Youth cannot stay for long in a condition of inactivity; and so, for only about a month did things so stand, until a particularly bright girl in our Organization, thought out a plan for caring for infants of folks who had to go out, to work; and this bright kid soon had a group of girls who would join, during vacation, in voluntarily giving up four days a month to such work. With about fifty girls collaborating, all districts had this most gracious aid; and a girl would not only watch and guard, but would also instruct, as far as practical, any such tot as had not had its first schooling. Such work by young girls still in school was a grand thing; and Gadsby not only stood up for such loyalty, but got at his boys to find a similar plan; and soon had a full troop of Boy Scouts; uniforms and all. This automatically brought about a Girl Scout unit; and, through a collaboration of both, a form of club sprang up. It was a club in which any boy or girl of a family owning a car would call mornings for pupils having no cars, during school days, for a trip to school and back. This was not only a saving in long walks for many, but also took from a young back, that hard, tiring strain from lugging such armfuls of books as you find pupils laboriously carrying, today. Upon arriving at a school building, many cars would unload so many books that Gadsby said:—
"You would think that a Public Library branch was moving in!" This car work soon brought up a thought of giving similar aid to ailing adults; who, not owning a car, could not know of that vast display of hill and plain so common to a majority of our townsfolks. So a plan was laid, by which a car would call two days a month; and for an hour or so, follow roads winding out of town and through woods, farm lands and suburbs; showing distant ponds, and that grand arch of sky which "shut-ins" know only from photographs. Ah; how that plan did stir up joyous anticipation amongst such as thus had an opportunity to call upon old, loving pals, and talk of old customs and past days! Occasionally such a talk would last so long that a youthful motorist, waiting dutifully at a curb, thought that a full family history of both host and visitor was up for an airing. But old folks always will talk and it will not do a boy or girl any harm to wait; for, you know, that boy or girl will act in just that way, at a not too far-off day!
But, popular as this touring plan was, it had to stop; for school again took all young folks from such out-door activity. Nobody was so sorry at this as Gadsby, for though Branton Hills' suburban country is glorious from March to August, it is also strong in its attractions throughout Autumn, with its artistic colorings of fruits, pumpkins, corn-shocks, hay-stacks and Fall blossoms. So Gadsby got a big motor-coach company to run a bus a day, carrying, gratis, all poor or sickly folks who had a doctor's affidavit that such an outing would aid in curing ills arising from too constant in-door living; and so, up almost to Thanksgiving, this big coach ran daily.
As Spring got around again, this "man-of-all-work" thought of driving away a shut-in invalid's monotony by having musicians go to such rooms, to play; or, by taking along a vocalist or trio, sing such old songs as always bring back happy days. This work Gadsby thought of paying for by putting on a circus. And was it a circus? It was!! It had boys forming both front and hind limbs of animals totally unknown to zoology; girls strutting around as gigantic birds of also doubtful origin; an array of small living animals such as trick dogs and goats, a dancing pony, a group of imitation Indians, cowboys, cowgirls, a kicking trick jack-ass; and, talk about clowns! Forty boys got into baggy pantaloons and fools' caps; and no circus, including that first of all shows in Noah's Ark, had so much going on. Gymnasts from our school gymnasium, tumbling, jumping and racing; comic dancing; a clown band; high-swinging artists, and a funny cop who didn't wait to find out who a man was, but hit him anyway. And, as no circus is a circus without boys shouting wildly about pop-corn and cold drinks, Gadsby saw to it that such boys got in as many patrons' way as any ambitious youth could; and that is "going strong," if you know boys, at all!
But what about profits? It not only paid for all acts which his Organization couldn't put on, but it was found that a big fund for many a day's musical visitations, was on hand.
And, now a word or two about municipal affairs in this city; or any city, in which nobody will think of doing anything about its poor and sick, without a vigorous prodding up. City Councils, now-a-days, willingly grant big appropriations for paving, lights, schools, jails, courts, and so on; but invariably fight shy of charity; which is nothing but sympathy for anybody who is "down and out." No man can say that Charity will not, during coming days, aid him in supporting his family; and it was Gadsby's claim that humans:—not blocks of buildings, form what Mankind calls a city. But what would big, costly buildings amount to, if all who work in such cannot maintain that good physical condition paramount in carrying on a city's various forms of labor? And not only physical good, but also a mind happy from lack of worry and of that stagnation which always follows a monotonous daily grind. So our Organization was soon out again, agitating City Officials and civilians toward building a big Auditorium in which all kinds of shows and sports could occur, with also a swimming pool and hot and cold baths. Such a building cannot so much as start without financial backing; but gradually many an iron-bound bank account was drawn upon (much as you pull a tooth!), to buy bonds. Also, such a building won't grow up in a night; nor was a spot upon which to put it found without a lot of agitation; many wanting it in a down-town district; and also, many who had vacant land put forth all sorts of claims to obtain cash for lots upon which a big tax was paid annually, without profits. But all such things automatically turn out satisfactorily to a majority; though an ugly, grasping landlord who lost out, would viciously squawk that "municipal graft" was against him.
Now Gadsby was vigorously against graft; not only in city affairs but in any kind of transaction; and that stab brought forth such a flow of oratory from him, that as voting for Mayor was soon to occur, it, and a long list of good works, soon had him up for that position. But Gadsby didn't want such a nomination; still, thousands of townsfolks who had known him from childhood, would not hark to anything but his candidacy; and, soon, on window cards, signs, and flags across Broadway, was his photograph and "Gadsby for Mayor;" and a campaign was on which still rings in Branton Hills' history as "hot stuff!" Four aspiring politicians ran in opposition; and, as all had good backing, and Gadsby only his public works to fall back on, things soon got looking gloomy for him. His antagonists, standing upon soap box, auto truck, or hastily built platforms, put forth, with prodigious vim, claims that "our fair city will go back to its original oblivion if I am not its Mayor!" But our Organization now took a hand, most of which, now out of High School, was growing up rapidly; and anybody who knows anything at all about Branton Hills' history, knows that, if this band of bright, loyal pals of Gadsby's was out to attain a goal, it was mighty apt to start things humming. To say that Gadsby's rivals got a bad jolt as it got around town that his "bunch of warriors" was aiding him, would put it but mildly. Two quit instantly, saying that this is a day of Youth and no adult has half a show against it! But two still hung on; clinging to a sort of fond fantasy that Gadsby, not naturally a public sort of man, might voluntarily drop out. But, had Gadsby so much as thought of such an action, his Organization would quickly laugh it to scorn.
"Why, good gracious!" said Frank Morgan, "if anybody should sit in that Mayor's chair in City Hall, it's you! Just look at what you did to boost Branton Hills! Until you got it a-going it had but two ——"inhabitants; now it has sixty thousand! And just ask your rivals to point to any part of it that you didn't build up. Look at our Public Library, municipal band, occupational class rooms; auto and bus trips; and your circus which paid for music for sick folks. With you as Mayor, boy! What an opportunity to boss and swing things your own way! Why, anything you might say is as good as law; and
"Now, hold on, boy!" said Gadsby, "a Mayor can't boss things in any such a way as you think. A Mayor has a Council, which has to pass on all bills brought up; and, my boy, upon arriving at manhood, you'll find that a Mayor who can boss a Council around, is a most uncommon bird. And as for a Mayor's word amounting to a law, it's a mighty good thing that it can't! Why, a Mayor can't do much of anything, today, Frank, without a bunch of crazy bat-brains stirring up a rumpus about his acts looking 'suspiciously shady.' Now that is a bad condition in which to find a city, Frank. You boys don't know anything about graft; but as you grow up you will find many flaws in a city's laws; but also many points thoroughly good and fair. Just try to think what a city would amount to if a solitary man could control its law making, as a King or Sultan of old. That was why so many millions of inhabitants would start wars and riots against a tyrant; for many a King was a tyrant, Frank, and had no thought as to how his laws would suit his thousands of rich and poor. A law that might suit a rich man, might work all kinds of havoc with a poor family."
"But," said Frank, "why should a King pass a law that would dissatisfy anybody?"
Gadsby's parry to this rising youthful ambition for light on political affairs was:—
"Why will a duck go into a pond?" and Frank found that though a growing young man might know a thing or two, making laws for a city was a man's job.
So, with a Mayoralty campaign on his hands, plus planning for that big auditorium, Gadsby was as busy as a fly around a syrup jug; for a mass of campaign mail had to go out; topics for orations thought up; and contacts with his now truly important Organization of Youth, took so many hours out of his days that his family hardly saw him, at all. Noon naturally stood out as a good opportunity for oratory, as thousands, out for lunch, would stop, in passing. But, also, many a hall rang with plaudits as an antagonist won a point; but many a throng saw Gadsby's good points, and plainly told him so by turning out voluminously at any point at which his oratory was to flow. It was truly miraculous how this man of shy disposition, found words in putting forth his plans for improving Branton Hills, town of his birth. Many an orator has grown up from an unassuming individual who had things worth saying; and who, through that curious facility which is born of a conviction that his plans had a practical basis, won many a ballot against such prolific flows of high-sounding words as his antagonists had in stock. Many a night Gadsby was "all in," as his worn-out body and an aching throat sought his downy couch. No campaign is a cinch.
With so many minds amongst a city's population, just that many calls for this or that swung back and forth until that most important of all days,—voting day, was at hand. What crowds, mobs and jams did assail all polling booths casting ballots to land a party-man in City Hall! If a voting booth was in a school building, as is a common custom pupils had that day off; and, as Gadsby was Youth's champion, groups of kids hung around, watching and hoping with that avidity so common with youth, that Gadsby would win by a majority unknown in Branton Hills. And Gadsby did!
As soon as it was shown by official count, Branton Hills was a riot, from City Hall to City limits; throngs tramping around, tossing hats aloft; for a hard-working man had won what many thousands thought was fair and just.