“I will say, Mr. Converse, before you leave, that I’d like to have you carry away a right opinion of me. I was not trying to drag you to a mere political gathering. There are some poor men assembled just now in this quarter who need a sympathetic listener and a little good advice. They are also trying to get justice from the Consolidated and all the general oppression it represents.”
“Where are those men?” asked Converse, after a pause during which he wrinkled his brows and tapped his cane.
Farr pointed down the street. Not far away a low-hung transparency heralded “The Square Deal Club.”
Mr. Converse gazed in that direction and hesitated a few moments longer.
“You assure me that it’s not a mere political rally?”
“I do, sir!”
Then the son of General Converse gallantly extended his arm.
“I’ll be glad to be escorted by you, Mr. Farr,” he said. “Now that I understand this thing a bit better, I am going to break one of my rules.” As they walked along he remarked: “A man’s affairs are sometimes directed and controlled for him in a most singular fashion. Little things change preconceived notions very suddenly.”
“They do, sir,” agreed Walker Farr.
CONSCIENCE ENLISTING A RECRUIT
A man who stood at the head of the stairs, an outpost, saw them coming and ran and opened a door ahead of them. The door admitted to a hall which was packed with men who were ranged on settees and stood in the aisles and at the sides of the big room.
“Make way for the Honorable Archer Converse,” shrieked their avant courier, excitedly.
“Three cheers for the Honorable Archer Converse,” called a voice, and all the men came on to their feet and yelled lustily.
The distinguished guest climbed upon the platform—Farr close at his heels. The young man placed a chair for the lawyer and remained standing. He raised his hand to command silence.
“This is rather unexpected, boys. But this distinguished man happened to be passing our hall to-night and has dropped in on us in a purely informal manner. It’s a great honor, and I want to say to him for all of us that the old Square Deal Club is mighty grateful. I ask you to rise, gentlemen of the club.”
All came to their feet again.
“Bow your heads and for thirty seconds of deep silence pay your respect and veneration to the memory of our great war governor, General Aaron Converse.”
The Honorable Archer Converse looked forth over those bowed and bared heads. The most of them were gray heads, and toil-worn hands were clasped in front of those men. And when at last the faces were raised to his there was an appealing earnestness in their gaze which touched him poignantly.
“Boys, the son of that great man is present. How will you express your admiration and respect for him?”