The editorial appears, in one form or another, in three London papers. It begins with a short, incisive reminder of letting a dangerous and self-centered murderess anywhere near the levers of power–nor abusive nor bitter, but pointed as a stiletto. Then the article moves on to Mrs. Plenty. It praises peace, and urges all of London’s leaders to work toward it. It also acknowledges Miriam’s long years of managerial abilities, her ability in a crisis, and (without going into details) her extensive knowledge of the Neath and her commendable self-control. However, it asks two pointed questions: Is Mrs. Plenty capable of giving London a quiet year, and at a cost the city is able to pay? Can she defeat the other candidates, without which the rest of the argument is obviated? In its final section, the author turns to Mme Shoshana. It is curiously light on her campaign platforms, and even openly questions her ability to avert any doom hanging over our heads. However, it does point out the need for long-term planning, the importance of carving a future out for London here, a destiny beyond providing Sixth City auctioneers with fascinating antiques. Most importantly, however, it focuses on Shoshana’s character. Mrs. Plenty has been accused (accurately or not, we don’t know) of ulterior motives, and few even among Virginia’s supporters believe that she truly has London’s best interests at heart. Mme Shoshana, however, is a woman motivated by impersonal civic duty, with nothing to gain and much to lose by taking the office, and has already run considerable risk by running against her employer. Even if her predictions be wrong, even if her profession be smoke and mirrors, still she is at least to be trusted in putting the city’s good above her own. Also, she may be the best chance at defeating Virginia.
The Contrarian, having acquired by mayoral privilege an advance copy of the editorial, praised and rebutted the editorial in all three papers. Madam Shoshana sent a simply written but floridly signed note of thanks. Virginia sent a box of poisoned bonbons.
Sian put down the paper with a sigh. "I’ll be paying on that for some time, I’m afraid." Ondine arched an eyebrow, as she does when someone states the obvious.
"Not that I’d mind," he continued, "if I were only sure I’d made the right choice."
"Ah." Ondine put down her book. "Still worried about that, then?"
"There comes a time," said a clipped, proper voice behind him, "when a man must choose his course. It is best, when he does, that he leave his doubts on shore." It was his butler, quietly refilling the teacup.
The Professor smiled. He was right, of course, though that didn’t make the task easier. Right now, however, he would concentrate on a lovely cup of tea.
Despite all cautions, his ward Landy tried a bonbon. Long before the cramps subsided, one of Landy’s old rookery mates was passing them out at a Virginia rally.
edited by Siankan on 7/29/2019