The visitor was accordingly admitted to the great man’s presence and favoured with an official handshake of great heartiness. “I’ve been hoping to have this pleasure for quite some time, Mr. Poundstone,” Buck announced easily as he disposed of his hat and overcoat on an adjacent chair. “But unfortunately I have had so much preliminary detail to attend to before making an official call that at last I grew discouraged and concluded I’d just drop in informally and get acquainted.” Buck’s alert blue eyes opened wide in sympathy with his genial mouth, to deluge Mayor Poundstone with a smile that was friendly, guileless, confidential, and singularly delightful. Mr. Ogilvy was a man possessed of tremendous personal magnetism when he chose to exert it, and that smile was ever the opening gun of his magnetic bombardment, for it was a smile that always had the effect of making the observer desire to behold it again—of disarming suspicion and establishing confidence.
“Glad you did—mighty glad,” the Mayor cried heartily. “We have all, of course, heard of your great plans and are naturally anxious to hear more of them, in the hope that we can do all that anybody reasonably and legally can to promote your enterprise and incidentally our own, since we are not insensible to the advantages which will accrue to this county when it is connected by rail with the outside world.”
“That extremely broad view is most encouraging,” Buck chirped, and he showered the Mayor with another smile. “Reciprocity is the watchword of progress. I might state, however, that while you Humboldters are fully alive to the benefits to be derived from a feeder to a transcontinental road, my associates and myself are not insensible of the fact that the success of our enterprise depends to a great extent upon the enthusiasm with which the city of Sequoia shall cooperate with us; and since you are the chief executive of the city, naturally I have come to you to explain our plans fully.”
“I have read your articles of incorporation, Mr. Ogilvy,” Mayor Poundstone boomed paternally. “You will recall that they were published in the Sequoia Sentinel. It strikes me—–”
“Then you know exactly what we purpose doing, and any further explanation would be superfluous,” Buck interrupted amiably, glad to dispose of the matter so promptly. Again he favoured the Mayor with his bright smile, and the latter, now fully convinced that here was a young man of vast emprise whom it behooved him to receive in a whole-hearted and public-spirited manner, nodded vigorous approval.
“Well, that being the case, Mr. Ogilvy,” he continued, “what can we Sequoians do to make you happy?”
“Why, to begin with, Mr. Poundstone, you might accept my solemn assurances that despite the skepticism which, for some unknown reason, appears to shroud our enterprise in the minds of some people, we have incorporated a railroad company for the purpose of building a railroad. We purpose commencing grading operations in the very near future, and the only thing that can possibly interfere with the project will be the declination of the city council to grant us a franchise to run our line through the city to tidewater.”