"Tom," he said, "there's no use discussing this delusion of yours, which seems to be the only flaw in an otherwise sane character. We must try to keep it from the world."
Tom laughed in spite of himself.
"I'm hanged if I understand you," he declared, "but I never did. You think Crewe and Tooting may carry off the governorship, and you don't seem to care."
"I do care," said Austen, briefly. He went to the window and stood for a moment with his back to his friend, staring across at Sawanec. Tom had learned by long experience to respect these moods, although they were to him inexplicable. At length Austen turned.
"Tom," he said, "can you come in to-morrow about this time? If you can't, I'll go to your office if you will let me know when you'll be in. There's a matter of business I want to talk to you about."
"I've got to catch a train for Mercer," he replied, "but I will come in in the morning and see you."
A quarter of an hour later Austen went down the narrow wooden flight of stairs into the street, and as he emerged from the entry almost bumped into the figure of a young man that was hurrying by. He reached out and grasped the young man by the collar, pulling him up so short as almost to choke him.
"Hully gee!" cried the young man whose progress had been so rudely arrested. "Great snakes!" (A cough.) "What're you tryin' to do? Oh," (apologetically) "it's you, Aust. Let me go. This day ain't long enough for me. Let me go."