“It may be good politics—it may seem all right to you, because you were in the thing from the start and saw how the tricks had to be played,” grumbled the young man. “But I haven’t had that kind of training. I’ve been brought up in business, grandfather. And a State that will do what this State is doing now—I’m not saying who’s at fault—but the State that will handle a law in this way is a blackleg. I believe in General Waymouth. I believe he’s got something up his sleeve in the way of real reform. I believe he meant what he said. I don’t want to see you hurt personally in your plans, grandfather, but I want to tell you frankly I’m with the other side in this thing.”
The Duke glanced at him inquiringly.
“I mean, politics or no politics, I want to see a law enforced so long as it’s a law. If a party cannot hold together and keep on top with any other system, then the party is ‘in’ wrong. I don’t believe General Waymouth intends to straddle. He’ll enforce the law.”
“And kill his party?” inquired the old man, sarcastically. “Oh no, my boy. The party has looked out for that. It isn’t taking any chances with a man who might get morally rambunctious. The Governor of this State hasn’t anything to do with enforcing the prohibitory law. We’ve kept all the clubs out of his hands. When the W. C. T. U. converted old Governor Levett, he got ambitious and tried it on. And the only thing he found he could do was to issue a proclamation to the sheriffs ‘to do their duty.’ The most of ’em framed it and hung it up in their offices; it was too good a joke to keep hid.”
They walked on in silence. Harlan did not find it easy to continue that line of talk. His deameanor did not accord with the fair face of the morning. But the old man sauntered on under the trees, plainly contented with the world and all that was in it.
“Let’s see, you haven’t met Madeleine, Luke’s girl, since she was little, have you?” he inquired, stealing one of his shrewd side glances at his grandson.
Harlan was occupied with his own thoughts and shook his head.
“I was thinking she’d been away at school whenever you’ve been down here with me. Beautiful girl, my boy. Brains, too. Polish up your thoughts. These college girls are pretty bright, you know.”
“I don’t think she will notice whether I’ve got any thoughts or not,” replied the young man, sourly. “She won’t pay much attention to a woodsman—not that kind of a girl.”
“What kind of a girl?”
“One that’s full of society notions and college airs. I know the kind. Unless a fellow has wasted about half his life in dancing and loafing around summer resorts they treat him as though he were a cross between an Eskimo and a Fiji. Life is too short to play poodle for girls of that sort.”
“Well, you are certainly on the mourners’ bench to-day, front row and an end seat,” said the old man, disgustedly. “You’d better go up and take a nap till breakfast-time, and use sleep, soap, a razor, and common sense and smooth yourself off. I reckon I haven’t got you out of those woods any too quick.”