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Ezra. I never saw him before. His name is Pryor, and

he wanted to initiate me into practical politics.

Edith. And did he?

Ezra. I learned some things I didn't know before.

Edith. You'll be a politician yet, Ezra.

Ezra. I hope not according to our visitor's definition.

{^Enter Lawson, r., and without being seen he sits in chair
behind screen^ with his newspaper. He has a tiote-book
also.)

Edith. Shall we look over your notes now?

Ezra. Do you really want me to make a good speech ?

Edith. Why, of course I do.

Ezra. But if 1 should learn how to make a good speech,
I might win, and tlien

Edith. What then? (Lawson /r^z£/«i-.)

Ezra. Then I might ask a certain young lady a ques-
tion. May I ?

Edith. Certainly you may ask !

Ezra. But what will the answer be?

Edith. How can 1 tell till I know what the question is ?

Ezra. Remember, I'm going to ask it.

Edith. Shall we look at your notes ?

{They sit, down \.. Ezra takes some papers from his
pocket and Lawson prepares to write in his book.)

Ezra {smiling). I read in a little green book that I got
from Philadelphia that I must be a natural, graceful speaker;
but while it's good advice, it's hard to follow. You can't
be natural artificially. Then it said to develop a magnetic
personality, but it didn't give the formula. Now, isn't that
too bad ?

Edith. Pm afraid a book wouldn't help much when you
get up in front of a couple of hundred people. (Smiles.)
• Ezra. No. Events wouldn't wait for me to consult
page 249 to find out what to do when interrupted. Now,
in my speeches, Edith, I shall always cal] attention to the
fact that this is a representative government, and that we
ought to choose a senator according to what he stands for.



THE WHEATVILLE CANDIDATES



33



Then I will state my views and ask those who believe in
them to vote for me.

(Lawson writes feverishly .^

Edith. I don't see how any one can object to that.

Ezra. Of course, you know, I've done more studying
along the lines of industrial conditions than anything else.
Somehow, the problem of getting mankind's work done
without enslaving men always appealed to me.

Edith. But, of course, it's more or less foreigners that
work in factories, isn't it ?

Ezra. Possibly — but men, nevertheless. I'm mighty
glad our party put in that plank about the eight-hour day
and about more rigid inspection of factories. (Lawson
shakes his fist and writes rapidly?) And if I don't come
within four miles of being elected state senator, I may do a
little something to waken the people of this district. I'll let
you in on a secret. That one plank in the platform made
me say yes.

Edith. But, Ezra, don't you know that to put in the
eight-hour day is going to work hardship on lots of good
people ?

Ezra. Whom do you mean ?

Edith. Why, people who have money invested. You
wouldn't want to harm them, would you?

Ezra. No, and I don't think the eight-hour day will
hurt them.

Edith. But, Ezra, would you still say so much about it
in your speeches if you knew it would hurt me?

Ezra {tenderly'). Hurt you ?

Edith. Yes. Father says the eight-hour law will ruin
the International Company, Our money's all in that.

Ezra. But it won't, Edith

Edith. It might, though. Hadn't you better think
twice before you stand up for it ?

Ezra. Think twice? I've thought four times, Edith.
I've got to stick to my principles. You couldn't respect
me if I didn't.

Edith. But, Ezra, couldn't you gloss over that one
plank and talk about the others?

Ezra. You mustn't ask it, Edith. I simply must make
my influence count for that bill if I am elected



34



THE WHEATVILLE CANDIDATES



Edith {coldly). Of course, if you care more for a lot of
people you don't know {Rises and goes R.)

Ezra. Is that fair?

Edith. Of course, it's fair. Father's got a dozen fami-
lies in Wheatville to invest in International, and think what
they'll say if they don't get dividends

Ezra. I've simply got to back up that plank. Edith,
in the end you'll see that I'm doing right.

Edith. Then you mean that even if it ruins my father
and his friends, you will urge that bill?

Ezra. Yes! {Starts toward her.') Edith!

Edith {stopping him with a gesture). Answer me !

Ezra. Edith, if that bill is right, I must vote for it — no
matter whom it hurts.

Edith {scornfully). Oh, I see — the path of duty, and
all that.

Ezra. Don't, Edith. You don't know how much you
hurt me.

Edith. It may help you to know how other people feel
when they are hurt.

Ezra. Is that all you can say to me, Edith ?

Edith. Yes.

Ezra. Well, I'm sorry — sorry. {Abruptly.') Good-
night.

Edith {coldly). Good-night.

{Exit Ezra, l.)
(Lawson comes from behind the screen^ R.)

Lawson. There, I heard every word.

Edith. Why, father I

Lawson {triu?nphantly). Well, you see what kind of a
fellow he is. 1 wouldn't have much to say to a fellow that
wouldn't do a little thing like that for me.

Edith. But, father, do you think he really liked to
make me angry at him ?

Lawson. No, I suppose not.

Edith. Then don't you think he's pretty sincere if he's
willing to have this happen rather than give up his prin-
ciples ?

Lawson. Yes, but the boy's wrong.

Edith. I think he is wrong, but he isn't weak, anyway.

Lawson. I hope this' 11 end everything between you.



THE WHEATVILLE CANDIDATES 35

Edith. Tliere never has been anything between us,
father.

Lawson. It's been pretty clus, I can tell you ; and you
remember, I'm mighty ambitious for you, Edith.

Edith. Father, are you sure that if the eight-hour bill
goes through, that we will lose our money? (^Goes down r.)

Lawson. I don't want to take any chances. I know
what I've got now and, says I, leave well enough alone.
But — pshaw ! Kent'U lick Ezra so bad that his voice won't
ever be raised in the senate halls on that subject nor on any
other, s'fur as that goes.

{Loud knocks are heard. Enter Jed, Zeke and Howell,
L., all happy and triumphant^)

Zeke. Well, it was a whirlwind.

Jed. a reg'lar cyclone. Took 'em up by the roots.

Howell. I'm not much to brag, but they said no such
or'tory had been heard at Jupp's Corners for a long time.
Every time I came to a stop, they'd shake the building with
stamping and yelling. They gave me three cheers before I
left.

Lawson. You got back quick.

Howell {proudly). You bet. In my new car, I burnt
up the road, I can tell you.

Edith. Did you buy yourself an automobile, Mr.
Howell ?

Howell. No, a personal friend of mine lent it to me.

Lawson {grumbling). I expected to get shaved before
you got here, but I was detained.

Edith. Why, father, you had the whole house to your-
self.

Lawson {confused). Yes, but I had some plans to think
over. Generally, though, I shave in installments, here a
little and there a little, as I get the chance.

Howell. Jeremy, let's get started. I want to see you
a moment before the meeting comes to order. May we be
excused ?

Edith. Certainly.

Lawson. I guess I can go to any part of my own house
— or I'll know the reason why.

{Exeunt Lawson and Howell, c. Jed and Zeke sit l.)

Zeke. Gee, I'm sleepy. I'm usually in bed by nine and



36 THE WHEATVILLE CANDIDATES

up at four in the morning. Only break my rule in case of
politics, weddings or funerals, or something ekally serious.

Jed {looking at large watch). You won't get to bed by
nine to-night, Zeke.

Zeke. No, that's a great sacrifice I make for my country.
J'ever hear of a sleeping sentinel in the army? 1 never do
any traitorious acts like that. Be a Benedict Arnold or 'n
Aaron Burr — not I.

Jed. Calm down, Zeke. What are you doing, rehears-
ing?

Zeke {apologetic). Excuse me. Miss Lawson. I forgot
myself. You'll overlook it, won't you? I'll be more care-
ful in futur.

Edith. Why^ there's nothing to forgive, Zeke. I
thought it was clever.

(Zeke jumps around delightedly .^

Zeke. Whirhgig blossom ! D' you hear that ? You
can't keep a good man down.

Jed. I'll have to buy you an etiquette book, Zeke Jones.

Zeke {threatefiing). D' you mean to insinyate that my
manners

Edith. Now, Zeke —

Zeke {humbly). Excuse me, Miss Lawson, excuse me.
And as for you, sir, I'll see you later.

Jed. Y' can't make it too much later to suit Jedediah
Smith, E. P.

Edith. E. P. ?

Jed. Yep — expert politician.

Edith. I hear you're an expert, too, Zeke. {Smiles.)

Zeke. I ain't one o' these conceited fellers that thinks
he's the whole show and somethin' added, but there are
folks that do say that I am one of the best inside workers in
the state.

Edith. You will be running for office yourself some
day.

Zeke {to Jed). You've been telling on me. I told you
not to say a word, and you go yellin' all over creation

Jed. I never said nothing.

Edith, Zeke, you forget yourself.

Zeke {hiwibly). I beg pardon. Miss Lawson. I hope
you'll overlook it and I'll try not to let it occur again.

Edith. I guess I can forgive you once more.



THE WHEATVILLE CANDIDATES 37

Zeke. You got to forgive me seventy times seven.

{Reenter Lawson arid Howell, c.)

Jed. Have you two got your fences fixed up ?
Edith. Why, our fences are all right.
Howell {laughing). And so are mine, Miss Edith. At
least, 1 hope so. Pretty good repair, eh, Jeremy ?

{Pounds Lawson on the back.)

Lawson {irritably). How many times have I told you
not to pound me like that?

Howell {jovially). How shall I pound you, Mr. Law-
son ?

Lawson. I'm black and blue from my friends greeting
me. It's a relic of barbarism, and if I had my way

Howell {aside and confidefitially). You'd get 'em into
the family, so you could punish them as they deserve.

Lawson. Mebbe I would, and mebbe 1 wouldn't. I'm
mighty ambitious for my Edith.

Howell. And so'm I.

(Edith exits quietly ^ r.)

Zeke {loudly). Mr. Chairman.

Jed {dignified). Mr. Jones.

Zeke. I move we come to order.

Jed. I second the motion — all in favor, say aye. (Jed
and Zeke shout ^^ aye'^ loudly.) Contrary, if any — it is
carried. /

Howell {blajidly). But Mr. Chairman, I appeal. The
presiding officer cannot second a motion.

Jed {bluntly). Why not ?

Howell. It's contrary to parliamentary law.

Jed. It is, eh ? Well, I got the book right here. {Takes
book from pocket, turns leaves and puis tJmmb into mouth
alternately.) There you be, and I hope you're satisfied.

Howell. But that's written in ink.

Jed {triumphantly). To be certainly. Thomas' Rules
o' Order, with revisions by Jed Smith, or every man his own
parliamentary law, see? You're overruled. Meeting please
come to order.

Zeke. Yes, let's come to order, Kent,

Howell. Call me my surname. During campaigns,
I'm the honorable Kent worth Howell.



38 THE WHEATVILLE CANDIDATES

Zeke. Don't hardly see how you expect to win, if you're
honorable.

Howell {to Lawson). Did you read the Wheatville
*' Press " yet?

Lawson. 'Course I read it. What about it?

Howell. Notice those head -lines about my big success
over at Blueberry Junction ?

Lawson. Couldn't help seein' 'em if you tried. What
of it?

Howell. Another fool break of Page's. Upset his
calendar. I don't speak there until next Thursday.

Lawson. Ezra's speechraaking begins to-morrow.

Howell. So he's going to talk about industrial condi-
tions, eh ?

Lawson. That's what I get from what he said. Of
course, it was all accidental like, but I jest made notes of
what 1 couldn't help hearing.

Howell. That's good. Forewarned is forearmed, or
as the old saying has it — All's fair in love and politics.

Lawson. It ought to be easy sailing for you with Edith,
now. She and Ezra had a tiff because he won't stop talk-
ing eight-hour day, even if it reduces our dividends

Howell. My, my — I hate to think how we'll wallop
that boy !

Lawson. He'll get over it. {Enter Edith, r.) Let's
have our meeting out in the kitchen, where we can smoke.

Jed. You lead the way.

Howell. I'll join you in a moment, boys. {Exeunt
Jed, Zeke and Lawson, c.) I'm mighty glad to see you
again, Edith. My, but we made a hit over to Jupp's to-
night. The crowd shouted itself hoarse. I hear Ezra was
here to-night. He ought to be busy speechmaking — not
that it will do him any good.

Edith. He starts out to-morrow.

Howell. I hear he's a crank on labor matters, eight-
hour day, safety appliances, sanitary conditions and all that
rubbish. Why, Edith, these reformers' d ruin business if
they had their way.

Edith {coldly). That's what father says.

Howell. By the way, have you thought over that little
proposition o' mine lately ?

Edith. Well, I, that is

Howell. Not another word, but I hope you will medi-



THE WHEATVILLE CANDIDATES 39

tate seriously. Ordinarily, I'm no hand to make a census
of my bantams before the returns are in, but this time I can't
see a bit of rough weather ahead.

Edith. Don't you think you might underestimate Ezra?

Howell {laughing). Underestimate him ? Why, Edith,
if I had been choosing my own opponent, I would have said
let Ezra Little be the man.

Edith. He may surprise you. He has ideas, and he's
got the courage to stick up for them, too.

Howell. Well, I'm not afraid. I'm only hoping that I
can be as sure that you'll give the correct answer to that
little proposition as I am that I'll beat him.

Edith (warfnly). It seems to me you are very con-
fident

Howell. Sure. It's too bad to beat the boy two
ways {Takes her hand.)

Edith {pulling hand aivay, a?id speaking with spirit).
Perhaps you won't — beat him !

Howell (astonished). Edith !



CURTAIN



ACT III

SCENE. — Same as Act I. Three weeks later. Early
evening of the day before election.

(^Curtain discovers Jed attd Zeke.)

Jed. It's all over now. Every chance has went.

Zeke. Yep, \ve ain't got a show. I don't see's there's
any use countm' the votes.

Jed. We got. to drink the bitter dregs o' defeat.

Zeke. Just as sure as your ma used to make you take
m'lasses and sulphur.

Jed, And it tastes even worse.

(^Enter Howell, r.).

Howell. What is this, boys, a funeral?

Jed. 'Tain't our funeral, Kent Howell.

Howell. You don't mean to say you think it's mine?

Zeke. We're licked, Kent, licked as sure as Clawbuck's
butter's oleomargarine. Just to-day, I met four different
chaps who've been for you strong every time, and now
they've flopped to Little.

Howell {laughing, confidently'). Four votes won't lick
me, Zeke. Don't quit. I hate a quitter. Why, this race
isn't exciting enough to be interesting.

Jed. Ezra's getting votes, Kent Howell, votes I thought
I had sewed up tight in my hip pocket.

Howell. How's he getting them ?

Jed. By his labor talk and by letting folks know how
he's going to vote, that's how he gets 'em.

Howell. Cheer up, boys. I give you my word of honor
I'm going to be elected, and that ought to be enough for
any man. Now, hustle up and get these banners ready, and
cheer for me when I put it all over him in the speechmak-
ing. Liven thina^s up. Make it seem all Howell.

Jed. We'll all howl, all right.

{Enter Page, r.)
40



THE WHEATVILLE CANDIDATES ' 4I

Page (Jo Jed). You're just the man I'm looking for,
being chairman of the local committee. What predictions
do you make? I'm printing a special bulletin for distribu-
tion to-morrow.

Jed. We perdict that the Hon. Kentworth Howell will
carry Wheatville by sixty-one majority.

Page. I hear Moses Trueman's too sick to vote to-
morrow.

Howell. I'll get him in my car.

Page. Too sick — they can't move him.

Howell. There's some of my healthy constituents you
can't move.

Jed. If Trueman's sick, make that majority sixty.

Howell. I hope, Page, that you've got some real live
stuff in that bulletin and no more breaks like that Blueberry
Junction affair.

Page {sulkily^. I guess what I say about Little won't
do him any good, and it's too late for him to deny it.

Howell. Don't tell me. Then if he says anything, I
don't know anything about it.

Page. Well, I've got to get my bulletin ready.

Jed. And we've got to fix up our parade.

{Exeunt Jed and Zeke, l., and Page, r.)

(^Enter Molly, r.) •

Molly. Zip, boom, bah ! Hurrah for Ezra Little !
Who's all right? Ezra Little.

Howell. Go ahead. Don't mind me.

Molly. But yesterday and Howell's name would rule
the world — and to-morrow none so poor to do him rever-
ence. Hurrah for Ezra Little !

Howell. What do you know about it, you little minx ?

Molly. Oh, nothing. Zip, boom, bah I Hurrah for
Little ! We go marching to Turnersport.

Howell. Now, there's a good girl. Shout for me, and
I'll g;ive you a pound box of candy.

Molly. Guess I won't shout for you. Hurrah for
Little ! If you don't get me a two-pound box, I'll tell
folks you tried to bribe me, and then how many votes'll you
get?

Howell. Just to show I'm good-natured I'll buy you a
box, anyway.



42 THE WHEATVILLE CANDIDATES

(^Enter Mrs. Jorkins, l.)

Mrs. J. I beg pardon, but I just wanted to ask if you
believed in letting the women vote.

Howell. Would you vote for me ?

Mrs. J. I certainly would.

Howell. Then I say by all means let you vote.

Mrs. J. Thank you so much.

Howell. Don't mention it.

Mrs. J. But I must. I must tell all the ladies. Thank
you so much, dear Mr. Howell.

{Exeunt Mrs. J., l., Molly and Howell, c, into post-
office.')

Molly {at the door). Hurrah for Little !
{Enter Ezra and Wright, l.)

Ezra. I thought I heard some one calling me.

Wright. Just some of the populace venting a bit of
their enthusiasm. My dear Ezra, I really think we are
going to elect you. Your campaign has taken the practical
politicians off their feet.

Ezra. I've only told them what I really believe.

Wright. And that's just what they've been waiting for.
I knew I could pick a winner, and I did that time certain
sure.

Ezra. It means a lot to me to win.

{Enter Page, r., hurriedly.)

Page. I've been looking all over for you, Little. Got
any figures to give out ?

Ezra. Figures ?

Page. Yes, regarding your majority.

Ezra. If there is one. No, I'm not claiming anything.
As like as not Kent' 11 win out.

Page {delighted). Shall I print that?

Ezra (sfniling). You might say that I'll win if I get the
most votes.

Page. If ! A big if, I say. I'd be a millionaire if I
had enough money. Good-night.

Ezra. Good-night, Page. Don't be late for the
speeches.

Page. I'll be here to get you down in black and white.



THE WHEATVILLE CANDIDATES 43

{^Exit Page, r.)

Wright. No need to bother with him. I don't con-
sider him decent enough to associate with. We don't
speak, you notice.

Ezra. I always thought him a first-rate chap.

Wright. Even after he called you a political meddler ?

Ezra. I guess he was half right.

Wright. I'm all right, so I'm the better man. Now,
Ezra, all we've got to do is to get these circulars distrib-
uted, and you've put on the finishing touches to a whirl-
wind campaign.

{Unwraps a package and hands Ezra a circular.^

Ezra (reading). " Howell rides in automobile owned
by the International Manufacturing Company. Let the
voter ask himself. Who owns Howell? " Frank, we mustn't
pass out such a circular as that.

Wright. Why not ?

Ezra. Because it's not our way of doing. Kent and I
said we'd have a clean campaign and no mud-throwing,
and I'm not going to get elected by making nasty insinua-
tions.

Wright. Why, you just said you wanted to win —
wanted to win bad.

Ezra. Did I ? I meant to say I wanted to win fairly —
not by springing eleventh-hour roorbacks.

Wright. Roorbacks?

Ezra. Yes; that's what they call them, isn't it?

Wright. You're certainly getting onto the technical
points. Ha, ha, ha ! Well, I'll see you later.

Ezra. Come back here, Frank. Better let me have
that package. I don't want any accidents to happen.

(Wright reluctantly hands Ezra the package and exits at L.
Ezra carefully rewraps the package.)

(^Enter Molly, c. , with box of cajidy.

Molly. Do I interrupt? Zip, boom, bah ! Hurrah for
Ezra Little !

Ezra. I enjoy being interrupted by such sentiments,
Molly.

Molly. Have some candy ? Mr. Howell bought me a
two-pound box.



44 THE WHEATVILLE CANDIDATES

Ezra. I shouldn't think you'd be so enthusiastic for me,
then.

Molly. As though I'd give up my principles for candy.
You do me a base injustice.

Ezra. I'm glad 1 have such a devoted little adherent.

Molly. Yes, I am a Little adherent. I'll be back for
the speech, you bet. I must give ma at least one piece of
candy before I eat it all.

Ezra. Be sure to be on time. I may need help.

{Exit Molly, r. Ezra takes a manuscript from his pocket
and examines it carefully. He keeps the package care-
fully under his arm. )

{Enter Edith, r.)

Edith {diffidently'). Good -evening, Mr. Little.
• Ezra. Not Ezra ?

Edith. Ezra, then. Is that your speech?

Ezra. Oh, it's a few notes that cover what I have used
in the campaign. I spoke at four places last night : Gas-
port, Latimer Junction, Sawtucket and Beanville. I reached
Beanville at eleven o'clock, and there were just ten men
there, and every one fast asleep. I made a big hit with the
ten .

Edith. What did you do?

Ezra. I let them sleep.

Edith. And you've been talking eight-hour day and
factory inspection ?

Ezra {gravely). Yes. I've made it my chief point.

Edith {looking at hini and then away). You know how
I feel about it.

Ezra. Edith, isn't it anything to you that I'm doing my
duty as I see it?

Edith. I hope you won't emphasize those things to-
night

Ezra. Edith

{Enter Kib, r.)

KiB. Hi, I caught you. Say, sis, I thought you were
mad at Mr. Little

Edith. Hush, Kib.

Kib. You can't make me hush. I thought it was all
fixed



THE WHEATVILLE CANDIDATES 45

Edith. Never mind anything more or I'll tell Mr. Little
about your girl.

KiB {abashed^. Oh, sis, you wouldn't do that.

Edith. I will, if you aren't good.

KiB. Oh, I'll be good. Let me borrow a nickel.

Edith {handmg one from her purse). When will you
pay me back ?

KiB (rushing into post-office). Oh, when I get to be
a man.

Ezra. Small brothers are big bothers, I've heard.

Edith. Oh, Kib doesn't annoy me in the least.

Ezra. If you'll excuse me, Edith, I'll get rid of this
package before time for the speeches.

Edith (^quietly). Certainly, and remember what I
said

Ezra. I can't do that.

Edith. Not when I — especially — ask it?

Ezra. Not even when you ask it, Edith.

Edith. Very well. Good-bye.

Ezra. Good-bye.

(^Exit R. Edith walks l.)
{Enter Howell, c.)

Howell. Howdy, Miss Edith? I haven't seen you in
a long time. Y' see I've been speaking at four meetings a
night, and that doesn't leave much time for courting.

Edith. I presume you have been busy. I hardly thought
you considered so strenuous a campaign necessary.

Howell. You seemed to think so last time 1 saw you,

Edith. Did I?

Howell. Don't you remember? Said he would sur-
prise me, et cetera, but I'm just about calculating on squelch-
ing him to-night for good and all, and after the votes are
counted to-morrow I am going to ask you for your answer
on that special little proposition of mine.

Edith. Mr. Howell, I can

Howell. Not another word. After the votes are
counted, the conquering hero will come to claim his lady
love — rather a pretty figure, eh ? 1 must be going now ; but
remember — after the votes are counted.

{Exit Howell, l.)



46 THE WHEATVILLE CANDIDATES

[Enter Lawson, c.)

Lawson. Hello, Edith. Talkin' to Howell, eh ? That's
right.

Edith. Father, I wish you'd stop meddling in my
affairs.

Lawson. Your affairs ? It's my affairs, I guess. Your
affairs — when it's me that's going visitin' up at the execu-
.tive mansion when you're the governor's wife. It's me
that's ambitious for you. Your affairs ! Bah !

Edith. So you think Mr. Howell will surely win?

Lawson. A lot of people are getting fooled by this eight-
hour buncombe, and Ezry may make it close for Kent.
Politics is skittish as women.

(^Enter Jed and Zeke, l., bearing aloft a banner inscribed
' ' Howell for Senator. ' ' Kib enters c. , and follows iheMf
flaying a patriotic tune on a motith-organ. All three
march around the stage several times and are joined by
villagers, who enter l. and r. At the conclusion of the
third trip they all gather around him and shout. ^

All. Hurrah for Howell ! Howl for Howell ! We all
howl for Howell !

(^Enter Molly, r.)

Molly. Back again. Hurrah for Little ! Zip, boom,
bah, Ezra, Ezra, Ezra Little !

Jed (^pompously'). Come on, boys. Drown her out. {All
shout. ) Howell, Howell, Howell for senator !

Molly. Little, Little, Little, Senator Little!

Zeke. I hear Kent's going to win easy. He has so
Little opposition.

Molly. Little, but enough to beat him.


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