There is no blast so powerful, so withering, as the blast of ridicule. Only the strongest men can withstand it, only reformers who are such in deed, and not alone in name, can snap their fingers at it, and liken it to the crackling of thorns under a pot. Confucius and Martin Luther must have been ridiculed, Mr. Crewe reflected, and although he did not have time to assure himself on these historical points, the thought stayed him. Sixty odd weekly newspapers, filled with arguments from the Book, attacked him all at once; and if by chance he should have missed the best part of this flattering personal attention, the editorials which contained the most spice were copied at the end of the week into the columns of his erstwhile friend, the State Tribune, now the organ of that mysterious personality, the Honourable Adam B. Hunt. 'Et tu, Brute!'
Moreover, Mr. Peter Pardriff had something of his own to say. Some gentlemen of prominence (not among the twenty signers of the new Declaration of Independence) had been interviewed by the Tribune reporter on the subject of Mr. Crewe's candidacy. Here are some of the answers, duly tabulated.
"One less vote for the Honourable Adam B. Hunt."--The Honourable Jacob Botcher.
"A monumental farce."--Ex-Governor Broadbent.
"Who is Mr. Crewe?"--Senator Whitredge. (Ah ha! Senator, this want shall be supplied, at least.)
"I have been very busy. I do not know what candidates are in the field."--Mr. Augustus P. Flint, president of the Northeastern Railroads. (The unkindest cut of all!)
"I have heard that a Mr. Crewe is a candidate, but I do not know much about him. They tell me he is a summer resident at Leith."--The Honourable Hilary Vane.