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Chapter 11 THE SENATOR'S DAUGHTER

  • ### I. THE SMALL GOLD BOX
  • On the evening of the fourth of March, year of grace nineteen hundred an_hirty-seven, Mr. Daniel Webster Wanlee devoted several hours to th_onsummation of a rather elaborate toilet. That accomplished, he place_imself before a mirror and critically surveyed the results of his patien_rt.
  • The effect appeared to give him satisfaction. In the glass he beheld a comel_oung man of thirty, something under the medium stature, faultlessly attire_n evening dress. The face was a perfect oval, the complexion delicate, th_eatures refined. The high cheekbones and a slight elevation of the oute_orners of the eyes, the short upper lip, from which drooped a slender bu_ristocratic mustache, the tapered fingers of the hand, and the remarkabl_mall feet, confined tonight in dancing pumps of polished red morocco, wer_ll unmistakable heirlooms of a pure Mongolian ancestry. The long, stiff,
  • black hair, brushed straight back from the forehead, fell in profusion ove_he neck and shoulders. Several rich decorations shone on the breast of th_lack broadcloth coat. The knickerbocker breeches were tied at the knees wit_carlet ribbons. The stockings were of a flowered silk. Mr. Wanlee's fac_parked with intelligent good sense; his figure poised itself before the glas_ith easy grace.
  • A soft, distinct utterance, filling the room yet appearing to proceed from n_articular quarter, now attracted Mr. Wanlee's attention. He at onc_ecognized the voice of his friend, Mr. Walsingham Brown.
  • "How are we off for time, old fellow?"
  • "It's getting late," replied Mr. Wanlee, without turning his face from th_irror. "You had better come over directly."
  • In a very few minutes the curtains at the entrance to Mr. Wanlee's apartment_ere unceremoniously pulled open, and Mr. Walsingham Brown strode in. The tw_riends cordially shook hands.
  • "How is the honorable member from the Los Angeles district?" inquired th_ewcomer gaily. "And what is there new in Washington society? Prepared t_onquer tonight, I see. What's all this? Red ribbons and flowered silk hose!
  • Ah, Wanlee. I thought you had outgrown these frivolities!"
  • The faintest possible blush appeared on Mr. Daniel Webster Wanlee's cheeks.
  • "It is cool tonight?" he asked, changing the subject.
  • "Infernally cold," replied his friend. "I wonder you have no snow here. It i_nowing hard in New York. There were at least three inches on the ground jus_ow when I took the Pneumatic."
  • "Pull an easy chair up to the thermo-electrode," said the Mongolian. "You mus_et the New York climate thawed out of your joints if you expect to walt_reditably. The Washington women are critical in that respect."
  • Mr. Walsingham Brown pushed a comfortable chair toward a sphere of shinin_latinum that stood on a crystal pedestal in the center of the room. H_ressed a silver button at the base, and the metal globe began to glo_ncandescently. A genial warmth diffused itself through the apartment. "Tha_eels good," said Mr. Walsingham Brown, extending both hands to catch the hea_rom the thermo-electrode.
  • "By the way," he continued, "you haven't accounted to me yet for the scarle_ows. What would your constituents say if they saw you thus— you, th_mpassioned young orator of the Pacific slope; the thoughtful student o_rogressive statesmanship; the mainstay and hope of the Extreme Left; th_horn in the side of conservative Vegetarianism; the bete noire of the whol_ndo-European gang—you, in knee ribbons and florid extensions, like a club ma_t a fashionable Harlem hop, or a—"
  • Mr. Brown interrupted himself with a hearty but goodnatured laugh.
  • Mr. Wanlee seemed ill at ease. He did not reply to his friend's raillery. H_ast a stealthy glance at his knees in the mirror, and then went to one sid_f the room, where an endless strip of printed paper, about three feet wide,
  • was slowly issuing from between noiseless rollers and falling in neat fold_nto a willow basket placed on the floor to receive it. Mr. Wanlee bent hi_ead over the broad strip of paper and began to read attentively.
  • "You take the Contemporaneous News, I suppose," said the other.
  • "No, I prefer the Interminable Intelligencer," replied Mr. Wanlee. "Th_ontemporaneous is too much of my own way of thinking. Why should a sensibl_an ever read the organ of his own party? How much wiser it is to keep poste_n what your political opponents think and say."
  • "Do you find anything about the event of the evening?"
  • "The ball has opened," said Mr. Wanlee, "and the floor of the Capitol i_lready crowded. Let me see," he continued, beginning to read aloud: "'Th_ealth, the beauty, the chivalry, and the brains of the nation combine to len_nprecedented luster to the Inauguration Ball, and the brilliant success o_he new Administration is assured beyond all question.'"
  • "That is encouraging logic," Mr. Brown remarked.
  • "'President Trimbelly has just entered the rotunda, escorting his beautifu_nd stately wife, and accompanied by ex-President Riley, Mrs. Riley, and Mis_orah Riley. The illustrious group is of course the cynosure of all eyes. Th_tmost cordiality prevails among statesmen of all shades of opinion. For once,
  • bitter political animosities seem to have been laid aside with the ordinar_abiliments of everyday wear. Conspicuous among the guests are some of th_ost distinguished radicals of the opposition. Even General Quong, th_efeated Mongol-Vegetarian candidate, is now proceeding across the rotunda,
  • leaning on the arm of the Chinese ambassador, with the evident intention o_aying his compliments to his successful rival. Not the slightest trace o_esentment or hostility is visible upon his strongly marked Asiatic features.'
  • "The hero of the Battle of Cheyenne can afford to be magnanimous," remarke_r. Wanlee, looking up from the paper.
  • "True," said Mr. Walsingham Brown, warmly. "The noble old hoodlum fighter ha_ettled forever the question of the equality of your race. The presidenc_ould have added nothing to his fame."
  • Mr. Wanlee went on reading: "'The toilets of the ladies are charming. Notabl_mong those which attract the reportorial eye are the peacock feather train o_he Princess Hushyida; the mauve—'"
  • "Cut that," suggested Mr. Brown. "We shall see for ourselves presently. An_ive me a dinner, like a good fellow. It occurs to me that I have eate_othing for fifteen days."
  • The Honorable Mr. Wanlee drew from his waistcoat pocket a small gold box, ova_n form. He pressed a spring and the lid flew open. Then he handed the box t_is friend. It contained a number of little gray pastilles, hardly larger tha_eas. Mr. Brown took one between his thumb and forefinger and put it into hi_outh. "Thus do I satisfy mine hunger," he said, "or, to borrow the languag_f the opposition orators, thus do I lend myself to the vile and degradin_ractice, subversive of society as at present constituted, and outraging th_ery laws of nature."
  • Mr. Wanlee was paying no attention. With eager gaze he was again scanning th_olumns of the Interminable Intelligencer. As if involuntarily, he read aloud:
  • "'-Secretary Quimby and Mrs. Quimby, Count Schneeke, the Austrian ambassador,
  • Mrs. Hoyette and the Misses Hoyette of New York, Senator Newton o_assachusetts, whose arrival with his lovely daughter is causing no smal_ensation—'"
  • He paused, stammering, for he became aware that his friend was regarding hi_arnestly. Coloring to the roots of his hair, he affected indifference an_egan to read again: "'Senator Newton of Massachusetts, whose arrival with hi_ovely-"'
  • "I think, my dear boy," said Mr. Walsingham Brown, with a smile, "that it i_igh time for us to proceed to the Capitol."