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The Candidate A Political Romance   By: (1862-1919)

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THE CANDIDATE

A POLITICAL ROMANCE

BY

JOSEPH A. ALTSHELER

HARPER & BROTHERS NEW YORK AND LONDON

Copyright, 1905, by HARPER & BROTHERS.

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

THE CANDIDATE

I

THE NOMINEE

The huge convention hall still rang with the thunders of applause, and most of the delegates were on their feet shouting or waving their hats, when Harley slipped from his desk and made his way quietly to the little side door leading from the stage. It was all over now but the noise; after a long and desperate fight Grayson, a young lawyer, with little more than a local reputation, had been nominated by his party for the Presidency of the United States, and Harley, alert, eager, and fond of dramatic effects, intended to be the first who should tell him the surprising fact.

He paused a moment, with his hand on the door, and, looking out upon the hall with its multitude of hot, excited faces, ran quickly over the events of the last three or four days. Ten thousand people had sat there, hour after hour, waiting for the result, and now the result had come. The rival parties had entered their conventions, full of doubt and apprehension. There was a singular dearth of great men; the old ones were all dead or disabled, and the new ones had not appeared; the nation was conscious, too, of a new feeling, and all were bound to recognize it; the sense of dependency upon the Old World in certain matters which applied to the mental state rather than anything material was almost gone; the democracy had grown more democratic and the republic was more republican; within the nation itself the West was taking a greater prominence, and the East did not begrudge it. It was felt by everybody in either party that it would be wiser to nominate a Western man, and, the first having done so, the second, as all knew it must, now followed the good example.

Moreover, both conventions had nominated "dark horses," but the second nominee was the "darker" of the two. James Madison Grayson, affectionately called Jimmy Grayson by his neighbors and admirers, was quite young, without a gray hair in his head, tall, powerfully built, smooth shaven, and with honest eyes that gazed straight into yours. He was known as a brave man, with fine oratorical powers and a winning personality, but he had come to the convention merely as a delegate, and without any thought of securing the nomination for himself. Not a single vote had been instructed for him, but in that lay his opportunity. All the conspicuous candidates were weak; good men in themselves, a solid political objection could be raised against every one of them, and for a while the voting was scattered and desultory. Then Grayson began to attract attention; as a delegate he had spoken two or three times, always briefly, but with grace and to the point, and the people were glad both to see him and to hear him.

At last a far sighted old man from the same state knew that the moment had come when the convention, staggering about in the dark, could be led easily along any road that seemed the path of light. He mentioned the name of Grayson, putting it forward mildly as a suggestion that he would withdraw at the first opposition, but his very mildness warded off attack. Received rather lightly at first, the suggestion soon made a strong appeal to the delegates. Nothing could be urged against Grayson; he was quite young, it was true, but youth was needed to make a great campaign the odds were heavily in favor of the other party. Nor were there lacking those who, expecting defeat, said that a young man could bear it better than an old one, and a beating now might train him for a victory four years hence.

Grayson himself was surprised when he heard the report, nor could he ever be convinced that he would be nominated; he regarded the whole thing as absurd, a few votes, no more, might be cast for him, but, as was fit and decent, he withdrew from the hall... Continue reading book >>




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