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Tri-states union. (Port Jervis, Orange Co., N.Y.) 1850-1924, March 23, 1911, Image 6

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Tke Monorable Senator Sagebrush By FRANCIS LYNDE Copyright. 1910. by Street & Smith [coiminnED.] CHAPTER v n . Jk. BATTLE OF L’OOTRANCB. LOUNT had been halting? be- tween two opinions. The fiftht- ing blood In him prompted him to stay and set up the stand «rd of honesty and fair dealing in the Blount name, to gather a few men ol' like convictions around him and to eii ter the political conflict at the head o“ a movement designed at once and Cor- •ver to abolish machine dlctatorsh;.. In his native state. But, on the other hand; the claims ( f blood could not be altogether ignored The campaign for political clean ^ would ' inevitably involve his father- would, if successful, defeat and d grace him. Clearly it was the part filial duty to hesitate before he sh«i. •et his hand to this particular plow , reform. Would it not be better f him to drop out quietly, leaving th ■ politlcai housecleaning for some on ■ who would not have to pay such eostly price for the leadership? Thus the two promptings clamcr d oach for Its hearing. But, after all. was chance and the swift current the occasion that decided for him ai *. •wept him along into the vortex o ' B e f o r e he had gone ten steps toward Gantry’s office some one in the throu': of debarking overland passengers cull­ ed his name. When he turned he was lacing a white haired old gentlema i with a scholarly face and an irasi ibl twist to his thin lips, a man and .-i •tralght figured maiden with level eyes and a face in which the inherit­ ed ‘traits were sof­ tened into lines u thoughtful firm ness and serenit; “Why, bless my soul, of all tilt lucky things!” ejaculated tin- young man. v. 1. but an instant be­ fore had 1) e e i‘ halting betwcei; two opinions. “Vo: don’t mean to te ! rne that thi.s is the west to wliiCh jou SOUL, OF ALL THE sa id y o u were htrcKY THJKGS!” comlug, Patricia?\ “It is. and you’re to blame, youn man,’’ snapped the father of the peer less maid. “If you’ve been telling iv. fibs about th o s e megalosauridae w h ic h you said could be dug out of your sage brush h ills you ’ll pay our fare back hom e again—^understand? Now' show US to the best hotel in this mushroom city o f yours, and do it q u ick ly.’’ Having a definite thing to do. Bloum forgot his problem and bestirred him self hospitably. Though it was only three squares tn the Inter-M o im taln, he chartered th‘ best looking auto he could find in th* hack rank, put his charges into it and went wlfh fli'fn r • n e nrmors at the hotel, therej.y i;„ -MUg two things which might have had an important bearing on the temitonirily forgotten problem. If he had gone directly to the office of the traffic mjxuuger on the second floor of the station building he could hardly have missed meeting a tall, full faced man coming out of Gantry’s pri- Tate room, and he might have over­ heard the visitor’s parting word to Gantry: “Oh, yes; he fell for it all tight. If you’d seen his face when Lackner and I came away you’d have said there were battle, murder and sudden death in it for somebody.’’ “But. see here, Bradbury,’’ Gantry held his visitor to say. “it w’asn’t in the game that you were to fill him up with a lot of lies. I won’t stand for that, you know. He is tc.*o good a fel­ low and too good a frien'’ of mine.’’ It was at this conjuncture tfiat Blount, if he had been present and Invisible, would have seen a sour smile wrinkle upon the full face of the club gossip. “It wasn’t necessary. If he or the sen.-^or wanted to sue us for libel we could prove every word that was said. And it got him—got him right In the solar plexus. If you don’t see some fireworks -within the next few days I miss my guess and lose my ante.’’ ‘ On the other hand. If Evan had lin­ gered a few minutes longer on the sta­ tion platform he would have marked Vice Pre.sident McVlckar crossing to the arriage stand, followed by the private car porter bearing impedi­ menta. At the carriage rank the vice president climbed heavily Into the senator's roadster, which seemed to have been arranged for in- advance, and was whirled stormily up to the Inter-Mountain, where he traced his Illegible name In the great guest book two minutes after Blount, still anx­ ious for the com fort of P r o fessor An- ners and the serene eyed maid, had gone up In the elevator -with them to see that the rooms to which they h.ad been assigned -were all that they should be. Coming down a few minutes later to give the several luggage checks to the hotel porter, Blount missed another incident which might have sent him back suddenly to his problem and its unsettled condition. When Mr. Mc- ■Vickar turned away from tbe clerk’s desk It was to shake hands perfunc­ torily with the owner of the fast road- “Well, senator.’’ he said, w ith a cer­ tain dogged em p h a sis, “I’m here. Let’s find a place w h e r e w e can flail It oUt.” And together they entered an elevator, w h ich, a s ch a n c e w o u ld h a v e It, pass­ ed, in ascending, th e car in w h ich th e you n g e r B lou n t w a s com ing dow n . It was to the senator’s suit that the two opposing field commanders made their w a y w h e n th e ir car reached the fourth floor. In the senator’s sitting room M cV ickar dragged a chair over to one o f the w in d o w s w h ich com ­ m a n d e d a view of the Lost River m o u n tain s and dropped into It m a s­ sively. “I suppose we may cut out the pre­ liminaries and come to the point at once,” he began. “Ackerton wired me that you had definitely announced your son as a candidate for the attorney generalship. Have you?” The senator was opening a box of cigars, and his reply savored o f good natured irony. “The primaries do the nominating in this state, Hardwick. Didn’t you know that?” he asked mildly. “See here. Blount, I’ve come 3,000 miles to thrash this thing out with you, and I’m not tn the humor to spar for an opening. Do you meau to run your sou or not? That is a plain ques­ tion, and I’d like a plain answer.” “I told you t-wo weeks ago what I meant to do, MeVickar, but you wouldn’t believe me. I’ll say it again if you want to hear it.” “And I told you two weeks ago that we couldn’t stand for it; that you might name your own price for an al­ ternative.” “Yes, and I told you my price, if you happen to remember.” “I know. You said you wanted us to turn every th in g over to the reform­ ers and take our chances on a clean administration. Naturally we are not going to do any such utopian thing. What I want to know now is what it is going to cost us to get your consent to do the practical and possible thing.” “Want to buy me outright this time, do you?” said the boss, still smiling gently. “We”—McVickar was going to say, “we bought you before,” but he changed it to a less offensive form— “We have had no difficulty in arriving at some sensible and practical conclu­ sions In the past, Blount, and we shouldn’t have now. We can’t let you have your son for attorney general. That’s out of the question. If you put your son in as public prosecutor you can have but one object in view—you mean to squeeze us till the blood runs. We’re willing to discount that object before the fact.” “So you have said before a number of times and in a number of different ways,” was the mild counter sugges- “I sh a n ’t sa y it m a n y m ore tim e s. David. You’re pushing me too far.” “W h a t w ill you sa y then?” “Just this—if you won’t m eet me halfway, if you insist upon a fight, I’ll fight you w ith an y w e a p o n s 1 can get hold Of.” “Y o u ’v e said th a t in other cam ­ paigns. Hardwick, and in the end you've always been like the possum th a t offered to com e dow n ou t o f the tree If the man wouldn’t shoot.” “I’ll hand you another proverb to go with that one.” snapped the man In the chair by the window. “Tbe pitch­ er that goes often to the well is sure to be broken at last You’ve got a jo in t in your armor now, Blount. You’ve always been able to laugh at publicity before. Can you stand it now?” “I reckon I’ll have to stand it If you buy up a few newspapers, as you usually do,” was the half quizzical re­ ply, then for an added flick of the whip, “You and your folks can’t paint me much blacker than you have al­ ways painted me, Hardwick.” “Maybe not, but this time we’re go­ ing to give you a chance to start a few libel suits—if you think you can afford to appear in the courts. We’ve got all the evidence in black and white. We might possibly make your own state too hot to hold you. Have you thought of that?” “Go ahead and try it,” was the la­ conic response. “But that isn’t ail,” the man In the window chair went on remorselessly. “Your fellow citizens here know you for exactly what you are, Blount. You rule them with a rod of iron, but that rule can be broken. When it Is bro­ ken you'll be looked upon as a crimi­ nal. In our last talk together you had something to say to me about our not keeping up with the change in public sentiment. It ha.s changed—changed so far that It is coming to demand the punishment of the great offenders as well as the jailing of the little ones. If we want to push this fight hard enough It Is not impossible that you may find yourself a broken man at tbe end of It, David.” “I'm taking all tbe chances,” was the even toned rejoinder. “But there is one chance I am sure you haven’t considered—this son of yours! I know as much about him as you do—more, perhaps, for I have taken more pains to keep tab on him for the pa.st few years than you have. He Is clean and straight, Blount—a son for any man to be proud of. If that is the real reason w h y we are afraid to have him instructing the grand ju r ies of tliis state it Is also your best reason for keeping the past decently under cover. What will you »ag to him when tbe newspapers open np on you? And what will he say to you? H a d you thought o f that?\ For the first time since the begin­ ning of the one sided conference the senator laid his cigar aside and sat thoughtfully tugging at the drooping m u s taches. “You’d set the house afire over my head, would you. Hardwick?” he queried, with the gray eyes lighting threateningly; then: “The last time wei talked you posted your defi; now n i post mine. You go ahead and do your worst. The boy and I will try to see that you don’t have all tbe fun. I won’t say that you mightn’t turn him if you went at it right. But you won’t go at It right, and as matters stand n o w —w e ll, blood Is thicker than w a ­ ter, and If you hit mo you hit him. And I reckon betw e e n us w e ’ll man­ age to give you as good a s you send. That’s all,” rising to lean heavily upon the table, “all but one thing. 'Vou fight fair, Hardwick. Say anything vxXvVV “ YOU’» SCT THE HOUSE A M B B OVER MV HEAD, WOULD YOU, HARDWICK? ” you liike about me, but if that boy has anything in his past that 1 don't know about, that he wouldn’t want to see published, you let it alone and keep your newspaper reporters off it.” The vice president laughed. He was of those who regain equanimity in ex­ act proportion as an opponent loses it. “You needn’t let the boy's record trouble you,” he averred. “It’s as clean as a hound's tooth. That is one of the things I’m banking on, David. I’m going to have that young fellow fighting on our side before we’re through.” At this the gray eyes under the pent house brows flamed fiercely, and the senator took the two strides needful to place him before the man in the chair. “Don’t you do that, Mc’Vickar. 1 give you fair warning!” he said, his deep toned voice rumbling like the bur of grinding wheels. “There’s only one.way you could do The vice president stood u]) and put on his hat. “And you’ll take precious good care that I don’t get a chance to try that way, you were going to say. All right, David, You tell me to do my worst, and I’ll hand that back to you too. You do the same, and we’ll see who comes out ahead.” It was some five minutes later when the vice pre.sident had made his leisure­ ly way down to the lobby. The elec­ tric lights blazed out. and the great gathering place was beginning to take on its evening air of stir and activity Mr. McYickar pushed his way to the desk, an d a row o f la t e ly arrived guest.^ waited when he asked his question. “W h e r e wil! I be most likely to find Mr. Evan Blount at this time of day?’ was the question he wished to have an swered. and the obliging clerk madt the line wait still longer while he .sum moned a bellboy and sent him scurry ing across tj 3 (,.one of the writing tables “This Is Mr. Evan Blount,” he said to the railroad magnate, indicating the young man who came up with the bell­ boy. “Mr. Blount, this is Mr. Hard­ wick McVickar, first vice president of the Trainscontlnental Railway com- There was no trace of the recent bat­ tle in Mr. aicVlckar’s voice or manner when he turned and shook hands cor­ dially with the son of the man who had defied him. “Your father and I were just holding a little conference over your future prospects, Mr. Blount,\ he said, going straight to his point. “Suppose you come down to the car with me for a little private talk on the legal situa­ tion. I’m not sure but we shall wish to retain you in a cause that Is com­ lug up in September. Gantry tells me that you are pretty well up in corpora­ tion law. Can you spare me a half hour or so?” Evan Blount glanced at his watch. Patricia had told him that she and her father would dine in the cafe at 7 and that there would be room at their table for him and for his father, if the ex-seniator would so far honor a poor college professor. There was an hour to .spare, and if the vice president of the Transcontinental company were not the king he was at least a great man whose Invitation was in some sense a command. It was at the precise moment when the butterfly doors of the lobby en­ trance were winging to their closing behind Mr. McVickar and his quarry that the house telephone called the registry clerk. A sad faced tourist who was waiting, pen in hand, for his room assignment heard only the an­ swer to the question which came over the wires from one of the upper floors. “No, senator,” the clerk was saying; “he has Just this moment gone out— with Mr. McVickar! Could I over­ take him? I’ll try. But I don’t know where they were going. I’ll send a boy right away, though.” CHAPTER VIII. THE q u e e n ' s g a m b i t . WWYHEN the news went out to the dwellers in the sage- ^ ^ bru.sh hills that Boss Da­ vid's son bad accepted a place on the railroad’s legal staff the first wave of a.stoundment was follow­ ed by many guesses as to what young Blount’s action portended. Tbe Plainsman, the principal daily and the leading organ of the reform­ ers, wa.s the first to find an ulterior motive in Evan Blount’s appointment aud its acceptance. The editor took a half column in which to point out in omphntlc aud vigorous phrase the danger that threatened the common­ wealth in this very evident coalition of the railroad and the machine. T h e L o s t R iver M iner, on th e other hand, was unwilling to believe that the’ younger Blount was acting altogether in his father’s Interest in taking the place provided for him by the railway. Hints there were In this editor’s com­ ment of a disagreement between fa­ ther and son, of differences of opinion which might later on lead to a pitched battle. The Daily Capital, however—the rail­ road organ—covertly Insinuated that nothing for nothing was the accepted rule In politics; that if the railroad had made a place for the son It was only a Justifiable deduction that the father was not as Inimical to the rail­ road interest as the opposition press was willing to have the public believe. Elsewhere In the state press com­ ment was divided as the molders of public omulon happened to read party loss or- gain In the appointment of the new legal department head. But on the whole the senator’s son was given the heueflt of the doubt and a chance to prove up. Time would tell. Of the interview between the father and son, In which Evan had an­ nounced bis intention of accepting a place under McVickar, nothing was •aid In the newspapers, for the very good reason that no reporter was pres- If the young man had been prepared for a storm of opposition he was dis­ appointed. The interview took place In the evening of the day Mr. Mc- Vickar’s private car was attached to eastbound train No. 102, and the place was the sitting room of the senator’s private suit. Blount bad meant to give some of the ethical reasons for taking the step which would put such a summary end to the attorney gen­ eralship scheme. But when the time came and he had brusquely declared his purpose of accepting the railroad appointment he did not find It entirely easy to say the other things. “So McVickar talked you over?” was the father’s gentle comment. “It’s all right, son. You’re a man grown, and I reckon you know best what you want to do. If It puts us on opposite sides of the political creek we- won’t let that roil the water any more than it has to, will we?” To such a mild mannered surrender or apparent surrender the purely filial emotions could do no less than to re­ spond heartily. “We mustn’t let it,” was the quick reply, but after that he added: “I feel that I ought to make some explana­ tions. though. I’ve been going about with my eyes and ears open, and I must confess that the political field has been made to appear most unat­ tractive to me. From what I can learn the political situation In this state seems to be very frankly con­ trolled upon th e principle o f bargain and sale. I couldn’t go Into anything like that and keep my self respect.” “No, of course you couldn’t, son. so you Just took a place where you could earn good clean money in your profes­ sion. I don’t blame you.” Blount was vaguely perturbed. He could not help feeling that his father •-as keeping something back. “You think there will be more or le.39 political work in my job with thc- railioad?” he asked, determined to get •t the submerged facts, if there were “Oh, I don’t know. McVickar has hired yon to do a lawyer’s work, and I guess that is what he will expect you to do. Isn’t it?” Mr. McVickar had not defined the duties of the new assistant counselship very clearly. But there was a strong Inference running through all that was said to the effect that the headship of the legal department would carry with It some political responsibilities. At the moment Blount had been rather glad that such was the case. The vice president had convinced him very thoroughly of the justice of the railroad company’s contention—that the laws of the state, if rigidly admin­ istered, amounted to a practical confis­ cation of the company’s property. While Mr. McVickar was talking Blount had rather hoped that his new position would give him opportunities to place the railroad’s point of view fairly before the people of the state, and to do this he knew that he would have to enter the campaign as a polit­ ical worker. Surely his father must know this, and he went boldly upon the assumption that his father did know It. “I am to be chief of the legal de­ partment on this division, and as -such it will, of course, be necessary for me to defend my client in court and out of court,” he said finally. “And I mean to do I t ” “Of course you do; you’ve got to be honest with yourself—and with Mc­ Vickar. I don’t mind telling you. son, that I am squarely on the other side this time, and I had hoped you were, going to be. But if you’re not, why. that’s the end of It. We won’t quarrel about i t ” Now, this was not at all the paternal attitude which the young man had mrefigured- But before anything more could be said Mrs. Blount came in to remind them both that they had a din­ ner appointment with Professor An- ners and ins daughter and that there was barely time to dre.s.s for It It was lute that night, several hours after the informal little dinner for five In the Inter-Mountain cafe, when the senator had himself lifted from the lobby to the fourth floor and made his ■vvay to the door of his Own apart­ ments. As was her custom, his wife was waiting up for him. “Did you find OUt anything move?\ she asked without looking up from the tiny embroidery frame which seemed to be her constant com p a n ion a t hom e or elsewhere. “Not very much. McVickar has fixed things to suit himself. Evan’.s law office position is to be pretty large ly nominal. I guess, and Gantry’s crowd i.s to .see to it that he doesn’t get to know too much, which means that the bribery is not to be done by the legal dep.'trlnient in tiiis cam- “But they can’<^ keep him from find­ ing out about it.” she protested. , “They are going to try mighty hard anyway. Evan wants to believe that everything is on the high moral plane, and when a man wants to believe a thing it’s pretty easy to fool him. It’ll be a winning card to them if they can send the boy out to talk convincingly about the cleanliness of the company’s campaign. That sort of talk, handed out as Evan can do it, if he Is convinc­ ed of the truth of what he is saying, will capture the honest ranchman ev­ ery time.\ “We must get him back.” she said. “Have you thought of any plan?” She smiled. “I have a plan. He may have to take a regular course of treat­ ment, and it may make him very ill. Would you mind that';'\ David Blount leaned back in his chair and regarded her through half closed eyelids. “I don’t want to see the boy suffer any more than he has to.\ he objected. “Neither do I.” was the quick agree­ ment; then, with no apparent rele­ vance, “What do you think of Mi-ss Anners?” The senator sat up, and the slow smile wrinkled humorously at the cor­ ners of his eyes. “I haven’t thought much about her. She’s the kind you can't get near enough to think about, isn’t she?\ “She is a young woman with a very bright mind and a verj- high purpose,” was the little ladyjs summing up of Patricia. “But she isn’t altogether a Boston iceberg. She thinks she is in love with her career; but, reallj-. i think she is very much in love with Evan If we could win her over to our side”— This time the senator’.s smile broad­ ened into a laugh. 1 “Yon are away yonder out of my depth now. little woman.\ he chuckled. ■‘Does your course of treatment for the boy include large do.ses of the young woman administered frequent ly?\ “Oh. no,\ was the instant reply. “I was only wondering if i f wouldn’t be well to enlist her sympathies.\ “Why uot—if you think best?” “Will you give me carte blanche to do as 1 please?” asked the small in­ triguer. “W h y uot?\ said the senator again “You can alw a y s outfigure m e tw o to one -a-heri it comes to real polities. i^ou h a v e m a d e a flue art o f it, H o n o ria.” “You deal with people In the mass. David, and no one can do it better. I deal with the individual. That is all the dllferenee. When do the Annerse.c go up to the fo.ssil fields?\ “I don’t know—any time when you will invite them to make Wartrace Hall their headquarters. I guess.\ “Then I think it will be tomorrow,” said the confident mistress of policies. “It won't do to let Evan see too much of the j-oung woman until after his course of U'eatment has been begun. Shall we make it tomorrow? And will you telephone Dawkins to bring down the big car? I think Miss Patricia Anners will stand a little impressing. She is very democratic—lu theory.” ( TO BE CONTINUED.) Reaches Century Mark. Nyack, March 15'.—Charles Weid- ner, of Sparkill, near here, attained is 100th birthday today. He is a native of Germany and came ’o America in 1845. His mind is clear, hig memory almost unimpaired and he sees well with one eye, the other having been destroyed in a mine more than 60 years ago. If you have trouble in getting rid of your cold you may know that you are not treating it properly. 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