(Mr. Crewe is quoted here at length in an admirable, concise, and hair- raising statement given in an interview to his biographer. But we have been with him, and know what he saw. It is, for lack of space, reluctantly omitted.)
And now we are to take up where the biography left off; to relate, in a chapter if possible, one of the most remarkable campaigns in the history of this country. A certain reformer of whose acquaintance the honest chronicler boasts (a reformer who got elected!) found, on his first visit to the headquarters he had hired--two citizens under the influence of liquor and a little girl with a skip rope. Such are the beginnings that try men's souls.
The window of every independent shopkeeper in Ripton contained a large- sized picture of the Leith statesman, his determined chin slightly thrust down into the Gladstone collar. Underneath were the words, "I will put an end to graft and railroad rule. I am a Candidate of the People. Opening rally of the People's Campaign at the Opera House, at 8 P.M., July 10th. The Hon. Humphrey Crewe, of Leith, will tell the citizens of Ripton how their State is governed."
"Father," said Victoria, as she read this announcement (three columns wide, in the Ripton Record) as they sat at breakfast together, "do you mind my going? I can get Hastings Weare to take me."
"Not at all," said Mr. Flint, who had returned from New York in a better frame of mind. "I should like a trustworthy account of that meeting. Only," he added, "I should advise you to go early, Victoria, in order to get a seat."
"You don't object to my listening to criticism of you?"
"Not by Humphrey Crewe," laughed Mr. Flint.
Early suppers instead of dinners were the rule at Leith on the evening of the historic day, and the candidate himself, in his red Leviathan, was not inconsiderably annoyed, on the way to Ripton, by innumerable carryalls and traps filled with brightly gowned recruits of that organization of Mrs. Pomfret's which Beatrice Chillingham had nicknamed "The Ladies' Auxiliary.". In vain Mr. Crewe tooted his horn: the sound of it was drowned by the gay talk and laughter in the carryalls, and shrieks ensued when the Leviathan cut by with only six inches to spare, and the candidate turned and addressed the drivers in language more forceful than polite, and told the ladies they acted as if they were going to a Punch-and-Judy show.