"Ham, why did you do it?" he asked.
"Why?" cried Mr. Tooting, fiercely biting back a treasonable smile. "Why not? Ain't he the best man in the State to make a winner? Hasn't he got the money, and the brains, and the get-up-and-git? Why, it's a sure thing. I've been around the State, and I know the sentiment. We've got 'em licked, right now. What have you got against it? You're on our side, Aust."
"Ham," said Austen, "are you sure you have the names and addresses of those twenty prominent citizens right, so that any voter may go out and find 'em?"
"What are you kidding about, Aust?" retorted Mr. Tooting, biting back the smile again. "Say, you never get down to business with me. You don't blame Crewe for comin' out, do you?"
"I don't see how Mr. Crewe could have resisted such an overwhelming demand," said Austen. "He couldn't shirk such a duty. He says so himself, doesn't he?"
"Oh, go on!" exclaimed Mr. Tooting, who was not able to repress a grin.
"The letter of the twenty must have been a great surprise to Mr. Crewe. He says he was astonished. Did the whole delegation go up to Leith, or only a committee?"
Mr. Tooting's grin had by this time spread all over his face--a flood beyond his control.