Read DAVY : CHAPTER IV - BAD NEWS ALL AROUND of David Lockwin - The People's Idol, free online book, by John McGovern, on

With thousands of gamblers in good luck, and thousands of sailors in port, why should not the saloons of the dock regions resound also with politics a politics of ultra-marine color Corkey recooking and warming the cold statesmanship of his newspaper, breaking the counter with his fist, paying gorgeously for both drinks and glasses, smiling when the sailors expel outside politicians and at last rocking the building with his sneeze.

It is thus settled that Corkey shall go to Congress from Lockwin’s district. Because this is a sailor’s matter it is difficult to handle it from the adversary’s side. The political boss first hears of it through the information of a rival marine reporter on a democratic sheet.

This is on Wednesday. The primaries are to be held on Friday. The boss has never dealt with a similar mishap. He learns that ten wagons have been engaged by the president of the sailors’ society. He observes that the season is favorable to Corkey’s plans.

What, then, does Corkey want?


What is he after? He surely doesn’t expect to go to Washington!

“That’s what I expect. You just screw your nut straight that time, sure.”

What does he want to go to Congress for?

“Well, my father got there. I guess my grandfather was in, too. My great-grandfather wasn’t no bad player. But I don’t care nothing for dead men. I’m going to Congress to start the labor party. I’m going to have Eight Hours and more fog-horns on the Manitous and the Foxes. I’m going to have a Syrena on the break-water.”

The siren-horn is just now the wonder of the lake region.

“I tell you she’ll be a bird.”

The eyes grow brighter, the face grows dark, the mouth squares, the head vibrates, the little tongue plays about a mass of jet-black tobacco the sneeze comes.

“That’s a bird, too,” says the political boss.

If Corkey is to start a labor party, why should he set out to carry a republican primary election?

“Oh, well, you’re asking too many questions. Will you take a drink? Come down and see the boys. See how solid I’ve got ’em.”

Lockwin’s brow clouds as the boss tells of this new development.

“Those sailors will fight,” he says.

“But Corkey reckons on the gamblers,” explains the boss, “and we can fix the gamblers.”

“What will you do?”

“Do? I’ll do as I did in 1868, when I was running the Third. The eight-hour men had the ward.”

“What did you do?”

“I carted over the West Side car company’s laborers a thousand on ’em.”

David Lockwin starts for home. His heart is heavy. To-day has been hard. The delegations of nominating committees have been eager and greedy. The disbursements have been large. An anonymous circular has appeared, which calls attention to the fact that David Lockwin is a mere reader of books, an heir of some money who has married for more money. Good citizens are invited to cast aside social reasons and oust the machine candidate, for the nomination of Lockwin will be a surrender of the district into the clutches of the ring at the city hall.

There is more than political rancor in this handbill.

There is more than a well defined, easily perceived personal malice in this argument.

There is the poisoning sting of the truth the truth said in a general way, but striking in a special and a tender place.

The house is reached. Lockwin has not enlarged his establishment. Politics, at least, has spared him the humiliation of moving on Prairie Avenue. Politics has kept him “among the people.”

It is the house which holds his boy. Lockwin did not adopt the boy for money! The boy was not a step on the way to Congress! Lockwin did not become a popular idol because he became a father to the foundling!

It is a cooling and a comforting thought. Yesterday, while Lockwin sat in his study hurriedly preparing his statement to the party, on the needs of the nation and a reformed civil service, the golden head was as deep at a little desk beside. Pencil in hand, the child had addressed the voters of the First District, explaining to them the reasons why his papa should be elected. “Josephus,” wrote curly-head; “Groceries,” he added; “Ice,” he concluded; A, B, C, D and so on, with a tail the wrong way on J.

It is a memory that robs politics of its bitterness. Lockwin opens the door and kisses his wife affectionately. After all, he is a most fortunate man. If there were a decent way he would let Harpwood go to Congress and be rid of him.

“Davy is very sick,” she says, with a white face.

“What! My boy!! When was he taken? Is it diphtheria? What has the doctor said? Why wasn’t I called? Where is he? Here, Davy, here’s papa. Here’s papa! Old boy! Old fel’! Oh, God, I’m so scared!”

All this as Lockwin goes up the stairs.

It is a wheezing little voice that replies; “S-u-h-p-e-s-o-J! What’s that, papa?”

“Does that hurt, Davy? There? or there?”

“That’s ‘Josephus,’ papa, on your big book, that I’ll have some day it I live. If I live I’ll have all your books!”