Ward Macauley.

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Jed (waving his arms'). Come on, boys. Hurrah for
H-o-w-e-1-1 — Howell ! {During the above all the characters
and villagers have entered from l., r. and c After Jed's
lines, Howell enters l., atid^Z'RA, r., and both are heartily
applauded. The villagers should be evenly divided in their
sympathies. Shouts of ^^ Hurrah for Little,'^ and '' Hur-
rah for Howell,'^ are heard from all sides.) The first citi-
zen of Wheatville, hon'r'ble Kentworth Howell — hurray !

(Wright brings a box down l., and mounts it.)



THE WHEATVILLE CANDIDATES 47

Wright. Fellow citizens, I am proud to take the first
step in opening this meeting. I am glad to rise before you
as the exponent of our principles, gladder still to introduce
one who needs no introduction, that rising young statesman
whose glowing words have made the welkin ring from one
end of this district to the other — aye, and to the uttermost
parts of the state, the next senator from this district, Hon-
orable Ezra Little.

{Dismounts. Loud applause by 'Ezka!?, sympathizers, Mol-
ly's voice being prominent. Ezra tiiounts the box and
bows profusely.^

Ezra. Fellow citizens, I'm glad to speak before you to-
night. You ought to know what is involved in a vote before
you cast it. They tell me Mr. Howell is a better man. I
am not here to claim otherwise. I only want to call your
attention to the fact that this is a representative government,
and that your senator votes in your place. How will he
vote ? That is the question you must ask yourselves. For
three weeks, I have done my best to let you know how I
stand.

Ezra's Adherents. Hurrah for Senator Little !

Ezra. I have concealed nothing from you. My views
have been an open book for all to read. Do you believe
that operators in our great factories should have greater pro-
tection to life and limb?

Jed. There ain't a factory in Wheatville.

Ezra. Of course there isn't, my friend. Your observa-
tion does you credit, but I would not misjudge you, fellow
citizens of Wheatville, so greatly as to dare say that your
interest extends only to the borders of this village, that you
are not broad enough and that your hearts are not big enough
to go over to the great cities of our state and feel their needs !
(^Great applause.) They need help — those men who give
their brain and brawn in the great manufactories, and I
know them, for I have worked side by side with them.
They ought not to be asked to work undue hours, and their
surroundings ought to be as pleasant and as safe as we can
make them. Their lives should never be endangered for
sake of a dividend. This state — or any other state — can ill
afford to place the dollar above the man.

(^Thunderous applause.)



48 THE WHEATVILLE CANDIDATES

Molly. Zip, boom, bah ! Hurrah for Senator Little !

Ezra. I stand squarely on our platform in this regard,
and if I am elected, 1 pledge you that I will do all within
my power for the eight-hour day, for a closer inspection of
factories, and the improvement of sanitary and safety condi-
tions. They say I'm a greenhorn, that I was nominated for
a joke. Maybe. I don't know the ins and outs of practical
politics, but a greenhorn can fight, and a greenhorn can
have enthusiasm, and even a first-termer has a vote. The
question is — will he vote right? {^Enthusiastic applatise.')
I can speak but briefly on the other points in my platform.
I favor the enlargement of the state's powers in food inspec-
tion. 1 favor the investigation of the land office. I am
first, last and always in favor of civil service reform. A
dollar's worth of work for a dollar of the state's money. If
you believe in things like these, you ought to vote for me —
yes, you must vote for me, unless my opponent — admittedly
a skilful statesman — also pledges himself to his utmost in
their behalf. Has he done so ? Will he do so now ?

Ezra's Adherents. Hurrah I Zip, boom, bah ! Lit-
tle for senator !

Ezra. Friends, I can say no more. You know what I
stand for. I want to represent you in Turnersport. I want
to vote for measures that will help in the onward march of
progress. If you trust me, I shall strive hard to prove worthy.

(Ezra bows amid a storm of applause.^

Molly {leadins^ the applause). Zip, boom, bah ! Hur-
rah for Senator Little ! But why didn't he call Mr. Howell
any bad names?

Lawson {to Jed). Ezra's surely been doing a lot of re-
hearsing. Kent had better do his best and add a little.

(Page mouiits the box.)

Page. Friends and fellow citizens : I am about to in-
troduce to you the biggest man in Wheat ville, the one big
bright star in her firmament, the man whose very name is a
pride and joy to every one of us from the weest toddler to
the oldest inhabitant trembling down life's farthest slope.
We are proud of Kentworth Howell, and being your state
senator is only one step up the ladder of fame for him. The
Honorable Kentworth Howell.



THE WHEATVILLE CANDIDATES 49

{Dismounts. Howell receives afi ovation from his sup-
porters as he mounts the box.)

Howell (bozaing to all sides^. Friends, how good it is
to be home ' Houie, after all these weeks of ceaseless jour-
neyings over my beloved district. Home ! Man's bright-
est hopes, his most tender thoughts are bound up in those
four letters. Home ! To be surrounded by those who love
and trust you. Friends, I can ask no more.

Molly. Guess we'll leave you there, then.

Page (angrily). Keep still, you. Give our candidate a
show.

(Molly subsides.")

Howell. Nothing personally would delight me more
than to remain among you as long as my course shall run,
but 1 feel and must obey the call of duty. It is for your
sake, dear friends, that I go to Turnersport, for your sake
and for my country's weal. (^Applause, and blowing of horn
by Jed.). Regarding what Mr. Little has said about voting
on certain questions, how can I tell how I will stand till I
get up there and see what the situation is? You leave it to
me and I'll take good care of you — always have in the past.
I point with pride to my official record. It's an open book
for all to read. But I view with alarm the possibility of
untried statesmen — if such they can be called- — holding in
their hands the destiny of this great commonwealth ! [Great
applause.) This is a serious problem, friends, this being a
self-governing nation. Men of honesty and experience —
experience especially — -ought to be in the seats of the mighty.
1 b'lieve that now, as in Lincoln's time, our country faces a
mighty crisis. Will you put the guns of defense into un-
proven hands ? No, a thousand times no ! Keep the ship
of state manned by a crew whose ability has stood the test.
This country's going on to greater and greater things. ** He
has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat."
Safe, safe as a babe in its mother's arms is the destiny of
this nation in the hands of our great party. When you go
to the polls be true to yourself ! Shakespeare says to thine
own self be true, and you won't be false to anybody else, or
words to that effect. Be true ! Flinch not, and as I see
your faces I can read the verdict. "I can read the right-
eous verdict by the dim and flaring lamps," and the oppo-



50 THE WHEATVILLE CANDIDATES

sition's foolish doctrine — in this district at least — goes down
to well-deserved defeat.

{Thundering applause as Howell bozvs mid dismounts,')

Lawson. The greatest speech I've heard since I read
one of Dan'l Webster's.

Zeke {triumphantly). I guess that was a poor speech —
not to-day ! It reminded me of gimme liberty or gimme
death.

Jed. I won a prize once recitin* that. I said it like
this {very fasf)^ '' Is life so dear or peace so sweet "

Zeke. 'Nough ! I'll listen to that some time when I'm
asleep.

( The adherents of each candidate crowd around congratu-

latifig him.)

Howell {preparing to leave). Good-bye, Ezra. I hope
there won't be any hard feelings when the votes are counted.

Ezra {quietly). I hope not.

Edith. That was a good speech, Ezra.

Ezra. I'm only sorry that you couldn't approve of all
of it.

Molly. Zip, boom, bah ! Hurrah for Senator Little !

{The villagers file out l. and r. Howell and Page ex-
emit together f r., surrounded by admirers.)

Lawson. Going to work any more to-night, boys ?
Zeke. Guess not. I can't stand these late hours — it's
nine o'clock.

(Jed a?id Zeke exeunt r., and Lawson enters post-office.)

Ezra. Everybody seems to have gone home, all of a
sudden.

Edith. I think I'll wait for father.

Ezra. I just happen to have an errand up your way.
Edith, I'm sorry I've had to say things in my speeches that
may have hurt you.

Edith. Of course, you have a right to say whatever you
like

Ezra. If I had agreed to leave the eight-hour day alone
when you asked me that night, you couldn't have respected
me. Now, honest, could you ? {She turns aside, and does
not answer. Ezra, earnestly.) Could you, Edith?



THE WHEATVILLE CANDIDATES 5 1

Edith (speak i fig very low'). No.

Ezra. Edith, I'm going to say again what I said at the
graduation exercises. If 1 win to-morrow I'm going to ask
a question of you.

(Lawson conies to the door of the post-office.)

Lawson. Well, what do you think of that ?
Edith. Oh, there's father. Good-night.
Ezra. Good-night. Remember, if 1 win



(Exity R.)

Edith. Father, are you sure the eight-hour bill and the
factory inspection will injure the International Company?

Lawson. Well, I've been a-lookin' into it a little, and
it seems some states have got it, and the factories haven't
nailed up the front doors yet. But, anyway, Kent' 11 win in
this district easy.

Edith. Oh, I'm so glad !

Lawson (chuckling). Glad Kent'U win?

Edith. No, that Ezra's bill isn't going to hurt us.

(Goes up c.)

Lawson (looki?ig after her). Well, what do you think
of that ? (Shakes head.) These women is queerer'n poli-
tics. They beat me ! (Goes up c.)



CURTAIN



ACT IV
S,CENE. — Sa7ne as Act I. Evening of election day.

{As curtain rises Edith enters at r. Jed appears at post-
office door.^

Jed. You're just the girl we want to see, Miss Edith.
Will you watch the office while we transact some business
where these checker players can't hear us ?

Edith. I should think they'd be so interested they
wouldn't hear you.

Jed. We dursn't run no chances. Come on, and help
a fellow out.

Edith. I'm glad to do it for you, Jed.

{Enters post-office, c.)

{Enter Lawson and Zeke, c. Jed, Lawson and Zeke

come down c.)

Jed. Now we've got you one side, we got a little busi-
ness to transact, we has.

Lawson. What do you want — a raise? 'Cause if you
do, you'll have to apply to the gover'ment.

Jed. No, it ain't a raise — not exackly.

Zeke. It's more serious than a raise.

Jed. We got a business matter, we has. We want a
partnership dissolved, we do.

Zeke. You can get it done, can't, you? You're a
not'ry public, ain't you ?

Lawson. I'm too blamed public to suit me.

Jed {dignified^. We're here on solemn business, Jeremy,
and you as an officer of the law are duty bound to help us
out.

Lawson. As an officer of the law, I must do my duty —
if I get my fee.

Jed. We want to break up a partnership, Jeremy.

Lawson. I never see your names together on a sign-
board.

52



THE WHEATVILLE CANDIDATES



53



Jed. No, this business ain't exackly one that you put up
any signs about, eh, Zeke?

Zeke. No, but I guess all the signs are in favor o' me.

Lawson (Jookifig cautiously around). I hope it ain't
anything crooked, boys.

Zeke. Not exackly what you'd call crooked, Jerry.

Lawson. Jeremy, sir, not Jerry nor Jeremiah. Now
what about this dissolving business ?

(^In pantomime^ Jed and Zeke each indicates that the other

should proceed. )

Zeke. Jeremy, it's like this. Jed and me was business
rivals, but we decided to pool our interests and form a trust,
eh, Jedediah ?

Jed. Right you are, Ezekiel.

Zeke. You see, both of us is kind o* courtin' Widow
Jorkins, we be, and we got to kind o' thinking how much
we'd lose if we didn't get her, so we said we'd go partners,
and share 'n' share alike.

Lawson. Share 'n' share what alike?

Zeke. Why, Jimmy Jorkins' two thousand dollars in-
surance money, o' course. You see, we're both head over
heels in love with the widow, and we thought the loser'd feel
bad enough without suffering financially.

Lawson. A most equitable arrangement ! Why do you
want to dissolve it ?

Zeke. Well, Jeremy, I, for one, think I've got the lady
to see the matter in the right light.

Jed. Same here, Jeremy.

Zeke. Besides, if the lady should prove unaccommo-
dating in money matters, how could the winner meet his
obligations?

Jed. Right you are, Ezekiel.

Lawson. Have you got a contract ?

Jed. We each got one. We both signed 'em.

Lawson. D' you have any witnesses?

Zeke {shrieking). Witnesses ? Whirligig blossom ! D*
you suppose we wahted everybody in Christendom, includin'
the widow, to know about this here little arrangement?

Lawson [officially solefnn). No one witnessed the deed.

Jed. There ain't any deed done yet.

Lawson (scathingly). I mean the paper, idget. Give



54 THE WHEATVILLE CANDIDATES

me the contracts. {^Each produces a lo7is[ paper from aft
inner pocket. luK^?,oi<i looks them over earnestly. Reads. ^
**Know all men by these presents "

Jed. I wanted that left out, but Zeke said it didn't mean
iiothin'. 'Tvvas just to make it c'rect legally.

Lawson (reading). ''Forasmuch as the party of the
first part, one Ezekiel Jones, and the party of the second
part, one Jedediah Smith, are both, each and severally in
pursuit of one object, namely, the hand and affections of the
party of the third part, one Martha Jorkins known as Widow
Jorkins, and whereas and inasmuch as included with the
aforesaid hand and affections of said Martha Jorkins there
is the sum of two thousand dollars insurance money left by
the late lamented Jimmy Jorkins, we do hereby each and

severally, earnestly agree and covet with each other "

Covet? {Looks up.) Don't you mean covenant?

Jed. I guess we done both. Zeke drew up that there
paper, anyway.

Lawson {severely). Don't you know it's against the
commandments to covet your neighbor's wife?

Jed. But she ain't our wife — not yet.

Lawson {reading). " earnestly agree and covet

with each other that whichsoever shall be successful in get-
ting the aforesaid lady's hand and affections — wnth what is
included therewith — shall pay unto the other the sum of
one-half the amount of the aforesaid insurance money.
Mutually agreed upon and signed this day, July 7, Anno
Dominoes, 19 — . Zeke Jones, Jed Smith."

Lawson {solemnly). Jed Smith and Zeke Jones, re-
spectfully signers o' this here doc'ment, you solemnly affirm
that you wish it annulled, eh ?

Jed. We want it done away with.

Lawson. The fee'll be five dollars each.

Zeke ")

T " y Oh, Jeremy !

Jed. f ' -^ ^

Lawson {firmly). Five dollars apiece, please, or the

contract stands.

Zeke ^

J , ' \ You'll have to take it out on pay day.

Lawson. If I do you'll 'most owe me money, but I'll
do it. You agree to dissolve this partnership, do you ?



THE WHEATVILLE CANDIDATES 55

(Lawson takes the contracts firmly between his fingers and
tears them into very small bits.')

Lawson. Be ye dissolved, by authority of the United
States, per Jeremy Lawson, whose commission expires
July II, 19—.

Jed (with a sigh of relief ^. Let's get back to the office.

Zeke. Folks' 11 be looking for returns soon, 1 guess.

(^Exeunt Jed and Zeke, c. )

(JE titer Edith, c, and walks toward r. She meets Ezra

entering r.)

Ezra. You're just the one I'm looking for, Edith.

Edith. I should think you'd be looking for the man
who counts the votes.

Ezra. We'll hear from him soon now. I suppose your
father will announce the returns as usual.

Edith. I wouldn't want to be the man to try to prevent
him.

Ezra. If I should win, I'm afraid he wouldn't like the
complexion of the returns.

Edith. I'm afraid not.

Ezka {half joking). But we will?

Edith. We?

Ezra. Yes, won't we?

Edith {tossing head). Isn't that taking a good deal for
granted ?

Ezra. Edith, you know that I love you. Ever since I
came to Wheatville, I have been trying to place myself so
that I could ask you to let me take care of you, always. I'd
be willing to work for you

Edith {lookin^^ away). An eight-hour day ?

Ezra. Twenty-four, if necessary. Edith, when this
nomination came to me, I saw its two possibilities — to do
something for what I believe to be in line of progress, and to
win the chance to ask you the one question — now that the
opportunity is in the balance, don't you hope that I get it?

Edith. I (^Hesitates.)

Ezra (earnestly). Edith, don't you?

Edith. Yes, 1 suppose 1 do.

Ezra (delighted). Edith !

(Lawson comes to (he po si t- office door and scowls.)



56 THE WHEATVILLE CANDIDATES

Edith {unconcerned'). When will the returns begin,
father ?

Lawson (^gruffly). I start in at eight, whether there's
returns or not. it's a foregone conclusion anyway.

(Scoivls and turns into post-office,')

Ezra {looking at watch). We've twenty minutes, Edith.
Let's walk down as far as the school.
Edith. To take a last look ?
Ezra. In that case, parting will be a sweet sorrow.

(Exeunt Ezra a7id Edith, r.)

Lawson (entering with Jed). D' you ever see the nerve ?
Wait till he's licked. I'll send him hustling.

Jed. Jus' what I'd do. Stay with a winner. That's my
sentiments. (Hurriedly, as he sees Mrs. J. enter l.) Ex-
cuse me. {Runs forward and takes her by the arm.) My
dear Mrs. Jorkins, how might you be?

Mrs. J. 1 might be dead o' the quinsy, but I'm not. I
never felt better.

Jed. And you never looked better. Seems to me you're
getting

(Enter Zeke, c, on the run. He takes Mrs. J. 's other arin.)

Zeke. My dear Mrs. Jorkins, how fine you are looking !
Lawson. You men are as bad as women !

(Exit, c.)

Mrs. J. (to Zeke). Oh, do you really think so?

Zeke. Cross my heart.

Jed. Cross mine double.

Zeke. It seems a terrible long time since I saw you.

Jed. It seems twice that long to me.

Mrs. J. I'm glad I found you two boys alone. Seein'
you've been so particularly nice to me, I guess I ought to let
you know first. Maybe you don't remember Abner Lew-
bury, d* you? Well, anyway, him and me was sweethearts
once, and had a misunderstanding, and each of us took up
with somebody else. Well, each of us having been afflicted
by the loss of the better half, we decided to do what we ex-
pected to do in the first place. I got his letter to-day, an*
I'm answering it now. {Holds out letter.)



THE WHEATVILLE CANDIDATES 57

7^^^ I {astoufided). So you're to be married?

Mrs. J. Yes, and I want you boys at the weddin'.
You've been just like two sons to me. You'll come, won't
you ?

Jed ] {sheepishly). We'll be there {eagerly) and kiss

Zeke \ the bride.

{ExitW^^. J. into post-office.)

Jed {fnournfully). Good-bye, Jimmy Jorkins' two thou-
sand.

Zeke {also mournfully). . I wish we could 'a' got that
Lewbury chap to go partners with us.

{Enter Howell, l.)

Howell. Hello, boys, how're you feeling? We've
fought a good fight, and 1 guess we've won.

JED. 1 bet when the votes are counted you'll see the
Wheatville committee made a good showing.

Howell. It doesn't start that way, Jed. I've been
watching 'em count, and I figure that I'll be lucky to carry
the town by twenty-five. Still, many a mickle makes a
muckle.

{Enter Lawson, c.)

Lawson. In five minutes I start this show if there isn't
a township heard from. Be prepared to fill in, Kent.
Jed. i guess I'd better drum up a crowd.
Zeke. That's my program.

{Exeunt Jed and Zeke, l.)

Lawson. Now, Kent, I hope everything turns out O. K.,
because you know I'm mighty ambitious for my Edith.

{Villagers be^in to assemble fro7n L. and R. ; Page, Kib
and Wright included. Mrs. J. enters c.)

Howell. I never was defeated yet.

Lawson. Mebbe the pitcher might go to the well once
too often.

Howell. Even if I do, I won't come home broke.

{Enter Molly, r.)



58 THE WHEATVILLE CANDIDATES

Molly. Zip, boom, bah ! Hurrah for Senator Little !

{Some of the villagers join her while others shout " Hurrah
for Howell r')

{Enter Jed and Zeke, l.)

Lawson. Time to start. Hey, you Kib. You go in-
side there, and as fast as any returns come in, you rush 'em
out to me. And Zeke, if you don't get news fast enough,
I'll report you to the gover'ment. {Moutits box and an-
nounces through a megaphone.^ Ladies and gentlemen —
and politicians — we are about to commence a time-honored
institution here in Wheatville — receivin' and announcin'
election returns. As usual, I'll take charge.

{Exit Zeke, c.)

{Enter Edith and Ezra, r. The villagers cheer Ezra
and also Howell. )

Howell {to Lawson). What are they doin' together ?

{Points to Ezra and Edith.)
Lawson. Blessed if I know, but it ain't a good sign.

(Kib hands a slip to Lawson.)

Lawson {announcifig). Howell carries Chicory town-
ship by twenty-four votes.

{Loud applause.)

Howell {to Jed). It's not near up to two years ago.

{Before each announcement Kib hands Lawson a slip of
paper. Lawson announces through the megaphone.
Ezra and Howell have note-books , keeping count as the
vote is announced.)

Lawson. Sugaway Center gives six majority for Little.

{Applause.)

Howell {to Jed). If I lose, she's my Jonah.

Jed. By hop, I hope you win, but politics is as uncer-
tain as collar buttons.

Edith {to Ezra). Six is something, anyway.

Ezra. Is it something to you? Then you want me to
win, eight-hour day and all.



THE WHEATVILLE CANDIDATES 59

Edith. Now, Ezra.

Ezra. Say you do.

Edith. I've told you so twice.

Lawson. Fenn Creek gives a majority of eleven for



Howell.



(^Applause.)



Howell {to Molly). How do you like that, little Miss
Smarty ?

Molly. Wait till the next. Most people aren't ignorant
like the Fenn Creek folks. Hurrah for Senator Little !

Jed. I'll make a small-sized bet with any man here that
Kent Howell wins.

Molly. What do you want to bet?

Jed. I'll bet a kiss. If you win I'll give you one. If I
win, you give me one.

Molly. I wouldn't bet that way except with a handsome
man.

Jed. . Well, that's where I come in.

Molly. No, that's where you're away out.

Jed. I tell you what I'll do; the loser'll have to eat a
cake of soap.

Molly. A whole cake ?

Jed. a reg'lar-sized cake of Smith's Beauty Soap.

Molly. Who'll pay for the soap?

Lawson. Oh, I'll donate the soap.

Molly. All right, I'll bet you.

Lawson. Here, they're coming. — Gasport, twenty for
Little; Beanville, sixteen for Howell ; School Corners, seven
for Little; Circusburg, nineteen for Howell.

(Howell and Ezra make notes rapidly.')

Howell {to Jed). We've got a lead, but not near what
we had two years ago.

Jed. I hope we win. Smith's Beauty Soap is only good
outside.

Ezra {turning to Molly). I hope we win, if only so
that you won't need to eat that soap.

Molly. There's another reason why you want to win.
Oh, I know. Zip, boom, bah ! and I hope you get her,
too.

Ezra. Thanks, Molly, but get whom?

Molly. Yes, that's her. Sh ! she'll hear you.



60 THE WHEATVILLE CANDIDATES

Ezra. Her? What her? '

Molly. As if you didn't know. Hurrah for Senator
Little !

Howell {to his adherents who have crowded around him
to get his figures'). 1 hope it's all right, boys. We're not
doing like we did two years ago — not by a big plura.

Lawson. Blueberry Junction, thirty-three for Little.

(Howell /i3!//i" back upon a box exhausted^ and fans him-
self with his hat.)

Howell. Just think of that ! The place I made such a
hit, according to the Wheatville *' Press."

Jed. You can't believe nothing you read in the news-
papers.

(Ezra's sympathizers, led by Molly, shout triumphatitly.)

Howell. I never thought much o' blueberries, anyway.

Lawson {to Jed). Politics is gettin' as uncertain as
women. {Loudly. ) Here's a whole county, Musgash gives
a majority for Little, one hundred and twenty-two. {^Dem-
onstratio7i.) This is more like it. Complete returns from
Sterling County give Howell a majority of one hundred and
forty-eight. [Great shouting.) Wheatville goes for Little
by ten majority.

{Tremendous applause, led by Molly.)

Howell. A man's foes shall be they of his own house-
hold. {Figures intently. To Lawson.) I guess we win,
but it's uncomfortably close — as close as ever was old Claw-
buck in his palmiest days.

Lawson. How does she stand?

Howell. We're thirty- seven to the good, and there's
only a few more townships to hear from. I guess we're
safe.

Lawson. You'd better be, 'cause I'm mighty ambitious


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Online LibraryWard MacauleyThe wheatville candidates .. → online text (page 4 of 5)