"Who is Slumkey?" whispered Mr. Tupman.
"I don't know," replied Mr. Pickwick in the same tone. "Hush, Don't ask questions. It's always best on these occasions to do what the mob do."
"But suppose there are two mobs?" suggested Mr. Snodgrass.
"Shout with the largest," replied Mr. Pickwick.
When the newspapers refer to the Republican torchlight parades in Boston and New York as "old fashioned," we are not to picture a good, old fashioned political riot such as Mr. Pickwick was accustomed to. On the contrary the parade this evening is to be carefully arranged and conducted. Modern election days are no longer marvels of fraud and diplomatic violence; but modern campaigns are almost as disgusting in their methods as the fraud of the old time elections. If the present fashion calls for sarcasm, petty arguing and calling of names by rival candidates and rival newspapers, sly attacks in print, then perhaps a torch-light parade may be called old fashioned. At least men leave the daily papers by which the world of to-day is judged, fall into line and shout their opinions to the accompaniment of red fire and brass bands. There is something healthy about a torch-light parade compared with the campaign politics we have been hearing for weeks. It concerns voters, not politicians.
Although a Republican mob may not force the Democrats to shout with them or be black-jacked in the old fashioned Pickwickian way, it may derive a fine feeling of self-satisfaction in being merely the largest mob. There is a unit in the parade tonight for every energetic Republican, who wants to make it the "largest mob"; and this expression of political faith calls for no backhanded slaps at the Democrats in the modern fashion. It is "old fashioned" and wholesome.