"And it makes your blood boil as an American citizen, don't it? It does mine," said Mr. Tooting, with fine indignation. "I was a poor boy, and had to earn my living, but I've made up my mind I've worn the collar long enough--if I have to break rocks. And I want to repeat what I said a little while ago," he added, weaving his thumb into Mr. Crewe's buttonhole; "I know a thing or two, and I've got some brains, as they know, and I can make you governor of this State if you'll only say the word. It's a cinch."
Victoria started to rise once more, and realized that to escape she would have to cross the room directly in front of the two men. She remained sitting where she was in a fearful fascination, awaiting Humphrey Crewe's answer. There was a moment's pause.
"I believe you made the remark, Mr. Tooting," he said, "that in your opinion there is enough anti-railroad sentiment in the House to pass any bill which the railroad opposes."
"If a leader was to get up there, like you, with the arguments I could put into his hands, they would make the committee discharge that Pingsquit bill of the Gaylords', and pass it."
"On what do you base your opinion?" asked Mr. Crewe.
"Well," said Mr. Tooting, "I guess I'm a pretty shrewd observer and have had practice enough. But you know Austen Vane, don't you?"
"I've a slight acquaintance with him," replied Mr. Crewe; "I've helped him along in one or two minor legal matters. He seems to be a little-- well, pushing, you might say."
"I want to tell you one thing about Austen," continued Mr. Tooting. "Although I don't stand much for old Hilary, I'd take Austen Vane's opinion on most things as soon as that of any man in the State. If he only had some sense about himself, he could be governor next time-- there's a whole lot that wants him. I happen to know some of 'em offered it to him last night."