The Honorable Archer Converse displayed prompt interest which surprised the colonel. “A young man from the Eleventh Ward? Was he tall and rather distinguished-looking?”
Colonel Dodd snorted his disgust. “Distinguished-looking! He threatened me, and I had him followed. He’s a ward heeler. Better look him up!” His choler was driving him to extremes. He was pricked by his caller’s high-bred stare of disdain. “He seems to be another apostle of the people who wants to tell me how to run my own business. Yes, you better look him up, Converse.”
“Very well, sir! If he came in here and tried to tell you the truth about yourself he’s worth knowing. Furthermore, I think I do know him.”
“Ah, one of those you train with, eh? Do you like him?”
It was biting sarcasm, but to the colonel’s disappointment it did not appear to affect his caller in the least. Converse even smiled—a most peculiar sort of smile.
“I must say, sir, that I have been hating him cordially.”
The colonel grunted approbation.
“But from now on, sir, for reasons best known to myself, I’m going to make that young man my close and particular friend. You’ll hear from us later.”
He bowed stiffly and went out, leaving Colonel Dodd staring after him with his square face twisted into an expression of utter astonishment, his little eyes goggling, his tuft of whisker sticking up like an exclamation-point.
“The first appropriation the next legislature makes,” he soliloquized, “will have to be money enough to build a new wing on the insane-hospital. They’re all going crazy in this state, from aristocrats to tramps.”
ENLISTING A KNIGHT-ERRANT
On his way down the stairs to the street the Honorable Archer Converse, moving more rapidly than was his wont, overtook and passed Kate Kilgour. He was too absorbed to notice even a pretty girl. She had finished her work for the day and was on her way home.
When she reached the street she observed something which interested her immensely: Mr. Converse suddenly flourished his cane to attract the attention of a man on the opposite side of the street. Then Mr. Converse called to him from the curb with the utmost friendliness in his tones. The girl passed near him and heard what he said. It was not a mere hail to an inferior. The eminent lawyer very politely and solicitously asked the tall young man across the way if he could not spare time to come to the Converse office.
She cast a look over her shoulder. The young man came across the street promptly. He was the man who had served her in her time of need!
She went on, but turned again. An uncontrollable impulse prompted her.
They were entering the door of the office-building, and the aristocratic hand of the Honorable Archer Converse was patting the shoulder of this stranger. Her cheeks flushed and she turned away hastily, for the young man caught her backward glance and returned an appealing smile.