With this end in view Larry walked from one end of the room to the other. He did not know that the man he sought was in his private office, closeted with some of his henchmen. As Larry passed one group he heard one man in it say:
“Well, Sullivan’s made up his mind at last.”
“He has, eh?” asked another. “Who is it?”
Larry was all attention at once. This seemed to be the very thing he had been sent to find out.
“Don’t let it get out,” went on the man who had first spoken, “but I understand Tommy has got to wait a while yet.”
“Then Billy can probably deliver the goods,” the second man added. “I thought he could. Well, it means a good thing for the district when they build the new line. If only Potter doesn’t go back on his promise. He’s so rich you can’t touch him with money, and he’s as foxy as they make ’em. If Billy can work him I don’t blame Sullivan for swinging his way. Now——”
But at that moment one of the men turned and saw Larry. He at once knew him for a stranger, and quickly inquired:
“What do you want, young man?”
“I want to see Mr. Sullivan.”
Larry didn’t announce himself as a reporter, for that, he felt, would have brought him only a polite refusal, on Sullivan’s part, to receive him.
“What for?” went on the man.
“I have a message for him,” Larry said.
“You can tell me, I’ll see that he gets it.”
“It is for him personally,” Larry said, for a bold plan had come into his mind and he determined to try it.
AN INTERVIEW WITH SULLIVAN
For a moment the man who had questioned Larry stood gazing at him. Suspicion was in the look, but the reporter never quailed. He was playing a bold game and he was running a risk, but he was not going to give up so soon.
“What’s your name?” the man asked him.
That conveyed nothing to his questioner, for Larry had not been long enough on the Leader to become known in the field of politics. There were some men in the newspaper business with whom the politicians were so familiar that they sent for them whenever they had any news they were desirous of making public. But Larry was not yet one of these.
“Sam, tell Mr. Sullivan a young man wants to see him personally,” went on the man who had interrogated Larry. “You can take a seat over there,” he added, pointing to some chairs farthest removed from the group of which he was a member.
As Larry moved away he heard one of the men remark:
“Wonder if he’s a newspaper man?”
“I don’t believe so,” replied another. “I’ve never seen him before and I know most of the reporters in New York. None of the editors would send a new man to interview Sullivan. He’s too tough a bird for a greenhorn to tackle. I guess he’s a messenger from some broker’s office. Maybe Potter sent him.”