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قراءة كتاب A Republic Without a President, and Other Stories
تنويه: تعرض هنا نبذة من اول ١٠ صفحات فقط من الكتاب الالكتروني، لقراءة الكتاب كاملا اضغط على الزر “اشتر الآن"
A Republic Without a President, and Other Stories
A REPUBLIC WITHOUT A PRESIDENT AND OTHER STORIES
BY HERBERT D. WARD
AUTHOR OF "THE NEW SENIOR AT ANDOVER," "THE MASTER OF THE MAGICIANS," ETC.
TAIT, SONS & COMPANY
BY HERBERT D. WARD.
A REPUBLIC WITHOUT A PRESIDENT.
THE LOST CITY.
A TERRIBLE EVENING.
THE ROMANCE OF A MORTGAGE.
A REPUBLIC WITHOUT A PRESIDENT.
On the morning of the eighth of June, 1893, at about ten o'clock, crowds were seen clustered in front of the daily newspaper bulletins in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Boston. The excitement rivalled that occasioned by the assassination of Garfield, and by night the country was as bewildered and aghast as when the news came that Lincoln was murdered. This was the announcement as it appeared in blood-red, gigantic capitals by the door of the New York Tribune building:
THE PRESIDENT AND HIS WIFE SPIRITED AWAY FROM
THE WHITE HOUSE!
TWO SERVANTS FOUND GAGGED!
NOT A TRACE OF THE DISTINGUISHED COUPLE!
THE COUNTRY AGHAST AT THE DREADFUL POSSIBILITIES
OF THIS DISAPPEARANCE!
Extras found enormous sales, but they contained no more news than this. Business was brought to a standstill and stocks fell in half an hour from five to twenty per cent. The land was convulsed. It was true that there were those who thought the whole thing a colossal hoax perpetrated by the defeated party. But as time went on the startling and incredible news was confirmed. The evening edition of the New York Sun had these ominous headers.
THE PRESIDENT AND HIS WIFE HAVE ACTUALLY DISAPPEARED.
THE GAGGED SERVANTS OF THE WHITE HOUSE TELL THEIR STORY.
THEY ARE IN PRISON ON GRAVE SUSPICION OF CONSPIRACY.
THE CARD OF AN EMINENT POLITICIAN FOUND IN THE
VESTIBULE OF THE EXECUTIVE MANSION.
IS A DARK POLITICAL PLOT ABOUT TO BE UNEARTHED?
The next day found the situation unchanged. Rumors of every description ran wild. Telegrams of condolence from all the sovereigns of the world were received at Washington by the dazed Department of State. These were fully given to the omnivorous press. By order of the Vice-President, all other news was for the present rigorously withheld from publication. To this censorship the press submitted cordially. Mystery was brooding over the land, and despair laughed detectives in the face. Men met each other and asked only this question:
"Have they been found?"
A sad shake of the head always followed.
"No wonder," the Governor of Massachusetts was heard to say, "with thousands of assassins coming over here every year. Even our President was not safe. God help our country!"
At the end of a few days the full news, as far as it went, was published, and the nation then drew its second breath. The facts about this stupendous abduction, as given to the public by the end of the week, were briefly these: This is the affidavit of the night sentry, who was stationed in the vestibule of the White House.
"My name is George Henry. I am thirty-four years old. I was born in this country. My father was a slave. It was about one-thirty last night when I was aroused by a double rap at the main entrance. I was not asleep, but I may have been a little sleepy. I asked who was there, and a voice answered that the Secretary of State wished to see the President on business of the greatest importance. I answered that the President was in bed. He said that he must see the President immediately. Then I thought I recognized the voice of Mr. Secretary. I opened the door and, sure enough, Mr. Secretary entered. He had on a silk hat and the gray overcoat he usually wears. He gave me his card, and told me to take it right up to the President. The door was left open and I noticed it was raining. The carriage of the Secretary was standing under the portico. I did not see the coachman. When I bowed and turned to go upstairs there was a strange smell in the air, and I remember nothing more."
The cross-examination brought out from the prisoner, who seemed to answer honestly and intelligently, that he was sure it was the Secretary of State, but his voice seemed changed by a cold. He felt positive about the carriage, for he recognized the team, a gray and a black. He heard no voices outside. When chloroform was produced, he said that was the same smell, but there was something more that was considerably tarter. He persisted in the same story, and repeated it over and over without variation. It looked dubious for his excellency the Secretary of State.
The next witness was the night sentry on the second floor. He was badly frightened, was a little confused, but told a straight story. His deposition was as follows:
"Yes, sah, my name is Frank Steven. I have alluz been a colored man. I was bahn in Ohio when I was twelve years old." [At this juncture a glass of ice water restored the equilibrium of the witness.] "I moved to Ohio when I was twelve years old. I was born in Mississipy. I'm forty-two