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But look again. It's a bit more scrawling, even, than the rest. It could just as easily be Jenny, couldn't it now? Till you start thinking about it, it looks just like Jenny. And my name's Jenny."

The discovery appeared to please her. Her smile bewildered him. Again Louis touched darkness, and felt lost. What made her go on babbling about the signature? What did it matter?

But Miss Childs persisted in reflecting over it. "That was an accident," she murmured. "I didn't have a thought of it-I never noticed it till this minute."

"What the devil do you mean?" Louis gasped. "You told me you weren't with Frensham that day. Have you seen that letter before? Give it to me!"

But Jenny Childs shook her head. With an amazement which brought a sharpening of his fear, he heard her laugh. The crowded room of his weary mind admitted a dim wonder whether she were mad. In this room of ghosts, one did not laugh.

But Miss Childs laughed. And she touched his shoulder. "Pull yourself together," she said. "Jimmy Frensham won't be coming."

give him a chance. You just hunted him down, and you were glad he was dead. Weren't you?"

Louis Strang said nothing. He had got to his feet, and he was looking at her. Recovering, he slowly understood that she was speaking the truth, and that the slow agony of the past days was her creation. He was unconscious that his right arm was bent; but he knew, within him, there was an impulse to strike her.

Miss Childs moved to her hat. "I could imitate Jimmy's writing easily," she said. "I've done personal letters for him lots of times. Good-by, Mr. Strang. Jimmy Frensham's brother will be waiting for me outside. You've met him."

"Damn you!" Strang breathed, and still looked at her.

Jenny Childs had championed Jimmy Frensham because he had been kind to her, and she adored him. He had been so big, so valiant, even when he was aware that Strang, and Strang's crowd, had smashed him to a finish. She had had her agony-to have seen him dead. So, when Louis swore at her, she laughed again.

"I don't see why you should be violent about it, Mr. Strang. Jimmy was heaps bigger than you-and "What do you know about that you've got all the money. You can't letter?"

"Everything. I I wrote it-five minutes after I came home and found Jimmy dead. I meant to give you the worst fright I could-because you killed him, Mr. Strang. I'm Jimmy Frensham's niece. Jimmy was the best man God ever put breath into, and you weren't fit to lick his boots. You see, I knew all about you, Mr. Strang. You had been a friend of his, and you didn't

have everything."

"But," gulped Strang, "do you think I'm-"

She cut him short. "You deserved any bad time you've had, and you jolly well know you deserve it," she said, and she might have been pronouncing a judgment. "Good night, Mr. Strang.

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And then Jenny Childs screamed. For a devil of the old days was suddenly in Louis Strang, from the old

dark time before he had first tremblingly met Lady Alison, and worshiped her as a star-a worship that must shut the doors on all other women for ever, because Lady Alison, cold and serene and prideful, was the ultimate, was heaven. This girl Jenny had trampled his courage and his vanity, had made him so small that revenge, even the littlest and the meanest, was necessary to assuage his resentment and his pride. Louis Strang went back to type, to the snarling gutter of his early days.

He leaped at Jenny Childs and held her close, smiling and mumbling at the white fury on her face, at her efforts for release. So Jimmy Frensham was too big for him, eh? She had flung that in his face. Well, she might be right about that, but he had always been able to get along with women. She strove to get her bruised arms free, and Louis thought, "Let her struggle. She'll come round."

"I didn't know how pretty you were," he said, and kissed her while she shut her eyes before his jungle grin. "Don't scream-there's only my man outside—and he knows his job, or used to. You little devil! Did you think, after what you've done, I'd let you go away for nothing!"

Jenny Childs opened her eyes. "Let me go, Mr. Strang! At onceor you'll be sorry!"

"They all say that," Louis held her more tightly still. Then the door opened, and Lady Alison Fortess showed there.

Jenny Childs, turning her head, furious and beaten, saw a beautiful woman whom she liked at sight. If a woman cannot free her arms, she can still think quickly, and at once Jenny decided that Lady Alison was a great deal too good for a successful little adventurer like this beast Louis.

As she thought that, she found she could release her arms, for Louis had dropped away from her in consternation. She held out Jimmy Frensham's note, remembering, above her loathing of Louis, the accident of the sig

nature.

"You'd better take that, Lady Alison," she said shrilly. "I'm Jenny!"

2

Lady Alison made an admirable exit. They heard the outer door of the flat close.

"That was your fault," said Jenny Childs, reaching for her hat. "I telephoned Lady Alison to come at ten. In case you got very angry, I was going to explain things to her. You won't be able to explain anything to her now. Good night, Mr. Strang!"

There can only be one winner, when two men fight. But sometimes there can be two losers. Perhaps big Jimmy Frensham, somewhere beyond, still smiling, knew that now.

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SMITH AGAINST HOOVER

National Politics Taps New Levels

SILAS BENT

MITH versus Hoover: This is not only the political line-up as every informed politician now discusses it, but it is the prospect in the oncoming Presidential campaign. Never has the outlook been so clear and so stirring four months before the nominees were announced; clear because of an exceptional combination of circumstances, stirring because a contest between the Governor of New York and the Secretary of Commerce means a wet against a dry, an avowed State rights man against a bureaucrat, a leader citybred and of immigrant stock, against a farm-bred engineer of settler stock.

Strictly modern issues, so modern and so deep-seated that no political party has ever faced them courageously, are implicated in this set-up. Democrats and Republicans alike have side-stepped the prohibition question in their national platforms. Their timidities, their equivocations, their shiftiness, have made both of them a laughing-stock. And the strongly felt conflict in emotions and interests between the urban, industrial element of our population, as against the rural, individualist element, has had no opportunity to find expression save in the organization of certain secret orders,

and in the restriction of immigration. It happens that the lines of cleavage coincide fairly well. The division between city and country is also a division between wet and dry. But it does not happen that the political parties divide along this line. The vote, therefore, will not be a clear referendum on the issues, since partizan loyalties will govern a great part of the electorate. But beneath party ties, and sometimes above them, will be the tug and thrust of social and economic interests never precipitated in this country as a political sediment.

Let these two men, therefore, symbolizing clearly the clash between city and country, take the field against each other, and what may not happen? Will the Solid South be broken? Will Republican ranks be depleted by the loss of anti-prohibition and local self-government votes? Will the two major parties, which for years have been hardly distinguishable, assume suddenly clear cut differences in outline and content? With Republican leaders vocally robust in advocating State rights, and the Democratic party pledged to a protective tariff, about the only distinction between them has seemed to be a few cents in customs duties. It is significant

that even the tariff has bobbed up of late as a live issue. And it is certain that this ancient party property, as well as State rights, and democracy with a small d as against the rule of the Better Class, will be taken out and dusted off with renewed animation. In the contest impending they may assume fresh meaning and new definitions. But the modern, unventilated, partizanly ignored questions promise in themselves to bring such a realinement of the electorate and such an awakening of passion as the United States has not seen during the twentieth century.

22

This article will be printed before any of the States have held the conventions or preferential primaries by which they select, and sometimes instruct, their delegates to the national conventions. My assumption that Alfred E. Smith and Herbert Hoover will be the Democratic and Republican standard-bearers, therefore, needs some explaining. In case of a prolonged convention deadlock, either man may be defeated. Why, then, does it seem, as early as this, that each of them will win his nomination, when the Hoover candidacy has not even been announced? The answer, I think, is to be found in a certain impotence of machine politicians in both camps.

There are familiar devices by which the machine politician deadlocks a national convention, so as to manipulate it. Some of the devices apply to both parties. One of them, the two thirds rule, prevails only in the Democratic. Devised in an emergency, it has been perpetuated stubbornly in later years,

despite its undemocratic character, chiefly because it gives the Southern bloc the balance of power. There will be 1098 delegates when the Democrats foregather June 26 in Houston, Texas. To be nominated for the Presidency, Governor Smith must poll at least 732 votes. There are many who assert that he will enter the convention with at least five hundred delegates pledged to him, although the persons closest to him make no forecast whatever. Conceding that figure, the rows remaining will be hard indeed to hoe if stanch opposition were to develop around a powerful leader.

But who is to lead the opposition? "Al" Smith is a Tammany product, a wet and a Roman Catholic. The loyalties, and the prejudices rallied against him will cluster principally around these foci. The Solid South is anti-Tammany, presumably; certainly dry and Protestant. And if there were an outstanding candidate embodying these qualifications, to lead the opposition, I would not feel so confident of the Governor's nomination. But William G. McAdoo, who deadlocked the last convention against Smith, is definitely out of the running and pledged not to be a trouble-maker. Senator Reed of Missouri and Governor Albert C. Ritchie of Maryland are wets; and Reed, the stronger of the two, has the added handicap of bitter opposition to Woodrow Wilson's administration. Senator Joseph T. Robinson of Arkansas is a dry, and made a good record as Governor of his State. He is the minority leader in the upper House, but he has not attracted national attention, and geographically he is-from the

standpoint of a national campaignimpossible. Yet he is the strongest man around which a whole-hearted opposition to Smith could gather.

It would be entirely in accord with Democratic past performances to nominate an assured loser. For a generation Democratic national conventions have been held primarily for the benefit of the folks back home, with the thought of national victory taking second place. National candidates have been selected with a view to success in State and Congressional campaigns. But the folly of such a course has becomeor so it seems-apparent even to the Democrats. A minority party numerically, it is also a minority party in Presidential timber; and its leaders have awakened to the devastating fact that the only way to satisfy the folks back home is to put a candidate in the field who has a fair prospect of coming first under the wire.

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In such circumstances "Al" Smith is the obvious candidate. And in such circumstances the two thirds rule may prove in 1928 a greater embarrassment than advantage to Southern politicians. Representing a dry, mostly agricultural and Protestant constituency, they may be willing to let the rule go by the board in order to give the folks back home an excuse for Smith's nomination. That is one way for them to save their faces and still save the party. If that happens, Governor Smith's nomination should be accomplished quickly. If it does not happen (and I confess it is improbable, even amid the sweltering heat of Houston late in June), the convention days will be long drawn.

The other devices on which politicians rely to control conventions are the unit rule, the favorite son and the uninstructed delegation. These apply to both parties. The unit rule requires that all the delegates from a State must vote for a single candidate, and makes the delegation, as a rule, the pawn of a State boss. The uninstructed delegation is just as likely to be manipulated. The "favorite son" situation is well illustrated, as far as the coming campaign is concerned, by Ohio.

Senator Frank B. Willis, formerly a professor of history, economics and law at Ohio Northern University, is the "favorite son" of that State, and hopes to have its delegates pledged to him not only for the customary early ballots, but as against second and third and all other choices. This explains, so I am assured by Ohio observers, why Senator Simeon D. Fess of that State was eager to see Mr. Coolidge a candidate. He would rather support Coolidge than Willis. But only the most stubborn have any hope now that the President will be a candidate; there are those who assert with conviction that he would refuse to make the race even if he were nominated. Both Fess and Willis are drys, and the State Republican organization is dry; but no love is lost between the two senators, and no love is felt by either for Nicholas Longworth, Speaker of the House and a stronger man than either of them, who is a wet.

Ohio will have fifty-one delegates in the convention, and is too important a State to leave in the hands of a senator who, however seriously he may take his own candidacy, is not

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