He had appealed to her sympathy, her sense of right and of duty, to her courage, her loyalty, her whole higher nature; and while he made this appeal he felt more than half convinced that he was all he pretended to be, and that he really had a right to her devotion. What wonder that she in her turn was more than half inclined to admit that right. She knew him now better than Carrington or Jacobi knew him. Surely a man who spoke as he spoke, had noble instincts and lofty aims? Was not his career a thousand times more important than hers? If he, in his isolation and his cares, needed her assistance, had she an excuse for refusing it? What was there in her aimless and useless life which made it so precious that she could not afford to fling it into the gutter, if need be, on the bare chance of enriching some fuller existence?
OF all titles ever assumed by prince or potentate, the proudest is that of the Roman pontiffs: "Servus servorum Dei"--"Servant of the servants of God."
In former days it was not admitted that the devil's servants could by right have any share in government. They were to be shut out, punished, exiled, maimed, and burned. The devil has no servants now; only the people have servants. There may be some mistake about a doctrine which makes the wicked, when a majority, the mouthpiece of God against the virtuous, but the hopes of mankind are staked on it; and if the weak in faith sometimes quail when they see humanity floating in a shoreless ocean, on this plank, which experience and religion long since condemned as rotten, mistake or not, men have thus far floated better by its aid, than the popes ever did with their prettier principle; so that it will be a long time yet before society repents.
Whether the new President and his chief rival, Mr. Silas P. Ratcliffe, were or were not servants of the servants of God, is not material here. Servants they were to some one. No doubt many of those who call themselves servants of the people are no better than wolves in sheep's clothing, or asses in lions' skins. One may see scores of them any day in the Capitol when Congress is in session, making noisy demonstrations, or more usefully doing nothing. A wiser generation will employ them in manual labour; as it is, they serve only themselves. But there are two officers, at least, whose service is real--the President and his Secretary of the Treasury. The Hoosier Quarryman had not been a week in Washington before he was heartily home-sick for Indiana. No maid-of-all-work in a cheap boarding-house was ever more harassed. Everyone conspired against him. His enemies gave him no peace. All Washington was laughing at his blunders, and ribald sheets, published on a Sunday, took delight in printing the new Chief Magistrate's sayings and doings, chronicled with outrageous humour, and placed by malicious hands where the President could not but see them. He was sensitive to ridicule, and it mortified him to the heart to find that remarks and acts, which to him seemed sensible enough, should be capable of such perversion. Then he was overwhelmed with public business. It came upon him in a deluge, and he now, in his despair, no longer tried to control it. He let it pass over him like a wave. His mind was muddied by the innumerable visitors to whom he had to listen. But his greatest anxiety was the Inaugural Address which, distracted as he was, he could not finish, although in another week it must be delivered. He was nervous about his Cabinet; it seemed to him that he could do nothing until he had disposed of Ratcliffe.
Already, thanks to the President's friends, Ratcliffe had become indispensable; still an enemy, of course, but one whose hands must be tied; a sort of Sampson, to be kept in bonds until the time came for putting him out of the way, but in the meanwhile, to be utilized. This point being settled, the President had in imagination begun to lean upon him; for the last few days he had postponed everything till next week, "when I get my Cabinet arranged;" which meant, when he got Ratcliffe's assistance; and he fell into a panic whenever he thought of the chance that Ratcliffe might refuse.
He was pacing his room impatiently on Monday mormng, an hour before the time fixed for Ratcliffe's visit. His feelings still fluctuated violently, and if he recognized the necessity of using Ratcliffe, he was not the less determined to tie Ratcliffe's hands. He must be made to come into a Cabinet where every other voice would be against him. He must be prevented from having any patronage to dispose of. He must be induced to accept these conditions at the start. How present this to him in such a way as not to repel him at once? All this was needless, if the President had only known it, but he thought himself a profound statesman, and that his hand was guiding the destinies of America to his own re-election. When at length, on the stroke of ten o'clock, Ratcliffe entered the room, the President turned to him with nervous eagerness, and almost before offering his hand, said that he hoped Mr. Ratcliffe had come prepared to begin work at once. The Senator replied that, if such was the President's decided wish, he would offer no further opposition. Then the President drew himself up in the attitude of an American Cato, and delivered a prepared address, in which he said that he had chosen the members ot his Cabinet with a careful regard to the public interests; that Mr. Ratcliffe was essential to the combination; that he expected no disagreement on principles, for there was but one principle which he should consider fundamental, namely, that there should be no removals from office except for cause; and that under these circumstances he counted upon Mr. Ratcliffe's assistance as a matter of patriotic duty.
To all this Ratcliffe assented without a word of objection, and the President, more convinced than ever of his own masterly statesmanship, breathed more freely than for a week past. Within ten minutes they were actively at work together, clearing away the mass of accumulated business.
The relief of the Quarryman surprised himself. Ratcliffe lifted the weight of affairs from his shoulders with hardly an effort. He knew everybody and everything. He took most of the President's visitors at once into his own hands and dismissed them with great rapidity. He knew what they wanted; he knew what recommendations were strong and what were weak; who was to be treated with deference and who was to be sent away abruptly; where a blunt refusal was safe, and where a pledge was allowable. The President even trusted him with the unfinished manuscript of the Inaugural Address, which Ratcliffe returned to him the next day with such notes and suggestions as left nothing to be done beyond copying them out in a fair hand. With all this, he proved himself a very agreeable companion. He talked well and enlivened the work; he was not a hard taskmaster, and when he saw that the President was tired, he boldly asserted that there was no more business that could not as well wait a day, and so took the weary Stone-cutter out to drive for a couple of hours, and let him go peacefully to sleep in the carriage. They dined together and Ratcliffe took care to send for Tom Lord to amuse them, for Tom was a wit and a humourist, and kept the President in a laugh. Mr. Lord ordered the dinner and chose the wines. He could be coarse enough to suit even the President's palate, and Ratcliffe was not behindhand. When the new Secretary went away at ten o'clock that night, his chief; who was in high good humour with his dinner, his champagne, and his conversation, swore with some unnecessary granite oaths, that Ratcliffe was "a clever fellow anyhow," and he was glad "that job was fixed."