But Richard was showing considerable ability in that line behind the door of the anteroom.
He jammed two hundred and fifty dollars in crumpled bills into the detective’s hands, cleaning out his pockets for the purpose. He had slipped the check into his deepest pocket the moment his uncle had handed it to him.
“It was hard work to screw him up, Mullaney. You have seen how I worked him. This is all he gave me—two hundred and fifty. Take it and spring your trap.”
“You don’t look honest,” grumbled the detective. “If I’m any kind of a guesser you’re holding out on me.”
“That’s your price. You agreed. There isn’t any time to argue this. Give me back the money.” He grabbed the bills from Mullaney’s clutch. It was magnificent bluff. “I’ll hand it to my uncle. He isn’t very keen on the thing, anyway.”
“I’ll take it—give it back. I’ll apologize,” pleaded Mullaney.
“Will you swear to keep all this under your hat—the whole thing? Uncle says if you dare to speak to him about it—hint to him or anybody that he paid money for anything on Farr—he’ll deny the story and have your license taken away.”
“I promise—swear it,” Mullaney agreed.
Dodd returned the money, and the detective started out on the trot.
“You come, too, and I’ll tell you on the way. Time is short. You’d better help me,” he advised Dodd. They hurried away together, rushed out into the alley and around to the front of the hall, the detective pouring certain information into Dodd’s ear as they made their way to the big door and into the main corridor.
Then they bored through the crowds.
The detective led the way and showed his badge to compel the people to give them a lane.
They entered the rear of the auditorium.
“You take the left side and I’ll take the right,” commanded Mullaney. “We need to paralyze him first. That’s all there’s time for just now—I’ve had short notice. But get that name to every man of your crowd you can, and when the howl is started tell ’em all to join in.”
Dodd had had scant time to digest the knowledge which the detective had imparted on the run. But his eyes gleamed wickedly as he began to whisper to men among the delegates. And as he moved about he noticed that the girl in the gallery had marked his activity, even to the extent of turning her gaze from Walker Farr, whose voice was ringing through the spacious hall.
Walker Farr, towering over their heads, talked to the men in whose midst he stood.
Mere eloquence no longer avails in these days of cynical disbelief in the motives of political orators. But this young man who stood there was sincerity incarnate. The wonderful and mystic magnetic quality which wins men and inspires confidence radiated from him. And every now and then, as he glanced up at one face in the gallery his voice took on new tones of appeal and pathos. He was one crying from the depths to those in authority! By the marvel of his language he made the men who sat there as delegates understand that theirs was the power to make or mar—to save or sacrifice their state in the crisis which was upon them. He made them feel their responsibility after he made them understand their power.