In the Arena: Stories of Political Life
Excerpt: ...longer allowed to make speeches there; he made them in the saloon, to the amusement of the loafers and roughs who infested it. They ... Show synopsis Excerpt: ...longer allowed to make speeches there; he made them in the saloon, to the amusement of the loafers and roughs who infested it. They badgered him, but they let him harangue them, and applauded his rhodomontades. Hurlbut, passing the place one night at the end of the session, heard the quavering, drunken voice, and paused in the darkness to listen. "I tell you, fellow-countrymen, I've voted Dem'cratic tick't forty year, live a Dem'crat, die a Dem'crat! An' I'm's honest as day is long!" It was five years after that session, when Hurlbut, now in the national Congress, was called to the district in which Wixinockee lies, to assist his hard-pressed brethren in a campaign. He was driving, one afternoon, to a political meeting in the country, when a recollection came to him and he turned to the committee chairman, who accompanied him, and said: "Didn't Uncle Billy Rollinson live somewhere near here?" "Why, yes. You knew him in the legislature, didn't you?" "A little. Where is he now?" "Just up ahead here. I'll show you." They reached the gate of a small, unkempt, weedy graveyard and stopped. "The inscription on the head-board is more or less amusing," said the chairman, as he got out of the buggy, "considering that he was thought to be pretty crooked, and I seem to remember that he was 'read out of the party, ' too. But he wrote the inscription himself, on his death-bed, and his son put it there." There was a sparse crop of brown grass growing on the grave to which he led his companion. A cracked wooden head-board, already tilting rakishly, marked Henry's devotion. It had been white-washed and the inscription done in black letters, now partly washed away by the rain, but still legible: HERE LIES THE MORTAL REMAINS OF WILLIAM ROLLINSON A LIFE-LONG DEMOCRAT AND A MAN AS HONEST AS THE DAY IS LONG The chairman laughed. "Don't that beat thunder? You knew his record in the legislature didn't you?" "Yes." "He was as crooked as they say he was, wasn't he?..".