century, he would probably have referred as casually to the Boston massacre as a street fight--which it was.
Profoundly disgusted with human kind,--as the noblest of us will be at times,--Mr. Crewe flung down the paper, and actually forgot to send the fifty copies to his friends!
THE DISTURBANCE OF JUNE SEVENTH
After Mr. Speaker Doby had got his gold watch from an admiring and apparently reunited House, and had wept over it, the Legislature adjourned. This was about the first of April, that sloppiest and windiest of months in a northern climate, and Mr. Crewe had intended, as usual, to make a little trip southward to a club of which he was a member. A sense of duty, instead, took him to Leith, where he sat through the days in his study, dictating letters, poring over a great map of the State which he had hung on the wall, and scanning long printed lists. If we could stand behind him, we should see that these are what are known as check-lists, or rosters of the voters in various towns.
Mr. Crewe also has an unusual number of visitors for this muddy weather, when the snow-water is making brooks of the roads. Interested observers- -if there were any--might have remarked that his friendship with Mr. Hamilton Tooting had increased, that gentleman coming up from Ripton at least twice a week, and aiding Mr. Crewe to multiply his acquaintances by bringing numerous strangers to see him. Mr. Tooting, as we know, had abandoned the law office of the Honourable Hilary Vane and was now engaged in travelling over the State, apparently in search of health. These were signs, surely, which the wise might have read with profit: in the offices, for instance, of the Honourable Hilary Vane in Ripton Square, where seismic disturbances were registered; but the movement of the needle (to the Honourable Hilary's eye) was almost imperceptible. What observer, however experienced, would have believed that such delicate tracings could herald a volcanic eruption?
Throughout the month of April the needle kept up its persistent registering, and the Honourable Hilary continued to smile. The Honourable Jacob Botcher, who had made a trip to Ripton and had cited that very decided earthquake shock of the Pingsquit bill, had been ridiculed for his pains, and had gone away again comforted by communion with a strong man. The Honourable Jacob had felt little shocks in his fief: Mr. Tooting had visited it, sitting with his feet on the tables of hotel waiting-rooms, holding private intercourse with gentlemen who had been disappointed in office. Mr. Tooting had likewise been a sojourner in the domain of the Duke of Putnam. But the Honourable Brush was not troubled, and had presented Mr. Tooting with a cigar.
In spite of the strange omission of the State Tribune to print his speech and to give his victory in the matter of the Pingsquit bill proper recognition, Mr. Crewe was too big a man to stop his subscription to the paper. Conscious that he had done his duty in that matter, neither praise nor blame could affect him; and although he had not been mentioned since, he read it assiduously every afternoon upon its arrival at Leith, feeling confident that Mr. Peter Pardriff (who had always in private conversation proclaimed himself emphatically for reform) would not eventually refuse--to a prophet--public recognition. One afternoon towards the end of that month of April, when the sun had made the last snow-drift into a pool, Mr. Crewe settled himself on his south porch and opened the State Tribune, and his heart gave a bound as his eye fell upon the following heading to the leading editorial:--