Mr. Dodd left the grating and escaped from the hotel.
He fairly cantered to headquarters in the First National block; he felt a politician’s frightened conviction that he had something mighty important to tell his uncle.
A GIRL AND A MATTER OF HONOR
It had been a protracted session.
Judge Ambrose Warren, corporation counsel for the Consolidated, leaned back in his chair and gazed at the ceiling over the peak of the skeleton structure he had erected in front of his nose with his fingers.
Colonel Dodd squinted first at his nephew and then at the bouquet on his desk.
The nephew had been attempting by all the methods known to the appealing male to win only one return glance from Kate Kilgour; but the young lady held her eyes on her note-book, poised her pencil above the page, and waited for more of that conversation and statement of which she had been the silent recorder.
“You think you have given us all the main points of what you overheard, do you, Mr. Dodd?” inquired the judge, turning sharp gaze on the young man.
“I can’t remember any more.”
“You think you recognized voices sufficiently well to be sure that this person named Farr made that novel suggestion in regard to what was called a ’water district’?”
“There was no mistaking his voice,” said Dodd, with the malevolence of bitter recollection.
Another prolonged silence. Then the judge asked, his eyes again on the ceiling, “Just who is this Walker Farr?”
Richard Dodd, keeping jealous espionage on all the girl’s emotions and movements saw a flush suffuse her cheeks; her hands trembled. She raised her eyes in a quick glance and he detected eager inquiry.
“I don’t know who he is,” growled the colonel.
“You’d better find out,” advised the corporation counsel.
“Of course this thing has been put up to me very suddenly. I can give you only a snap judgment. But that scheme has possibilities.”
“As a lawyer you don’t mean to tell me that a crazy idea like that can be put through in this state against the combination we control?”
“It will not be a case of combination and money and politics, Colonel, when it gets to the high court. It will be law. And I’m sorry you can’t tell me any more about the man who has devised the plan. I’d like to know how he dug it out.”
“But a gang of pirates can’t organize like that and confiscate our property! We’re going to tap the lakes. We’re going ahead right away. But can that fool’s scheme scoop in the Consolidated Water Company?”
“That’s to be found out. I am going to tell you now that I believe an organization of citizens into an independent water district can be made legally and be independent of other debts. Colonel Dodd, if that opposition gets control of the next legislature you can depend upon it that the necessary legislation will be passed. We may as well look facts in the face: they’re getting mighty restive in this state; the people have been penned in by the Machine very effectually to date—but show ’em a place now where they can jump the fence and they’re going to do it.”