“A whole lot. It was Katherine Challoner, the actress, Bennington’s wife; that’s who it was!”
McQuade sat very still. So still, that he could hear the clock ticking in the parlor. Bennington’s wife!
The death of his aunt gave Warrington a longing for action—swift mental and physical action. To sit in that dark, empty house, to read or to write, was utterly impossible; nor had he any desire to take long rides into the country. His mind was never clearer than when he rode alone, and what he wanted was confusion, noise, excitement, struggle. So he made an appointment with Senator Henderson the next morning. He left the Benningtons with the promise that he would return that evening and dine with them. Warrington had become the senator’s hobby; he was going to do great things with this young man’s future. He would some day make an ambassador of him; it would be a pleasant souvenir of his old age. Warrington was brilliant, a fine linguist, was a born diplomat, had a good voice, and a fund of wit and repartee; nothing more was required. He would give the name Warrington a high place in the diplomatic history of the United States. Some of the most capable diplomats this country had produced had been poets. Warrington’s being a playwright would add luster to the office. The senator was going over these things, when a clerk announced that Mr. Warrington was waiting to see him.
“Send him right in.”
Immediately Warrington entered. He was simply dressed in a business suit of dark blue. He wore a straw hat and a black tie. There was no broad band of crape on his hat or his sleeve. He had the poet’s horror of parading grief, simply because it was considered fashionable to do so. He sincerely believed that outward mourning was obsolete, a custom of the Middle Ages.
“Ha!” ejaculated the senator.
“Good morning. How goes the fight?”
“Fine, my boy; I’ll land you there next week; you see if I don’t. The main obstacle is the curious attitude of the press. You and I know the reason well enough. McQuade is back of this influence. But the voter doesn’t know this, and will accept the surface indications only. Now you know the newspaper fellows. Why not drop around to the offices and find out something definite?”
“It’s a good idea, Senator. I’ll do it this very morning.”
“Has McQuade any personal grudge against you?”
“Not to my knowledge.”
“He’s a bad enemy, and often a downright unscrupulous one. If it’s only politics, I’ll have a chat with him myself. You pump the newspapers. You leave it to me to swing the boys into line at the convention.”