The Quest of the Silver Fleece
Twenty-six: Congressman Cresswell
The election of Harry Cresswell to Congress was a very simple matter. The Colonel and
his son drove to town and consulted the Judge; together they summoned the sheriff and
the local member of the State legislature.
"I think it's about time that we Cresswells asked for a little of the political pie," the
Colonel smilingly opened.
"Well, what do you want?" asked the Judge.
"Harry wants to go to Congress."
The Judge hesitated. "We'd half promised that to Caldwell," he objected.
"It will be a little costly this year, too," suggested the sheriff, tentatively.
"About how much?" asked the Colonel.
"At least five thousand," said the Legislator.
The Colonel said nothing. He simply wrote a check and the matter was settled. In the Fall
Harry Cresswell was declared elected. There were four hundred and seventy-two votes
cast but the sheriff added a cipher. He said it would look better.
Early December found the Cresswells domiciled in a small house in Du Pont Circle,
Washington. They had an automobile and four servants, and the house was furnished
luxuriously. Mary Taylor Cresswell, standing in her morning room and looking out on
the flowers of the square, told herself that few people in the world had cause to be as
happy as she. She was tastefully gowned, in a way to set off her blonde beauty and her
delicate rounded figure. She was surrounded with wealth, and above all, she was in that
atmosphere of aristocracy for which she had always yearned; and already she was
acquiring that poise of the head, and a manner of directing the servants, which showed
her born to the purple.
She had cause to be extremely happy, she told herself this morning, and yet she was
puzzled to understand why she was not. Why was she restless and vaguely ill at ease so
often these days?
One matter, indeed, did worry her; but that would right itself in time, she was sure. She
had always pictured herself as directing her husband's work. She did not plan to step in
and demand a share; she knew from experience with her brother that a woman must
prove her usefulness to a man before he will admit it, and even then he may be silent. She
intended gradually and tactfully to relieve her husband of care connected with his public