The Young Reformer 121
somewhat nervous and disappointed. Then the brilliant man,
twice the age of Theodore Roosevelt, who had been chosen to reply to him, rose, and with deft oratorical manipulation rang the changes on every "ism" he could think of, using as his fundamental argument the fact that all "isms" were fads. He spoke of the superstition of spiritualism, the extravagance of fanaticism, the hypocrisy of hypnotism, the plausibility of socialism-and the highbrow members of "The 19th Century Club" were with the brilliant orator from start to finish, and as he closed his subtile argument, which left Americanism high and dry on the shores of faddism, the audience felt that "the Young Reformer" had had his lesson, and gave genuine applause to his opponent.
Half-way through that opponent's address, I confess, on my own part, to having experienced a great feeling of discouragement; not because I agreed with what he said, but because of the effect produced upon the listeners; but suddenly I saw my brother smile the same smile which used to cross his face in later years when some heckler would try to embarrass him from the back of a great hall, and he took a pencil and wrote something on his cuff. The smile was transitory but it gave me fresh hope, and I knew quite well that the audience would hear something worth while, if not to their liking, in the last ten minutes of the evening, when, as I said before, the speaker of the evening was allowed to rebut the rebutter. The clever editor sat down amidst interested applause, and "the Young Reformer" stepped once more forward to the edge of the platform. He leaned far over from the platform, so earnest, so eager was he, and this is what he said: "I believe that I am allowed ten minutes in which to refute the arguments of my opponent. I do not need ten minutes-I do not need five minutes-I hardly need one minute-I shall ask you one question, and as you answer that question, you will decide who has won this argument-myself or the gentleman on the other side of this platform. My question is as follows: If it is true that all isms are fads, I would ask you, Fellow