“The boss of the Senate” Gains A new Ally
Mrs. Spangler would have flattered herself on guessing correctly as to Senator Peabody’s uneasiness had she heard and seen all that had taken place in his apartment at the Louis Napoleon Hotel, where he had hurriedly taken Senator Stevens on leaving the Langdon house.
Not only would the two Senators lose their immense profits on the Altacoola transaction if Langdon persisted in his opposition, but they would lose as well the thousands of dollars spent by their agents in purchasing options on hundreds of acres, and where they could not get options, the land itself. This land would be on their hands, unsalable, if the base went somewhere else. Moreover, they feared that Langdon’s revolt would bring unpleasant newspaper publicity to their operations.
“There’s only one course to pursue, Stevens,” snapped Peabody as they took off their overcoats. “That is to be prepared as best we can for the very worst and meet it in some way yet to be determined. But first we must try to figure out what Langdon is going to do—what it can be that he says he will tell us to-morrow at 12:30 if we appear. He must have something very startling up his sleeve if he makes good his assertions. I can’t see how—”
“Nor I,” frowned Stevens, “and my political eyesight is far better than that fool Langdon’s. Under ordinary circumstances we could let him go ahead with his minority report for Gulf City, but as things stand he’ll have every newspaper reporter in Washington buzzing around and asking impertinent questions—”
“Yes, and you and I would have to go to Paris to live with our life insurance friends from New York, wouldn’t we?” laughed Peabody sarcastically. “I’m going to send for Jake Steinert,” he added.
“Steinert?” Stevens ejaculated. “What—”
“Oh, that’s all right. Maybe he can suggest something,” said Peabody, going to the telephone. “We’ve too much at stake to make a mistake, and Jake may see a point that we’ve overlooked. Luckily I saw him downstairs in the grill-room as we came through to the elevator.”
“Steinert is all right himself,” continued Stevens, “but his methods—”
“Can’t be too particular now about his methods—or ours, Stevens, when a bull like Langdon breaks loose in the political china shop. Fortune and reputation are both fragile.”
A ring of a bell announced the arrival of Jake Steinert, whose reputation as a lobbyist of advanced ability had spread wide in the twenty years he had spent in Washington. Of medium height, sallow complexion, dark hair and dark eyes, his broad shoulders filled the doorway as he entered. An illy kept mustache almost hid a thin-lipped, forceful mouth, almost as forceful as some of the language he used. His eyes darted first to Peabody and then to Stevens, waiting for either of them to open the conversation.