“As to my personality, that has nothing to do with the matter. I am only an agent. Will you come with me and allow Mr. Converse to ask you some questions?”
“Sure thing!” agreed the Honorable Daniel, with great heartiness. “In politics the first thing to do before you get real busy is to have a nice heart-to-heart talk with the gent who says ‘How much?’ and laps his forefinger and begins to count. You understand, young man, that I have been in politics a long time. And I ain’t an animal-trainer—I’m a field worker and I can earn my pay.”
And inside of a week Walker Farr, who had been previously struggling hard against lack of acquaintance in the state, found that Mr. Breed had spoken the truth. The two made a team which excited the full approval—the wondering admiration—of the Honorable Archer Converse.
Farr’s power to control and interest men achieved astonishing results with Daniel Breed’s exact knowledge of persons and conditions.
But they were rather humble citizens. There was no fanfare about their work. If Colonel Symonds Dodd knew anything at all about the fires they were setting, he made no move to turn on the Consolidated hose.
THE STAR CHAMBER IN THE OLD NATIONAL
They did not come furtively, yet they came unobtrusively—these men who drifted into the National Hotel in Marion that day.
At one side of the big rotunda of the National stood Walker Farr, his keen gaze noting the men who came dribbling in, singly, by twos and threes. They were not men of Marion city. A newspaper reporter, happening in at the National, noted that fact. He stood for a time and watched the filtering arrivals. There were some who were plainly men of affairs, others were solid men who bore the stamp of the rural sections. They went to the desk, wrote their names, and were shown up-stairs by bellhops. Most of them, as they crossed the office, nodded greeting to the tall young man who wore a frock coat and a broad-brimmed hat and stood almost motionless at one side of the rotunda.
The National was state Mecca for all kinds of conventions. The reporter studied his date-book. No convention was scheduled for that day. He managed to get a peep at the hotel register. The men who had been signing their names hailed from all portions of the state, but the reporter did not find identities which suggested political activities. It was plainly not a gathering of politicians—none of the old war-horses were in evidence.
The reporter questioned a few of the arrivals, chasing beside them. They all gave the same answer—they had come to Marion on business.
The reply was safe, succinct, and stopped further questions. The reporter did venture to pick out a little man and inquire what kind of business called him to Marion, and the little man informed him with sarcasm that he was a baker from Banbury and had come down to purchase doughnut holes.