Weiss ceased speaking and replaced the cigar in his mouth. Littleson, a few feet off, felt the perspiration breaking out upon his forehead. His breath was coming fast. The slow, crushing words of his partner had worked him into a state of excitement such as he had scarcely believed himself capable of. And Norris Vine, the imperturbable, was obviously impressed. Weiss had spoken almost as a man inspired. To treat his words lightly seemed impossible.
“You have given me something,” Vine said slowly, “to think over. I should be very sorry, of course, to bring about such a state of things as you have spoken of. At the same time, I am not, as you say, a practical man. I cannot follow you in all you say. It seems to me that if this immense depreciation of funds really took place, especially in the case of undertakings of solid value, the pendulum would swing back to its place very soon. Values always assert themselves.”
“And the people who would benefit,” Weiss said, leaning forward, “are the foreigners who stepped in with their gold and bought for themselves a share in our country at half its value.”
He stopped to answer for a moment an insistent ringing of the telephone from the outer office. As he laid the receiver down he turned to Vine.
“Look here,” he said, “you doubt my statement. Outside in the office there is waiting to see me, upon a matter of business, a man who is as much my enemy as you are. I mean John Drayton, Governor of New York. Would you call him an honest man?”
“Absolutely!” Vine answered.
“Would you consider him a shrewd man?”
“Certainly,” Vine assented.
“Then look here,” Weiss said. “I am going to ask him to come into this office. I am going to treat this matter as an academic discussion, and I am going to ask him then what the result would be of such a step as you propose.”
“Very well,” Vine answered. “I pledge myself to nothing, but I should like to hear John Drayton’s opinion.”
Weiss unlocked and threw open the office door, and a moment later returned with a tall, grey-headed man, with closely cropped beard and gold-rimmed eyeglasses. He shook hands with Vine warmly, and nodded to Littleson.