“That proceeding would attract too much attention from the newspapers,” he added.
“Well, I thought you wanted to win,” grunted Steinert. “I’ve been offerin’ you good stuff, too—new stuff. None of yer druggin’ with chloroform or ticklin’ with blackjacks. Why, I’ve gone from fine-esse to common sense. But, come to think of it, how about some woman? I c’n get one to introduce to—”
“This is the wrong kind of a man,” interrupted Peabody.
“Unless you got the right kind of a woman,” went on Steinert.
Senator Stevens choked some more.
“The boss of the Senate” sank down in his chair, crossed one knee over the other and drummed his fingers lightly on the table. He gazed thoughtfully at Stevens.
“Yes,” he observed, slowly, “unless you’ve got the right sort of a woman.”
Rising, he led the Mississippian to one side.
The lobbyist heard the Southerner give a short exclamation of astonishment as Peabody whispered to him.
“It’s all right. It’s all right,” he then heard the Pennsylvanian say, irritably. “She’ll understand. She can be trusted. She expects you.”
Stevens gave a violent start at the last assurance, but his colleague hurriedly helped him into his coat.
“Go in a closed carriage,” was Peabody’s final warning. “Be sure to tell her to get hold of his two daughters on some pretext at once. She knows them well. Maybe we can influence the old man through his girls, don’t you see?”
And while Senator Peabody and Jake Steinert recurred to a previous discussion concerning one J.D. Telfer, Mayor of Gulf City, Senator Stevens started on the most memorable drive of his career on this bright winter morning, to the house of the fascinating Mrs. Spangler—who for the past week had been considering his proposal of marriage.
CAROLINA LANGDON’S RENUNCIATION
Senator Langdon’s committee room at the Capitol presented a busy scene at an unusually early hour the morning after the entertainment at his home. Bud Haines, reinstated as secretary, was picking up the thread of routine where he had dropped it the day before, though his frequent thought of Hope and the words that had thrilled him—“I love you, I love you fondly”—made this task unusually difficult. He impatiently wished the afternoon to hasten along, as he knew he would then see her in the Senate gallery, where she would go to hear her father’s speech.
This speech had to be revised in some particulars by Bud, and the work he knew would take up much of the morning. The Senator’s speech was “The South of the Future,” which he would deliver when recognized by the President of the Senate in connection with the naval base bill, that officer having agreed to recognize Langdon at 3:30, at which time the report of the naval affairs committee would be received. Just how Langdon would turn the tables on Peabody and Stevens and yet win for the Altacoola site not even the ex-newspaper man, experienced in politics, had solved. Clearly the Senator would have to do some tall thinking during the morning.