The heat and venom of each political campaign bring back to my mind with wonderful clearness the bitter and acrimonious war, and the savage factional fight, which characterized my own legislative candidacy in what was called the Prairie Dog District of Wyoming, about ten years ago. This district was known far and wide as the battleground of the territory, and generally when the sun went down on the eve of election day the ground had that disheveled and torn-up appearance peculiar to the grave of Brigham Young the next day after his aggregated widow has held her regular annual sob recital and scalding-tear festival.
I hesitated about accepting the nomination because I knew that Vituperation would get up on its hind feet and annoy me greatly, and I had reason to believe that no pains would be spared on the part of the management of the opposition to make my existence a perfect bore. This turned out to be the case, and although I was nominated in a way that seemed to indicate perfect harmony, it was not a week before the opposition organ, to which I had frequently loaned print paper when it could not get its own C. O. D. paper out of the express office, said as follows in a startled and double-leaded tone of voice:
“The candidate for assembly in this district, whose trans-Missouri name seems to be Nye, turns out to be the same man who left Penobscot county, Maine, in the dark of the moon four years ago. Mr. Nye’s disappearance was so mysterious that prominent Penobscoters, especially the sheriff, offered a large reward for his person. It was afterwards learned that he was kidnapped and taken across the Canadian line by a high-spirited and high-stepping horse valued at $1,300. Mr. Nye’s candidacy for the high office to which he aspires has brought him into such prominence that at the mass meeting held last evening in Jimmy Avery’s barber-shop, he was recognized at once by a Maine man while making a telling speech in favor of putting in a stone culvert at the draw above Mandel’s ranch. The man from Maine, who is visiting our thriving little town with a view to locating here and establishing an agency for his world-renowned rock-alum axe-helves, says that Mr. Nye, in the hurry and rush incident to his departure for Canada, overlooked his wife and seven little ones. He also says that the candidate’s boasted liberality here is different from the kind he was using while in Maine, and quotes the following incident: Two years before he went away from Penobscot county, one of our present candidate’s children was playing on the railroad track of the Bangor & Moosehead Lake Railroad, when suddenly there was a wild shriek of the iron-horse, a timid, scared cry of the child, and the rushing train was upon it. Spectators turned away in horror. The air was heavy, and the sun seemed to stop its shining. Slowly the long freight train, loaded with its rich freight of huckleberries, came to a halt. A glad cry went up from the assembly as the broad-shouldered engineer came out of the tall grass with the crowing child in his arms. Then cheer on cheer rent the air, and in the midst of it all, Mr. Nye appeared. He was told of the circumstance, and, as he wrung the hand of the engineer, tears stood in his eyes. Then, reaching in his pocket, he drew forth a card, and writing his autograph on it, he gave it to the astounded engineer, telling him to use it wisely and not fritter it away. ‘But are you not robbing yourself?’ exclaimed the astonished and delighted engineer. ‘No, oh no,’ said the munificent parent, ‘I have others left.’ And this is the man who asks our suffrages! Will you vote for him or for Alick Meyerdinger, the purest one-legged man that ever rapped with his honest knuckles on top of a bar and asked the boys to put a name to it.”