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“My friends," he said in a clear, nate in having few detractions to vitistrong voice, “I was scheduled to make ate his efforts and that thief of time, a speech before you to-night, a speech greater even than Procrastination-a praising the virtues of the People's Girl-had not yet been added to his party, a party in which you and I have lists of encumbrances, diversions or had unquestioned and unbroken faith necessities. Thus it was that the infor over eight years. But since that an- genuous intimacy which sprang up benouncement was made, something has tween himself and the private stenogoccurred which has caused me to rapher of the boss politician was change my mind. Instead of making a great boon to him now that a speech I am going to make a con some of the men who had been nearest fession.”
to him had deserted him because of his Hardly were the words out of his questionable affiliations. During the mouth when Oysting sprang towards hours of pressure when the work in him with a bound, but the sudden hand was of a private nature, the Boss shuffle of feet and an angry snarl from "lent” him his stenographer and as the the gathering warned him back to his termination of the campaign applace, white and trembling. Then with proached, these hours became more the mighty mallet of his rhetoric, Ham- frequent and more dear to the prosmond shattered the structure which he pective assessor of taxes. had been eight long years in building. The Boss exercised a jealous care He showed the leaders of the People's over Miss Marion and kept most of party in exactly the position of a his low-browed followers from her. "Poating mine under a searchlight." Hammond he trusted, knowing that He exposed their methods, flayed their his weakness was political power, not practices, clearly pointed out the care women. So, a warm uninterrupted ful plan they had laid to surround the companionship grew up between them. vast sum of money to be expended; Often during busy hours they lunched then after he had made plain his rea- together in the cosy office of the sons for joining the Independents he maiden and as he watched her brew openly challenged, in the courts, one the coffee or manipulate the dainty or all of the People's party to prove chafing dish on her desk, his thoughts his charges false.
of politics vanished away into the Every paper in the city printed his shadow of a shade. Several evenings remarkable confession on the following when the Boss was attending to busiday. Even over their violent vitupera- ness in the suburbs the pair had dinner tions, the "World” and the "Record” together beneath a secluded arbor up quoted the words of the young law- the river, and one glorious, moonlit yer. The general effect of this was not night she stole away with him for a only a benefit to the Independent party canoe ride on a narrow stream that in the third, fourth and fifth wards, but emptied into the river. They were from doubtfuls over the entire city, floating beneath an arch of willows His bold and unanswered challenge which overhung the bank when a trailmade inroads against the ranks of the ing vine lightly kissed her cheek. Mutopposing party and while as yet the tering something about a snag ahead, election results were doubtful, the bet- Hammond swung the canoe around and ting odds were slightly in favor of the snatching the tip of the vine and kept Independents.
it for himself lest some other canoeist His break from the People's party might steal the kiss. had brought down upon him a deluge That he knew nothing about her of work for which his previous prepara- family made no difference to him. He tion had trained his stroke, and fear-. didn't care who or what they were so lessly breasting the current he kept his long as she remained as she was. Once head high above the flood of hard work in one of their little outings he had and hostile censure. He was fortu- spoken of his home and the conversa
tion had occasioned some reference to scene which he had witnessed. He her mother by him. “My mother died could not reconcile his thoughts to when I was a very little girl," she what he had just seen. It seemed imtold him simply, and that was the only possible in this man he had come to time the subject was ever mentioned know so well and in this girl he had between them. She refreshed him come to—to like so well. Thoughts of mentally and made up for the loss of the past few months flew through his his intimates; more than that he did mind like faces in a car window; his not desire. Their friendship was al- first meeting with the girl, their freways pleasantly informal. In address- quent association, her continual alerting him she laughingly called him “Mr. ness, her knowledge, her womanliness, Assessor," and in turn he named her his her-innocence. He squared his "Goddess of the Machine," for short, shoulders with a sharp jerk. His ambi"Goddess."
tions were to succeed in politics, not Thus they grew together, neither to act as an amusement for strange trying to analyze the feelings which ex- women, and he gave the bell a long, isted beneath the surface of friendship, loud ring. A few minutes later, after each glad when enjoying the compan- his card had preceded him, he was ionship of the other.
ushered into the study of the politician.
"You're up late, Hammond," said the
latter, as he looked questioningly across Late one evening in the Fall, Ham- his desk. mond leaped up the imposing marble "Yes," returned the attorney, "I've steps of the Francis mansion, pressed got something on my mind that isn't the button, and finding the door slight- exactly conducive to sound sleep. ly ajar strode in without waiting for Talbot and O'Gorman are going to the butler. He went up the thickly bolt." carpeted staircase three steps at a time The Boss's eyelids narrowed as he and was on his way back to the spaci- leaned forward and looked piercingly ous study at the rear of the second at the younger man floor when, on glancing into the room "Talbot and O'Gorman?” he queried, beyond, he saw a sight that made him slowly. stagger. There, at that hour, in a "Talbot and O'Gorman and your son, flowing dressing gown was Miss Mar- Henry." ion, her upturned face between the "My son, Hen- You lie !" hands of the politician who kissed her Hammond bent over the desk until as she stood there. A horrible, revolt his face was within a foot of the other's. ing suspicion tore its way through the "Francis, I'll throw you through that brain of Hammond like a dumdum window if you don't take that back," he bullet, and an impulse came over him menaced. . to rush in and kill the man. He knew “All right, I take it back. Now Francis to be all that was unscrupulous prove to me that you don't." in politics, but this—somehow in his "The three came to me an hour ago lowest estimate of him he had never and offered me the commissionership if accused him of this.
I'd go with them. From what they "Good-night, Boss,” she was saying say, the Reforms will go with them. as she pinched his cheek.
If Henry breaks and decries you with "Good-night, Maid Marion,” smiled the others it will give them strength. the inan, and then dully realizing that He is bitter about that license board the relations of each was the same to place you refused him, and the others the other, Hammond stole unsteadily have convinced him that your reign down the staircase.
will come to an abrupt finish with this His ring had not awakened the buit. election, so Henry wants to be on his ler and he stood irresolutely on the feet when you fall." front steps thoughtfully pondering the "Hammond, I trust you implicitly.
You really know this? They came to changed. My former friends I betrayed you? Tell me, was my son with them outright into the hands of my former when they called, Hammond?"
foes. I changed my religion as a “Yes."
means to gain power. A man's soul “You swear it?"
I never considered where his vote was "Have I ever lied to you?” broke concerned. out the lawyer. "Would there be any "When I was still honestly striving I thing for me to gain in a lie like this?” married the love of my youth, a pure
Francis dropped limply into his girl who had a beautiful faith in my chair.
uprightness. We had three sons. "Henry, my own son," he repeated, They grew up under their mother's infeebly. "I made Jim Talbot, put him Auence until their father changed. where he is and kept him there; O'Gor- Then they took their coloring from his man, too, though he always had to be associates and from his character. The whipped into line, but my boy, Harry!" oldest fell from the window of his hotel
With his head between his hands the during an orgy with women of the Boss sat there. His mastery was gone, street. One of them is to-day responsihis fierceness shattered, and as Ham- ble for
ble for a suicide a week at a mond eyed him bowed and thinking, he racetrack which is protected by my appeared a senile, broken down old man methods of politics. Henry, who runs whose reign had indeed tottered. A the biggest distillery in the state, besuspicion born that hour kept the cause the saloons to which I give Suyounger man from sympathizing with day freedom buy his whiskey, spends him, but he could not keep back a three months of the year in a sanatowave of pity as he watched the bent rium. How much affection he has for figure.
his father is evident from what you At last he raised his head. His face have seen to-night. We had anothe: was white and set.
child, a daughter, whom I have kept "Hammond," he said in a tone of away at school most of the time in quiet decision, "call up the morning order that she shouldn't find out juist papers and tell them to send their polit- what her father is. She is what her ical men up here. Then call up Loden mother was before I broke her heart of the Reforms. We'll renounce them by my political dealings, and she is the first and beat them with their own only person in this whole world why cards."
has one drop of genuine affection for On returning from the telephone James T. Francis. That is the story Hammond picked up his hat but the of a man who started into false politics other motioned him to a seat.
hoping to turn true as you are hoping. "You're not going yet," he said "Hammond, by trampling on the quietly, as Hammond slipped into an hearts of men I have come nearer and armchair. “I have a story to tell you. nearer the goal of my hopes, but al
"Thirty-five years ago I went into ways farther and farther from the goal politics somewhat as you started. I of my earlier resolves. To-day I have learned the rules of the game in my affluence and influence, but honor I class at college, but when I began it have not nor can I get it. Without was with principles as clean as yours that life's whole game isn't worth the were. I entered civic strife at a time shadow the candle throws. In the bewhen we voted with a pistol in the ginning I meant well; hell is paved right hand and a ballot in the left. For with a highroad of my good intentions, ten years I played a losing game with but over this road my evil acts go rumthe best men in the city, then the bling on in an endless procession. To chance came to join the others with try and redeem these acts is hopeless personal profit to myself. Sick of al now. Their taint is not only in the ways being on the losing side and firm- blood of the men that I have corrupted, ly resolving to turn honest later on, I it is ulcerating the blood of the sons
that I have raised. Into your hands I tion. The Boss had once, with some am going to place the knife that is to degree of reluctance, Hammond remove this sore that I have procreated. thought, suggested that in case he Not to cause pain by turning the blade needed the girl he would be glad to in the wound but to run it in to the "lend” her to him, but Hammond dehaft and cut out the fester. You are clined with thanks. going to be the next mayor of this By keeping his mind filled with work city.”
he tried to crowd out all thoughts of The bell rang as Hammond rose the girl who had hitherto nestled so tremblingly to his feet.
close to his ambitions. He succeeded in "Here are the reporters now," said convincing himself that he was a fool Francis, quietly.
to permit himself to become interested in any woman at such a critical period
of his career, particularly a woman in The days which followed the as the employ of such a man as Francis tounding announcement of the Boss of was. Continual reminders of her came the Independent party were days of to him as he reviewed reports and files strife and consternation. Chaos came that she had written, and for a time out of comparative cosmos. The the image conjured up by a tantalized wheels of machine government were mind troubled him. Gradually, howclogged and broken. The organizations ever, by a forced process of reasoning were disorganized. Complete revolu- he changed his opinion of her; altered tion had upset the careful planning of the image that caused his mind unrest; years, and the ward buzzard's wings corrected his mistake in believing her flapped restlessly above the field of refined, cultured-innocent. Then, asbattle. The Reform party was shat sured of the finality of his convictions, tered on the rock of its own treachery. he worked on with unclouded mind, Some joined the Talbot forces, while without another thought of her until many flocked to the Hammond ban one day he met her face to face and ner. A large contingent of the Francis alone in the office of the Boss. There, element divorced itself from that fol like ice under a summer sun, his coldly lowing because of the lessening of fu- constructed opinions were melted in ture hopes, while other truly indepen- the warmth of her pure smile; his caudent men, having long followed the tiously compiled
compiled arguments were hopeless choice of accepting the lesser openly refuted by the innocence which of two evils, sided with Hammond. radiated from every lineament of her The papers now, save the "World" and person, and he stood before her, flushed, the "Record,” were with him from title abashed, delighted. to tailpiece, from diamond to pica, and "Why, Mr. Mayor, nee Assessor, their influence promised to make up for where have you been?" she asked, as the loss of the vultures who had winged she exchanged a firm and friendly handtheir way to the Talbot camp.
clasp. A new suite of offices had been “Busy, very busy, Miss Goddess,” he secured by Hammond in one of the said, guiltily trying to hide his condowntown skyscrapers and he had had fusion. but one occasion to go to the office of "Too busy even to remember old the Boss since the new slate had been friends?" she questioned, still smiling. made out. That was a brief visit after "No, busy trying not to remember office hours and aside from that he them,” he replied, and then as a swift, had either used the telephone or sent searching look momentarily checked
Moreover, when the her smile, he laughed in spite of his Boss now wanted to talk with him he feeling and added, "but my attempts went to the office of Hammond, so that have been hopeless." the young man had not seen Miss The smile returned. Marion since the night of the revela "But during all this rush how could