Colonel Varney, as he accompanied me to the train, did not conceal his jubilation.
“Perhaps I ought not to say it, Mr. Paret, but it couldn’t have been done neater. That’s the art in these little affairs, to get ’em runnin’ fast, to get momentum on ’em before the other party wakes up, and then he can’t stop ’em.” As he shook hands in farewell he added, with more gravity: “We’ll see each other often, sir, I guess. My very best regards to Mr. Watling.”
Needless to say, I had not confided to him the part I had played in originating House Bill No. 709, now a law of the state. But as the train rolled on through the sunny winter landscape a sense of well-being, of importance and power began to steal through me. I was victoriously bearing home my first scalp,—one which was by no means to be despised.... It was not until we reached Rossiter, about five o’clock, that I was able to get the evening newspapers. Such was the perfection of the organization of which I might now call myself an integral part that the “best” publications contained only the barest mention,—and that in the legislative news,—of the signing of the bill. I read with complacency and even with amusement the flaring headlines I had anticipated in Mr. Lawler’s ‘Pilot.’
“The Governor Signs It!”
“Special legislation, forced through by the Railroad Lobby, which will drive honest corporations from this state.”
“Ribblevale Steel Company the Victim.”
It was common talk in the capital, the article went on to say, that Theodore Watling himself had drawn up the measure.... Perusing the editorial page my eye fell on the name, Krebs. One member of the legislature above all deserved the gratitude of the people of the state,—the member from Elkington. “An unknown man, elected in spite of the opposition of the machine, he had dared to raise his voice against this iniquity,” etc., etc.
We had won. That was the essential thing. And my legal experience had taught me that victory counts; defeat is soon forgotten. Even the discontented, half-baked and heterogeneous element from which the Pilot got its circulation had short memories.
The next morning, which was Sunday, I went to Mr. Watling’s house in, Fillmore Street—a new residence at that time, being admired as the dernier cri in architecture. It had a mediaeval look, queer dormers in a steep roof of red tiles, leaded windows buried deep in walls of rough stone. Emerging from the recessed vestibule on a level with the street were the Watling twins, aglow with health, dressed in identical costumes of blue. They had made their bow to society that winter.
“Why, here’s Hugh!” said Frances. “Doesn’t he look pleased with himself?”
“He’s come to take us to church,” said Janet.
“Oh, he’s much too important,” said Frances. “He’s made a killing of some sort,—haven’t you, Hugh?"...