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A Hoosier Chronicle by Meredith Nicholson

Write a vigorous editorial for the 'Courier


had been standing. Bassett pointed to a chair.

"I want you to write an interview with me on this case, laying emphasis on the fact that the trouble was all due to an antiquated system of keeping the accounts, which Miles inherited from his predecessors in office. The president of the bank and the prosecutor have prepared statements,--I have them in my pocket,--and I want you to get all the publicity you know how for these things. Let me see. In my interview you'd better lay great stress on the imperative need for a uniform accounting law for county officials. Say that we expect to stand for this in our next platform; make it strong. Have me say that this incident in Ranger County, while regrettable, will serve a good purpose if it arouses the minds of the people to the importance of changing the old unsatisfactory method of bookkeeping that so frequently leads perfectly trustworthy and well-meaning officials into error. Do you get the idea?"

"Yes; perfectly," Dan replied. "As I understand it, Miles isn't guilty, but you would take advantage of the agitation to show the necessity for reform."

"Exactly. And while you're about it, write a vigorous editorial for the 'Courier,' on the same line, and a few ironical squibs based on the eagerness of the Republican papers to see all Democrats through black goggles." The humor showed in Bassett's eyes for an instant, and he added: "Praise

the Republican prosecutor of Ranger County for refusing to yield to partisan pressure and take advantage of a Democrat's mistakes of judgment. He's a nice fellow and we've got to be good to him."

This was the first task of importance that Bassett had assigned to him and Dan addressed himself to it zealously. If Miles was not really a defaulter there was every reason why the heinous aspersions of the opposition press should be dealt with vigorously. Dan was impressed by Bassett's method of dealing with a difficult situation. Miles had erred, but Bassett had taken the matter in hand promptly, secretly, and effectively. His attitude toward the treasurer's sin was tolerant and amiable. Miles had squandered money in bucket-shop gambling, but the sin was not uncommon, and the amount of his loss was sufficient to assure his penitence; he was an ally of Bassett's and it was Bassett's way to take care of his friends. Bassett had not denied that the culprit had been guilty of indiscretions; but he had minimized the importance of his error and adorned the tale with a moral on which Dan set about laying the greatest emphasis. He enjoyed writing, and in the interview he attributed ideas to Bassett that would have been creditable to the most idealistic of statesmen. He based the editorial Bassett had suggested upon the interview; and he wrote half a dozen editorial paragraphs in a vein of caustic humor that the "Courier" affected. In the afternoon he copied his articles on a typewriter and submitted them to Bassett.

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