Half an hour later, when Mr. Wetherell knocked timidly at Number 7,—drawn
thither by an irresistible curiosity,—the door was opened by a portly person who
wore a shining silk hat and ample gold watch chain. The gentleman had, in fact,
just arrived; but he seemed perfectly at home as he laid down his hat on the
marble-topped bureau, mopped his face, took a glass of iced water at a gulp,
chose a cigar, and sank down gradually on the bed. Mr. Wetherell recognized him
instantly as the father of the celebrated Cassandra.
"Well, Jethro," said the gentleman, "I've got to come into the Throne Room
once a day anyhow, just to make sure you don't forget me—eh?"
"A-Alvy," said Jethro, "I want you to shake hands with a particular friend of
mine, Mr. Will Wetherell of Coniston. Er—Will, the Honorable Alvy Hopkins of
Mr. Hopkins rose from the bed as gradually as he had sunk down upon it, and
seized Mr. Wetherell's hand impressively. His own was very moist.
"Heard you was in town, Mr. Wetherell," he said heartily. "If Jethro calls
you a particular friend, it means something, I guess. It means something to me,
"Will hain't a politician," said Jethro. "Er—Alvy?"
"Hello!" said Mr. Hopkins.
"Er—Will don't talk."
"If Jethro had been real tactful," said the Honorable Alvy, sinking down
again, "he'd have introduced me as the next governor of the state. Everybody
knows I want to be governor, everybody knows I've got twenty thousand dollars in
the bank to pay for that privilege. Everybody knows I'm going to be governor if
Jethro says so."
William Wetherell was a little taken aback at this ingenuous statement of the
gentleman from Gosport. He looked out of the window through the foliage of the
park, and his eye was caught by the monument there in front of the State House,
and he thought of the inscription on the base of it, "The People's Government."
The Honorable Alva had not mentioned the people—undoubtedly.
"Yes, Mr. Wetherell, twenty thousand dollars." He sighed. "Time was when a
man could be governor for ten. Those were the good old days—eh, Jethro?"
"A-Alvy, 'Uncle Tom's Cabin's' comin' to town tomorrow—to-morrow."
"You don't tell me," said the Honorable Alva, acquiescing cheerfully in the
change of subject. "We'll go. Pleased to have you, too, Mr. Wetherell."
"Alvy," said Jethro, again, "'Uncle Tom's Cabin' comes to town to-morrow."
Mr. Hopkins stopped fanning himself, and glanced at Jethro questioningly.
"A-Alvy, that give you an idea?" said Jethro, mildly.
Mr. Wetherell looked blank: it gave him no idea whatsoever, except of little
Eva and the bloodhounds. For a few moments the Honorable Alva appeared to be
groping, too, and then his face began to crease into a smile of comprehension.
"By Godfrey, Jethro, but you are smart." he exclaimed, with involuntary
tribute; "you mean buy up the theatre?"
"C-callate you'll find it's bought up."
"You mean pay for it?" said Mr. Hopkins.
"You've guessed it, Alvy, you've guessed it."
Mr. Hopkins gazed at him in admiration, leaned out of the perpendicular, and
promptly drew from his trousers' pocket a roll of stupendous proportions.
Wetting his thumb, he began to push aside the top bills.
"How much is it?" he demanded.
But Jethro put up his hand.
"No hurry, Alvy—n-no hurry. H-Honorable Alvy Hopkins of Gosport—p-patron of
the theatre. Hain't the first time you've b'en a patron, Alvy."
"Jethro," said Mr. Hopkins, solemnly, putting up his money, "I'm much obliged
to you. I'm free to say I'd never have thought of it. If you ain't the
all-firedest smartest man in America to-day,—I don't except any, even General
Grant,—then I ain't the next governor of this state."
Whereupon he lapsed into an even more expressive silence, his face still
"Er—Alvy," said Jethro presently, "what's the name of your gal?"
"Well," said Mr. Hopkins, "I guess you've got me. We did christen her Lily,
but she didn't turn out exactly Lily. She ain't the type," said Mr. Hopkins,
slowly, not without a note of regret, and lapsed into silence.
"W-what did you say her name was, Alvy?"
"I guess her name's Cassandra," said the Honorable Alva.
"Well, you see," he explained a trifle apologetically, "she's kind of taken
some matters in her own hands, my gal. Didn't like Lily, and it didn't seem to
fit her anyway, so she called herself Cassandra. Read it in a book. It means,
'inspirer of love,' or some such poetry, but I don't deny that it goes with her
better than Lily would."
"Sh-she's a good deal of a gal, Alvy—fine-appearin' gal, Alvy."
"Upon my word, Jethro, I didn't know you ever looked at a woman. But I
suppose you couldn't help lookin' at my gal—she does seem to draw men's eyes as
if she was magnetized some way." Mr. Hopkins did not speak as though this
quality of his daughter gave him unmixed delight. "But she's a good-hearted gal,
Cassy is, high-spirited, and I won't deny she's handsome and smart."
"She'll kind of grace my position when I'm governor. But to tell you the
truth, Jethro, one old friend to another, durned if I don't wish she was
married. It's a terrible thing for a father to say, I know, but I'd feel easier
about her if she was married to some good man who could hold her. There's young
Joe Turner in Gosport, he'd give his soul to have her, and he'd do. Cassy says
she's after bigger game than Joe. She's young—that's her only excuse. Funny
thing happened night before last," continued Mr. Hopkins, laughing. "Lovejoy saw
her, and he's b'en out of his head ever since. Al must be pretty near my age,
ain't he? Well, there's no fool like an old fool."
"A-Alvy introduce me to Cassandry sometime will you?"
"Why, certainly," answered Mr. Hopkins, heartily, "I'll bring her in here.
And now how about gettin' an adjournment to-morrow night for 'Uncle Tom's
Cabin'? These night sessions kind of interfere."
Half an hour later, when the representatives were pouring into the rotunda
for dinner, a crowd was pressing thickly around the desk to read a placard
pinned on the wall above it. The placard announced the coming of Mr. Glover's
Company for the following night, and that the Honorable Alva Hopkins of Gosport,
ex-Speaker of the House, had bought three hundred and twelve seats for the
benefit of the members. And the Honorable Alva himself, very red in the face and
almost smothered, could be dimly discerned at the foot of the stairs trying to
fight his way out of a group of overenthusiastic friends and admirers. Alva—so
it was said on all sides—was doing the right thing.
So it was that one sensation followed another at the capital, and the
politicians for the moment stopped buzzing over the Truro Franchise Bill to
discuss Mr. Hopkins and his master-stroke. The afternoon Chronicle waxed
enthusiastic on the subject of Mr. Hopkins's generosity, and predicted that,
when Senator Hartington made the motion in the upper house and Mr. Jameson in
the lower, the General Court would unanimously agree that there would be no
evening session on the following day. The Honorable Alva was the hero of the
That afternoon Cynthia and her father walked through the green park to make
their first visit to the State House. They stood hand in hand on the cool,
marble-paved floor of the corridor, gazing silently at the stained and battered
battle-flags behind the glass, and Wetherell seemed to be listening again to the
appeal of a great President to a great Country in the time of her dire need—the
soul calling on the body to fight for itself. Wetherell seemed to feel again the
thrill he felt when he saw the blue-clad men of this state crowded in the train
at Boston: and to hear again the cheers, and the sobs, and the prayers as he
looked upon the blood that stained stars and stripes alike with a holy stain.
With that blood the country had been consecrated, and the state—yes, and the
building where they stood. So they went on up the stairs, reverently, nor heeded
the noise of those in groups about them, and through a door into the great hall
of the representatives of the state.
Life is a mixture of emotions, a jumble of joy and sorrow and reverence and
mirth and flippancy, of right feeling and heresy. In the morning William
Wetherell had laughed at Mr. Hopkins and the twenty thousand dollars he had put
in the bank to defraud the people; but now he could have wept over it, and as he
looked down upon the three hundred members of that House, he wondered how many
of them represented their neighbors who supposedly had sent them here—and how
many Mr. Lovejoy's railroad, Mr. Worthington's railroad, or another man's
But gradually he forgot the battle-flags, and his mood changed. Perhaps the
sight of Mr. Speaker Sutton towering above the House, the very essence and bulk
of authority, brought this about. He aroused in Wetherell unwilling admiration
and envy when he arose to put a question in his deep voice, or rapped sternly
with his gavel to silence the tumult of voices that arose from time to time; or
while some member was speaking, or the clerk was reading a bill at breathless
speed, he turned with wonderful nonchalance to listen to the conversation of the
gentlemen on the bench beside him, smiled, nodded, pulled his whiskers, at once
conscious and unconscious of his high position. And, most remarkable of all to
the storekeeper, not a man of the three hundred, however obscure, could rise
that the Speaker did not instantly call him by name.
William Wetherell was occupied by such reflections as these when suddenly
there fell a hush through the House. The clerk had stopped reading, the Speaker
had stopped conversing, and, seizing his gavel, looked expectantly over the
heads of the members and nodded. A sleek, comfortably dressed mail arose
smilingly in the middle of the House, and subdued laughter rippled from seat to
seat as he addressed the chair.
"Mr. Jameson of Wantage."
Mr. Jameson cleared his throat impressively and looked smilingly about him.
"Mr. Speaker and gentlemen of the House," he said, "if I desired to arouse
the enthusiasm—the just enthusiasm—of any gathering in this House, or in this
city, or in this state, I should mention the name of the Honorable Alva Hopkins
of Gosport. I think I am right."
Mr. Jameson was interrupted, as he no doubt expected, by applause from floor
and gallery. He stood rubbing his hands together, and it seemed to William
Wetherell that the Speaker did not rap as sharply with his gavel as he had upon
"Gentlemen of the House," continued Mr. Jameson, presently, "the Honorable
Alva Hopkins, whom we all know and love, has with unparalleled
generosity—unparalleled, I say—bought up three hundred and twelve seats in
Fosters Opera House for to-morrow night" (renewed applause), "in order that
every member of this august body may have the opportunity to witness that most
classic of histrionic productions, 'Uncle Tom's Cabin'." (Loud applause, causing
the Speaker to rap sharply.) "That we may show a proper appreciation of this
compliment—I move you, Mr. Speaker, that the House adjourn not later than six
o'clock to-morrow, Wednesday evening, not to meet again until Thursday morning."
Mr. Jameson of Wantage handed the resolution to a page and sat down amidst
renewed applause. Mr. Wetherell noticed that many members turned in their seats
as they clapped, and glancing along the gallery he caught a flash of red and
perceived the radiant Miss Cassandra herself leaning over the rail, her hands
clasped in ecstasy. Mr. Lovejoy was not with her—he evidently preferred to pay
his attentions in private.
"There she is again," whispered Cynthia, who had taken an instinctive and
extraordinary dislike to Miss Cassandra. Then Mr. Sutton rose majestically to
put the question.
"Gentlemen, are you ready for the question?" he cried. "All those in favor of
the resolution of the gentleman from Wantage, Mr. Jameson—" the Speaker stopped
abruptly. The legislators in the front seats swung around, and people in the
gallery craned forward to see a member standing at his seat in the extreme rear
of the hall. He was a little man in an ill-fitting coat, his wizened face
clean-shaven save for the broom-shaped beard under his chin, which he now held
in his hand. His thin, nasal voice was somehow absurdly penetrating as he
addressed the chair. Mr. Sutton was apparently, for once, taken by surprise, and
stared a moment, as though racking his brain for the name.
"The gentleman from Suffolk, Mr. Heath," he said, and smiling a little, sat
The gentleman from Suffolk, still holding on to his beard, pitched in without
"We farmers on the back seats don't often get a chance to be heard, Mr.
Speaker," said he, amidst a general tittering from the front seats. "We come
down here without any l'arnin' of parli'ment'ry law, and before we know what's
happened the session's over, and we hain't said nothin'." (More laughter.)
"There's b'en a good many times when I wanted to say somethin', and this time I
made up my mind I was a-goin' to—law or no law."
(Applause, and a general show of interest in the gentleman from Suffolk.)
"Naow, Mr. Speaker, I hain't ag'in' 'Uncle Tom's Cabin.' It's a good play, and
it's done an almighty lot of good. And I hain't sayin' nothin' ag'in' Alvy
Hopkins nor his munificence. But I do know there's a sight of little bills on
that desk that won't be passed if we don't set to-morrow night—little bills that
are big bills for us farmers. That thar woodchuck bill, for one." (Laughter.)
"My constituents want I should have that bill passed. We don't need a quorum for
them bills, but we need time. Naow, Mr. Speaker, I say let all them that wants
to go and see 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' go and see it, but let a few of us fellers
that has woodchuck bills and other things that we've got to get through come
down here and pass 'em. You kin put 'em on the docket, and I guess if anything
comes along that hain't jest right for everybody, somebody can challenge a
quorum and bust up the session. That's all."
The gentleman from Suffolk sat down amidst thunderous applause, and before it
died away Mr. Jameson was on his feet, smiling and rubbing his hands together,
and was recognized.
"Mr. Speaker," he said, as soon as he could be heard, "if the gentleman from
Suffolk desires to pass woodchuck bills" (renewed laughter), "he can do so as
far as I'm concerned. I guess I know where most of the members of this House
will be to-morrow night-" (Cries of 'You're right', and sharp rapping of the
gavel.) "Mr. Speaker, I withdraw my resolution."
"The gentleman from Wantage," said the Speaker, smiling broadly now,
"withdraws his resolution."
As William Wetherell was returning to the Pelican House, pondering over this
incident, he almost ran into a distinguished-looking man walking briskly across
"It was Mr. Worthington!" said Cynthia, looking after him.
But Mr. Worthington had a worried look on his face, and was probably too much
engrossed in his own thoughts to notice his acquaintances. He had, in fact, just
come from the Throne Room, where he had been to remind Jethro that the session
was almost over, and to ask him what he meant to do about the Truro Bill. Jethro
had given him no satisfaction.
"Duncan and Lovejoy have their people paid to sit there night and day," Mr.
Worthington had said. "We've got a bare majority on a full House; but you don't
seem to dare to risk it. What are you going to do about it, Mr. Bass?"
"W-want the bill to pass—don't you?"
"Certainly," Mr. Worthington had cried, on the edge of losing his temper.
"L-left it to me—didn't you?
"Yes, but I'm entitled to know what's being done. I'm paying for it."
"H-hain't paid for it yet—hev you?"
"No, I most assuredly haven't."
"B-better wait till you do."
There was very little satisfaction in this, and Mr. Worthington had at length
been compelled to depart, fuming, to the house of his friend the enemy, Mr.
Duncan, there to attempt for the twentieth time to persuade Mr. Duncan to call
off his dogs who were sitting with such praiseworthy pertinacity in their seats.
As the two friends walked on the lawn, Mr. Worthington tried to explain,
likewise for the twentieth time, that the extension of the Truro Railroad could
in no way lessen the Canadian traffic of the Central, Mr. Duncan's road. But Mr.
Duncan could not see it that way, and stuck to his present ally, Mr. Lovejoy,
and refused point-blank to call off his dogs. Business was business.
It is an apparently inexplicable fact, however, that Mr. Worthington and his
son Bob were guests at the Duncan mansion at the capital. Two countries may not
be allies, but their sovereigns may be friends. In the present instance, Mr.
Duncan and Mr. Worthington's railroads were opposed, diplomatically, but another
year might see the Truro Railroad and the Central acting as one. And Mr.
Worthington had no intention whatever of sacrificing Mr. Duncan's friendship.
The first citizen of Brampton possessed one quality so essential to
greatness—that of looking into the future, and he believed that the time would
come when an event of some importance might create a perpetual alliance between
himself and Mr. Duncan. In short, Mr. Duncan had a daughter, Janet, and Mr.
Worthington, as we know, had a son. And Mr. Duncan, in addition to his own
fortune, had married one of the richest heiresses in New England. Prudens
futuri, that was Mr. Worthington's motto.
The next morning Cynthia, who was walking about the town alone, found herself
gazing over a picket fence at a great square house with a very wide cornice that
stood by itself in the centre of a shade-flecked lawn. There were masses of
shrubbery here and there, and a greenhouse, and a latticed summer-house: and
Cynthia was wondering what it would be like to live in a great place like that,
when a barouche with two shining horses in silver harness drove past her and
stopped before the gate. Four or five girls and boys came laughing out on the
porch, and one of them, who held a fishing-rod in his hand, Cynthia recognized.
Startled and ashamed, she began to walk on as fast as she could in the opposite
direction, when she heard the sound of footsteps on the lawn behind her, and her
own name called in a familiar voice. At that she hurried the faster; but she
could not run, and the picket fence was half a block long, and Bob Worthington
had an advantage over her. Of course it was Bob, and he did not scruple to run,
and in a few seconds he was leaning over the fence in front of her. Now Cynthia
was as red as a peony by this time, and she almost hated him.
"Well, of all people, Cynthia Wetherell!" he cried; "didn't you hear me
calling after you?"
"Yes," said Cynthia.
"Why didn't you stop?"
"I didn't want to," said Cynthia, glancing at the distant group on the porch,
who were watching them. Suddenly she turned to him defiantly. "I didn't know you
were in that house, or in the capital," she said.
"And I didn't know you were," said Bob, upon whose masculine intelligence the
meaning of her words was entirely lost. "If I had known it, you can bet I would
have looked you up. Where are you staying?"
"At the Pelican House."
"What!" said Bob, "with all the politicians? How did you happen to go there?"
"Mr. Bass asked my father and me to come down for a few days," answered
Cynthia, her color heightening again. Life is full of contrasts, and Cynthia was
becoming aware of some of them.
"Uncle Jethro?" said Bob.
"Yes, Uncle Jethro," said Cynthia, smiling in spite of herself. He always
made her smile.
"Uncle Jethro owns the Pelican House," said Bob.
"Does he? I knew he was a great man, but I didn't know how great he was until
I came down here."
Cynthia said this so innocently that Bob repented his flippancy on the spot.
He had heard occasional remarks of his elders about Jethro.
"I didn't mean quite that," he said, growing red in his turn. "Uncle
Jethro—Mr. Bass—is a great man of course. That's what I meant."
"And he's a very good man," said Cynthia, who understood now that he had
spoken a little lightly of Jethro, and resented it.
"I'm sure of it," said Bob, eagerly. Then Cynthia began to walk on, slowly,
and he followed her on the other side of the fence. "Hold on," he cried, "I
haven't said half the things I want to say—yet."
"What do you want to say?" asked Cynthia, still walking. "I have to go."
"Oh, no, you don't! Wait just a minute—won't you?"
Cynthia halted, with apparent unwillingness, and put out her toe between the
pickets. Then she saw that there was a little patch on that toe, and drew it in
"What do you want to say?" she repeated. "I don't believe you have anything
to say at all." And suddenly she flashed a look at him that made his heart
"I do—I swear I do!" he protested. "I'm coming down to the Pelican to-morrow
morning to get you to go for a walk."
Cynthia could not but think that the remoteness of the time he set was scarce
in keeping with his ardent tone.
"I have something else to do to-morrow morning," she answered.
"Then I'll come to-morrow afternoon," said Bob, instantly.
"Who lives here?" she asked irrelevantly.
"Mr. Duncan. I'm visiting the Duncans."
At this moment a carryall joined the carriage at the gate. Cynthia glanced at
the porch again. The group there had gown larger, and they were still staring.
She began to feel uncomfortable again, and moved on slowly.
"Mayn't I come?" asked Bob, going after her; and scraping the butt of the rod
along the palings.
"Aren't there enough girls here to satisfy you?" asked Cynthia.
"They're enough—yes," he said, "but none of 'em could hold a candle to you."
Cynthia laughed outright.
"I believe you tell them all something like that," she said.
"I don't do any such thing," he retorted, and then he laughed himself, and
Cynthia laughed again.
"I like you because you don't swallow everything whole," said Bob, "and—well,
for a good many other reams." And he looked into her face with such frank
admiration that Cynthia blushed and turned away.
"I don't believe a word you say," she answered, and started to walk off, this
time in earnest.
"Hold on," cried Bob. They were almost at the end of the fence by this, and
the pickets were sharp and rather high, or he would have climbed them.
Cynthia paused hesitatingly.
"I'll come at two o'clock to-morrow," said he; "We're going on a picnic
to-day, to Dalton's Bend, on the river. I wish I could get out of it."
Just then there came a voice from the gateway.
"Bob! Bob Worthington!"
They both turned involuntarily. A slender girl with light brown hair was
standing there, waving at him.
"Who's that?" asked Cynthia.
"That?" said Bob, in some confusion, "oh, that's Janet Duncan."
"Good-by," said Cynthia.
"I'm coming to-morrow," he called after her, but she did not turn. In a
little while she heard the carryall behind her clattering down the street, its
passengers laughing and joking merrily. Her face burned, for she thought that
they were laughing at her; she wished with all her heart that she had not
stopped to talk with him at the palings. The girls, indeed, were giggling as the
carryall passed, and she heard somebody call out his name, but nevertheless he
leaned out of the seat and waved his hat at her, amid a shout of laughter. Poor
Cynthia! She did not look at him. Tears of vexation were in her eyes, and the
light of her joy at this visit to the capital flickered, and she wished she were
back in Coniston. She thought it would be very nice to be rich, and to live in a
great house in a city, and to go on picnics.
The light flickered, but it did not wholly go out. If it has not been shown
that Cynthia was endowed with a fair amount of sense, many of these pages have
been written in vain. She sat down for a while in the park and thought of the
many things she had to be thankful for—not the least of which was Jethro's
kindness. And she remembered that she was to see "Uncle Tom's Cabin" that
Such are the joys and sorrows of fifteen!