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tenants were the most needy. Day at length broke, and our harassed candidate, almost exhausted, clambered from his exalted position. His frightened but unscathed steed uttered a neigh of welcome as he bestrode him, and giving loose to the rein he committed his escape to the animal's sagacity, while he aided his efforts by a devout supplication. Accident favoured the horse's footsteps, for striking the trail leading to the road he started off into a trot, and soon broke his rider's spell of terror, by turning into the main avenue leading to Benton. Edwards slowly passed his pimpled hand over his worse pimpled face, sadly remarking
“Last night's 'bills' all passed, for I bear their stinging signatures all over my counte
When ten o'clock came, on the day following Judge Allen's arrival at Benton, the town swarmed with the southern constituency of Missouri, and as soon as the tavern bell, which had been put in requisition to announce the candidate's readiness, had ceased its clamour, Hoss mounted the balcony of the hotel, and rolling up his sleeves “spread himself” for an unusually brilliant effort.
“Boys !” shouted he, “I want your
attention to matters of vital import—of oncommon moment, and replete with a nation's welfar.” [Here looking down into the crowd at Sam Wilson, who was talking as loud as he could bellow, about an imported heifer he had just bought, Hoss called his attention:] “Sam,” said he, “you'd better bring that heifer of your'n up here to address the meetin', and I'll wait till the animal gits through !” This raised a laugh on Sam, and Hoss proceeded. After dilating at some length on the imported candidate who was his antagonist, he “let himself out,” on on some of the measures he advocated, and particularly dwelt on the fact that he went in for creating a license law for hunting varmints !
“Would you have the least mite of an idea, boys,” said Hoss, “ that this creatur' of a faction wants to have every man's rifle stamped with the state arms, and then made pay a license to the state before he can git a bonus for wolf scalps ?” [At this moment a shrill voice interrupted him again ; a girl belonging to the hotel was shouting to a couple of youngsters, who had been despatched to the barn for eggs, to “quit suckin' them thar eggs, or the candidates would stand a mighty small chance for thur dinner.] “Jest tell that gall,” said Hoss, “to suck my share and stop her screamin'.” He again continued—“I want to know what in yearth this Massissippi country's comin' to, when sich fellars finds favour with the people-what do you think of him, boys ?”
" Why, cuss his pictur ! ” was the general response from the bar hunters.
While Hoss was thus arousing public indignation against his antagonist, a stranger entered the crowd, and after listening a moment to the speaker's imaginary flights, he interrupted him by shouting
“I deny your assertions, Judge Allen!”
This was a bomb shell, and the crowd cleared a space round the stranger, in expectation of a fight; but Allen, after surveying the stranger, in whom he recognised his antagonist Edwards, coolly inquired why he disputed it ?
“What, me !" shouted Edwards, “who can better declare your assertions false than the man you are misrepresenting? you know very well that I am that Judge Edwards !”
Hoss Allen turned calmly round to the crowd and said, “Boys, you know I never git angry at a man insane or in liquor, and as I don't know this fellar, and never seed him afore in my life, it's the best proof that he aint Jedge Eddards; so you'll oblige me by taking him off the ground, and keeping from disturbing the meeting.”
Expostulation was useless; without any ceremony he was carried into the hotel, boiling with indignation. There, however, he had to stay, at a convenient distance, to hear that Allen was giving him “particular jesse”
After the meeting adjourned three cheers were given for Hoss Allen, and all parties gathered into the bar to take a little fluid, and discuss the speech. Edwards having now been relieved from durance, started for Hoss; burning inside with choler, and smarting exteriorly from mosquito-bites, he looked bitter.
“Do you say you don't know me, Judge Allen ?” inquired he.
Hoss looked steadily at him, then, coolly taking out his spectacles, he wiped the glasses, adjusted them upon his nose, and surveyed the questioner from head to foot; he then remarked :
“Thar is somethin' about your voice, and the clothes you ware, that I ought to know; Jedge Eddards wore a coat and kerseys exactly like your'n, but I'll swar he had a betterlookin' face than you carry when we parted Yesterday mornin'. If you are him, you're dexa the wust-used candidate I've seed in an age."
“Yes,” responded Edwards, "thanks to that d-n nigger that sent me into the swamp. I tell you, sir, that I have passed a night to which the infernal regions are a soant pattern, and between mosquitoes, wolves, and wild cats, I should not be surprised if my hair had turned grey."
"I begin to re-cognize you now, Jedge," said Hoss, in a sympathetic tone, "and no wonder I didn't know you at first sight-your head is swelled as big as a pumkin! I'll do the clean thing, Jedge,” said Hoss, starting for the balcony; “I'll apologise afore the boys, publicly, for not knowin' you."
“No, no !” shouted Edwards, who knew his apology would only place his night's adventure in a more ridiculous light. "I don't demand any apology.” But he was too late, Hoss had already called the attention of the crowd. “Boys,” ” said he, “as
as an honourable man who finds himself in the wrong, I am bound to apologise, publicly, to my friend Jedge Eddards. The Jedge is a leetle changed in appearance since we wur last together, and I did not re-cognize him; I