She repeated the phrases over after him, affirmatively, with an emphasis which I never heard surpassed.
"Pardon me once more," said Mr. Wrangle; "the right to vote, to hold office, to practise law, theology, medicine, to take part in all municipal affairs, to sit on juries, to be called upon to aid in the execution of the law, to aid in suppressing disturbances, enforcing public order, and performing military duty?"
Here there were loud cheers from the audience; and a good many voices cried out: "Got her there!" (Men are so very vulgar.)
Mrs. Whiston looked troubled for a moment, but she saw that a moment's hesitation would be fatal to our scheme, so she brought out her words as if each one were a maul-blow on the butt-end of a wedge:
"Then," said Mr. Wrangle, "I bid my support in exchange for the women's! Just what the speaker demands, without exception or modification--equal privileges, rights, duties and obligations, without regard to the question of sex! Is that broad enough?"
I was all in a tremble when it came to that. Somehow Mr. Wrangle's acceptance of the bid did not inspire me, although it promised so much. I had anticipated opposition, dissatisfaction, tumult. So had Mrs. Whiston, and I could see, and the crowd could see, that she was not greatly elated.
Mr. Wrangle made a very significant bow to Mr. Tumbrill, and then sat down. There were cries of "Tumbrill!" and that gentleman--none of us, of course, believing him sincere, for we knew his private views--came forward and made exactly the same pledge. I will do both parties the justice to say that they faithfully kept their word; nay, it was generally thought the repetition of their brief pleas for woman, at some fifty meetings before election came, had gradually conducted them to the belief that they were expressing their own personal sentiments. The mechanical echo in public thus developed into an opinion in private. My own political experience has since demonstrated to me that this is a phenomenon very common among men.
The impulse generated at that meeting gradually spread all over the State. We--the leaders of the Women's Movement--did not rest until we had exacted the same pledge from all the candidates of both parties; and the nearer it drew towards election-day, the more prominence was given, in the public meetings, to the illustration and discussion of the subject. Our State went for Lincoln by a majority of 2763 (as you will find by consulting the "Tribune Almanac"), and Mr. Wrangle was elected to Congress, having received a hundred and forty-two more votes than his opponent. Mr. Tumbrill has always attributed his defeat to his want of courage in not taking up at once the glove which Selina Whiston threw down.