Appleton decreed the day of the arrival of the new sheriff a festival occasion. The farmers from the adjoining table-land drove into town, the miners from the three valleys rode down. And when the stage arrived from Concord the incipient sheriff dismounted in the midst of a huge crowd, and cheers which shook the sign-board of Sandy Orton’s saloon.
Now the mayor of Appleton had declared deathless war against the saloons in his platform, but since his election he had been strangely silent upon the liquor question. He was as canny as his red hair suggested, and he had a truly Scotch insight into the crucial moments of life. He perceived the arrival of Lefty Cornwall to be such a moment, and he perceived at the same moment the correct way of meeting that crisis.
It was with surprise no less than pleasure that the throng heard the lusty voice of their chief official inviting them to Sandy Orton’s saloon, and where they were in doubt, his beckoning arm put them right. They filled the saloon from bar to door, and those who could not enter thronged at the entrances with gaping mouths.
The sheriff was equal to the occasion. He mounted the bar much as a plainsman mounts a horse, and standing in full view of his fellow citizens, he invited Lefty Cornwall to join him in his prominent position. Nowise loath, Lefty swung onto the bar in the most approved fashion, and stood, locked arm in arm with the dignified official of Appleton. In the mean time the bartenders, thrilled equally with surprise and pleasure, passed out the drinks to the crowded room. It was apparently a moment big in portent to Appleton, and not a heart there but pulsed big with pride in their mayor.
“Fellow citizens,‘” began the mayor…