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   Chapter 14 BLOODWORTH AT WORK.

Unfettered By Sutton E. Griggs Characters: 6064

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03


The Hon. Hezekiah T. Bloodworth had returned to his home from his interview with Dorlan chagrined, dejected, sorely puzzled as to what to do next.

It was being declared on all sides that the day of isolation was over with the United States, and that it was henceforth to be a world power. Instead of simply directing the affairs of the nation, her statesmen would now be called upon to assist in shaping the destinies of the peoples of the whole earth.

Bloodworth had been cherishing the fond hope that he would be one of the first of American statesmen that would leap into world prominence. His bosom heaved as he thought of the day when his speeches would be read by the inhabitants of all lands and his name would be a household word unto the uttermost parts of the earth. He had unlimited faith in Dorlan's ability and felt that Dorlan could rise equal to the emergency and furnish him the brain power for his widened responsibilities. At the very moment when he felt the need of Dorlan the keenest in all his life, Dorlan refuses to be his mentor.

Bloodworth wept. His tears were not Alexandrian tears of regret that there were no more worlds to conquer, but Bloodworthian tears shed because he could neither borrow nor buy the brains necessary to conquer a world that had come within his reach.

"Hezzy, dear, what on earth troubles you?" asked Mrs. Bloodworth of her perturbed husband.

"My ancestors, confound them," roughly responded Bloodworth.

"He is going crazy," thought Mrs. Bloodworth. "How do your ancestors trouble you, Hezzy?" further queried Mrs. Bloodworth.

"They have handed down to me no brains," roared Bloodworth.

"There, I thought it was brain trouble," thought Mrs. Bloodworth.

"Oh, dear, you have brains," said his wife.

"So has a rabbit. Let me alone, now."

This colloquy had taken place at the dinner table where Bloodworth was voraciously devouring food, in an effort, it would appear, to be strong abdominally if not intellectually. His grief over his plight had not yet affected his appetite. When nearly through the meal a telegram was handed him. It was from the Speakers' Bureau and read thus:

"Hon. Hezekiah T. Bloodworth:

"Your services are badly needed in the pivotal States. Campaign a flat failure without your lucid speeches. Delay no longer. Report at headquarters at once. The aftermath."

Bloodworth had been given the assurance of a Cabinet portfolio in case his party succeeded. The words, "The aftermath," in the telegram were intended to call attention to the fact that his preferment was contingent upon his campaign labors. He arose from the table in such an abrupt manner that he upset it, much to the horror of Mrs. Bloodworth.

"Do you wish to send a return message?" asked the messenger boy.

"Tell the Speakers' Bureau and the pivotal States to go to the habitation of the accursed," exclaimed Bloodworth, trudging about the floor, holding the open telegram in both hands as though it was a heavy load.

The messenger boy backed ou

t of the room and hurried away, glad to get out of the presence of the enraged Bloodworth.

"Confound it; I will not be ruined thus" said Bloodworth. Grasping his hat he hurried out of his house to the market. He soon returned and, thrusting a package down on a table in his kitchen, said, "Cook, feed me on fish at every meal. Get the very best fish. Here are some good ones. Begin at supper time. Fish is good for brain food, they say, and I need brains!"

Bloodworth dieted himself on fish for a few days and then began the preparation of the speech with which he was to open his campaign tour in the pivotal states. After great labor the speech was at last finished, and Congressman Bloodworth invited a few intimate friends to hear him deliver it to them in private.

"Friends," said he to the select audience, "of late my mind (meaning Dorlan Warthell) has been a little erratic. It will not serve me as it once did. I have called you here to ask you to tell me whether much of its vigor has departed. If there is too great a gap between my past efforts and my present one, I shall retire from public life. Remember, gentlemen, how much depends on your decision, and be frank with me." Congressman Bloodworth then began his speech. With great effort his hearers refrained from laughter as they listened to what they thought was the most bunglesome address that ever came from the lips of a public servant in a civilized land.

"Mr. Bloodworth, for Heaven's sake, do not take the stump in this campaign. You will be the butt of ridicule of the entire nation." Such was the verdict rendered by one and acquiesced in by the others after listening to the speech.

Bloodworth now completely collapsed. "Gentlemen," he said between his sobs, "take me to my room. I am ill. I knew that a breakdown was due to a man who has worked as hard for his country as I have. Take me to my room, gentlemen."

Bloodworth was borne to his room and put to bed. He then dictated a telegram to the Speakers' Bureau, informing them of his illness and consequent inability to participate in the campaign.

The Hon. Hezekiah T. Bloodworth was removed to the city of R-- to a private sanitarium in order, he said, that he might receive the best medical attention. Each day he would lay abed feigning that he was sick. The doctors were unable to tell what was troubling their patient, but were quite content to have him remain with them, so handsomely were they being paid. Bulletins as to the state of his health were sent over the country daily.

Bloodworth succeeded in bribing his night nurses. With their collusion he was able to escape from the sanitarium each night, returning just before daybreak in the morning. These nights were spent by him in the lowest parts of the city, in gambling dens patronized by the Negroes. He had become aware of the great upheaval among the Negroes against Dorlan and he had decided that the time was auspicious for the murder. His midnight orgies enabled him to secure tools for his work.

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