Still another thought occurred to the Hon. Charles Norton. “Stevens elected Langdon out of friendship,” he chuckled, gleefully. “That will be well worth telling in Washington.”
THE WARS OF PEACE
“Big Bill” Langdon was the term by which the new Senator from Mississippi had been affectionately known to his intimates for years. He carried his 230 pounds with ease, bespeaking great muscular power in spite of his gray hairs. His rugged courage, unswerving honesty and ready belief in his friends won him a loyal following, some of whom frequently repeated what was known as “Bill Langdon’s Golden Rule”:
“There never was a man yet who didn’t have some good in him, but most folks don’t know this because their own virtues pop up and blind ’em when they look at somebody else.”
At the reunions of his old war comrades Langdon was always depended on to describe once again how the Third Mississippi charged at Crawfordsville and defeated the Eighth Illinois. But the stirring events of the past had served to increase the planter’s fondness for his home life and his children, whose mother had died years before. At times he regretted that his unexpected political duties would take him away from the old plantation even though the enthusiastic approval of Carolina and Hope Georgia proved considerable compensation.
Although not sworn in as Senator, Colonel Langdon’s political duties were already pressing. A few days after Congressman Norton’s visit he sat in his library conferring with several prominent citizens of his county regarding a plan to ask Congress to appropriate money to dredge a portion of the channel of the Pearl River, which would greatly aid a large section of the State.
During the deliberations the name of Martin Sanders was announced by Jackson, the Colonel’s gravely decorous negro bodyguard, who boasted that he “wuz brung up by Cunel Marse Langdon, suh, a fightin’ Mississippi cunel, suh, sence long befo’ de wah and way befo’ dat, suh.”
“Show Mr. Sanders right in,” commanded Colonel Langdon.
“Good-day, Senator,” spoke Sanders, the boss of seven counties, as he entered. Glancing around the room, he continued, bending toward the Colonel and muffling his now whispering voice with his hand: “I want to speak to you alone. I’m here on politics.”
“That’s all right; but these gentlemen here are my friends and constituents,” was the reply in no uncertain voice. “When I talk politics they have a perfect right to hear what I, as their Senator, say. Out with it, Mr. Sanders.”
As Sanders was introduced to the members of the conference he grew red in the face and stared at Langdon, amazed. At last he had discovered something new in politics. “Say,” he finally blurted out, “when I talk business I—”
“Are you in politics as a business?” quickly spoke Colonel Langdon.