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As A Candidate
by [?]

I was pained to read this, for I had not at that time toyed much with politics, but I went up stairs and practiced an hour or two on a hollow laugh that I thought would hide the pain which seemed to tug at my heart-strings. For the rest of the day I strolled about town bearing a lurid campaign smile that looked about as joyous as the light-hearted gambols of a tin horse.

I visited my groceryman, a man whom I felt that I could trust, and who had honored me in the same way. He said that I ought to be indorsed by my fellow-citizens. “What! All of them?” I exclaimed, with a choking sensation, for I had once tried to be indorsed by one of my fellow-citizens and was not entirely successful. “No,” said he, “but you ought to be ratified and indorsed by those who know you best and love you most.”

“Well,” said I, “will you attend to that?”

“Yes, of course I will. You must not give up hope. Where do you buy your meat?”

I told him the name of my butcher.

“And do you owe him about the same that you do me?”

I said I didn’t think there could be $5 one way or the other.

“Well, give me a memorandum of what you can call to mind that you owe around town. I will see all these parties and we will get them together and work up a strong and hearty home indorsement for you, which will enable you to settle with all of us at par in the event of your election.”

I gave him a list.

That evening a load of lumber was deposited on my lawn, and a man came in to borrow a few pounds of fence nails. I asked him what he wanted to do, for I thought he was going to nail a campaign lie or something. He said he was the man who was sent up to build a kind of “trussle” in front of my house. “What for?” I asked, with eyes like a startled fawn. “Why, for the speakers to stand on,” he said. “It is a kind of a combination racket. Something between a home indorsement and a mass-meeting of creditors. You are to be surprised and gratified to-morrow evening, as near as I can make out.”

He then built a wobbly scaffold, one end of which was nailed to the bay window of the house.

The next evening my heart swelled when I heard a campaign band coming up the street, trying to see how little it could play and still draw its salary. The band was followed by men with torches, and speakers in carriages. A messenger was sent into the house to tell me that I was about to be waited upon by my old friends and neighbors, who desired to deliver to me their hearty indorsement, and a large willow-covered two-gallon godspeed as a mark of esteem.

The spokesman, as soon as I had stepped out on my veranda, mounted the improvised platform previously erected, and after a short and debilitated solo and chorus by the band, said as follows, as near as I can now recall his words:

Mr. Nye

“SIR: We have read with pain the open and venomous attacks of the foul and putrid press of our town, and come here to-night to vindicate by our presence your utter innocence as a man, as a fellow-citizen, as a neighbor, as a father, mother, brother or sister.

“No one could look down into your open face, and deep, earnest lungs, and then doubt you as a man, as a fellow-citizen, as a neighbor, as a father, mother, brother or sister. You came to us a poor man, and staked your all on the growth of this town. We like you because you are still poor. You can not be too poor to suit us. It shows that you are not corrupt.