To my fellow Bourbon Democrats and interested Mugwumps,
I apologize for being so long in writing to you. What appears to me to have been a few harrowing day has, in fact, been nearly two weeks. I can barely find the words to describe what I have seen, but I shall endeavor to do my best.
Per our last communication, I entered a mine near Ironwood, Michigan. Our party of local workers and campaign volunteers descended below the earth to greet the miners and put the rumors of underground wizardry to rest. For the first eight score feet below the surface, all went according to plan: a few handshakes, an exchange of pleasantries, a tour of the stalagmites, et cetera. No evidence of unnatural magic.
All that changed when the mine collapsed.
Buried beneath the rubble for hours, we clawed our way out. Less than half of the company survived. Our entry blocked, we had no option but to proceed onward. Down we went, miners and visitors alike, deeper into the earth's crust than man ought go, until we found an underground river with sweet water. We camped there to regain a modicum of strength.
Upon waking, we hiked along the river as best we could. The lanterns began to give out, and we started rationing food. There finally came a time when land ended. We had naught but the river before us, rushing down into a narrow passage whose end we could not see. After a heated argument, we realized we had no choice. We could risk a watery grave, or remain behind for a certain one.
The water was cold, my friends, having no sun for warmth. As we dove in, a few men were barely below water before their limbs locked up from the frigidity. I led our company, rushing along as fast as I could, trusting that the men behind me would follow. At last, I perceived a dim light, and I swam like hell toward it. When I popped my head above the surface at long last, I gasped for air. Only a handful of our company survived the rapids.
We few swam to shore, throwing ourselves onto the rocky beach. We looked at one another, checking for injuries. Only then did we pause to consider the source of the light. We gazed up, perceiving a city built of glittering crystal before us. I rose to my feet, battling my exhaustion, that I might investigate.
As I approached the luminous city, a cadre of creatures appeared before me. They were neither man nor animal; they seemed to have been forged of the crystal itself. Their iridescent skin glowed, as they inched in the direction of our company.
After several fumbled attempts at communication, I finally convinced them that we were merely seeking safe passage. They showed us the way, marching us through their bejeweled streets. We exited the crystal city, heading deeper and deeper into the caverns. We finally came to a wall of the cave which held a secret door. They opened it, ushered us through, and shut the door behind us. By the time I turned to look for it, the door had vanished.
We marched along in a dark daze for hours, wondering if we would see the surface again. In a moment of desperate anger, I flung a rock at the roof of the cavern. The rock hit the roof, and a tiny shaft of light appeared! We ran to it, clawing toward the light. We emerged into blessed sunshine and the greenest grass I've ever seen! We flung ourselves about on the field, laughing at our delivery from below the earth.
A local farmer heard the noise and ventured our way. He inquired about us in a southerly accent. He could hardly believe our tale, and we could hardly believe him. He informed us that we had come above ground on the outskirts of Glasgow, Kentucky! We puzzled at how this was possible. Still, once the kind farmer realized who we were, he led us into town to the train station. This kind man (Mr. A.B. Brown) will forever be in my grateful heart!
As we now ride the rails through Indiana, directly to Chicago, one can only hope that we shall arrive before the convention concludes. If hell could not stop us, then neither can Hill!