Thereupon he had snapped the elastic band with vigor and made up his mind to tell Colonel Dodd the next morning that chasing that worthless fellow around or thinking that such a fellow could do anything to interfere with Colonel Dodd was poppycock. Peter Briggs hoped he would dare to call it “poppycock” in the presence of his master—for he was thoroughly sick of being a sleuth in the ill-smelling Eleventh Ward.
He did dare to call it poppycock. And Colonel Dodd shrugged his shoulders and forgot one Walker Farr. The fellow seemed inconsiderable—and Colonel Dodd found other matters very pressing.
For one thing, those three men from Danburg had brought suit against both Stone & Adams and the Consolidated Water Company and had engaged as counsel no less a personage than the Honorable Archer Converse, the state’s most eminent corporation lawyer, a man of such high ideals and such scrupulous conception of legal responsibility that he had never been willing to accept a retainer from the great System which dominated state affairs. Colonel Symonds Dodd feared the Honorable Archer Converse. It was hinted that the Danburg case would involve charges of conspiracy with intent to restrain independents, and would be used to show up what the opponents of the Consolidated insisted was general iniquity in finance and politics.
Colonel Dodd outwardly was not intimidated. He sent no flag of truce. He decided to intrench and fight. He cursed when he remembered the interview with the Danburg triumvirate.
“Under ordinary circumstances I would buy them off in the usual way,” he informed Judge Warren. “But that damnation lunatic raved at me with all the insults he could think of—then he up with his dirty bunch of plans and knocked my flowers on to the floor—yes, sir, that was what the mad bull did—he knocked my flowers on to the floor!”
And Colonel Dodd emphasized that as the crime unforgivable.
THE MATTER OF DOING WHAT ONE CAN
It was from Citizen Drew that Walker Farr heard the story of Captain Andrew Kilgour.
Citizen Drew was the elderly man with the earnest face who had been first to commend Farr that evening at City Hall when he and old Etienne had made their pathetically useless foray against bulwarked privilege.
Folks in Marion who knew Citizen Drew had forgotten his given name. In his propaganda of protest he called himself “Citizen.” He built carriage-tops in a little shop where there were drawers stuffed with political and economic literature, and he read and pondered during his spare hours.
Farr sought out Citizen Drew and sat at his feet, with open ears.
For Citizen Drew knew the political history of his state, the men concerned, their characters, their aims, their weaknesses, their virtues, their faults—especially did he understand their faults—their affiliations with the Machine, their attitude toward the weak; he had followed their trails as the humble hound follows big game.