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Title: Barry Wynn - Or, The Adventures of a Page Boy in the United States Congress
Author: Barton, George
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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BARRY WYNN

Or
The Adventures of a Page Boy in the United States Congress


[Illustration]


[Illustration: Barry stood for a moment undecided which way to turn

_See page 6_]



BARRY WYNN

Or
The Adventures of a Page Boy in the United States Congress

by

GEORGE BARTON

Author of "The Mystery of Cleverly," "Adventures
of the World's Greatest Detectives," etc.

Illustrated by John Huybers



[Illustration: Logo]

Boston
Small, Maynard and Company
Publishers

Copyright, 1912
by Small, Maynard and Company
(Incorporated)

Entered at Stationers' Hall

The University Press, Cambridge, U. S. A.



TO
HERBERT AND GEORGE



CONTENTS

CHAPTER                             PAGE
    I UNDER THE BIG DOME               1

   II THE NAVAL REPAIR STATION        13

  III THE NEW PAGE                    28

   IV VISIONS OF GREATNESS            45

    V A WINK AND A NOD                56

   VI HUDSON STRIKES A SNAG           70

  VII BARRY STUMBLES                  87

 VIII AN UNEXPECTED MOVE             100

   IX ON THE TRAIL OF JOE HART       112

    X SUSPENSE                       128

   XI DISCORD AND DEFEAT             138

  XII SMITHERS TO THE RESCUE         153

 XIII A LITTLE PILGRIMAGE            168

  XIV BARRY FALLS A SECOND TIME      183

   XV BARRY REDEEMS HIMSELF          199

  XVI A CALL OF THE HOUSE            213

 XVII THE MISSING BILL               231

XVIII RUMORS OF WAR                  243

  XIX SORELY TEMPTED                 252

   XX HUDSON PLAYS POLITICS          267

  XXI CONWAY MAKES A HIT             279

 XXII PROOF CONCLUSIVE               287

XXIII WHAT BARRY OVERHEARD           296

 XXIV THE LAST STAND                 309

  XXV A RACE AGAINST TIME            323

 XXVI THE HOME COMING                340



ILLUSTRATIONS


Barry stood for a moment undecided which way to
turn _See page 6_                            _Frontispiece_

"I want you to make a solemn promise to me"      _Page_ 126

His eyes were never removed from the boy's face
for a moment                                       "    264

The young page boy was enjoying it to the fullest  "    332
_See page 331_


BARRY WYNN
OR
THE ADVENTURES OF A PAGE BOY IN THE
UNITED STATES CONGRESS



BARRY WYNN



CHAPTER I

UNDER THE BIG DOME


Barry Wynn grabbed the rail of the day coach of the Washington Express
and swung himself on to the platform of the car with the ease and
enthusiasm of a healthy boy of fifteen. The world had suddenly expanded
for him and he was aglow with life and vitality. He had been appointed a
page in the National House of Representatives, and now, in response to a
telegram from Congressman Carlton, he was about to go to the Capitol to
take the oath of office and assume the duties of his position.

His heart was swelling with the thought of the big things in the future.
He had studied the history of his country in the Cleverly schools and he
had also an intelligent idea of the great organization which we call the
United States Government. He had not neglected to read the debates of
Congress in the daily newspapers and now he was to be in the midst of
great events, to be a part of our great central law-making machine at
Washington. He was dwelling on this thought when his attention was
attracted by a voice from the crowd on the platform.

"Barry! Barry!" it shouted above the puffing of the locomotive, "Wait a
minute."

The call came from Mr. Smithers who had been his school teacher and who
now was also the President of the local Board of Trade. Barry leaned
over the platform and Mr. Smithers, making his way through the throng,
handed the boy a bulky manilla envelope fastened with rubber bands.

"Give this to Congressman Carlton as soon as you arrive in Washington,"
he said.

"All right," replied Barry.

"Be careful with it," continued the man; "it contains a matter of vital
importance to the people of Cleverly."

"You can depend on me," was the confident response.

The conductor gave the final warning, the bell began to clang, and the
train steamed out of the station with Barry standing on the platform
waving good-bye to his faithful friends. His eyes were so dimmed with
tears that could not be suppressed that he scarcely recognized the
upturned faces that were shedding their good will upon him in such
generous measure. One exception to this was his mother. She seemed to
stand out from the crowd, fluttering a little lace handkerchief until
the station at Cleverly became a mere speck in the distance.

The journey in itself was uneventful, although it furnished constant
interest and amusement for the boy who was about to get his first large
view of the world. Thoughtful ones at home had provided him with a
dainty box of lunch, and before long he was attacked with the pangs of
hunger and devoured every last scrap of the cake and fruit and
sandwiches.

Finally, after a ride of nine or ten hours the city of Washington began
to come in view. The outlying section was not very inviting, but as the
train came near to its destination the view improved. A sudden turning
of the train brought the magnificent dome of the Capitol into the range
of his vision. Barry gasped with wonder and delight. It was as though
some magician had waved his wand over vacant space and suddenly brought
the wonderful creation into being. In all of the time he was in
Washington Barry never lost his sense of delight at each recurring sight
of that noble specimen of architecture. To him the solidity and beauty
of the Capitol seemed symbolic of the strength and splendor of the
Republic.

As the train came nearer and nearer to the new Union Station the boy was
enabled to get a closer view of the great structure which stood outlined
on the horizon in all of its majestic proportions. He had an instinctive
sense of the beautiful and the symmetrical pile of marble filled him
with an unexplainable joy. The main building, with its two finely
designed wings, more than realized Barry's anticipations. But it was
the dome rather than the Capitol itself, which kept him under its magic
spell. He felt for the first time the full force of the poet's words,
that "a thing of beauty is a joy forever." The vaulted roof of the
rotunda, with its gradual swelling sprang into the air so gracefully
that one could hardly look upon it as a thing of iron and steel and
marble. And overtopping it all was the colossal statue of Freedom,
typifying everything for which the Republic was founded and maintained.

The cry of "All out for Washington" brought to an end Barry's
meditations, and also announced the fact that he had finally reached his
destination. He picked up his suitcase and hastened out of the train and
into the great Union Station which burst upon his astonished vision like
another scene from the Arabian Nights. It was so great and so impressive
that it fairly took his breath away. In a few minutes he was seated in a
trolley car and on his way toward the Capitol. He was so eager to see
everything that was to be seen on the way that he almost twisted his
neck out of shape. In a very short time the car reached the foot of the
hill where the great edifice is located. When Barry alighted he stood
for a moment undecided which way to turn. There seemed to be all sorts
of entrances to the building. He chose the nearest one, which led him to
the basement of the great structure. Looking about, he saw an elevator
standing with the door invitingly open. Without further ado, he hustled
into the door. The attendant turned to him with a smile:

"Have you got your credentials?" he asked, tauntingly.

"My credentials," retorted Barry; "what do you mean?"

"I simply want to know whether you are a member of the Supreme Court."

"Why?"

"Because this elevator is for the exclusive use of members of the
Supreme Court."

And so it proved to be. Barry turned aside a little bit confused at his
first lesson in American democracy. Finally he found an elevator that
was used by the public. He boarded it and in a few minutes found himself
standing in the centre of the rotunda of the Capitol. It is, as most
boys are aware, the great hall which stands in the centre of the Capitol
between the House of Representatives and the United States Senate.

Barry set his suitcase on the floor and gazed up at the interior of the
vast dome, spellbound with wonder and delight. The light, coming through
the windows of the great ceiling, revealed a wilderness of art. In the
very centre he beheld the marvelous allegorical fresco called the
"Apotheosis of Washington." Beneath this were designs in panels and
medallions showing Raleigh, Columbus, Cabot, La Salle, and the other
great characters that Barry had studied about in school, and below these
he gazed on a series of brilliant pictures showing scenes in the
Revolutionary war.

How long he remained there in this attitude of wrapt admiration he
could not tell, but when he glanced down at the floor to look for his
suitcase, he found that it was gone. He rushed over to a gray-coated
guide:

"Did you see anything of my suitcase?" he cried in alarm.

"Your suitcase," smiled the man; "I didn't know you had one."

"I had a minute ago," said Barry; "I set it on the floor here and now it
is gone."

"Where could it go to if you had it by your side?"

"Why, I was looking at the pictures in the ceiling," said the agitated
boy, "and someone must have crept along and stolen it."

"Well, I didn't see anything of it," was the calm response.

In despair, Barry ran from one person to another until the marble space
below the dome was a scene of unusual excitement. In the midst of the
agitation a bright-looking, well-dressed young man came striding across
the hallway leading from the House of Representatives. He noticed the
stir, and something about Barry's manner attracted him. He went up to
the boy and said in kindly tones:

"What's the trouble, my son?"

Barry explained as best he could.

"Do you expect to meet someone here?" asked the stranger.

"I do. I was to report to Congressman Carlton."

"Why, I know him well," was the comment of the young man. "He is one of
my best friends. We will have to see if we can't recover your suitcase
for you."

At that moment the alert young man happened to see a red-headed
youngster peeping from behind one of the pillars that supported the
dome. Instantly he understood the situation.

"Joe," he called, in authoritative tones, "come here at once."

Joe, thus called, responded obediently. The stranger took Barry by the
arm, and pointing to the other, said:

"This is Mr. Joseph Hart, one of the pages of the House of
Representatives. Joseph, I want you to meet Mr. Barry Wynn, who is to
become your associate."

"Hello," said Joe.

"How are you?" greeted Barry, taking the outstretched hand.

"Joe," continued the gentleman, "get the young man his property."

Very sheepishly Joe went behind the pillar and, bringing out the
suitcase, handed it to Barry.

"Now, I will introduce myself," said the stranger, with an engaging
smile. "My name is Felix Conway. I am the correspondent of a New York
newspaper, and if you ever need any assistance while you are in
Washington, don't fail to call on me."

"Thank you," was the grateful reply, "I am not likely to forget you."

"Now, Joe," said the correspondent, turning to the second boy again,
"why did you take Mr. Wynn's suitcase?"

Joe gazed at the floor in an embarrassed manner for a moment and then,
raising his head, said defiantly:

"I couldn't help it. He looked so green that I simply couldn't resist
hiding his bag."

"Well," said Mr. Conway, "if you hope to be respected in this world,
you'll have to resist a good many temptations."

At this point in the conversation, Congressman Carlton, of all persons
in the world, came along. He recognized Barry at once, and going over,
shook his hand warmly. He also talked pleasantly with Mr. Conway
concerning matters in which they were both interested.

"Barry," he said, finally, "I'm awfully busy this afternoon, but I'm
going to put you in care of Joe Hart here. He'll take you to a pleasant
boarding-house and see that you are properly installed. Report to me
here in the Capitol at ten o'clock in the morning. In the meantime, Joe
will post you on your duties. You will find him a very nice boy."

"Yes," said Barry, gazing at Joe somewhat skeptically, "I suppose I will
find him to be a very nice boy."



CHAPTER II

THE NAVAL REPAIR STATION


Mr. Carlton had only gone a few yards when Barry suddenly remembered the
bulky manilla envelope that had been entrusted to his care as the train
was leaving Cleverly. He ran after the Congressman and handed him the
package. Mr. Carlton opened it in the boy's presence and his eyes
lighted with pleasure.

"It's just what I've been waiting for, Conway," he said to his newspaper
friend.

"Good; then you can present the whole business to the Secretary today."

"Precisely; that's what I intend to do."

"Suppose you take Barry along with you," suggested the correspondent.

"A good idea. I might want to send for some papers."

"Would he know where to go?" asked Conway, laughingly. "You know he's a
stranger in a strange land."

"That's easily fixed," smiled the Congressman.

"How?"

"We'll take Joe along as a guide for Barry."

The two men and boys boarded a Pennsylvania Avenue trolley and were soon
proceeding to the other end of the thoroughfare.

"My boy," said Mr. Carlton to Barry, "I think we might as well take you
into our confidence."

"Yes, sir."

"Years ago, when your father and I were young men we conceived the idea
that the Government should build a great naval supply station at
Cleverly. He even went so far as to draw up rough plans. But the time
was not ripe for it and the notion was abandoned. Since your good
father's death there have been spasmodic attempts to revive the plan,
but they never amounted to anything. Now, however, the conditions are
all favorable, and I believe that with a little strategy and a great
deal of industry, I can win the fight and make Cleverly a household name
in the United States instead of a mere speck on the map."

"That would be splendid," cried Barry, his eyes glowing with pleasure.

"The big secret," continued the Congressman, "is the fact that the
Government is now ready to act."

"Do you mean that they're going to build a station at Cleverly?" asked
Barry, excitedly.

Mr. Carlton laughed.

"No; hardly that. I mean that the officials of the Government who have
charge of our Navy have decided that we need a new Naval Repair Station.
It remains for Congress to say where the station shall be located and to
appropriate the money to pay for it. Now, I think, and Mr. Conway
thinks, too, that the City of Cleverly can furnish the ideal site for
this station."

"I don't suppose," chimed in the journalist, "that Barry can have much
interest in the subject."

"Yes, I have," exclaimed the boy; "I think it's real exciting."

Both men laughed at the boy's enthusiasm.

"The excitement," observed the journalist, "will come when it becomes
known that the Government intends to build the new station."

"When will it become known?"

"Very soon, I think. Mr. Carlton is going to have an interview with the
Secretary of the Navy this afternoon. A great deal depends on the result
of that talk."

Little Joe Hart had been listening to the conversation with great
intentness. He looked up now with a comical twist of the mouth.

"Mr. Conway," he exclaimed, with mock seriousness, "you can depend on my
support."

They all laughed heartily at this sally. Mr. Carlton turned to the
newspaper man:

"You see," he said, "we have two young gentlemen with us already."

"Yes," was the retort, "but, unfortunately, they have no votes."

"They will have some day," commented the Congressman soberly, "and I
hope they will exercise that power for the good of the country."

By this time the car had reached the Treasury Department and was going
around the massive pile of granite which houses the officials and the
employees who look after the finances of the nation. Mr. Carlton and his
friends alighted at the next corner and walked the remainder of the
distance to their destination. They passed the White House, the modest
looking dwelling which is the home of the President of the United
States. Barry looked at it curiously.

"What do you think of it?" asked Mr. Conway.

Barry hesitated.

"Come out with it," insisted the journalist.

"Well," said the boy reluctantly, "it doesn't look much."

Mr. Conway laughed.

"That's the opinion of most strangers. But as you grow older you will
realize that it typifies the strength and simplicity of the people. We
have wealth enough to give the President a palace that would rival the
homes of the sovereigns of Europe, but, thank goodness, we haven't the
desire."

The large stone building, which is the headquarters of the State, War
and Navy Departments, was now in sight. As they walked up the high steps
of the main entrance, Barry and the journalist found themselves
temporarily separated from Mr. Carlton and Joe Hart. It gave Mr. Conway
an opportunity of speaking of the Congressman.

"He's one of nature's noblemen," he said, fervently. "I've been here
many years," he added, "and I've seen public men come and go, but I
never met a cleaner, abler man than John Carlton. Only his modesty has
prevented him from being the leader of Congress. He's as clean as a
hound's tooth, but he would no more boast of his integrity, than he
would brag of saying his prayers. He takes it as a matter of course. He
despises grafters, but he also detests self-sufficient reformers who are
forever flaunting their virtues in the face of the public. But," with a
laugh, "I'm afraid I'm talking over your head, Barry."

"Not at all," retorted the boy. "I know just what you mean; and,
besides, I love to hear anyone talk about Mr. Carlton. He was my
father's best friend. That's why he had me appointed a page boy. He says
it will give me a chance to see life and mix with big people and that it
may lead to something better."

"That's true, and I think that even in your modest position you may be
very useful to him."

"I hope so. He seems very much interested in the Naval Repair Station."

"It's the biggest thing he has ever attempted. If he succeeds the people
of Cleverly will never forget him. It will mean that he will not have
to fight for re-election at the end of every two years. In short it will
be a monument to him."

At the head of the steps the two were joined by Mr. Carlton and Joe
Hart. They proceeded along the corridor and then up another flight of
stairs and presently were ushered into the office of the Secretary of
the Navy. The two boys seated themselves on a leather covered sofa near
the door, while the Congressman and Mr. Conway walked up to a desk where
a young man was writing. He greeted them pleasantly, took their cards
and disappeared into a smaller apartment in the rear of the large room.
He returned in a few moments followed by an older man. The newcomer
hurried over to where the Congressman was standing.

"Hello, Carlton," he cried, cheerily, "I'm glad to see you."

"The pleasure is mutual, Mr. Secretary," smiled the statesman.

"And you too, Conway," exclaimed the cabinet officer, extending his
hand to the newspaper man.

The three of them took chairs. The Secretary looked at his visitors
inquiringly.

"What's in the wind?" he asked, in his affable way. "It must be
important when a Congressman and a journalist call together."

"It is," said Mr. Carlton, soberly. "It's about the proposed new Naval
Repair Station."

"So that's got out, has it?" he remarked, musingly.

"Well, it's not exactly public property, but we've learned enough to
know that Congress will take up the matter at this session."

"Really, it's no secret," admitted the Secretary, "and I'm frank enough
to say that we need it very badly at this time. What's the use of
spending millions of dollars in creating a first-class Navy unless we
keep the battleships in first-class condition. We have a number of good
navy yards, but we could use an additional Naval Repair Station to great
advantage."

"I know that, and I'm going to offer a bill in Congress at an early
day."

"You are?"

"I am, and I would naturally like to have the support of the
Department."

"Of course," said the Secretary, hesitatingly, "it would be impossible
to pledge myself in advance."

"I understand that perfectly," was the prompt reply. "I have been on the
Naval Committee of the House long enough to know that these things must
come up in an orderly manner and go through the regular channels."

"Certainly, certainly," echoed the cabinet officer, relieved to know
that he was not going to be asked to depart from the usual method of
procedure.

"I came today," continued the Congressman, "to show you a set of plans
that have been prepared for a Naval Repair Station at Cleverly. I don't
want to go at this matter blindly. I want you to look at our papers. Of
course, later on they will be submitted to any Board of Experts that you
may see fit to appoint."

"I'm sure that I would be delighted to look them over," was the quick
response.

Thereupon Mr. Carlton drew forth the bulky envelope that had been
entrusted to Barry on his departure from Cleverly. The Secretary became
interested at once. In order to get a better view of the papers the
three men walked over to a large flat-top table in the centre of the
room. Here the blue prints were spread out and held down with
paperweights in order that they might be intelligently studied. The
Congressman, who knew his subject by heart, explained the advantages to
be gained by locating the station at Cleverly. The Secretary asked many
questions, which were answered promptly, satisfactorily and with
confidence.

"How much of an appropriation did you think of asking for?"

"A million dollars," replied the Congressman.

"That would not pay the entire cost of the station," said the
Secretary.

"No; but it would answer all present needs. Additions could be made from
time to time."

Presently the Secretary pressed a button and a messenger appeared.

"Tell the Admiral I would like to see him at his convenience," he said.

In a few minutes an old gentleman, with snow white hair and moustache
and ruddy cheeks, entered. He was faultlessly, almost nattily, dressed
and he had an alertness about him which suggested that he might have
discovered the fountain of eternal youth, whose source had been so
vainly sought by the gallant Ponce de Leon.

"That's the Admiral," whispered Joe to Barry from his secluded corner of
the leather sofa.

"What? The real Admiral?"

"Sure."

"Where's his cocked hat and his sword and his uniform?"

"Oh, say," cried Joe, disgusted at such evident lack of knowledge, "he
doesn't wear them in his office."

"Where does he wear them?"

"When he's fighting--on the quarter deck of his flagship."

"He doesn't look like a fighter."

This was too much for Mr. Joseph Hart. He stuffed his handkerchief in
his mouth to keep from screaming. He butted his head against the
cushioned back of the sofa, and he performed various other silent, but
none the less effective, gymnastic exercises. After he had exhausted his
merriment, he turned to the Cleverly boy and said, reproachfully:

"Can he fight? Why that man sunk the entire navy of a great European
nation in about twenty minutes."

"Twenty minutes?" gasped Barry, awe stricken.

"It was less than that," cried Joe, following up his advantage, "it
happened this way. The Admiral was taking breakfast in the cabin of his
vessel with some friends. He took a sip of his coffee and then said,
'please excuse me.' He went up on deck, and in a few minutes he returned
to finish his coffee, saying, 'ha, I'm glad that's done.'"

"What had he done?" asked Barry.

"Sunk the Spanish navy."

"He doesn't act like a ferocious man."

"Real fighters never do," said Joe.

In the meantime the newcomer had joined the Secretary of the Navy and
had been presented to the Congressman and the journalist. He was asked
to examine the plans. He did so, at first in a perfunctory manner. But
presently he became interested, and went over the blue prints with
greater care. Finally he began to ask questions.

"Where would you put the dry dock?" he queried.

"Right there," replied the Congressman, indicating the spot with the tip
of his little finger.

"This looks as if it might be a fresh water basin," suggested the
Admiral.

"It is."

"And yet you are near the ocean."

"Within two miles of it."

Presently the Admiral finished his inspection of the plans. He leaned
back in his chair, with his eyes half closed. The other three men looked
at him intently. His expert opinion was of the highest value.

"Well," said the Secretary, finally, "what do you think of it?"

"Splendid," was the reply. "It looks as if it had been carved by nature
for our present needs."

Five minutes later the Congressman was on his way back to the Capitol.
He was bubbling over with good humor. He put his hand on Barry Wynn's
shoulder:

"We've got a bully start, Barry," he said. "I do believe you're going to
be my mascot."



CHAPTER III

THE NEW PAGE


After a few minutes at the Capitol with Congressman Carlton, Barry found
himself walking along the streets of Washington with Master Joe Hart,
who had graciously volunteered to pilot him to his boarding house, which
was located on a street radiating from one of the avenues surrounding
the Treasury Department. It was some distance from the hall of the House
of Representatives, but as Barry desired to see as much of the city as
possible, they walked instead of taking a trolley car.

The two boys made the trip by way of Pennsylvania Avenue, and at every
turn in that noble thoroughfare, Barry found himself gasping with
undisguised admiration. Joe Hart, who had lived in Washington for a
number of years, and who was old in the ways of the world, seemed
greatly amused at the frank astonishment of his companion; in fact,
Master Joe indulged in a good deal of sarcasm. He told Barry that if he
did not stop looking up at the buildings, he would get a kink in the
neck and that would disbar him from the position as page in Congress. He
wanted to know how crops were coming on "down home"; whether they were
having much rain in Cleverly, and finally asked him if this year's corn
would be equal to the kind that was grown last year. Barry took all of
this with perfect good nature. He realized that Joe was worldly-wise,
and that his manners were not as good as they might be, but something
about the Washington boy attracted him mightily.

Finally they reached the boarding house. It was a three-story brick
house with an air of genteel decay about it. Joe, who had a latch key,
walked in without knocking. As they passed the parlor an elderly lady,
who stood at the window, approached them.

"Mrs. Johnson," said Hart, "this is Barry Wynn, who is to live here for
a little while."

The lady approached Barry with a smile and shook hands with him
cordially.

"Mr. Carlton has been telling me about you," she said graciously, "and I
think I can give you a third story back room that will suit your
purposes."

"Thank you," said Barry.

"If you will come this way I will show you the room."

The boarding house mistress and the two boys walked to the third story
and looked at the room that had been assigned to Barry. It was plainly
but neatly furnished. The outlook was very pleasant, because for a
distance of many blocks there were no buildings to obstruct the view,
and most of the surrounding plots were tastefully laid out in grass and
flowers. Barry learned later that the cause of this unusually luxurious
outlook was a public park which was almost on the edge of Mrs. Johnson's
dwelling.

"I can give you this room, with board," said Mrs. Johnson, interrupting
the boy's musings, "for six dollars a week."

It seemed like a large sum to Barry, but he said bravely, and with a
show of cheerfulness: "All right, Mrs. Johnson; I'll take it."

Supper at the Johnson boarding house was a very modest meal, and after
it was over Barry and Joe went out, in order that the new boy might have
some idea of the national capital in the evening. Barry found that the
city was well paved and well lighted. It was all very interesting, but
he had traveled a great distance that day and the excitement of the
occasion served to add to the fatigue, so that when he heard a
neighboring clock strike ten, he intimated a desire to go to bed. Joe
was quite willing, and in a little while the two boys had retired for
the night. Barry slept soundly, but his dreams were a strange mixture of
trains, and boarding houses, and domes, and page boys, and Joe Harts.

He arose early in the morning very much refreshed. He learned that the
House of Representatives would not meet until noon, but at the
suggestion of his friend and mentor, he decided to go to the Capitol
early in the day, in order to take the oath of office and to get
acquainted with the duties of a page boy.

At nine o'clock he found himself in the office of the Clerk of the House
of Representatives. The clerk was an elderly gentleman with a beard, and
he treated Barry very kindly.

"I've heard of you, Wynn," he said. "John Carlton says that he wants us
to take good care of you, and you can wager all you're worth we are only
too glad to do anything that Carlton desires."

Barry bowed and blushed. He did not know exactly what to say to this
tribute to his friend.

"I suppose," resumed the clerk, "that you are ready to be sworn in?"

"Yes, sir; I am."

"By the way, how old are you?" asked the clerk.

Barry looked at him in a startled way.

Was he to run up against a snag? His lips trembled in spite of himself.

"Is there an age limit for page boys?" he asked.

"Yes," was the response; "under the law, they must be over twelve years
old."

Barry heaved a sigh of relief.

"I have just celebrated my fifteenth birthday!"

"Good," was the reply. "Now, if you will hold up your right hand I will
administer the oath of office."

Barry held up his right hand impressively.

"Now," said the clerk, "repeat what I say."

"All right, sir."

Then the clerk recited, and Barry repeated the following form:


     "I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the
     Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and
     domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same;
     that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation
     or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully
     discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter."


"It sounds very solemn, doesn't it?" commented Joe Hart.

"It sounds solemn and it is solemn," said the clerk. "It is the oath
that everybody takes on entering the service of the United States
Government. To break that oath, or to fail to fulfil its obligations
would be little less than treason."

As they were turning away, Barry suddenly remembered something.

"Might I inquire how much pay I am to receive?"

"Certainly," said the clerk, "you will receive $2.50 a day while
Congress is in session."

Barry could scarcely believe his ears. He had never dreamt that he would
receive so much money. He mentally calculated what this would amount to
in the course of a month, and then figured out how much money he would
be able to send his mother after he had paid his board and refunded the
money which Congressman Carlton had advanced for his railroad fare to
Washington. The result must have been gratifying, because his face
beamed like a new moon.

After this Joe took Barry through the Capitol in order that he might
become familiar with the place. They passed through the corridors of the
Senate Chamber and then down stairs where Joe pointed out the House and
Senate restaurant.

"If you are sent to find a member and don't know where to go, always try
the restaurant first," said the humorous one.

"Very well," replied Barry, seriously, "I will remember what you say."

"Now," said Joe, with an air of dignity, "I will take you up and
introduce you to the Speaker of the House."

And so he did with all of the assurance in the world. The Speaker
greeted Barry very kindly. He was a benevolent looking gentleman,
without any pretense at greatness. He shook hands with the boy very
cordially.

"I am glad to meet you," he said. "I am always glad to meet boys. You
know," with a smile, "I was once a boy myself. If you want to be a
success here, be attentive. Make up your mind that a member will not
have to call you twice. Do that and you will be popular. Be economical,
too. To save is good for all boys, and you should try to save most of
your salary. I am an old man now and I am rich, but I can't help being
economical, because it has become a habit with me. I might go to the
finest hotel in the city and eat a heavy dinner, but I don't do it. I go
over to a lunch place near the Capitol and have a sandwich and a glass
of milk, and maybe a piece of pie, and I am perfectly satisfied. If you
are economical when you are young, you will acquire all the money you
need to keep you later on in life, and you can acquire it honestly, too,
and that will make you feel very comfortable."

"I think I will make good," ventured Barry, shyly.

"My boy," said the Speaker, pointing a stubby forefinger at him, "if you
are frugal and industrious, you are bound to succeed. These are two
homely virtues that ought to be cultivated by every boy in the land, but
unfortunately they are not. You will find as you go on in years that
contentment does not consist of great wealth, but rather of few wants.
Make up your mind that you will have regular habits; that you will take
daily exercise; that you will be clean, and that you will be moderate in
all things, and there is nobody in the world that can prevent you from
being a success."

"I'm sure I'll do the best I can," said Barry.

"Of course you will," cried the Speaker, "but make up your mind that
idleness is one of the seven deadly sins, and then you will be sure to
be prosperous and happy."

He pulled out his watch and started away.

"I'm afraid that I'll have to be going, or I won't be able to get
through with my work. If I can ever do anything for you, let me know."

After leaving the Speaker, Barry was presented to the head doorkeeper,
who was to be his official superior. He did not waste many words with
the boys.

"I suppose you're ready to go to work?"

"Yes," Barry said, "I am."

"Well, start in," he remarked, "and fill and clean the ink wells on the
desks of the members."

Barry did not have any false pride, but this took him somewhat by
surprise. Joe's talk had given him the impression that he was to be a
statesman almost at once, but now he had come down to earth and was to
fill ink wells. For the moment his hope of glory went glimmering, but he
had the right stuff in him, and he was soon at work carrying out the
orders of his chief. He did it well, too. He polished the ink wells
until they were spotless, and he made sure not to drop any of the ink on
the desks of the members. He was reassured also by the fact that one or
two other boys were doing the same work. One of them, he noticed, was
doing it very carelessly.

By this time the members began to assemble for the daily session. They
strolled in the various doorways, singly and in groups. Some of them
went to their desks and began writing; others stood in groups chatting
and discussing subjects in which they were interested. The doorkeeper
permitted no one to enter except members or specially privileged
persons. The clock pointed to a few minutes of twelve. The Speaker
ascended to the rostrum and took his seat back of the white marble desk,
which was on a platform about four feet above the floor. To the right of
his desk was the pedestal which bore the famous mace, the symbol of
authority. It was a bundle of black rods bound with bands of silver and
surmounted by a silver eagle. Barry was informed by his young friend
that the Sergeant-at-Arms, in executing the orders of the Speaker, was
required to bear this mace aloft before him.

Glancing up, the new page noticed a number of men coming into a gallery
directly over the Speaker's desk. One of them he recognized as Felix
Conway, the journalist who had spoken to him so kindly on his first
arrival at the Capitol. He guessed directly that this was the press
gallery for the reporters who were there to take down the proceedings of
the House, and send them out broadcast to the millions of readers of the
newspapers all over the United States.

While he was standing there staring at the gallery, he was brought to
himself by a sound from the Speaker's marble desk. That official was
tapping his gavel and calling the House to order. The proceedings began
with a prayer by the Chaplain and then the clerk called the roll of
members. He had scarcely finished when there were a flood of bills and
petitions. For the next half hour Barry was kept busy running from one
member to another, and receiving papers which he handed to the chief
clerk, who stood at his desk directly beneath the platform of the
speaker.

The members called the pages by clapping their hands, and if they did
not get an immediate response, they clapped their hands two or three
times in succession. The new page did the best he could under the
circumstances, and he did it very well indeed. After this, bills which
had been received before and ordered to be printed, were taken up in
their order on the calendar and debated. In the midst of the talk one of
the members in the rear of the House jumped to his feet and cried:

"Mr. Speaker, I move that the House do now adjourn."

Instantly the members were thrown into disorder. Loud voices came from
all parts of the room. Men talked and gesticulated wildly. A member
arose and protested against the motion. The Speaker looked at him
calmly, tapped his gavel on the marble desk, and said:

"The motion to adjourn is not debatable."

In the midst of much excitement the clerk began calling the roll.

"Where's Warrington?" shouted one of the members to another, in a stage
whisper.

"For goodness' sake, get Warrington before the clerk reaches the W's."

Barry heard this whisper and he acted on it at once. He shot out of the
hall down the corridor until he came to the stairway which led to the
House restaurant. A gentleman sat at a table eating a sandwich and
drinking a glass of milk. He had been pointed out to Barry earlier in
the day as Congressman Warrington. Barry rushed to him excitedly:

"Mr. Warrington," he cried, "they want you in the House at once."

This message delivered, he hastened back, followed by the member holding
a half-eaten sandwich in his right hand. The boy turned into the hall of
the House, the member at his very heels. The monotonous drone of the
clerk's voice calling the roll could be heard.

"Mr. Warrington," he drawled.

Two members grabbed the bewildered Congressman as he entered the House.

"Vote 'no,'" they cried in chorus.

"I vote 'no,'" called the Congressman in a loud, clear tone.

A burst of applause followed the response. Almost immediately the voice
of the Speaker could be heard.

"The motion to adjourn is lost," he said, "and the House will continue
consideration of the General Land Bill."

An hour later the House adjourned and Barry was surrounded by a number
of men who patted him on the head and bestowed all sorts of compliments
on him. Presently the Speaker came along and said in an amused tone:

"Is this the boy that found Warrington?"

"The very same," was the response.

The Speaker patted him on the shoulder.

"You're the new boy I met this morning. You've started in right. You
will be a great statesman some day."

"What was it all about?" said Barry to Joe Hart, as they journeyed
homeward that evening.

"All about?" ejaculated the wise one, "why you're a hero, and you don't
know it. If that motion to adjourn had carried, it would have defeated
one of the most important bills that has ever been presented in
Congress."



CHAPTER IV

VISIONS OF GREATNESS


When Barry Wynn and Joe Hart reached their Washington home they found
Mrs. Johnson, the landlady, waiting for them. It did not take Barry long
to discover that Mrs. Johnson was a very motherly person indeed, and one
well calculated to take the place of his mother during the time that he
was compelled to be away from home.

Mrs. Johnson, who was small of stature and very neat in appearance, was
the widow of a clerk in the Treasury Department. She had been left with
a large family and small means, but, being a capable woman, had been
able to survive a crisis which would have shipwrecked the life of a
weaker woman. Indeed, she had been able to educate her children through
the profits of her enterprise. She had made a success of a boarding
house, and in Washington this is saying a great deal.

Dinner was served at half-past six in a large, airy, and well-lighted
dining-room. The atmosphere of the place was very pleasant and homelike.
A big glass dish, filled with apple butter, stood in the centre of the
table, and the mere sight of it filled Barry's mind with memories of
home. The table was covered with clean linen and held a vase of freshly
cut flowers. The dinner itself was good. The food was plain but
wholesome, and the guests were all very friendly with Barry. There were
nine or ten in all; three of the ladies were school teachers in the
District of Columbia; two of the men were clerks in the Treasury
Department, and another one held a position in the Patent Office. He was
a very lively talker, and he managed to keep the guests at the table in
a roar of laughter with the funny incidents which came to his attention
in the course of the day's work.

After dinner most of the guests assembled in the large parlor and
talked and chatted with all of the freedom that one usually finds in an
affectionate family circle. One of the school teachers played the piano,
while the Patent Office clerk, who had a good voice, treated his fellow
guests to several selections from the popular songs of the day. It was
all very chummy and very homelike, and Barry, who had feared that he
might feel like a stranger in a strange land was, on the contrary, quite
comfortable in his new home.

During the course of the evening Mrs. Johnson had a long conversation
with him and asked him all sorts of questions concerning his home and
his mother. She was very much interested in his replies and promised
that when he returned home Mrs. Wynn would never have any cause to
regret his selection of a boarding house in Washington. Barry's
reference to his mother's widowhood brought tears to Mrs. Johnson's
eyes.

"I had splendid prospects myself once," she said, "but the sudden and
unexpected death of my husband dashed them to the ground and put me to
the necessity of earning a living for myself and children. I thank a
kind Providence that I have been successful, but the struggle has been a
severe one and I know that it has aged me very much."

"I noticed a picture of President Garfield in the hallway," said Barry.
"Did you know him?"

"He was one of our best friends," said the widow. "My husband was a
classmate of President Garfield at Hiram College, and was one of his
friends and supporters in nearly all of his political campaigns. After
the General became President, one of his first acts was to appoint my
husband a clerk in the Treasury Department. That was intended as a
beginning. We both knew that he was to be promoted to a more important
position as soon as possible, but Death intervened and that ended it
all. However, the friendship of the President was deeply appreciated by
John and myself. He called on us one day soon after he was inaugurated,
and he was the same big-hearted, unaffected friend that we had known in
Ohio. I could not help but think of him tonight at dinner. On the
occasion of his call there was a big bowl of apple butter on the table.
He called for a helping of home-made bread and then, in his big, boyish
way, started in and ate the bread and the apple butter. He said that it
reminded him of the days when he worked on the farm."

At about ten o'clock, during a lull in the conversation, Barry managed
to leave the parlor unobserved and hurried up to his modest little
bedroom. He had two reasons for doing this: the first was his desire to
write a letter to his mother, and the second was the need which he felt
for a good night's rest. He lit the gas, and was pleased to find a desk
in the room with pen, ink and paper. On the first night he had only got
a glimpse of his new quarters, and he now looked around and was
delighted with the cozy appearance of his apartment. It was perfectly
clean; the paint seemed fresh, and the paper was new. Two or three
tastefully framed pictures adorned the walls, and an iron bedstead in
the corner of the room was covered with a counterpane that was as white
as snow.

Barry seated himself at the desk and started the letter to his mother.
He had so much to tell that he scarcely knew where to begin, but
presently his pen began to scratch the paper and he was fairly started.
At intervals he paused and bit the end of the penholder, or scratched
his head, or gazed up at the ceiling, in his efforts to think of the
proper word that he should use in his correspondence. It proved to be
quite a lengthy letter. He told his mother all that happened from the
time he reached Washington until the moment he had begun his epistle. He
told her about Congressman Carlton, Felix Conway, the journalist, Mrs.
Johnson, his kind landlady, and last, but not least, he related all that
he was able to tell about Joe Hart, his fellow page.

After he had concluded he sealed and stamped the letter and carried it
out and dropped it in a letter box at the corner of the street. He was
about to prepare to go to bed on his return, when his attention was
attracted by a modest-looking shelf in one corner of the room. His love
for reading caused him to make a closer examination. He found that one
shelf contained a copy of the Bible, a set of Shakespeare in one big
volume, a history of the United States, a Congressional directory, a
condensed history of the nations, and a life of James A. Garfield, the
martyred President of the United States. It seemed to Barry, young as he
was, that these six volumes might be said to contain a liberal education
in themselves.

Every one of them was worth careful perusal, but boy-like, he turned to
the life of Garfield and began to skim it over. Before he realized it he
was thoroughly absorbed in the volume. He read of the boy who was born
in poverty, and who, through his own efforts, had risen to the highest
position in the gift of the American people. The story was a reality to
Barry Wynn. He could see young Garfield when he was scarcely twelve
years of age, driving in the cattle, carrying wood, hoeing potatoes,
building fires, and doing whatever else there was for willing hands to
do. He could see the future President lying flat on the floor of the
barn, reading the life of Napoleon, and he could see that same boy
exclaiming to his mother with youthful enthusiasm: "Mother, when I get
to be a man, I'm going to be a soldier," and then later on in the book,
he read about the boy, after he reached manhood, who became one of the
bravest soldiers in the Civil War.

But the most interesting part of the magic volume, so far as Barry was
concerned, were the pages that told of the future President of the
United States working as a mule driver on the narrow banks of the canal.
Young Garfield once thought that he would like to become a pirate, but
as his reasoning powers became stronger, he discarded this romantic idea
and settled down to the unpoetic work of everyday life, and although he
did not become a pirate, he managed to secure employment on a canal boat
in his own State, and during his first night's work became involved in a
quarrel with a bully of a deck hand, and thrashed the fellow within an
inch of his life. After that, James A. Garfield went to school for a
while, and finally became a student in Hiram College, Ohio. Later he was
promoted to the proud position of a teacher in the institution in which
he had started as a pupil. Barry read on and on, following his hero from
one position to another, until he reached the Presidency, only to become
the victim of an assassin's bullet.

Finally Barry reached the last page of this wonderful book, and he laid
it down with a sigh of relief and yet of regret. He happened to glance
at the small clock which was ticking on the mantle. It pointed to
fifteen minutes of two in the morning. It startled the boy. He had no
idea that the time had passed so rapidly. He undressed quickly and put
out the light, and was just about to jump into bed when he heard the
sound of footsteps in the hallway. He opened his door cautiously and as
he did so he saw Joe Hart going into his room on the other side of the
corridor. Barry was too sleepy to feel very inquisitive, but in a vague
sort of way, he thought that Joe Hart was certainly keeping very bad
hours.

After that he threw himself into bed. He lay thinking for some time. The
thought of the book he had just read kept running through his mind. One
sentence in it came to him as clearly as if it had been committed to
memory. It was an extract from an address which Garfield had delivered
to the students at Hiram College. The President, on that occasion, had
said:


     "Poverty is uncomfortable, as I can testify, but nine times out of
     ten the best thing that can happen to a young man is to be tossed
     overboard and compelled to sink or swim for himself. In all my
     acquaintance I never knew a man to be drowned who was worth
     saving."


Barry felt, in an incoherent, drowsy way, that he had been tossed
overboard. He wondered whether he could sink or swim, but before the
answer came he was sound asleep.



CHAPTER V

A WINK AND A NOD


At breakfast the next morning Mrs. Johnson informed Barry that
Congressman Carlton had sent a message to the house requesting that he
call at his office as early as possible that day. The boy hurried
through his meal and in a few minutes was swinging down Pennsylvania
Avenue on his way to the Capitol. Despite his hurry, his eye lingered on
the various edifices which were springing up on either side indicating
the beautiful city in store for future generations. Indeed, the charm of
Washington always remained fresh in Barry's mind.

He learned that Mr. Carlton had his headquarters in the new office
building of the House of Representatives, which was but a stone's throw
from the Capitol. In a few minutes the boy was tapping timidly at the
door opening from one of the marble corridors of the substantial
building. There was no response and he turned the knob and walked in. He
found that he was in a suite of rooms, and through the door he could see
the Congressman seated at his desk in another room.

He paused a moment before announcing himself. John Carlton, absorbed in
the work before him, presented an interesting study. His smooth-shaven
face was most attractive, and even in the privacy of his room he did not
lose that appearance of authority which is carried so well by men who
mix in the practical affairs of life. A half smile hovered about his
lips, but at that very moment a kind of sadness showed itself in his
eyes. He was a combination of the man of imagination and the man of the
practical world. As he laid down the letter which he had been reading,
he raised his eyes and saw the boy standing in the doorway.

"Come in, Barry," he exclaimed. "Come in and let me get a good look at
you."

The new page walked in and stood before the desk very modestly.

"I suppose," said the Congressman, "that you are feeling very big this
morning?"

Barry looked at him in surprise.

"Why, no," he said, "I don't quite understand you, Mr. Carlton."

The legislator lay back in his chair and laughed with undisguised
enjoyment.

"I am glad of it. I am heartily glad of it," he said. "It proves that
there is one person in Washington who is not likely to be afflicted with
the awful disease which goes down here under the name of 'swelled
head.'"

The boy's eyes were globular with wonder.

"I don't suppose you know what I am talking about, Barry, do you?"

"No," was the simple response, "I do not."

"Well, I'll tell you," said the Congressman, speaking very slowly. "You
came mighty near making yourself famous in the House yesterday. Your
alacrity in bringing Warrington to us was the means of saving a very
important bill. If he had not come at the time he did, the measure would
have been delayed and probably beaten. As it was, you helped us to win
the day. The measure, that is now sure of success, gives the President
of the United States the right to withdraw certain public lands for the
benefit of future generations. It is a part of what is popularly known
as the Conservation Movement."

"I am glad that I was useful," said Barry.

"You are not half so glad as I am," said the Congressman, "and I am
delighted to know that you take it so sensibly. You simply did your
duty, and if you continue to do your duty in this modest sort of way I
know that you will be a success."

The telephone bell rang and Mr. Carlton answered it. As he hung up the
receiver the boy said:

"I was told that you wanted to see me this morning."

"Yes," said Mr. Carlton, drumming on his desk with his finger tips.
"Barry, can you work the typewriter?"

"Yes, sir; and I have a good knowledge of stenography, too."

"Well," was the response, "I suppose it may sound a little sentimental,
but I have written the bill to make an appropriation for the new Naval
Repair Station at Cleverly, and I want you to run it off on the
typewriter. You know very well the feeling I had towards your father,
and I would like to be able to say that you wrote the bill for this big
improvement in your native town. It's not much, I know, but I thought
you might like it."

Barry's eyes were glistening. He spoke eagerly:

"I think it's just fine, Mr. Carlton, and I want to assure you that I
appreciate it very much indeed."

Without further ado, Mr. Carlton gave him the manuscript copy of the
bill, and Barry, going to a typewriter in a corner of the room, began to
transcribe the document. While Barry was at work on the machine Mr.
Carlton began the task of going through his mail. It was no easy job,
for there were probably a hundred letters on his desk and that merely
represented one day's crop. He ran an opener through one envelope after
another and remarked casually as he did so:

"I am waiting for my secretary, Barry. I don't know what keeps him so
late."

At that moment the door opened and the tall, spare form of Felix Conway,
the journalist, entered the room. Mr. Carlton pretended to frown:

"You're late, sir."

"Yes, sir," was the reply, with mock humility. "I'm sorry to say, sir,
that I overslept myself, sir."

At this both men burst into laughter. Barry was so interested and so
surprised that he forgot to run his typewriter. Mr. Carlton turned and
noticed the look of amazement on the boy's face.

"It's all right, Barry," he exclaimed. "Mr. Conway is not actually my
secretary, but he has consented to act the part for the next few weeks.
My real secretary is ill, and I was in dire need of someone who
understood legislative and departmental matters when Mr. Conway was good
enough to step in and help me out in the emergency."

"Yes," laughed the journalist, "and in helping you out, I will only be
repaying, in a small measure, the many kindnesses you have shown me
since I came to Washington."

Barry worked slowly on the typewriter, because he was anxious to have
his first piece of work as accurate as possible, and besides the fact
that the Congressman and Mr. Conway were engaged in conversation
distracted him more or less from the task in hand. He could not help but
overhear the talk that passed between the two men.

For instance, Mr. Carlton pulled a letter from an envelope and after
reading it, passed it over to the volunteer secretary.

"Here's a man who wants a pass from Boston to Cleverly," he said. "Tell
him the new Interstate Commerce law forbids the issuance of passes, and
that if the railroad granted his request, the officers of the
corporation would be liable to a fine and imprisonment."

The journalist laughed at the sarcasm of the statesman.

"I guess the constituent who wrote that letter must have been asleep for
the last two years," he commented. "He don't seem to have kept up with
the procession."

Mr. Carlton nodded in assent and handed another letter to the newspaper
man.

"Here's a communication from a constituent in the country. He applies
for seed. Send it to the Agricultural Department with my endorsement."

Mr. Conway noted the instructions on a corner of the envelope, using a
sort of shorthand that was all his own.

After this came a letter from an inventive genius, who had a flying
machine which he wished to have adopted by the United States Army. It
was referred to the Secretary of War. There were twenty or thirty
letters asking for information of bills that were pending. They were
laid aside to be answered in their turn. Finally they reached a
communication from a poor widow who was applying for a pension. Mr.
Carlton carefully deciphered the uncertain handwriting and then said to
his assistant:

"Felix, I wish you would take this up in person with the head of the
Pension Bureau. I think the woman deserves consideration. Her husband
served his country in its hour of need, and this nation is too great to
neglect those who have risked their lives in its service."

"Have you anything else?" asked the young man.

"Yes," was the reply, "here is a five-page letter."

"What is it?"

"It is from a man who wants me to get the Army to purchase a new kind of
saddle that he has constructed."

"What shall I say to him?"

"Tell him that I'm not a salesman."

Felix Conway gathered up the pile of letters and went into an ante-room
for the purpose of dictating suitable replies to a waiting stenographer.
The Congressman, in the meantime, looked at Barry with a benevolent
smile, and said:

"Barry, you have just had a glimpse of a part of the work that falls to
the lot of an active member of Congress. You will see from this that the
job of being a statesman is not a sinecure. In fact, it is very hard
work, and I am sorry to say that some of the voters look upon the
members of Congress as errand boys, whose sole time should be devoted to
carrying messages to the various heads of Departments."

"That is not all the work, either?" asked Barry.

"Not by any means; the most exacting work that falls to the lot of a
member is that of discussing and digesting proposed legislation when it
comes before the various Committees of the House."

By this time Barry had finished making his copy of the bill providing
for the new Federal building in Cleverly. He handed it to Mr. Carlton,
who read it over very carefully. He made one or two minor corrections,
and then said he was very much pleased with the work.

The Congressman laid the bill down on the desk, and was about to turn to
some other work when there was a tap on the door and two gentlemen
entered the room. One of them was a little man, dressed in black, and
wearing a white linen bow tie. He wore side whiskers and had a peculiar
expression. Barry looked at him the second time, and then discovered
that his face was really conventional, and that its unusual expression
was caused by the queer drooping of the eyelid of the left eye. The man
who accompanied him was a tall, sallow-faced, loose-jointed person, who
gazed steadfastly at the floor. Mr. Carlton arose at once and greeted
both men heartily. The little man gave him a quick grasp of the hand in
reply, while the sallow-faced person said "Good morning" without
looking at his host. They talked in whispers for a few minutes and then
Mr. Carlton called Barry over to him.

"Barry," he said, indicating the little man in black, "I want you to
meet the Hon. Jesse Hudson. Mr. Hudson is one of my colleagues, a member
of the House of Representatives."

Then, turning to Hudson, he said:

"This boy comes from my native town. He is the son of one of my oldest
friends. I have made him a page in the House, and if you ever get an
opportunity to help him, I wish you would do so."

Congressman Hudson took Barry's hand with that quick, convulsive
movement which seemed to be one of his characteristics, and said:

"Glad to meet you. If you ever need anything call on me."

After this Barry was presented to the sallow-faced man, who proved to be
Mr. Joel Phipps, who was the clerk to the Committee on Naval Affairs.

As the general conversation was resumed, Barry withdrew and took his
seat in the corner of the room. Just as they were about to leave,
Congressman Carlton said suddenly:

"By the way, Hudson, I am going to introduce a bill in the House in a
few days to appropriate a million dollars for a Naval Repair Station at
Cleverly. I know that you are a member of the Committee on Naval
Affairs, and I wish you would help me to put this measure through. We
need it and it's a just and proper appropriation."

Mr. Carlton stooped down to pick up a paper, when Congressman Hudson,
turning to the clerk, said:

"Oh, we will help you with it, won't we, Joel?"

As he said this he deliberately winked at the sallow-faced man, and in
return he nodded and replied:

"Yes, certainly we will help Mr. Carlton."

And after that they both withdrew. As the door closed Mr. Carlton
turned to the boy and said:

"Those are good people to know, Barry. Both the Congressman and the
clerk have considerable influence in legislation and they have the power
to either help or hurt you."

"I suppose they have," responded Barry.

He longed to tell his friend of the sign that had passed between the two
men, but he was afraid that if he mentioned it, Mr. Carlton might think
that he was very presumptuous. Besides that, he thought that possibly he
might have been mistaken. However, he said finally, with a great deal of
diffidence:

"I can't say, Mr. Carlton, that I am very much attracted by either of
those men."

"Well, Barry," said the Congressman, a little coldly, "you must take
people as you find them in this world, and not as you think they should
be."

All the same, Barry did not relish the recollections of the wink that
had passed between the two men.



CHAPTER VI

HUDSON STRIKES A SNAG


Joe Hart went to great pains to show his growing regard for Barry. He
instructed him in his work as page and pointed out various ways of
making himself useful to the members of Congress. One of these ways was
to familiarize himself with the numerous public documents issued by the
Government. Every member, said Joe, had calls for bills and reports from
time to time, and if a page boy could tell a member where to put his
hands on a certain paper at a given time, the value of the page would be
immensely enhanced in the eyes of the member. Barry took the advice to
heart and determined to profit thereby.

One morning, when Barry was on his way to the Capitol, it occurred to
him that it would be a good thing to call upon Congressman Carlton and
ascertain whether there was anything he could do for him. He found the
Congressman at his desk in his office immersed in a great heap of
correspondence that was before him.

"Good morning, Mr. Carlton," said Barry. "I don't want to disturb you. I
just dropped in to ask whether there was anything I could do for you
before I went to the House."

The Congressman paused for a moment and looked at Barry, while he tried
to recall some particular thing that he was very anxious to have done.
It came to him quickly.

"By George!" he exclaimed; "you're the very boy I want. There's a big
pile of Committee Reports in the next room that I would like to have
sorted out and piled up in regular order. I have no doubt that most of
'em are only fit for the furnace, but I'm afraid to destroy any of 'em
for fear that I may burn the very documents I need."

Barry's eyes sparkled.

"I'll be delighted to undertake the job, Mr. Carlton," he said. "It's
something I'm interested in, anyhow."

The Congressman stared at the boy.

"Interested? What do you mean?"

"Oh, nothing; except that Joe Hart tells me that I should become
familiar with public documents of all kinds in order to increase my
usefulness to members of Congress."

The Congressman clapped his hands on his flat top desk with quiet
delight.

"Bully for you! If you continue in this way there's no telling where you
may land. You know every boy in this country has a right to aspire even
to the Presidency."

Barry reddened with embarrassment.

"Oh, Mr. Carlton, I never dreamed of anything like that."

"Of course, you haven't. No healthy boy ever really expects to reach
such a great honor as that, but you can aspire to other big things. One
of the oldest members of the Senate served in the position that you hold
now, while a half dozen members of the House were pages at your age."

"Well," said Barry, with boyish confidence, "I am certainly going to try
to amount to something."

"Very good," said the Congressman, and he dismissed the boy with a wave
of the hand. "Now, you go into the other room and see what you can do
with that old junk."

Barry went to work with a will. He found that he had a pretty big job
ahead of him, but he went at it systematically and resolutely. He took
the reports according to dates and piled them up in little heaps in the
order of the months and the years in which they had been printed.
Occasionally he was attracted by the heading of some of the documents,
and in one or two instances he was so interested that he read the
reports from beginning to end. In this way several hours passed, and
looking up at the clock, he discovered that it was twenty minutes of
twelve. He realized that he had just about enough time to get over to
the House and to report for duty. He was about to go in and speak to
Mr. Carlton when he heard the door open and someone came into the
Congressman's room. The gentleman spoke to Mr. Carlton. Barry recognized
the voice at once. It was that of the Hon. Jesse Hudson.

"Hello, Carlton," said Hudson, "when are you going to introduce that
bill for a Naval Repair Station in your town?"

"I'm going to do it soon," said Carlton. "It's pretty nearly in shape
for presentation."

"Good," was the response. "You can count on my help in getting it
through the Committee. If you meet with any obstacles, just come to me
and I will be glad to give you a lift. Are you going over to the House?"

"Not for a few minutes," was the response. "I've a couple of telegrams
that I want to send out before I leave here."

"All right; I'll go over alone then. By the way," he continued, as he
paused at the door, "I've got a measure coming up today, and I'd like
you to help me get it through."

"What is it?" asked Carlton.

"It is known as the Garner claim. A family in my district had their
property destroyed during the Civil War. It seems that the Federal
troops occupied their house and barn and when they got through with them
they were practically ruined."

"What is the bill for?" asked Carlton.

"It is to reimburse the heirs for their loss. It calls for an
appropriation of $96,000. It should have been paid long ago!"

"Who are the heirs? The children of the claimant?"

"No, not the children, but some of their relatives."

"Is it all right, Hudson?"

"Sure, it's all right."

"Well," was the slow response, "if it's a fair bill, I suppose I will
have to turn in and vote for it, but I don't like to support these
claims for damages without knowing all about them."

"Oh, it's all right," was the confident response; "I'll see you later.
Good-bye."

As he swung out of the room Felix Conway, the journalist, walked in.

"Hello, Felix," exclaimed Carlton. "You're just the man I want to see.
You know everything, don't you?"

The newspaper correspondent shook his head and said, smilingly:

"No, not everything--nearly everything."

"Well," said Carlton, "I'd like to know what you can tell me about the
Garner claim. It calls for an appropriation of $96,000 to repay certain
heirs of the Garner family for property destroyed during the Civil War."

The journalist looked blankly at the Congressman.

"Blest if I know a thing about it. It's the first I've heard of it."

"I'm awfully sorry," said the Congressman, "because I'm anxious to get
some of the facts in the case."

As Felix Conway left the room Barry Wynn emerged from the little
apartment where he had been sorting out and piling up the public
documents.

"Mr. Carlton," he said, timidly, "I couldn't help overhearing your
conversation with Mr. Hudson and Mr. Conway. You were speaking to them
about the Garner claim."

"I was, indeed," was the response. "You don't mean to tell me that you
know anything about it?"

"Yes," was the hesitating reply, "I know a little about it."

"When did you hear of it?" was the surprised question.

"The first I heard of it was when Mr. Hudson came in," replied Barry,
"but I read about it an hour ago."

"Read about it?"

"Yes; when I was going through those old papers I found a report from
the House Committee concerning the Garner claim."

Carlton's eyes glistened.

"Where is it? Where is it? Let me have it."

Barry went into the other room and came out again in a few moments with
a small public document.

Mr. Carlton seized it eagerly and read the heading:


     "Report of the House Committee concerning a claim of the heirs of
     Samuel Garner for damages sustained to their property during the
     War of the Rebellion."


That was enough for him. He sat back in his chair and read the document
from start to finish. It was an adverse report. The document was ten
years old, but the Committee that had been entrusted with the
investigation of the matter reported that the claim was a very doubtful
one, and that in any event the heirs should be compelled to go into
court for the purpose of obtaining relief.

Carlton stuffed the report in his inside pocket, and slapping Barry on
the back, said:

"Barry, you've done me a great favor."

Ten minutes later Carlton was at his desk in the House of
Representatives, and Barry was standing by the desk of the chief clerk,
waiting for the proceedings of the day to begin. At the stroke of twelve
the Speaker brought his gavel down on the top of the marble block before
him and called the House to order. The Chaplain made a brief prayer, and
then the members from all parts of the great hall began rising in their
places and presenting bills. The pages ran up one aisle and down
another, with bills fluttering in their hands, rushing and laughing and
tumbling about like so many little imps. Barry kept his eye on Mr.
Carlton, and when that gentleman rose in his seat, made a mad rush in
his direction.

"The Gentleman from Maine," called the Speaker, in a loud tone.

Whereupon Mr. Carlton presented a number of minor bills. Barry was at
his elbow, and taking the papers hurried to the Speaker's platform and
had the satisfaction of seeing the bills referred to the various
Committees of the House.

After his measures had been safely disposed of, John Carlton made a
search for Jesse Hudson. He had determined to inform him that he would
not support the bill in favor of the Garner heirs. When he reached
Hudson's seat, he found that gentleman busily engaged in conversation
with another man, but that did not deter him. He broke in between the
two and said:

"Hudson, I'd like to speak to you for a moment."

The other frowned and waved his hand, saying:

"You will have to excuse me. I am very busy at present."

Carlton walked back to his own seat very much dissatisfied. Fifteen
minutes later he noticed that Hudson was disengaged and walked over in
his direction. The moment Hudson saw him, however, he slipped out of
his seat and left the House. The inference was obvious. Hudson was
trying to evade Carlton. The business of the House continued for about
half an hour and then the clerk, in stentorian tones, announced that the
next business in order was the consideration of the bill granting relief
to the heirs of Samuel Garner. Hudson was in his seat. Carlton grasped
the opportunity and was by his side in an instant.

"Hudson," he said, "I've been trying to reach you all morning to tell
you that I can't support--"

"Don't talk to me now," cried the other, impatiently. "Don't you see
that I'm busy?"

"You can't be too busy to talk business," was the angry retort. "I want
you to know that I can't support your Garner bill. I'm simply telling
you this, so that you can be under no false impressions in the matter."

"Why, what's the matter?" asked Hudson, simulating a look of surprise.

"Well, I'm sorry to say the matter is that I don't think it's a fit bill
to vote for."

"What do you mean?"

"Just what I say. After you left me this morning, I got a report of the
House Committee that was made nearly ten years ago, and it seems very
conclusive to me--so conclusive that I've made up my mind to fight your
bill."

"Oh, you're splitting hairs," cried Hudson, in a tone of annoyance.

"Well, you can give it any name you like."

"But, see here, Carlton," cried Hudson, eagerly, "I won't ask you to
vote for it if you don't feel like doing so; but promise me one thing."

"What's that?"

"Don't make a speech against it. Don't oppose it openly. It's backed by
some of the most important men in my district--men who can make or break
me."

"I can't make any more promises," said Carlton, and he moved slowly back
to his own seat.

In the meantime the House was giving close consideration to the Garner
claim. Near the end of the debate Jesse Hudson arose and made a strong
speech in favor of the passage of the bill. The sentiment of the House
seemed strongly for the heirs. If the members had taken a vote after
Hudson's speech, the chances are that the bill would have become a law.
But just at that critical moment John Carlton rose in his place and was
recognized by the Speaker.

"Mr. Speaker and Gentlemen," he said, with great deliberation, "before
the House votes on the bill that is now pending, I desire to read a copy
of the report that was made on this very claim by a Committee of this
House ten years ago. The members can find the document by referring to
their files, volume II, page 1072."

There was a lifting of desk lids and a scurrying of page boys, and every
member in the House seemed seized with a desire to get a copy of the
document in question. In the meantime John Carlton read the report in
slow, measured tones. As he concluded he said:

"Mr. Speaker, I have no comment whatever to make upon this report. I
merely call it to your attention. For my own part, after reading that
report, I cannot see my way clear to vote for this bill."

It was as though a bomb shell had been thrown into a quiet, peaceable
gathering. Members stood on their feet, and talked, and gesticulated,
while the Speaker vainly motioned the members to their seats. Presently,
the calling of the roll brought order out of chaos. Hudson ran from one
member to another imploring them to vote for his bill, but it was too
late. When the vote was announced it was found that the Garner claim had
been overwhelmingly defeated.

Shortly after that the House adjourned. Hudson, in leaving his seat,
almost bumped against John Carlton. He looked at him with a malignant
frown, and said bitterly:

"You're a fine fellow to promise to support a bill!"

"I withdrew my promise before it was too late," said the other one,
quietly.

"Yes, you withdrew it, but you made me a promise all the same."

"I didn't make any promise."

"I say you did!"

"Well," said Carlton, easily, "there's no use wrangling over it. It's
all over now."

Hudson doubled up his fist, and shaking it at his adversary, said:

"It's not all over. Not by a long sight! Every dog has his day, and I'll
have mine sooner than you think!"

Carlton laughed.

"There's no use borrowing trouble," he said, lightly. "The dog-days
won't be here for some time yet."

As they passed out of the door into the corridor of the Capitol, a third
member came up to Carlton and said:

"John, were in the world did you dig up that report?"

"Oh," was the response, "it was pulled out of a pile of old junk in my
office."

"How did you have the patience to go through that stuff?" asked the
inquirer.

"I didn't," was the reply. "It was discovered for me by a very bright
boy, named Barry Wynn."



CHAPTER VII

BARRY STUMBLES


As Barry Wynn and Joe Hart were walking down Pennsylvania Avenue the
following morning, Joe suddenly turned to his friend and exclaimed
laughingly:

"Barry, this is the happiest day of all the glad new year!"

Barry looked at Joe blankly.

"Why; what's happened? Have you good news?"

"Bully news."

"What do you mean?"

"Can't you guess?"

"No, I can't."

"Why, you old hayseed, this is pay-day."

Barry's face beamed. Naturally he looked forward with great pleasure to
the first money he had ever earned. He voiced his feelings to Joe:

"The work here has been so pleasant that I actually lost count of the
days. I never dreamt that I'd been in Washington for a month."

"Well," said the practical one, "you'll know all right when you go up to
the cashier's office this morning."

The experienced boy led the novice to that part of the Capitol building
where the pages received their checks. Barry had to sign the pay-roll
and after that swore that he had rendered the service for which he was
about to be paid. He was handed a nice, bright, crisp check drawn to the
order of Barry Wynn against the Treasurer of the United States. He
looked at it with ill-concealed curiosity and then gave a gasp of
delight. The check was for sixty-eight dollars. He had worked a little
less than a month, but the sight of the voucher for so much money gave
him a sense of elation that he had never felt before.

With Joe still acting as mentor, he cashed the check, and on reporting
for duty to the Sergeant-at-Arms, was gratified to learn that he had
been given leave of absence for the day. Joe also, by some occult
influence, managed to be excused. Barry's first move was to call on
Congressman Carlton and to inform him of the amount of money he had
received. Mr. Carlton was delighted, but somewhat taken aback when Barry
handed him a ten-dollar note.

"What's this for?" he asked, somewhat stiffly.

"It's the money you advanced for my railroad fare to Washington."

The good-natured man burst into a hearty laugh. He clapped his big palm
on Barry's shoulder and said jovially:

"Just put that away. You'll have lots of use for it. The money I sent
you was a present."

"But, Mr. Carlton," insisted Barry, "mother made me promise that the
first money I received should be used to pay you back the ten dollars
you sent me for my ticket."

"Nonsense! I don't want it."

"But, I must give it to you," persisted Barry. "If I don't my mother
will never forgive me."

Mr. Carlton accepted the note somewhat reluctantly.

"By the way," he said, reaching into his pocket, "here's an old wallet
that I have no more use for. Now that you have become a man of wealth it
may be a convenient thing for holding your money."

Barry took the gift and thanked Mr. Carlton.

"Now, Barry," said the statesman, "I don't want to overburden you with
advice, but if I were in your place my first move would be to pay your
landlady for the board that is due her, and then give her a week or so
in advance. After that lay some money aside for your personal use, and
then skedaddle to the postoffice and make out a money order for the
balance in favor of your mother. She will appreciate it more than words
can tell."

"I'll do it," was the fervent response.

"All right. Good-bye, and good luck to you."

As Barry left the Capitol building he came in contact with Joe Hart, who
had also cashed his warrant. The two boys proceeded to their boarding
house and both of them paid Mrs. Johnson the money that was due her,
together with an advance payment towards the coming month.

"Now, what are you going to do?" asked Joe.

"I'm going up stairs and write a letter to my mother," said Barry. "I
want to enclose a money order to her and get it off in the mail as soon
as possible."

"All right," said Joe. "I'll wait for you, and then we'll go down town
together. Or, if you want to," he added, as an after consideration, "you
can walk right over to the postoffice building and write your letter
there."

Barry adopted the suggestion and the two boys left the house together.
As they turned the corner of the Treasury building, the clock in the
neighborhood struck the hour of twelve.

"Jiminy!" exclaimed Joe, "it's time to eat."

The remark put an idea into Barry's head.

"Joe," he said, "this is pay-day; let's celebrate!"

"Celebrate?" echoed the other.

"Yes. I want you to take dinner with me today."

Joe looked at his friend in silence for a moment, and then something
suspiciously like moisture glistened in the corner of each eye.

"Barry," he said, "I'll go you--it's the first time in my life that I
ever remember anybody asking me out to dinner."

Barry was determined to do the honors becomingly, so he sought out a
first-class restaurant and ordered dinner for two. The linen was white
and the dining room splendidly furnished. An orchestra, hidden behind a
cluster of palms, enlivened the occasion with the popular songs of the
day. The meal was complete; it began with soup and ended with ice
cream. To say that the two boys enjoyed themselves would be putting it
very mildly indeed. They felt as though they were in an enchanted
fairyland. The fact that Joe's legs were too short to touch the floor,
and that he swung them to and fro on the chair did not detract from his
dignity in the least, and when the head waiter, who had seated them with
all the pomp and ceremony which can only be employed effectively by a
head waiter, and addressed them as "gentlemen," their cup of happiness
seemed full to overflowing, but the limit had not yet been reached.
After the meal was finished and the attendant placed a finger bowl in
front of each of the boys, the giggling and the whispering and the
mischievous glances that passed between them would have been sufficient
to have gladdened the heart of the most confirmed pessimist. But the
crowning act of all came when Barry, after having paid the bill,
majestically tipped the waiter. From that moment he was a superior being
in the eyes of Joe Hart.

After leaving the restaurant they resumed their walk down Pennsylvania
Avenue. The events of the preceding hour had raised them both in their
own estimation. They strolled along very proudly, indeed, and did not
feel a bit ashamed when three Justices of the Supreme Court passed them
on the street. Senators and members of the lower House of Congress they
looked upon as very ordinary beings indeed; in fact, when the President
shot by in an automobile on his way to the White House, they regarded
it--as it was in fact in Washington--as an incident of everyday life. It
was about two o'clock by this time, and they were half way down the
avenue when Barry's attention was attracted by a large sign advertising
a moving picture show.

"Joe," he said, with proper dignity in his voice and manner, "I want to
do this treat right. Let's take in the picture show."

Joe did not require a second invitation. In a few minutes they had paid
their dimes and were ushered into the seats of the little temporary
theatre. In the rush of hurrying in, the two boys had become separated,
although they managed to obtain places in the same row. A woman with a
market basket was on one side of Barry, while a burly fellow, with a red
necktie, was on the other. Presently the place was filled and the lights
were turned down. The films began to operate upon the canvas. The scene
represented an explosion in a coal mine. It was very vivid and very
lifelike. There was a flash of lightning and then a low rumbling sound
which marked the beginning of the disaster. At the most interesting
stage of the performance Barry felt himself being crowded by the man who
sat next to him. The fellow acted so roughly that Barry protested.

"Stop pushing me!" he cried.

"Oh, I beg your pardon," was the polite reply, "I didn't intend to annoy
you. It was an accident."

The moment that Barry had spoken he was sorry. It was probable, he
thought, that the man had leaned against him unintentionally and he
regretted his resentment. He wondered whether he should not apologize.
The lights went up in a minute or two, but Barry found, to his surprise,
that his neighbor with the red necktie had already departed.

The two boys wended their way out to the street together and were glad
to get in a whiff of fresh air. They made their way slowly towards the
new postoffice building on Pennsylvania Avenue, and after selecting a
convenient desk, Barry began writing his letter to his mother. The work
of composition was aided by Joe Hart, who, at intervals, offered many
unique and unsolicited suggestions. Finally the missive was completed
and Barry exclaimed:

"Now for the money order. I'll go over to the window and buy it."

He reached into his pocket for the wallet in which he had placed his
money. His hand slid into vacancy. A look of grief overspread his face.

"What's the matter, Barry," cried Joe; "are you sick?"

"No," said Barry, "I'm not sick. The pocketbook's gone!"

The two boys stood looking at each other speechlessly for many moments.
Presently Joe spoke:

"Do you think you had it when you went into the moving picture show?"

"I _know_ I had it then."

"Well, the answer's simple--you've been robbed!"

For the time being Barry felt as though the universe had gone to pieces
and lay in chaos at his feet, but after awhile he came to his senses,
and at the suggestion of his friend, the two of them started to retrace
their steps from the postoffice to the moving picture theatre. They had
gone about two blocks when Joe Hart suddenly exclaimed:

"Look. What's that in the street?"

Barry followed the glance of his friend and saw a red wallet lying on
the asphalt, in front of a Pennsylvania Avenue store. He ran over and
picked it up. It was his own. He opened it and looked into one side of
the wallet. It was empty. He turned to the other and looked in, and to
his satisfaction, found a solitary ten-dollar bill. He showed it to Joe
Hart.

"What do you think of it?" he asked.

"I think the man that stole the wallet took the money out of the one
side and thought that that was all there was in it. Then he threw the
wallet away to get rid of it."

After that the boys walked back to the postoffice, where Barry bought a
postal order for ten dollars. He destroyed the letter which he had
written to his mother originally, and began the composition of a second
one. It was a slow and painful task.

"I don't know just what to say," he said. "I've told mother that I got
sixty-eight dollars for my month's pay and I've explained how I used
part of it in paying Mr. Carlton and another part in settling what I owe
Mrs. Johnson. I'm sending her the other ten dollars, but she'll wonder
what I've done with the rest. I haven't got the nerve to tell her that
I've lost it. What would _you_ do?"

"Don't know," said Joe, aimlessly.

"Maybe it would worry her," said Barry. "I'll just--"

"I say, Barry," interrupted Joe, with his queer expression; "do you know
the best way?"

"No."

"Just tell her the truth--tell her exactly what happened."

And Barry did.



CHAPTER VIII

AN UNEXPECTED MOVE


Mr. Carlton now had his Naval Repair Station measure in good shape and
he considered the time ripe for its introduction in the House of
Representatives. One morning, when the Speaker called for new bills, he
handed in the typewritten document on which all of his ambitions and his
hopes were pinned.

"The bill presented by the Gentleman from Maine is referred to the
Committee on Naval Affairs," announced the Speaker.

Barry, who had carried the precious draft from the Congressman's desk to
the Speaker's platform, could not resist the opportunity of whispering a
word of exaltation to his patron.

"She's in at last, Mr. Carlton," he said, "and you ought to feel proud
and happy."

The Congressman sighed.

"She's in, Barry, but that's only the first step in the battle."

"But it's a good bill," insisted the boy, earnestly, "and it has been
approved by the Navy Department."

"Not yet, but I hope it will be soon," corrected Mr. Carlton.

"Then it will pass, sure."

The statesman smiled at the boy's enthusiasm.

"I'm not so positive of that," he said. "I've known many a good measure
to go to a Committee and after that never see the light of day again."

Nevertheless John Carlton felt very optimistic over the Naval Repair
Station bill. But he had been in Congress too long to permit himself to
become affected with the political disease known as "over-confidence."
He had prepared the draft of the law with great care. He knew of cases
where the omission of a word, or the dropping of a comma, had destroyed
the effect of important legislation.

Also, he had sounded a number of members of the Committee on Naval
Affairs and found that they were well disposed toward the bill. He
intended to push the legislation solely on its merits, but he knew that
in Congress, as elsewhere, the intelligent and industrious
representative is apt to outstrip the man who does not possess these
homely but essential qualities.

Felix Conway was in the House when the bill was offered and he
immediately began the preparation of a dispatch to the two evening
newspapers that he represented. Both were in the district affected by
the location of the Naval Repair Station in Cleverly, and both were
enthusiastically in favor of the proposition. It was at the suggestion
of Mr. Conway that these newspapers had avoided any premature
announcement of the project. He feared that such advance publicity might
produce a host of rival cities, all claiming to have available sites,
for the proposed station. Now that the bill had actually been offered,
it was featured in both of Mr. Conway's newspapers with big headlines
and diagrams of the intended improvement. That night he wired it to the
big New York newspaper which he also represented at Washington.

This was the beginning. Both the Congressman and his friend realized the
importance of developing a public sentiment in favor of the bill. They
knew that the site was an ideal one. It remained for them to impress
that fact upon the members who would be called on to pass upon the bill.
The mere introduction of the bill was a big piece of news, and it was
printed broadcast in all of the newspapers of the country. But the
greatest interest, of course, was displayed by the Eastern press.

Mr. Carlton made sure to attend the first meeting of the Committee on
Naval Affairs after the introduction of the measure into Congress. After
brief debate the bill was referred to the Secretary of the Navy for his
consideration. He in turn passed it over to a Committee of experts, with
a request for an early report. In the meantime day after day passed and
Mr. Carlton watched anxiously to see if the people of any other locality
would come forth with a site. But time went by and none appeared and he
felt greatly relieved.

In the meantime events were moving rapidly. The Board of Experts visited
Cleverly and made a careful inspection of the site of the proposed
station. Mr. Smithers, the President of the Board of Trade, offered his
services to the visitors and answered questions with such confidence and
pointed out the advantages of the place so convincingly that the Board
of Experts unanimously favored the bill. The Naval men realized that the
Government had an opportunity that should not be neglected. They
returned to Washington well pleased with their trip and in a few days
sent a glowing report to the Secretary of the Navy, who, in his turn,
forwarded it to the Committee on Naval Affairs.

John Carlton was delighted. Things were progressing better than he had
expected. Felix Conway wrote a series of letters for his morning
newspaper, showing that the location of the station at Cleverly would
not only be good for the Government, but would also give permanent
employment to five or six hundred men. He was enthusiastic and he
elaborated on his theme. He even went so far as to declare that it meant
a new era of prosperity and that not only the city and State, but the
nation would share in the good times. This brought sharp retorts from
newspapers out of the Cleverly zone and one or two of them hinted that
Cleverly was not the hub of the universe in spite of the eloquent
outbursts of Felix Conway.

Barry was now in the thick of events. Mr. Carlton had made an
arrangement with him by which the boy was to give all of his time to him
when he was not engaged in his duties as page. Barry was surprised at
the number of things he was able to do. First he went through the
newspapers and clipped out all editorials and news articles bearing upon
the proposed Naval Repair Station. There were many hundreds of these,
and the young page arranged them in large envelopes according to the
views expressed therein. Those that favored Cleverly were placed in one
package; those that opposed it, in another. He planned to keep the
indifferent comments by themselves. Strange to say, none of the
newspapers were indifferent. A few were unfriendly to the suggested
site, but the great majority of the articles and the editorials agreed
that Cleverly was the natural and desirable spot for the Naval Repair
Station.

Resolutions, petitions, memorials, letters and telegrams came pouring in
on Congressman Carlton commending him for presenting the bill, and
urging him to carry his work to a successful conclusion. He felt well
pleased with the situation. The new Naval Repair Station promised to
make him popular as well as important. One of the members of the House
congratulated him on his prominence in the public eye:

"It's very nice," he admitted, "but I'm not letting it take me off my
feet. You know a political leader who receives bouquets today may get
brick-bats tomorrow."

Finally the House fixed a date after which it was decided that no new
bills could be introduced. Mr. Carlton put in some anxious hours. He
wondered if something might not occur at the last moment to upset his
plans. But the day arrived and passed and no new Naval Repair Station
bill had been presented. Mr. Carlton was overjoyed. It seemed almost
certain that his measure was to have smooth sailing.

The following day a meeting of the Committee on Naval Affairs was called
for the purpose of transacting general business. Among other things the
Clerk of the Committee read the report made by the Board of Naval
Experts on the proposed Repair Station at Cleverly. It was clear and it
was convincing. The words were music to the ears of John Carlton. But,
as the clerk finished, Mr. Collins, one of the members of the Committee,
arose and said:

"Mr. Chairman, I now request that the clerk read the bill making an
appropriation for the construction of the Naval Repair Station."

Congressman Carlton was on his feet instantly.

"What is the purpose of having it read now?"

"I wish to offer a little amendment to the bill," was the reply.

"All right," said the unsuspecting member.

The bill was read, and as the clerk concluded, Mr. Collins rose and
said:

"I move to strike out the portion of the bill fixing the location of the
station at Cleverly, and to insert the words, 'Green Island.'"

Half a dozen members were on their feet at the same time, all claiming
recognition at once. The Chairman nodded to Mr. Carlton and the others
sat down.

"Mr. Chairman," cried the Congressman, "this is a most astounding
amendment. It changes the whole purpose of the bill. It is not fair to
do this at the last moment without giving the members a chance to
consider what it means."

Mr. Collins flushed.

"The gentleman has no right to say that. It is a reflection on me."

"I have no desire to reflect on the member," said Mr. Carlton, "but I'd
like to know the meaning of the amendment."

"I'm not prepared to discuss it now," confessed Mr. Collins. "In fact I
presented the amendment by request."

"Then you're willing to postpone consideration for the present?"

"Yes."

"For how long?"

"Well, say two weeks."

And so it was agreed.

After the meeting Mr. Carlton went to his fellow member:

"See here, Collins; who are you representing in this matter?"

"My constituents, of course."

"No; but you said that you presented the amendment by request."

"That's true."

"By request of whom?"

The member smiled. He did not relish the aggressive manner of the
gentleman from Maine. He answered rather ironically:

"I'm not prepared to give you that information--at least not for the
present."

John Carlton was greatly chagrined at the turn of affairs. He was
prepared for open opposition, but how could he fight a foe who remained
in the dark? Green Island was not in Collins' district. So it was plain
that the amendment was inspired by someone else. Carlton tried to find
out who this one was and failed. Felix Conway was called into
consultation and the two men went to the Congressman's office, where
they discussed the question for more than an hour. But when they
finished they were no nearer a solution than in the beginning. Just as
they arose the door opened and Barry Wynn came into the room. He was
breathless.

"Mr. Carlton!" he cried. "Mr. Carlton!"

"Well, what is it?"

"I've found out who got Mr. Collins to offer that amendment."

Both men were on their feet. They spoke simultaneously.

"Who was it?"

"It was Congressman Hudson," replied the boy.



CHAPTER IX

ON THE TRAIL OF JOE HART


Barry had obtained the information which he had given his patron, in the
most commonplace way. After the session of the Committee, he was sitting
in the corner of the room talking to Joe Hart, when Jesse Hudson and Mr.
Collins came along talking very earnestly. Hudson said to the other:

"Much obliged for offering that Green Island bill. I'll do as much for
you some day."

That was enough for Barry. He realized the importance of this disclosure
and hastened to tell Mr. Carlton. He met with some delay in locating
him, but finally found him in his own room with Felix Conway, where he
made his startling announcement.

Ten minutes after exploding this verbal bomb, Barry started home with
Joe Hart. On the way it occurred to him that he was beginning to have a
genuine affection for the mischievous page boy. Joe was as full of
pranks as an egg is full of meat, but Barry was quick to learn that none
of his tricks were cruel or mean. He was simply overflowing with animal
spirits. He was capable also, quick to know what was required of him,
and prompt to act. Joe Hart was not prepossessing to look upon. He had a
thick thatch of red hair, a freckled face, and stub nose, and a pair of
blue eyes that gazed upon you with a look of appealing inquiry and the
innocence of an angel.

"Joe," said Barry one day, "you must have been a terror at school."

"Yes," replied Joe, with a comical twist of the mouth, "whenever any of
the boys were bad, the teacher lathered me. He said he couldn't go
wrong."

"The Sergeant-at-Arms of the House is very fond of you," suggested
Barry.

"He must be," replied Joe, "he scolds me so much."

Barry had been in Washington three weeks, when he came home one evening
about eleven o'clock and found Mrs. Johnson, his landlady, in tears. He
was very much exercised at this unexpected sight. It was as though he
had found his own mother crying.

"Why, what's the matter?" he asked.

"It is all about Joe Hart," she said, lifting a corner of her apron and
furtively wiping away the tears.

"Why, what about him, Mrs. Johnson?"

"Well, you know he is like yourself: he is like a son to me. His mother
placed him in my charge, and in a measure I am responsible for his
conduct. Now, you know it would break her heart if he would go wrong or
get into bad habits."

"Oh, he's all right, Mrs. Johnson."

"I wish I could feel so sure," she said. "I've been anxious about that
boy for a long while. He is getting careless. He is spending all of his
money and he stays out late at night."

"Well, I stay out myself sometimes, Mrs. Johnson."

"Yes," she said, "but I know where you are, and besides, you have never
been out later than eleven o'clock. Why, one morning it was one o'clock
when he got home, and you see tonight, it is already past eleven."

"Well, I think you'll find it's all right," said Barry, soothingly.

"But I must know that it's right," she persisted. "Won't you help me?"

"I'd be glad to do anything I could for you."

"Well, you can help if you want to."

"How?"

"By finding out where Joe Hart has been spending his nights."

Barry raised his hand in protest.

"Oh, Mrs. Johnson, I couldn't do anything like that."

"Yes, you could," she replied, with a doggedness that some women can
employ so effectively.

"But I couldn't," he reiterated. "Joe 'd never forgive me."

The tears left her eyes at this response and a look of anger replaced
them.

"Well," she said, angrily, "I can pry into his business and I am going
to, and if you won't help me, I'll get somebody that will!"

Barry went to bed that night feeling very uncomfortable. He had his own
suspicions concerning Joe Hart, but he did not have the courage to give
voice to them. Besides it distressed him very much to feel that he had
incurred the displeasure of his motherly landlady. All the next day the
incident bothered him, and more than once he found himself looking
anxiously at Joe and wondering whether it would not be a good thing to
ask his young friend to explain the cause of his unusual conduct. But he
did not, and the feeling of his discomfort weighed heavily upon him
every hour of the day.

That night at dinner Barry noticed that Joe was very much preoccupied
in his manner. He bolted his food and kept looking at the clock with an
unnatural anxiety.

"What's the matter, Joe?" asked Barry. "Have to go out?"

"Yes."

"Where?"

Joe seemed confused for a moment and then said hastily:

"Oh, it don't make any difference."

A few minutes later Joe went to the door and looked out, and then came
in again and began drumming on the table cloth.

"What's the weather like?" asked Barry, in an attempt to make
conversation.

"Looks like rain," replied Joe, aimlessly.

Barry could stand this no longer. He walked to his young friend and said
in a determined voice:

"Look here, Joe Hart, what do you mean? You say it looks like rain, and
the sky's full of stars. You don't know what you're talking about.
What's on your mind?"

Joe's freckled face reddened to the ears. He showed more confusion than
Barry had ever known him to display before.

"I was thinking of something else," he mumbled. "I guess you're right
about the weather. It doesn't look like rain at all."

Barry walked away very much dissatisfied. It was evident that Joe was
trying to deceive him, and he did not relish that. Presently the boy
came over to him very shyly.

"Barry," whispered Joe, in a sort of awe-stricken voice. "Have you got
four or five dollars to spare?"

Barry hesitated.

"It's only until pay-day," said Joe, eagerly. "I'll get my check in a
week and I'll be sure to pay you back."

"It's not that, Joe," said Barry, gently. "I'd be willing to give you
every penny I've got in the world, but I hate to see you waste your
money."

"Oh, it won't be wasted," he cried.

Without another word Barry put his hand in his pocket and pulled out a
pocket-book, reached in and lifted out a five-dollar note and handed it
to the other.

"You're a bully fellow," exclaimed Joe, in his old happy-go-lucky,
care-free manner. "I knew you wouldn't go back on an old pal."

"Of eight weeks' standing," said Barry, drily.

Joe's eyes danced with delight.

"That's a long while in these days of fierce competition."

Five minutes later the door slammed and Joe had disappeared. At the same
moment Mrs. Johnson came to Barry.

"I overheard your conversation, and it has distressed me more than I can
explain. I feel more than ever that it is necessary to find out what
this boy is doing with his money and where he spends his nights."

Barry looked at her helplessly.

"I don't see how I can help you, Mrs. Johnson."

Her eyes sparkled.

"Yes, you do. I have made up my mind that I will look after him and I
have also made up my mind that you are going to help me."

Barry laughed, feebly.

"Well, if that's the case," he said, "I guess I might as well take my
orders."

"Well, I want you to go after him right away. Don't let him see you, but
find out what he does with that money."

"Oh, Mrs. Johnson," said Barry, "I couldn't do that."

She began to weep and in a moment or two threatened to become
hysterical.

"I must know," she exclaimed. "I must know, and if you don't go after
him I'll get my bonnet and go myself!"

After this there was nothing for Barry to do but put on his hat and
follow Joe Hart. The boy had a start of three or four blocks, but Barry
could see him passing under an electric light near the end of the
Treasury Building. They went block after block until they reached the
poorer section of the city on the outskirts of the railroad tracks.
Presently Joe stopped at a fruit stand and began examining the stock of
the Italian who presided over the place. In a few moments he had
purchased a basketful of peaches, pears, and plums. At this stage of the
pursuit Barry's better feelings came to the surface again and he
resolved that he would follow Joe no farther. He turned off into a side
street. Somehow or other he lost his way. Coming out of the other end of
the street he almost ran face to face into Joe Hart. But the little page
was so absorbed that he did not notice his friend. Joe walked up to a
small, mean-looking house in the middle of the block, facing a large,
vacant lot. Barry hid behind the trunk of a convenient tree. Joe rapped
on the door and a poorly-clad, pale-faced woman responded. Her face
brightened at the sight of Joe.

"Good evening, Mrs. Lewis," cried Joe, in his cheeriest voice, "how are
the children getting along tonight?"

"They're better, thank God," she cried, fervently. "The doctor says that
the crisis passed yesterday and they will be on the mend in a few days."

"I'm mighty glad to hear it," said Joe.

"It's very kind of you to come here," continued the woman; "and I'm
sorry I can't ask you in."

"Don't mention it. I'm a busy man, and haven't much time to spare.
Here's a basket of fruit. Here's the prescription you wanted last night,
too."

"May Heaven bless you," cried the woman, the tears coming into her eyes.
"I don't know how in the world I can ever repay you for your goodness to
us."

"Don't mention it," cried Joe, brusquely. "Here's a five-dollar bill.
You may need it."

"Oh," she said, "I can't really take this."

"You must!"

"But I won't be able to give it back to you."

"Well," said Joe, with a laugh, "we'll put that up to Danny. We'll make
Danny pay me when he gets better."

And the next moment Joe had started off in the darkness. Barry came out
from his hiding place. The woman saw him.

"Are you looking for Joe?"

"Yes; has he gone?"

"Yes," she said, "he has just gone." And then, looking at him
inquiringly, "Do you know him?"

"Yes, ma'am; he's my chum."

"Well," she said, "if you know him you know an angel in disguise. My
Danny says that and Danny ought to know."

"Danny?" said Barry, inquiringly.

"Yes," she replied, "my boy, Danny Lewis. He is head of the local
messenger boys in the district telegraph office. He was taken sick two
weeks ago and the doctor said it was typhoid fever. Someone had to take
his place at the office, and when Joe Hart heard of it he volunteered
to act as substitute. For more than a week he has been acting as page in
the House during the day and chief of the telegraph boys at night. He
did it to keep Danny from losing his position. You know these things are
mighty uncertain. Now the week for Danny's night shifts is passed and
everything is safe, but Joe didn't stop at that. He knew we were poor,
and he has been buying food and fruit almost every night."

The strange lump that came into Barry's throat prevented him from making
any reply. But his hand was perfectly free, and when he put it into Mrs.
Lewis' she found that he had left another five-dollar bill in her palm.

Half an hour later, as he turned into the street where Mrs. Johnson's
boarding house was located, he almost collided with Joe Hart, who was
coming in another direction. He looked at him very fixedly and said in a
stern voice:

"Where have you been?"

"I've been out."

"That don't answer my question," said Barry, severely. "I want to know
where you've been spending your nights."

"Oh, nowhere in particular," said Joe, hastily, and then, in an endeavor
to turn the subject, he said:

"How do you like your work at the Capitol?"

"It's none of your business how I like my work," laughed Barry, "but it
is my business to tell you that you've been discovered!"

"Discovered!" echoed Joe.

"Yes. Caught, captured, found out! Don't you know the meaning of the
English language?"

"Yes, but I don't know what you're talking about."

"I'm talking about the way you've been spending your time the last two
weeks. I know all about you."

"How do you know?"

"Well, I saw you tonight and know all that you did."

For an instant Joe threatened to become belligerent. He doubled up his
fists and came towards Barry in a menacing way. Then he reconsidered
himself and his hands dropped listlessly to his sides. He spoke in a
reproachful way:

"I think that was mighty mean of you, Barry Wynn."

"I think so, too," confessed Barry. "I'm ashamed of myself all right,
but Mrs. Johnson was worried, and Joe--Joe, I'm mighty proud of you."

Barry, as he spoke, put his arm around Joe's shoulder, but the boy
pushed it away. His face was flushed and he looked embarrassed.

"Say, Barry," he said finally, "I want you to make a solemn promise to
me."

[Illustration: "I want you to make a solemn promise to me"

_See page 126_]

"What is it?"

"Never mind what it is. I want you to say that you will do as I say."

"All right," said Barry, finally; "I'll promise. What is it?"

Joe looked the picture of humiliation. His eyes were on the ground and
he spoke pleadingly:

"Barry, it's just this. I want you to promise me that you'll never
mention this business to the other boys at the Capitol."

"Why?" asked Barry.

"Because, I'd never hear the last of it. Those fellows would just guy
the life out of me."

Barry, his heart swelling with a new and peculiar sensation, made the
promise.



CHAPTER X

SUSPENSE


It became evident in the course of a few days that the amendment to the
Naval Repair Station bill was to be pushed vigorously. In fact a great
deal of sentiment in its favor developed in the most unexpected places.

Mr. Carlton had been under the impression that a large majority of the
members of the Committee were for the Cleverly site as against any
other, but he learned that he was mistaken. Some of the members declared
themselves openly in favor of the Collins amendment; others said that
the new proposition was deserving of very careful consideration.

Naturally this worried the Congressman. He spent many anxious hours and
days in trying to strengthen his own position. Curious to state no one
now seemed to care anything about Cleverly. On the other hand there was
wide-spread interest in Green Island. There was a reason. The amendment
in favor of Green Island had just enough mystery about it to pique the
curiosity of the law makers.

The fact that Jesse Hudson was behind the bill was also significant. It
meant that there was at least a chance of its passage. Hudson was not in
the habit of enlisting in losing fights. He was one of the best known
members of the House. He had served eight consecutive terms. He was
resourceful; he was industrious, and he knew the methods of procedure by
heart. Besides that he had a great many friends. And that made him a
foeman worthy of any man's steel. Some persons pretend that friendship
has ceased to exist in the world. It is not true. The poorest man has
some friends. Others--even though they be unworthy--have many friends.
Friendship is a great asset to any man. It is invaluable to the man in
public life. Carlton realized this fact. He knew that Hudson had served
so many men in his day that some of them would want to serve him now.
And the member from Maine felt very, very anxious about his favorite
piece of legislation.

Two of the things against the Green Island project were its apparent
lack of support from the people of that locality, and the fact that it
had not been endorsed by the Secretary of the Navy. Under ordinary
circumstances the lack of these two requisites would have been
sufficient to defeat any bill. In this case, however, they did not seem
to count much. One of the reasons was that the land at Green Island was
offered to the Government for a much lower price than had been fixed for
the site at Cleverly.

"How can you explain that away?" asked the Secretary of the Navy of Mr.
Carlton.

"Easily; it's not worth one-fourth as much."

The cabinet officer laughed.

"I like your positiveness."

"I can prove every word I say."

"Maybe you can."

"There's no 'maybe' about it, Mr. Secretary. I know what I'm talking
about."

"The other fellows say the same thing," suggested the Secretary.

"See here," cried the Congressman, "you don't intend to indorse this
Green Island scheme, do you?"

The Secretary became serious.

"Certainly not. I have already placed the seal of my approval on the
Cleverly site. I believe this is the very best location we could get on
the Atlantic Coast. But, that is merely my say-so."

"It's sufficient," protested Carlton, stubbornly.

"I hope so; but you mustn't underestimate the shrewdness of the fellows
who are against you."

"You wouldn't let it go through, would you?" cried the Congressman, in
alarm.

"Not if I could help it, but the thing might get beyond my control."

"How?"

"Well, I suppose you know that we are in urgent need of this Naval
Repair Station?"

"I'm sure of it."

"You know, in fact, that we must have it at once."

"Yes."

"Well, suppose these fellows pass the Green Island bill and then have
Congress adjourn."

"Well?"

"Picture the position in which I would be placed. If I ask the President
to veto the bill, I am put in the attitude of killing a project for
which I have been fighting."

"But not in the same place."

"No; not in the same place. But the difference in the desirability of
the sites might not be considered sufficient cause for killing the bill
after it comes from Congress."

"I see."

"Of course, you see. Now, it's up to you to defeat the Green Island
scheme, and after that to pass the Cleverly bill."

"It's a pretty big contract to give to one man."

The Secretary laughed.

"Your shoulders are broad. Besides, I'm sure you must have some good
friends."

"No one ever had better ones," was the fervent retort.

"Well, enlist them in your cause. Good-bye, and good luck to you," were
the final words of the Cabinet officer.

John Carlton left with a smiling face, but down in his heart he had
grave misgivings. As he entered the hall of the House he met Barry Wynn.

"Well, my boy," he said with outward cheerfulness that never deserted
him, "what's new?"

"A great deal," replied the young page. "The members have been handing
in petitions this morning in favor of placing the Naval Repair Station
at Green Island."

"Many of them?"

"Hundreds and hundreds of them. Why it looked like a snow storm of
white papers. They came from all parts of the House."

"Did you say they were all on the same kind of paper?"

"No, I didn't," retorted Barry; "but now that you speak of it, they were
all on one kind of paper."

Mr. Carlton nodded his head knowingly.

"It's just as I thought. This is not a natural outburst from the people.
It's a scheme--a set-up job."

Barry looked at him helplessly.

"Can I do anything?" he asked, finally.

The Congressman was plunged in thought. Finally he looked up at the boy:

"Yes," he replied, "everybody can do something, Barry," he added, "we've
got to stir up Cleverly as it has never been stirred up before. We must
have a delegation of citizens come here and present their claims to the
members of the Committee on Naval Affairs; we must get in touch with
everyone that is worth his salt, and we must have telegrams, letters
and petitions fairly rain down upon the members from now until the
meeting of the Committee."

The shower came and it was helpful. Also, Mr. Smithers sent a telegram,
saying that he was organizing a delegation of leading citizens and that
they would reach Washington in a few days. Barry, acting under the
direction of Mr. Carlton, sent a number of letters to men who would be
likely to assist in agitating the superior claims of Cleverly. One day,
after a number of these petitions had been presented in the House, Mr.
Carlton happened to meet Jesse Hudson.

"Hello," said the rival, who was still smarting over his defeat in the
Garner claim, "you seem to be busy."

"This is my busy day," retorted Carlton, with imperturbable good humor.

"What are you trying to do, advertise Cleverly?" persisted Hudson.

"Incidentally," replied Carlton.

"You know that's all you'll ever get out of it," sneered Hudson. "You
know you'll never get that Naval Repair Station."

"No; I don't know that," said the man from Maine; "but I'm glad to get
the news from such a distinguished authority. You know you are such a
reliable prophet. You remember you said the Garner claim was sure to
pass."

Hudson was too angry to reply to this sally. He stalked down the hall
with his chin in the air, looking as if he could bite nails. Carlton, on
his part, hurried to the office of the Secretary of the Navy. He was
anxious to know whether there was anything new in the proposed naval
station legislation. The Secretary was not in, but his chief clerk said
he would be glad to give the Congressman any information he might have.

"What can you tell me about the proposed station?" asked Carlton.

"Nothing, except that a delegation called here yesterday in the interest
of Green Island."

"They did?"

"Yes, sir; and they presented a set of blue prints showing how much the
Government would gain by locating the repair station at that point."

"Blue prints don't mean everything," commented the Congressman.

"That's what the Secretary said, and he referred them to the Board of
Experts that visited Cleverly."

"Did they go to Green Island?"

"No; they have no authority from Congress to examine the site."

"But they scrutinized the plans?"

"Yes."

"What was the verdict?"

"That, leaving out geographical considerations, the land at Green Island
would make as good a location as that at Cleverly."

Mr. Carlton left the office of the Secretary of the Navy in a very
thoughtful frame of mind. He realized that the opposition was making
progress, and that his own cause was losing ground.



CHAPTER XI

DISCORD AND DEFEAT


One morning, while Barry was on his way to the Capitol, he passed a
popular second-class hotel, known as the Olympic. Quite a crowd had
gathered around the entrance to the house and inside the parlor a band
was playing the popular airs of the day. Barry hesitated for a moment.
Then he turned and went in to satisfy his curiosity. Over the entrance
to the double parlor of the hotel was a sign reading: "Headquarters of
the Citizen's Committee of Green Island."

He realized that he was in the camp of the enemy. Also, it came to his
mind that the backers of the Green Island scheme had resolved to stake
the success of their enterprise upon a spectacular campaign. This method
of procedure was not new to Barry. He had attended several political
conventions and he knew more than one candidate who had accomplished by
brag and bluster what would have been impossible through the use of
reason. The citizens of Green Island were numerous and noisy. Most of
them were puffing away at big black cigars. Some of them, in the words
of a witty Hibernian, "were at the bar of the House, pouring red liquor
down their English, Irish and French channels." But about it all there
was an air of aggressive excitement. "I'll tell you," cried one citizen,
whose high silk hat looked like a misfit, "I tell you the people of
Green Island do not ask for this Naval Repair Station. They demand it!"
This outburst was greeted with loud and prolonged cheers.

When Barry reached the House he reported what he had seen to Congressman
Carlton. That gentleman seemed greatly impressed:

"This means that we must be on guard day and night," he said. "Sometimes
important legislation is put through with a rush."

For the first time since the project was broached, Mr. Hartman, the
Congressman whose district included Green Island, now came to the front
in defense of the bill for a Naval Supply Station. Carlton met him in
the lobby that day:

"Why, Frank," he said in an injured tone, "I never knew that you were
going to father a Naval Repair Station bill at this session of
Congress."

The legislator looked at him in silence for a moment and then burst into
a laugh.

"To tell the truth, I didn't know it myself, John."

"Well, what does it all mean?"

"Blest if I know."

"But you're backing the bill?"

"Yes, of course, I am. But to be entirely frank with you, I didn't know
a thing about it until it was introduced as an amendment to your bill in
the Committee on Naval Affairs! It interested me then because it was in
my district. It interested me still more because it had been presented
by a member outside of the district. I was passive. I didn't support or
oppose the bill. I was like the man from Missouri. I wanted to be shown.
But yesterday a delegation arrived from home. They included some of my
constituents. They asked me to support the bill. I protested against the
manner of its introduction, and they admitted that that was a mistake
which they regretted. So there you are. On the face of it the
proposition is all right. It is supported by men who have supported me.
So I suppose I'll have to work and vote for the bill."

"You don't seem to be working very hard."

"No harder than is necessary," was the languid reply.

Carlton was pleased, but not entirely satisfied. The Green Island
proposition was really stronger than it had been at any time since its
presentation. Three Congressmen were openly committed to it, and a large
and enthusiastic delegation of citizens was "boosting" it from early in
the morning until late at night. Carlton hoped that the Committee from
Cleverly would reach Washington soon. He felt the need of a counter
demonstration.

That afternoon he received notice that a meeting of the Committee on
Naval Affairs would be held the following day for the purpose of acting
on the Green Island amendment. This was short notice, but the
Congressman started to work at once. He made a canvass of the Committee,
and the result left the matter in doubt. Many of the members said that
if the Cleverly proposition was the only one before the Committee, they
would gladly promise to vote for it. The Green Island amendment,
however, put a different aspect on the question. Most important of all
the land at that place was offered to the Government for one hundred
dollars per acre.

"What is the price of your site by the acre?" asked one of the members.

"About one hundred and twenty dollars," replied Carlton.

"You see it's higher than Green Island."

"But it's better," was the retort.

"That's to be proven. At any rate, why don't you reduce the price of
yours?"

Carlton smiled and shook his head.

"That's impossible."

"Why?"

"Because it would be a confession that it had been made too high in the
beginning. Besides the property owners have fixed the price at the
assessed value of the land. Many of them could get more for their
property. But they've been public spirited enough to shade down to the
lowest point for the sake of having the station located at Cleverly."

"Then your people won't offer any other inducements?"

"I'm pretty sure they will not. We want the station very much, indeed,
but we want it on its merits."

That night at the boarding house Joe Hart invited Barry to go out with
him.

"Where?" asked the boy.

"I've promised to go over and see Danny Lewis."

"Sure," said Barry, "I'll be glad to go with you."

He remembered with pleasure Joe Hart's kindness to the Lewis family, and
he wanted to meet Danny, the messenger boy, concerning whom he had heard
so much from his fellow page. They found Danny at home, and they spent
the evening with him in the cosy sitting room of the little house. Danny
proved to be a bright, intelligent chap, with a sense of humor and Barry
liked him very much. Presently he recounted some of the odd experiences
he had undergone in the service of the telegraph company.

"I suppose they keep you very busy," suggested Barry.

"Rather," smiled Danny, "and lately it's getting so that we don't have a
minute to spare."

"Why?"

"Well, for one thing, those Green Island boomers keep us on the jump."

Barry was interested at once.

"I suppose they have a great many telegrams," he said.

"Suppose is no word for it," replied the boy; "it's a stern reality."

"They're hustlers," conceded Barry.

"Yes, and they're fighters, too."

"Fighters?"

"Yes; fist fighters."

"What do you mean?"

"Why, when I was delivering a telegram this morning, the chairman of the
delegation got into a dispute with one of the other men and it ended in
a rough and tumble fight."

Barry was absorbed.

"What was it about?"

"Oh, this fellow accused the chairman of freezing him out; said his land
was good as any other, and if they didn't take him in, he'd raise
trouble--only he used a stronger word than trouble."

Barry was on his feet now and had his hand on Danny's shoulder.

"Did--did you hear the fellow's name?"

"Sure; his name was Gaskill--they called him Billy Gaskill."

"Boys," said Barry; "I hope you'll excuse me. I've got an important
engagement."

Joe laughed.

"You're getting to be an important man."

Barry smiled back as he reached for his hat.

"If you knew what this meant, you wouldn't make fun of me, Joe," he
said.

Joe waved his hand magnanimously.

"It's all right, Barry. You can do as you please, and no questions
asked."

From the house of Danny Lewis the page boy hastened to John Carlton's
hotel. It was late, and the Congressman was preparing to retire.

"Hello, Barry," he cried, "what in the world do you want at this hour of
the night?"

The page boy, in a few quick, jerky sentences told him what he had heard
from Danny Lewis. Moreover, he said he had learned that Billy Gaskill
was still at the Olympic, and most important of all that he continued in
a bad humor.

Congressman Carlton went to the telephone and called up the office of
Felix Conway.

"Can you come here?" he asked.

"If you need me."

"I've got some big news for you."

After that the legislator insisted that Barry should go home.

"You go and get your rest," he said. "There's nothing more that you can
do for me tonight. See me the first thing in the morning."

The following morning each of the newspapers served by Felix Conway
contained an article denouncing the Green Island bill for a Naval Repair
Station as a sordid scheme, backed by a combination of unscrupulous land
speculators. It did not mince words, and it caused a genuine sensation
at the Capitol. Mr. Hartman, the Congressman from the Green Island
district, was amazed. He never had much faith in the bill, but he had
supposed that it was legitimate at least. He hurried to the Olympic
Hotel and presented himself to Dwight Whalley, the chairman of the Green
Island boomers.

"See here, Whalley," cried the disturbed Congressman, "have you read
these articles about the Green Island site?"

"Have I?" echoed the Chairman, "I should say so. We've all read them."

"Well, what have you got to say?"

"Say? Why that I'm as mad as a hatter; we're all mad as hatters."

Mr. Hartman waved his hand wearily.

"I don't care anything about feelings. I want to know whether the story
is true."

"True?" he repeated. "Surely you don't intend to pay any attention to a
sensational newspaper article."

"Don't you?"

"No; certainly not."

"Very well; now, I know what to do."

"Mr. Hartman; Mr. Hartman!" called the Chairman.

But the Congressman was already out of sight. Before noon that day a
statement appeared, over the signature of Mr. Hartman, in which he
disclaimed all further interest in the legislation affecting Green
Island. This added fuel to the fire. Before the Committee met that
afternoon nearly everyone in and around the Capitol appeared to be
interested in the fight over the Naval Repair Station.

Carlton was on hand very early. Prior to the meeting he held several
whispered conversations with Felix Conway. He was here, there and
everywhere. There was an air of aggressiveness about him that boded no
good for the opposition.

"He seems ready for the battle," suggested one of the Committeemen to
another.

"Yes," was the reply. "He's ready to fight at the drop of the hat."

The Committee was called to order, and the clerk read the Green Island
amendment as offered by Congressman Collins. The moment he finished
Jesse Hudson got the floor:

"I move that the amendment be adopted," he said.

Carlton was on his feet instantly.

"I think," he said, in purring tones, "that the gentleman has not had
the opportunity of reading the articles that appeared in this morning's
newspapers, otherwise I'm sure he would not favor this legislation."

"I've no time to read sensational newspapers," snapped Hudson.

"Then I'll have to enlighten the gentleman," said Carlton, still very
polite.

"How?"

Instead of answering Hudson, the man from Maine looked about him
inquiringly:

"Is Mr. William Douglass in the room?" he called.

In response a square-jawed man advanced to the desk of the Chairman.

"Gentlemen," said Carlton, looking about him smilingly, "Mr. Douglass
lives on Green Island, and with your permission I want to ask him one
or two questions about the Green Island site."

"This seems irregular," protested Hudson.

"It may seem irregular," was the retort, "but you'll find it will be all
right."

"What do you hope to demonstrate through Mr. Douglass?" asked the
Chairman.

"That this whole Green Island proposition is a land speculation scheme,"
retorted the Congressman sternly.

The members all looked up at this grave statement. Everyone was paying
the closest attention.

"Now, Mr. Douglass," said Carlton, "you're well acquainted with this
property, are you not?"

"I know every inch of the ground."

"Do you know the owners of it?"

"I did know the old owners."

"What do you mean by the old owners?"

"I mean that the entire property has changed hands during the last few
months."

"Since it first became known that the Government intended to build a
Naval Repair Station?"

"Exactly."

"Now, Mr. Douglass, these new owners are offering this property to the
Government for one hundred dollars an acre. What did they pay for the
land?"

"Less than twenty-five dollars an acre."

"That's all," said Carlton, promptly.

There was a hum of excited voices. Hudson protested that the price of
the land had nothing to do with the case, but his argument was lost in
the din. A ballot was called for, and the Green Island amendment was
overwhelmingly beaten, only two votes being recorded in its favor.



CHAPTER XII

SMITHERS TO THE RESCUE


For twenty-four hours after the defeat of the Green Island bill John
Carlton was kept busy responding to congratulations. Barry Wynn was one
of those who ventured to express his joy to the Congressman.

"I'm awfully glad you've won the fight," said the boy.

The statesman beamed on the youngster.

"You mean well, Barry," he exclaimed, "but I'm afraid you're a little
previous."

"But you beat them."

Mr. Carlton nodded.

"Yes, we defeated their bill, but we haven't passed our own!"

"But you will."

"I hope so, but I know we're going to have a terrific battle. Hudson and
the others are bitter over their defeat, and they'll move Heaven and
Earth to beat the man from Cleverly."

The session was now drawing near its close, and Mr. Carlton knew that if
he was to get his bill through, he would have to get action by the
Committee. Accordingly he had a day fixed when the members agreed to
hear the citizens of Cleverly. That accomplished, he wired Mr. Smithers
to be sure and have his committee in Washington at the time appointed.
The caution was heeded, for when the great day arrived, Mr. Carlton
received word that the delegation had reached the Capitol city. Barry
tried to locate them but failed. He did not know at what time they
reached Washington, or where they were domiciled. The only thing he
could do was to possess his soul in patience. The public hearing was
scheduled for two o'clock in the afternoon in the Committee room, and
Barry felt that they would be likely to appear there before the hour
indicated.

He was not mistaken. Ten minutes before the time the delegation filed
into the office of Congressman Carlton. Postmaster Ford headed the
party, and directly behind him were Mr. Smithers, Hiram Blake, and
several other prominent citizens of Cleverly. Mr. Carlton received them
cordially, and then Barry went around to them, one by one, shaking hands
with a fervency that could not be mistaken. The sight of the familiar
faces stirred him until every drop of blood in his body seemed to tingle
with delight. The sense of elation was greater than words could properly
describe. The sight of their dear old faces was like a whiff of ozone
from the ocean to a person parched with the heat of summer.

He had so much to say, and they had so much to say, that none of them
knew where to begin. The consequence was a genuine hubbub of voices and
a babble of sounds. Hiram Blake, as his relative, naturally claimed his
attention. These two talked in whispers for quite a while and the things
that Barry learned from his uncle made him very happy indeed. His mother
was well and contented, and pleased with the progress that he was
making in Washington.

After he had finished his talk with his uncle, Barry turned his
attention to Mr. Smithers. He had to shake hands with him again and
again in order to convince himself that it was really the old
schoolmaster himself in the flesh that stood before him. Mr. Daniel
Smithers, it might be said, parenthetically, was a different person in
Washington from Mr. Smithers in Cleverly. He was dressed neatly and in
good taste, and had indulged in the luxury of a shave and a hair cut.
Mr. Smithers, like most men of his class in the east, was not only
highly educated, but was a man of great capacity, and from the moment he
landed in Washington he had been fairly drinking in knowledge. He
absorbed facts and figures and information generally as a sponge absorbs
water. While the other members of the party had been indulging in the
pleasure that comes from viewing monuments and paintings, Mr. Smithers
had been making the rounds of the departments, and picking up odd bits
of information concerning the government of the country, that he was to
retain in his wonderful head the rest of his life. He visited the
Treasury, Patent Office, and the computing department of the Census
Bureau.

Barry looked at him in open-eyed wonder. He had the usual amount of
boyish enthusiasm upon the subject of sight-seeing, but he could not
understand the motive that would lead a man to visit what he considered
the dullest departments of the Government.

"What in the world did you visit the Census Bureau for?" he asked.

"To satisfy the curiosity which I inherited from Mother Eve," was the
dry response.

"But," protested Barry, "it is nothing but figures, and to me figures
are so dry."

"Well, it is all a question of taste, my boy. To my mind there is
nothing in the world so romantic and so fascinating as figures. I would
sooner add up a column of figures any day in the week than read the
finest poem that was ever written."

Barry shook his head.

"I can't understand that feeling," he said.

"I suppose not, but anyhow, this census business has a special
attraction for me. I wondered how they computed the figures after they
gathered them."

"Well, did you find out?"

"I did, indeed. If the boys at the Cleverly school want any information
on this subject, all they have to do is to call on their 'Uncle
Daniel.'"

In the midst of their conversation the voice of Mr. Carlton rang out
warningly:

"Gentlemen, we haven't a minute to spare. The Committee will be called
to order on the stroke of two, and we should be present. Just come with
me."

He started away from the room and they followed him in single file. They
marched through the subway which leads from the office building of the
House of Representatives into the Capitol. In a few minutes they
reached the headquarters of the Committee on Naval Affairs. The members
were already in session. A quick survey of the room showed John Carlton
that Mr. Jesse Hudson was in his place at the right hand of the Chairman
of the Committee. Joel Phipps, the clerk of the Committee, for whom Mr.
Carlton had no great relish, was calling the roll in a sing-song voice.
Carlton wondered vaguely whether Hudson would openly oppose his bill,
and if so, on what ground he would base his opposition. Hudson, on his
part, gave no intimation of his intentions. He nodded curtly to Carlton
on his entrance, and then buried himself in the perusal of a document
that he held in his hand.

Presently the business before the Committee was taken up in regular
order. Several of the members made motions for the purpose of regulating
the method of considering the various bills that were about to be
brought to their attention. Hudson was one of these. He reminded the
Committee that it was their policy not to consider propositions from
cities or towns having a population of less than thirty thousand. This,
he said, was necessary because of the labor problem.

Mr. Carlton now arose and said that he desired to have the privilege of
presenting arguments to prove that the city of Cleverly should have the
new Naval Repair Station, and that he wished to introduce a number of
his constituents who had visited Washington for that purpose. The first
member who was introduced was Postmaster Ford, who was put forward as a
man who was in a position to understand the Government side of the
question.

Mr. Ford made an effective little speech, in which he presented
statistics to show that Cleverly was just the place for the station. He
said that the increasing importance of the place justified the people in
making this request. When one of the members suggested that the proposed
site might be far from the ocean, he said that very thing insured the
Government a fresh-water basin where the barnacles could be readily
cleaned from the largest battleships afloat.

Mr. Smithers was then presented to the Committee, and the force and
originality of his remarks immediately attracted the attention of the
members. He had the valuable faculty of saying commonplace things in a
very impressive manner, and he proved to be the best speaker of the
delegation. He dwelt upon the growth of Cleverly, and said that it was
the duty of the National Government, not only to keep step with local
progress, but, if possible, always to be a few paces in advance.

After Mr. Smithers had taken his seat, the President of the local Board
of Trade told the members that the growing importance of Cleverly as a
business centre justified the demand which the citizens were making upon
the Congress of the United States. The members of the Committee were
beginning to get a little bit bored by this time, and they did not pay
much attention to the array of facts which the speaker presented in
support of his contentions.

As he sat down Mr. Carlton arose, and turning to the members, said:

"Gentlemen, have you any questions to ask of my constituents? If so, I
know that they will be only too glad to answer them."

The members shook their heads, as much as to say that they had heard as
much as they cared to hear, but this did not satisfy Mr. Carlton. He
desired, if possible, to spike any opposition that might develop. He
turned and looked directly at Jesse Hudson.

"Mr. Hudson, have you any questions to ask?"

"No," said Hudson, in a slow-going way, "I've listened to all that has
been said, and I have no desire to combat any of the arguments which
have been presented."

Carlton beamed with delight. He had no idea that his proposition would
have such plain sailing. He turned to the head of the Committee and
said:

"I suppose, Mr. Chairman, that it would not be premature if I were to
tell the members of this Committee that the proposition for a new Naval
Repair Station for Cleverly is likely to be reported to Congress with a
favorable report?"

"I think that what you say is quite probable," said the Chairman. "For
my own part I--"

"One moment," interrupted a determined voice.

Every eye was turned in that direction and discovered Jesse Hudson on
his feet, gazing at Carlton in a menacing manner.

"Mr. Hudson has the floor," said the Chairman, respectfully.

"Now, gentlemen," said Hudson, in his bristling, aggressive way, "before
we go any further in the business that is before this Committee, I move
that we throw out the proposition to give this station to Cleverly."

"Why?" demanded Carlton. "I think we have made it a good case."

"You have made it a splendid case," was the sneering response, "but
unfortunately Cleverly is a city that does not come within the scope of
the work which has been mapped out by this Committee."

"What do you mean?" demanded Carlton, angrily.

"I mean that we agreed that we should not consider the application of
cities or towns with a population of less than thirty thousand."

"I know that," assented Carlton, "but--"

"There are no 'buts' to it," cried the other, exultingly. "I have here
an official copy of the last census," and he held a document in the air,
"and according to this book, Cleverly has a population of 29,786."

Carlton looked crestfallen. The other members of the Committee yawned.
One of them said with a snicker:

"We have wasted a lot of valuable time."

"Yes," remarked another, "I move that we take up the next bill before
the Committee."

"But," protested Carlton, "the figures Mr. Hudson has given are eight
or nine years old."

"Yes," retorted his adversary, "but they are the only official figures
we can consider."

"One moment," cried a voice from the rear of the room.

Everybody looked in that direction. Mr. Daniel Smithers was standing up
and waving a sheet of paper in the air.

"This gentleman is not a member of the Committee," protested Hudson.

"No," shouted the schoolmaster, "but I have some information that the
Committee might like to receive."

"What is it?" asked the Chairman.

"It is simply this: I was in the office of the Director of the Census
less than an hour ago. He was good enough to tell me that the computers
had just finished the count of the new census of the city of Cleverly."

"Yes, yes," cried Carlton, on his feet, "and what were the figures? What
is the population of Cleverly today?"

Smithers straightened to his full height in order to fire his shot
straight at the bull's eye. He spoke impressively, even dramatically:

"Cleverly, today," he cried, "has a population of 43,986!"

Two or three members of the Committee and the entire delegation from
Cleverly broke out in a ripple of applause. Hudson, seated in a corner
of the room, looked sick and crestfallen. The Chairman of the Committee
turned to the clerk and said, drily:

"Lay the Cleverly bill aside. It is evidently worthy of further
consideration."

The Chairman of the delegation thanked the members of the Committee for
their attention and then filed out of the room, with Carlton at their
head. As they reached the corridor of the Capitol, the big statesman
grabbed the schoolteacher by the hand and cried, impulsively:

"By George, Smithers, but you just came in in the very nick of time!"

Smithers smiled in his homely way.

"I guess it was all right," he admitted, "but, John, don't you remember
when we were boys, they used to say I was the best pinch hitter on our
base-ball team?"



CHAPTER XIII

A LITTLE PILGRIMAGE


That night Congressman Carlton entertained the Cleverly delegation at
dinner. It was a merry party, for they all felt very happy over their
preliminary victory in the matter of the new Federal station. Barry was
included among the dinner guests, and he conducted himself with due
modesty, and yet with all of the confidence of a veteran statesman. The
episode of the afternoon naturally came in for a large share of
conversation. The various members of the party viewed it according to
their respective methods of viewing life.

"I think we might as well go ahead and advertise for proposals," said
Postmaster Ford, who had the reputation of being the most optimistic man
in Cleverly. "The bill's as good as passed. It's a sure thing!"

Congressman Carlton laughed.

"I wish you would loan me your rose-colored glasses, Ford," was his
comment; "you certainly look on the sunny side of things."

"It's the only way to succeed," was the jovial response. "I think
pessimists should be suppressed by law."

"What do you think of that, Mr. Blake?" asked the legislator, turning to
Barry's uncle.

Hiram was a cautious man. He paused for some moments before replying. He
spoke, finally, with great deliberation:

"I think it's a great mistake for any of us, either as individuals or as
a community, to count our chickens before they are hatched."

Daniel Smithers had remained silent during the interchange of views.
John Carlton glanced in his direction.

"What has the philosopher of Cleverly to say on the burning subject of
the hour?"

The schoolmaster modestly disclaimed the title, saying that as far as
wisdom was concerned, there was safety in numbers.

"But what do you think of the situation?" insisted the Congressman.

"Well," said the other, "I think Ford and Blake are extremists. I see no
occasion for either joy or sorrow."

"Smithers is hedging," called a voice from the other side of the table.

"Not at all," protested the teacher. "As I view the situation, we have
every reason to be satisfied. We have won the skirmish, but the big
battle is still to be fought. Moreover, it does not take a very bright
observer to see that Mr. Carlton has a very resourceful and determined
adversary in Jesse Hudson. He was very much chagrined over his setback
this afternoon, and if I am not very much mistaken in my man he will do
his best to keep Cleverly from getting the new Naval Repair Station."

Mr. Carlton nodded his head.

"You've sized the situation up to the dot. There's no use blinking our
eyes to the truth. I'm up against the hardest fight of my life. While
you're with me, gentlemen, I feel your enthusiasm and strength. But
when you go away you must not forget that--"

"That you'll be standing all alone against a combination of clever
politicians," interrupted Hiram Blake.

The Congressman laughed.

"That's not exactly what I intended to say," he remarked, "but we'll let
it go at that."

"Blake's wrong in one particular," observed Smithers.

"How?"

"You won't be alone in this fight."

"No?"

"No; you'll have Barry Wynn with you."

Barry, sitting at the far end of the table, blushed to the roots of his
hair.

In the evening the delegation went to one of the theatres in Washington
as the guests of John Carlton. He purchased an entire box in honor of
the occasion, and thus his friends were able to see and hear to great
advantage. The play was one of James M. Barrie's whimsical comedies, and
to say that they all enjoyed it would be putting it very mildly indeed.
The company was competent and the play itself was not only humorous but
wholesome as well. Cleverly, while a thriving town, did not always have
the privilege of seeing the best plays, and, as a consequence, this
visit to the theatre in Washington was an opportunity that was
remembered a long while by each member of the delegation.

After the performance Congressman Carlton escorted his friends to their
hotel, and as they were about to part for the night, he said:

"Well, gentlemen, I shall be engaged all day tomorrow with my official
duties, and I am going to place you in the hands of Barry Wynn. He will
act as my representative. Now, is there anything in particular that you
would like to do tomorrow?"

One after another said that they had no special object in view. Finally,
Mr. Carlton turned to the boy and said:

"Barry, what do you say? What suggestion have you to make?"

Barry, thus suddenly appealed to, was at a loss what to say. In a
moment or two, however, a thought flashed into his mind and he gave it
voice:

"I think a trip to Mount Vernon would come pretty nearly filling the
bill."

"Good!" ejaculated the Congressman. "I can think of nothing that would
be pleasanter or more profitable. A pilgrimage to the tomb of
Washington! It's the very thing."

Everybody agreed to the proposition and a call was left with the night
clerk at the hotel so that they would be able to have an early breakfast
and start out on their trip in good season. They had all breakfasted by
nine o'clock the following morning and were ready for the day's sight
seeing. The trip was made by rail, and after reaching the home of the
Father of his Country, the members separated and spent nearly two hours
in viewing every part of the historic estate. They were all enchanted
with the simplicity of Mount Vernon. Standing on the colonial porch,
they could look out and see the Potomac river shimmering in the
distance. Mr. Smithers voiced the general opinion when he said that
Washington could not have secured a more ideal residence in which to
spend his honorable old age.

Although they were all men, the members of the delegation were greatly
interested in the quaint dining-room, and they admired the Colonial
china, the antique furniture, and the picturesque surroundings. They
stood in the hallway and looked up the open staircase, which Nellie
Custis had walked down one beautiful morning to become a bride. Indeed,
they were all intelligent men, and all having read the life of
Washington and the history of the country to advantage, they associated
every part of the old mansion with some interesting anecdote.

Mr. Smithers was particularly interested in the boyish recollections of
the great Washington. He gazed with particular keenness on the little
bundle of books which the future President of the country had read with
such profit when a boy. He examined minutely the fragments of school
exercises which showed the round, fair handwriting which has since
become so familiar to the civilized world. He noted among the papers
many copies of legal forms written by the youthful Washington, as well
as the set of rules regarding behavior. It was evident that these rules,
while sounding somewhat stilted, had had a remarkable effect in moulding
the boy's mind and in forming his character.

"Look at this one, Barry," said the old schoolmaster, "it is worth
remembering."

Barry looked over the shoulder of his old friend and read:


     "Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial
     fire called 'conscience.'"


Hiram Blake and Postmaster Ford, who were standing back of the other
two, nodded their assent and indicated by their manner, if not in words,
that a boy who would keep that maxim before him at all times could not
fail to become a useful member of society.

"Here's another one worth hearing," called out Mr. Smithers.

"What is it?" asked Hiram.


     "Let your discourse with men of business be short and
     comprehensive,"


read the schoolmaster, slowly.

"Good," cried Postmaster Ford. "That should be printed on a card and
placed on the desk of every busy man. It might frighten off the bores."

All the members of the party were now straining to see the little book,
which was kept out of the reach of vandals. Hiram Blake read a maxim as
follows:


     "Speak not evil of the absent, for it is unjust."


The Postmaster recited the next one:


     "Undertake not what you cannot perform, but be careful to keep your
     promise."


Before they left, the attendant of the estate gave them an outline of
the history of Mount Vernon. He said that it was the property of the
Mount Vernon Association, which had incorporated many years before for
the purpose of purchasing and holding the estate in perpetuity. The
association, he added, was composed of ladies of the United States and
was ably managed by a Board of lady Regents. Mount Vernon descended to
George Washington when he was about twenty-one years of age, from his
half brother, Lawrence Washington, and from that time until his death,
on the 14th of December, 1799, it was his home.

The time had passed so quickly and so pleasantly that it was now almost
noon, and it was decided that if they desired to reach their hotel in
time for lunch, they would have to move at once. As they were about to
pass out of the grounds, a large automobile came round one corner of the
property, prepared to resume its journey to the Capitol. Four gentlemen
were in this party. They had been inspecting Mount Vernon at the same
time as the delegation from Cleverly. The gentleman in charge, who
appeared to be paying a great deal of attention to the other three, was
rather dignified. But he had a very agreeable manner and frequently
said things that caused his companions to laugh.

Barry had been watching this gentleman for some time, and now he stood
gazing at him as though he were fascinated. There was something familiar
about him. Barry felt that he had met him before and yet, try as he
could, the memory of such a meeting would not come to his mind.

While Barry was still engaged in this mental debate, a sudden gust of
wind came along and took the stranger's hat from his head. It fell to
the ground and being lifted up again by the breeze, started off toward
the Potomac river, with the certainty and speed of a bird. Barry did not
hesitate, not even for a fraction of a second. He started after the
truant hat as fast as his legs would carry him.

It was a wild chase, but the boy won. He picked up the head-piece and
started back breathless but triumphant. The gentleman came running
toward him, meeting him half way. The incident had not disturbed his
temper. He was in the best of good humor.

"You 're a better sprinter than I," he said, jovially, "but when I was
your age I think I could have beaten you."

The boy and the man stood talking for some moments. The gentleman was
evidently asking many questions and Barry, very much embarrassed, was
answering the best he could.

"Looks as if Barry had made a new friend," commented Mr. Smithers.

Before anyone had a chance to reply, Barry was escorting the stranger
towards the delegation from Cleverly. He presented each of them in their
turn, but he was so flustered that no one caught the name of the
newcomer. Mr. Smithers and Postmaster Ford, however, looked at the
stranger very curiously and there was something very much like reverence
in their eyes. He chatted very amiably for a few moments and spoke about
the historic importance of the ground on which they were standing.

"By the by," he said, turning to Barry, "you're a page boy; do you know
Mr. John Carlton?"

"He's the member that had me appointed," replied Barry, proudly.

"Good," was the cordial response, "I'm glad to hear it. Carlton is an
able man and," half musingly, "he's a coming man, too; a coming man."

The members of the delegation looked at one another significantly. It
was a pleasure to them to hear anyone commend their Congressman.
Presently the stranger prepared to depart.

"I am very glad to have seen you gentlemen here," he said. "I think that
every man who has the opportunity to pay a pilgrimage to Mount Vernon
should do so."

They agreed with him, and presently, after some more talk, he turned and
said:

"Where's that little page boy?"

Barry was pushed to the front, and the stranger shook hands with him
very cordially.

"It does me good to shake hands with you," he said. "I like all boys,
but I have a special liking for boys who are bright and ambitious."

The next moment he had stepped into the automobile with his friends, and
as the machine puffed out of the gateway, he turned in his seat and
waved his hand, exclaiming:

"Good-bye, and good luck to you all."

It was all done so quickly that the visitors scarcely had time to get
their bearings. Hiram Blake, who had been looking after the vanishing
machine like a man in a stupor, was the first to speak:

"Who is that man?" he demanded.

"That," answered Barry, proudly, "is the President of the United
States!"

"I thought so," commented Mr. Smithers; "he had the air of a man of
authority."

"Yes," remarked Postmaster Ford, "I was sure it was he, and he looks
just like his pictures."

An hour later the members were taking their lunch at the hotel in
Washington, and before dusk that evening, they had started on their
return trip to Cleverly.

"Good-bye," cried Congressman Carlton, who was on the station platform
as they boarded the train, "I will promise to do the best I can with
that bill."

Mr. Smithers, who was the last one to get on the train, thought of the
incident at Mount Vernon, and replied significantly:

"I am sure you won't fail us--not when you have the assistance of such a
bright boy as Barry Wynn."



CHAPTER XIV

BARRY FALLS A SECOND TIME


For several days after his unexpected interview with the President,
Barry was filled with a sense of his own importance. He related the
incident to Congressman Carlton and to Joe Hart, and in the course of
time, it became very generally known about the Capitol. Mr. Carlton
seemed very much pleased at the honor that had been shown to his
protégé, but the page boys received the story in silence. Barry
attributed their attitude to envy, and that fact caused him to walk
about with his chin very high in the air. Indeed, he felt like a boy who
was walking on clouds. To use the words of one of the messengers at the
Capitol, he "didn't know whether he stood on his head or his heels."

A great deal of praise had been accorded him at the time of the
Warrington incident, and he was pointed out as the page boy who had
been instrumental in saving an important piece of legislation in which
the President was personally interested. The visit of the delegation
from Cleverly also caused him much self-gratification. The words of Mr.
Smithers to Congressman Carlton were still ringing in his ears. He could
hear the old teacher yet as he called out to the Congressman:

"I am sure you won't fail us--not when you have the assistance of such a
bright boy as Barry Wynn."

All of these things combined had the effect of making him feel that the
fate of a nation--in a measure--depended upon him. He even became
somewhat frigid in his relations with Joe Hart.

Barry, without knowing it, was passing through that period which comes
to nearly every boy,--the period between boyhood and manhood, when
self-importance is apt to overshadow and conceal real worth. But,
whatever the cause, there was no doubt of the effect that he produced.
He succeeded effectively in winning the ill will of the other boys. They
naturally resented the idea of a new page receiving so much praise from
the members of Congress.

The Sergeant-at-Arms of the House had provided the boys with a dressing
room in one of the alcoves in the basement of the Capitol, and they
frequently assembled here when not otherwise engaged. It was provided
with basins, towels, clothes-closets, and the other furnishings of a
room of this character. On cloudy days it was quite dark in this
apartment. On the third day after the Presidential adventure, Barry
hurried down to this room to wash his hands and comb his hair before
beginning his duties at the noonday session of the House. It was a
gloomy day, but he managed to find his way to the wash-basin. He opened
the spigot and filled the receptacle with water. At that moment one of
the boys attracted his attention to something that was going on in
another part of the room, and in the interval another little fellow
crept over to the basin and poured something into the water. Barry, all
unsuspecting of what had gone on in the brief interval, returned to the
basin and hastily washed his face and hands and then, boy-like, gave his
hair a quick smooth-down with a brush that lay on the marble wash table.

"Barry! Barry!" cried a voice at the door. "Mr. Carlton wants you right
away."

"I will come in a minute," was the reply. "I want to see if my hair's
all right."

"You haven't any time for that," was the retort. "He's calling you, and
he'll be very angry if you don't come at once."

Without further ado, Barry hurried up the marble stairway and along the
corridor and into the House. Several persons who passed him on the way,
looked at him and laughed, but he paid no attention to them. Presently
he reached the House and hurried over to where Mr. Carlton sat. The
Congressman looked at him for a moment and then burst into laughter.

"Why, Barry," he exclaimed, "what in the world is the matter with you?"

"Nothing," said the boy, innocently. "I was told that you wanted me in a
hurry."

"No," was the answer, "I don't want you, but if I were you I'd go and
wash my face before I began my duties."

"Wash my face?" echoed Barry. "What do you mean?"

"Why, you look as though you had just emerged from darkest Africa."

Wonderingly, Barry left the House and went out into the corridor again.
He went down stairs and before going back into the dressing room, took a
look at himself in a big pier mirror. What he saw caused him to gasp
with horror. His face was all black and smeared. He looked at his hands.
They were no better. As he turned from the glass a roar of laughter
greeted him. A crowd of the boys stood behind him, giggling and going
through all sorts of contortions. Barry turned from the glass
indignantly. As he started into the dressing room he saw Joe Hart.

"What does this mean," he exclaimed.

"It means that the boys have given you the first degree."

And such proved to be the case. A mischievous page boy had deliberately
emptied a bottle of ink in the wash basin with a consequence that had
been fatal to Barry's dignity. He did not take it in good part. Indeed,
he threatened to thrash the boy who had been guilty of the offense. At
this exhibition of temper the boys all filed down stairs after him, and
when they were safely away from public view, surrounded the new page and
told him to take his place on an elevated platform. He gazed at them
defiantly, but fight was out of the question. There were at least ten
boys in the crowd, and he realized that at the first move he made they
were likely to pounce on him and possibly tear the clothes from his
back. So he determined to submit with the best grace possible.

"Now," said one tall fellow, who appeared to be the ringleader, "we want
you to recite your lesson."

"My lesson?"

"Yes," said the other, handing him a large volume, "your lesson, and if
you don't do it correctly you'll be kept in after school."

Barry took the big book obediently. It was an unabridged dictionary.

"Now," said the moving spirit, "turn to the letter E."

Barry did so.

"Please find the word 'egotism.'"

Barry obeyed.

"Have you got it?"

"Yes," said Barry.

"Well, read the definition of the word as you find it in that book."

Barry did as he was bid, just as a pupil would respond to the commands
of his teacher.

"Egotism," he read, "is the practice of too frequently using the word
'I'; hence a speaking or writing overmuch of one's self;
self-exaltation; self-praise; the act or practice of magnifying one's
self or parading one's doings."

"Correct," cried the chief of the bad boys. "You're likely to be
promoted. You may report for duty to the Sergeant-at-Arms."

It is hardly necessary to say that Barry did not relish this ceremony.
Mr. Carlton, when he learned of the affair a day or so later, laughed.
He wondered if, after all, Barry did not need the punishment. However,
whatever the feelings of those most concerned, it had a chastening
effect on the new page boy. But it did not entirely deprive him of his
feeling of self-importance, and he continued to keep most of his fellow
pages at a distance.

It was about this time that Barry began to realize that, even with his
youth and inexperience, he was likely to be in the midst of great
happenings. There had been a "lagging" tendency in Congress. The
President had been urging important legislation from the very beginning
of the session, but a strong opposition effectively blocked him. The big
party leaders, it must be confessed, were not entirely in sympathy with
the chief executive of the nation, and as a consequence, their support
of his pet measures was lukewarm and lacking in the effectiveness which
produces successful legislation. Jesse Hudson was counted among the
President's supporters, although his actions did not give color to the
assumption; John Carlton, on the other hand, was classed among the
neutral members of the House, but was outspoken in the advocacy of
certain bills which the President had at heart.

There was something about the very air of Washington that portended a
political storm. The House seemed to be "marking time," as far as the
business of the nation was concerned. The President, in the White House
at the other end of the long avenue, was plainly dissatisfied with the
condition of affairs. Few expressed their convictions publicly, but
every now and then hints were dropped which suggested the possibility
of a big political contest. Those who loved war for the sake of the
fighting, begged Carlton to throw down the gage of battle, but he smiled
that wise smile of his--and said nothing.

During all of this time a sort of armed neutrality existed between John
Carlton and Jesse Hudson. On the morning after the day that Barry had
his experience with his fellow pages, Mr. Carlton got into a controversy
with Congressman Hudson on the floor of the House. It began in a debate
over a certain clause in the tariff bill. Hudson made an assertion which
was combated by Carlton. For a few moments there was a running fire of
assertions and contradictions. Finally Hudson challenged Carlton for
proof of the statements which he made.

"Mr. Speaker," said the latter, "if the gentleman from Illinois will
indulge me, I think I can produce the proof of my assertion before the
conclusion of this debate. It will be necessary, however, for me to
procure a certain book which is now in the Congressional Library."

Hudson arose with a mocking smile.

"I will give the gentleman all the time he desires, and all the rope he
wants, because I feel satisfied that if I give him enough he will
eventually hang himself."

The members of the House laughed at this retort, and then proceeded with
the consideration of the bills before them. Mr. Carlton clapped his
hands and Barry rushed to his side.

"Barry," he said, "I want you to hurry over to the Congressional Library
and get me a copy of a book which contains a report showing the wages
paid to certain workmen of Birmingham, England."

To make certain that he would obtain exactly what he wanted, the
Congressman gave Barry a memorandum containing the name of the volume
desired. Ordinarily, when a member desires to obtain a book from the
Library of Congress, he utilizes a device for transporting books
between the library and the Capitol. It is a pneumatic tube running from
the library to a small receiving room just back of Statuary Hall. Books,
as a rule, are obtained very expeditiously in this manner, but Mr.
Carlton was so anxious that there should be no error that he decided to
send Barry personally to the Librarian of Congress.

The boy hurried on his errand and in a few minutes was in the library.
He presented the memorandum to the official in charge, and in a few
minutes had obtained the book that was desired. While he was waiting, he
gazed about the building with wondering eyes. It was the first visit
that he had made to this beautiful structure, and he readily believed
the assertion of one of the attendants that it was the handsomest
building for public purposes in the world. After he had obtained the
book for Mr. Carlton, he walked through the labyrinth of beauty, gazing
with wide-open eyes on the treasures of art and sculpture that met him
at every turn. Imaginary figures of History, Science, and Art stood out
at every point in the long corridors and galleries. It was so well
lighted and ventilated that the boy felt that he was in a bookish
Paradise.

After going through the galleries he finally went into the library
proper and gazed at many of the curiosities of literature that abounded
in that place. He was examining a copy of Eliot's Indian Bible,
published in Cambridge in 1669, when the striking of a clock aroused him
to a realization of the business that had brought him to the library. He
remembered, with a pang of remorse, that Mr. Carlton was probably still
waiting for the book that he had under his arm.

He hastened back to the House. As he entered through one of the swinging
doors he noticed that Jesse Hudson was on his feet.

"Now," he was saying, "if the gentleman from Maine is ready to produce
the proof of the assertion that he made earlier in the day, I would like
to have it."

Carlton arose from his seat in an apologetic manner.

"I am sorry to say that I have not yet secured the data I wanted."

Hudson, who was still standing, sneered at his adversary:

"Probably," he said, "it is because there is no such data!"

"Gentlemen, you will please refrain from indulging in personalities,"
warned the Speaker. "The question before the House is on the motion of
the gentleman from Illinois. All in favor will please say 'Aye.'"

A roar of "Ayes" came from the members of the House.

The echo had scarcely died out when a voice from the corner could be
heard:

"I move that the House do now adjourn."

"The members have heard the motion," said the Speaker. "All in favor of
adjournment will please say 'Aye.'"

There was a roar of "Ayes."

"All who are opposed will say 'Nay.'"

A few scattered voices, among them Mr. Carlton's, cried "Nay."

"The 'Ayes' have it," declared the Speaker, "and the House now stands
adjourned."

At that moment Barry reached Mr. Carlton's side, holding a copy of the
much needed book in his hand. The Congressman turned around and the
moment he saw the boy a glint of anger appeared in his eyes. John
Carlton was a very amiable man, but like most men of that type, he could
be exceedingly angry at times. The thought of the manner in which he had
been worsted by his adversary did not help his temper at this particular
moment. He waved his hand toward Barry with a motion of disgust:

"You may take the book back now," he said; "I have no use for it!"

"I am sorry, Mr. Carlton," began Barry, "but--"

"Your sorrow comes too late," was the angry retort, "I have done my best
for you, and now you have succeeded in doing your worst for me!"

"But, Mr. Carlton--"

"I don't care for any explanation; I have nothing more to say."

And, turning on his heel, the Congressman walked away, leaving Barry
standing in the aisle, flushed and embarrassed.

It was a very sore trial for the boy from Cleverly. When Barry sought
his bed that night all of the vanity that had influenced his words and
actions during the previous days had vanished. He realized that he had
been at fault, and he wondered vaguely whether Mr. Carlton would ever
forgive him for his carelessness. He tried to keep up bravely, but his
pillow was damp with the tears that persisted in welling up in his eyes.
He realized that, after all, he was only a boy, with all of the defects
of boyhood. He thought of the lost money at the moving picture show, and
then of the manner in which he had failed his benefactor at a very
critical moment. After all, he was very, very human--and he had fallen a
second time.



CHAPTER XV

BARRY REDEEMS HIMSELF


For many days after the unfortunate incident of the Congressional
Library Barry found it very embarrassing to be in the presence of Mr.
Carlton. He realized more deeply as time went on how greatly he had
neglected his duty, and that fact did not tend to keep him in a very
pleasant state of mind. He was morose, irritable, and dissatisfied with
himself and with the world in general.

He still retained enough false pride to prevent him from making any
overtures to his friend and benefactor. Besides that, he had come to
know Mr. Carlton's character well enough to appreciate that soft words
could not, with him, take the place of a plain performance of duty. Mr.
Carlton, on his part, made no further reference to the incident. He did
not treat Barry unkindly, but there was in his manner an absence of
that cordiality that had existed before Barry's fall from grace.

To put it plainly, the friendly relations that had existed between the
man and the boy, while not absolutely broken, were strained in a manner
that made it very painful to Barry. He wondered in a heartsick way
whether he would ever again be the same to his old friend. He dwelt upon
the existing conditions all the time, and this only served to make him
still more uncomfortable.

A few nights after the occurrence he made up his mind to write to his
mother and make a frank confession of the whole business. He felt that
it was due her and that it would be wrong for him to keep her in the
dark. Almost immediately he received an impulsive, motherly reply. She
said that she was very greatly chagrined to hear of the incident, but
that she felt certain that it would be a warning to prevent him from
failing in his duty in the future. She concluded by speaking of the
great kindness of heart of John Carlton, and offered to write to him in
behalf of her son. Barry was startled at this unexpected suggestion, and
he lost no time in dispatching a reply in which he begged her very
fervently not to think of writing to the Congressman. He said that he
would have to depend on his own resources, and that under all
circumstances he was willing to let events take their course.

During this trying period in his Washington career Barry had one good,
loyal friend who never failed him. It is needless to say that this
person was little Joe Hart. He was like a faithful dog that never
deserts even in the days of greatest danger and trouble. He never
obtruded his friendship on Barry, but he always managed to be by his
side in his big-hearted way, snuggling up to the other in that
half-whimsical, half-affectionate way which wholly won the heart of the
boy from Cleverly. Joe was apologetic, explanatory, and defiant by
turns.

"You're not the first fellow that ever made a slip," he said. "Why
don't you go to Mr. Carlton and have it out with him?"

Barry smiled sadly.

"There is nothing to have 'out,' as you put it. Mr. Carlton says
nothing. He won't even scold me, and for that reason it is impossible
for me to explain or to talk back."

"Well," said Joe, reflectively, as he wiped his freckled face with the
back of his hand, "then the only thing to do is to defy him."

"Defy him?" echoed Barry, in amazement.

"Yes, just tell him you're going to chuck up your job."

"Chuck up my job?" gasped Barry. "Why, I couldn't do that. I couldn't
think of such a thing. I wouldn't dare go back to mother and tell her
that I failed in Washington!"

"But," persisted the young diplomat, "Congress isn't the only thing in
Washington. You can get a job as a telegraph boy, or you might become an
office boy with one of the morning newspapers."

"I don't think I'd like that."

"Why, it's great," said Joe. "Felix Conway is right in with those
people and he could get you on one of the papers. I know boys that
started as messengers and afterwards became reporters."

Barry shook his head decidedly.

"I have no intention of resigning my position as page, and I don't think
that Mr. Carlton desires it either."

"Very well," was the reply, with a resigned air. "If your mind's
settled, I'm not going to try to change it."

"It's settled," said Barry.

"By the way," said Joe, changing the subject, "did you know that I had a
typewriter?"

"No, I did not."

"Well, if you'll come up to my room, I'll show it to you. It's a
second-hand affair. I bought it for fifteen dollars, but it has been
fixed up so that it is almost as good as new. I have been learning to
work it, and I think it might come in useful some day."

Barry was interested at once, and after supper that night he went up to
Joe's room and examined the wonderful purchase of the page boy. Joe had
not misrepresented the case at all. The machine was in fairly good
repair. Joe sat down for the edification of his friend and wrote him a
letter. It was a slow and somewhat painful process. He used one finger
like a boarding-school miss who had not yet received her first lesson on
the piano. Sometimes he struck a comma for a period, and occasionally he
used a dash instead of an interrogation point, and when the letter was
finished an unbiased observer would have immediately ranked it among the
curiosities of literature. But it served its purpose, for it awoke a
half-slumbering desire that Barry had in his mind ever since he came to
Washington.

"Joe," he said, "I wonder if I couldn't go to one of those night schools
and increase my speed in typewriting and stenography."

"Sure you could," was the reply; "I know a good place, and I'll take you
there tonight if you want me to do it."

Barry was willing, and the two boys proceeded to one of the business
colleges in the lower section of the city and obtained an interview with
the manager. Barry placed his case very clearly.

"I am anxious to get speed in stenography and typewriting, and learn
bookkeeping," he said, "and if I thought I could get through in three
months I'd be glad to undertake it."

The teacher, thus appealed to, reflected a moment before replying, and
then said:

"It all depends on your own ability. Some boys are quicker than others.
If you want to join this school we will do the best we can for you
within the time appointed. We have branches in all of the large cities,
and if you do not get through here while you are in Washington you could
readily finish your course elsewhere."

The terms were satisfactory, and Barry made his arrangements then and
there. Indeed, he was so filled with the idea of perfecting himself that
he started in to work that very night. Every evening thereafter, as
soon as he had finished his supper, he went to the business college and
for two or three hours was busy learning the intricacies of stenography
and typewriting. Bookkeeping he finally decided to omit, feeling that he
could make greater progress if he confined himself to the other two
branches.

Three weeks had gone by and Barry was returning from his school one
night when something prompted him to go into the office building of the
members of Congress. He walked through the corridor leading to Mr.
Carlton's office and noticed that a light was burning there. After a
minute's hesitancy, he opened the door and walked in. Congressman
Carlton was at his desk with a pile of papers about him. He greeted
Barry very kindly:

"Hello!" he said; "glad to see you."

"Is there anything I can do?" asked Barry, as he gradually plucked up
courage.

Mr. Carlton groaned and then made a grimace.

"I wish you could do something," he replied; "I've got 225 agricultural
reports that ought to go out the first thing in the morning. Each one of
them should be accompanied by a typewritten letter signed by myself. I
have the books here, and a form of letter, but I haven't anybody to do
the work. I've got to go to a Committee meeting in fifteen minutes and I
am almost distracted."

"I think I might be able to help you out some," said the boy, timidly.

"Help me out?" said the Congressman, looking up in surprise.

"Yes," said Barry, "you know I work the typewriter, and I could easily
copy your letters."

Mr. Carlton laughed in the joyous, care-free way that Barry remembered
so well.

"Barry, you are very kind, but I don't think you could possibly get
through with the work. I remember well when you wrote the bill for the
Naval Repair Station. While you did it all right, you were certainly
slower than the hearse at the colored funeral."

"Well," said Barry, becoming more confident as he talked, "if you will
just let me go ahead I might finish some of the letters tonight, and you
know every little helps."

Mr. Carlton meditated for a moment.

"Yes," he agreed, "that's true, but how about the agricultural reports?
They would have to be addressed too."

"I have a friend who might help me out with that," suggested Barry.

"All right," said the Congressman, finally, "you may go ahead and do the
best you can. Even if you only finish a few of the letters and we get
off a part of the books, I will feel somewhat relieved."

Mr. Carlton left the room a few moments afterwards in order to attend
the Committee meeting. He said that he would not be back that night, but
would meet Barry early in the morning. Within fifteen minutes the young
page had communicated with Joe Hart, and in less than a half hour's
time that mischievous boy was engaged in the task of addressing the
wrappers on the agricultural reports. Barry, in the meantime, had the
list of addresses propped up in front of him and was hard at work on the
typewriter in copying the form of letter which had been left there by
Mr. Carlton. He was surprised at his own speed and accuracy. He went
with some deliberation at first, but after that he "struck his gait," as
they say in horse-race parlance, and before very long he was turning
letters out at an astonishing rate of speed. For hour after hour the
click of the typewriter could be heard in the empty office building, and
finally, when the clock struck midnight every one of the letters had
been finished and every one of the books had been properly addressed.

Barry and Joe started home, two very tired but very happy boys. Barry
thought his fellow page deserved some return for his labor. He was at a
loss as to just how he could repay him for the emergency work he had
done so well. Presently, in a sly sort of way, he offered him a
two-dollar note. Joe drew back.

"What's that for?" he asked.

"Simply a small return for what you've done tonight."

The little fellow drew himself up to his full height.

"That's an insult to my dignity," he said, proudly.

"I didn't mean to do that," said Barry, half abashed, "but I'd like you
to know that I appreciate what you've done."

"You can't do that with money," said the other, with all of the
assurance of a millionaire.

"How can I do it?"

"By not speaking of it," said the youngster, sharply.

Barry looked at him smilingly.

"You're a funny fellow, Joe," he said, finally.

"Oh," said the page, with a shrug of his shoulders, "I'm like the great
corporation lawyers. I never do things by halves. It's either a
whopping big fee or nothing at all."

They reached home in a few minutes. They both went to bed immediately
and slept the sweet, refreshing sleep that comes to those who labor and
who go to bed with a clear conscience.

The first thing in the morning Barry stopped in at the office building
to see if the letters had been dispatched. Mr. Carlton was seated at his
desk and he clapped his hands with satisfaction as he saw Barry peeping
in the doorway.

"Come in, my boy," he said, "come in."

"I just wondered whether you had signed your letters," said the boy.

"Yes," replied the Congressman, in his old, jovial way. "They're all
signed, sealed and delivered. Every blessed one of them has been mailed
and so are the books, and it is a mighty big relief to me, I can assure
you."

Barry stood there in an awkward, embarrassed sort of way. He looked at
Mr. Carlton appealingly, but said nothing. The big Congressman arose
from his chair, walked around to where the boy stood, and putting his
arm around his shoulder, said:

"Yes, I know. I know just what you are thinking about, and I'll answer
your unspoken question. It's all right, Barry, you have redeemed
yourself."



CHAPTER XVI

A CALL OF THE HOUSE


On the morning after Barry's restoration to the favor of his old friend,
John Carlton received an invitation to call at the White House. It was a
supreme moment. The big Congressman, with all of his natural modesty,
was not insensible of the honor that had been done him. It was
half-expected and yet, paradoxical as it may seem, it was a surprise. He
felt instinctively that he was to be consulted on the political and
legislative situation.

Republics differ from monarchies in many ways. The President is not a
king, and yet a request from him is regarded as a command. It is no mean
honor to be the confidant and adviser of the chief of a great nation,
and Carlton, realizing this, lost no time in going to the White House.

The news that the Congressman was closeted with the President spread
through Washington like a prairie fire after an August drought. It came,
if the metaphor may be changed, like a crash of thunder after a long,
sultry day. Already the political atmosphere was clearing. Many members,
who had been on both sides of great questions, were preparing to scamper
to cover. Men who had been on the fence, so to speak, were now making
ready to drop down on either side. They knew that the talk between the
Congressman and the President would mean a realignment of forces. The
interview lasted for a long while, and after it was over Carlton came
out of the White House with a look of determination on his strong face.

A few minutes after he returned, he called a conference of a few of his
intimate friends and political associates in his private office. Barry
Wynn, as a trusted page boy, acted as door tender and admitted only
those who were known to be loyal adherents of the administration.

"Gentlemen," said Mr. Carlton, "I have had a long talk with the
President and he is sincerely anxious to pass certain measures that have
been introduced in the House at this session and which are intended to
be for the benefit of the people. He feels that unless some radical
steps be taken in this direction at once, he will be accused of
insincerity, and he has asked me to call a number of his friends
together and map out a programme for securing this reform legislation.
The most important bill that is to be pushed forward is the one
providing for the establishment of a Postal Savings Bank. I have
explained the situation to you and if you have any comments or
suggestions to make I shall be glad to hear from you."

This introduction on the part of Mr. Carlton was followed by a general
discussion which was participated in by all of the dozen gentlemen who
were present. The concensus of opinion was that none of the important
measures would get through the House unless provision was made for
additional sessions. It was resolved, therefore, that a number of night
sessions should be held and all present pledged themselves to remain at
their posts until they had accomplished substantial results. Carlton was
unanimously selected as the leader of the Administration forces, and he,
in turn, picked out Congressmen Bright, Harrison and Brown as his
assistants, their duty being to round up all the members within reach
and try to have every man respond to his name on the call of the roll.

The caucus called by Mr. Carlton had scarcely adjourned when the
participants discovered that a meeting of the opposing forces was being
held in another part of the Capitol. It is difficult to keep things of
this character quiet, and before long it had leaked out that the
opponents of the Postal bill had resolved to resist all efforts to enact
the measure into law. It was learned also that Congressman Roland was to
be the spokesman of the opposition and that he had selected Congressmen
Wood, Hudson and Collins as his lieutenants. Thus the two armies,
properly officered and marshaled, were ready for the coming fray.

The first night session was scheduled for the coming evening. All of the
officers and employees of the House received instructions to be at their
posts by eight o'clock sharp. Barry and Joe Hart left their boarding
house nearly an hour before that time in order that they might report
punctually to the Sergeant-at-Arms. As they walked along Pennsylvania
Avenue they got the first glimpse of the dome of the Capitol illuminated
by electricity. It was a brilliant sight. The night was dark and the
lights seemed to dot the heavens without any support, shining out with
all the glory of the stars themselves.

Within the Capitol the scene was no less brilliant and much more
animated. The electric lights from the ceiling and the sides of the
House made the great hall lighter than it was in midday. The Speaker sat
in his usual place beneath the sheltering folds of the American flag.
The galleries were crowded with an expectant audience, and when the
presiding officer tapped his gavel on the marble desk a large percentage
of the membership was seated.

After the usual routine preliminaries had been disposed of, John Carlton
secured recognition and called up for consideration his Postal Savings
bill, which was then on final consideration. An animated debate
followed, and in the course of it, one of the opponents of the bill
suddenly rose in his place and demanded a roll call, asserting that a
quorum of the House was not present. In a few minutes everything was in
confusion and the members and the Speaker threatened to be helplessly
entangled in the intricate maze of parliamentary law. Out of it all, a
few minutes later, came a call of the House.

Carlton and his lieutenants were on the alert at once. Their first care
was to see that none of those present managed to escape from the room.
It was quite late, and the enforced confinement began to have an
irritating effect on the members. Some of them yawned and gaped as
though the whole proceeding bored them more than words could express;
others quarreled with their neighbors and threatened to do all sorts of
unreasonable things if the doors were not thrown open; others, again,
tried to reason with their colleagues and explain the necessity of the
night sessions; a few of a philosophic frame of mind, composed
themselves to the long siege that was before them. Several of them
calmly stretched themselves on the sofas against the walls and
peacefully proceeded to go to sleep. A few others, without much regard
for the dignity of the House, put their heels on the desks and settled
their heads on the backs of their chairs and dozed away their feeling of
fatigue.

Carlton, who was here, there, and everywhere, had a hurried conference
with his three lieutenants and laid his plans for the first stages of
the big battle. It was midnight when the call of the House was ordered.
The doors were closed and 127 members were found to be present. The
House went into a Committee of the Whole, only to come out of it again,
and the clerk called the roll again and again until his voice threatened
to give way. The Speaker by this time had dispatched the
Sergeant-at-Arms and his assistants to bring in the truant members.

At this stage of the game John Carlton very quietly utilized several of
the page boys for the purpose of summoning members whom he knew would be
only too glad to comply with his wishes. Barry Wynn was one of these and
Joe Hart was another. Barry's list comprised four members whom Carlton
knew would vote for the bill in which he was so deeply interested.

The first name on his list was Congressman Henry. Barry knew that this
gentleman was living at the Cosmopolis Hotel and he proceeded there on a
bicycle which he had borrowed for the occasion from a fellow page. The
big hotel was deserted and the night clerk, seated in a chair behind the
desk, was dreaming of pleasanter things than night sessions and unruly
members. Barry awoke him instantly by demanding that he send his card to
Congressman Henry.

The clerk wiped his eyes, gazed at the boy who stood before him, and
then shook his head lazily.

"Nothing doing, young man," he said. "Mr. Henry is probably sound asleep
and I don't propose to wake him up at this hour of the night."

"But, it's very urgent," insisted Barry. "There is a night session of
Congress and there has been a call of the House."

"I don't care," was the reckless reply; "I would not call him for the
President of the United States!"

"Where is his room?" asked Barry, with sudden inspiration flashing
through his mind.

"His room is number 40 on the second floor."

"All right," said the boy, turning away and walking down the corridor.

Instead of going out of the hotel, however, he turned up the marble
hallway and made his way to the second floor. The corridor was dimly
lighted but he proceeded on his way until he came opposite room number
40. He looked twice to assure himself of the number and then pounded
lustily on the door. A mumbling voice came from the bed-clothes:

"What do you want, anyhow?"

For reply Barry pounded harder than ever. There was a grumbling sound
and presently the key was turned in the door, and a big man in pajamas
came out. He glared at Barry fiercely.

"What do you want, to wake a man up at this hour of the night?"

"Why, Mr. Henry," said Barry, "I came to say--"

"Henry?" roared the other, with the voice of a mad bull. "My name isn't
Henry!"

Barry's heart sank. He looked at the big person timidly and said:

"Why, aren't you Congressman Henry?"

"No," thundered the other, "I'm not Congressman Henry!"

"But, but--" stammered the boy, "I was told that Mr. Henry was in room
40."

Once again the man's voice roared through the length of the corridor:

"Room 40! You little blackguard, this is not room 40. This is room 4.
Forty is at the other end of the corridor."

"I beg your pardon," stuttered the boy. "I didn't mean--"

"I don't care what you mean, or what you didn't mean," grumbled the man,
"but I'd like to know what right you have to wake up people who are
sound asleep. I'll complain to the clerk and find out what kind of a
house this is, anyhow!"

Before he had finished the sentence, Barry was halfway down the corridor
and finally reached the room he was looking for. He knocked on this door
a little less defiantly than he had on the first one. In a little while
it was opened, and the real Congressman stood there wanting to know why
he had been aroused. Barry hastily explained his mission. Mr. Henry took
it quite good-naturedly and said:

"All right, my boy, I will dress and get down to the Capitol in a few
minutes."

From the Cosmopolis Barry went to another hotel a few blocks below,
where he knew that Congressman Yale lived. To his delight he found this
gentleman in the barber's chair indulging in the luxury of a shave. He
knew Mr. Yale, and when that gentleman saw him he wanted to know his
business. He told him in a few words and said that he would like to know
if he was willing to hurry to the House.

"Willing," echoed the other; "I'm not very, but I'll go."

He did not wait for the barber to finish his shave, but told him that he
need not go any further, and jumping out of the chair, he took a towel
and wiped the lather from his face. Putting on his hat and coat, he
hurried out of the hotel on to the avenue and thence towards the
Capitol.

Jones, the third man on Barry's list, lived a few blocks away in a
private house. The attendant who answered the door said that the
Congressman had been to the theatre with his wife, but that he expected
him almost any minute. While they were talking at the door Jones and his
wife came up the steps, and when the law-maker found out the condition
of affairs, he excused himself to his wife and promised Barry that he
would report to John Carlton within the next fifteen minutes.

The last person that Barry was called upon to summon was Congressman
Hutchinson. This gentleman was found in the library of his home, with
his right foot wrapped in bandages, and propped up in a chair. He was
not in a very good humor, and when Barry was ushered into his den he
turned to him angrily and said:

"What in the world do you want with me?"

"Mr. Carlton wants you," said Barry, timidly. "There has been a call of
the House and he wants you to come up as soon as you can and vote on the
Postal Savings bill."

Mr. Hutchinson did not reply in words at once. He brought his fist with
a bang on the table that stood next to the chair, and then he emphasized
his disgust by picking up a book that lay on the table and throwing it
at a cat that was sleeping in a corner of the room. After this strange
and unexpected proceeding, a smile gradually crept over his stern
countenance and he said:

"I feel a little better now, and I'll try to accommodate John."

"I know that he'll be glad," ventured Barry.

"Yes, I suppose he will," was the retort, "and I will be glad, too, if I
can go over. I doubt if I can ever succeed in getting a shoe on this
game foot of mine."

He summoned his servant and for the next fifteen minutes he was engaged
in trying to put a shoe on his gouty foot. It was a painful proceeding,
interspersed with remarks that would not look well in print, but
presently the task was completed and in a little while afterwards
Congressman Hutchinson was fully dressed and ready for his journey to
the House.

A servant, in the meantime, had summoned a taxicab and the legislator
took Barry in the machine with him. The dash to the Capitol was made in
record-breaking time, and the clock was striking one as Barry entered
the House with Mr. Hutchinson leaning on his arm. Their entrance was a
signal for loud applause from both sides of the House.

In the meantime, during Barry's absence the Sergeant-at-Arms and his
assistants had been doing their duties and one by one the captured
absentees had stood up before the Speaker and tried to present some
plausible reason for their failure to appear. Barry's willing captive
was the last to come into the House.

"Mr. Hutchinson," said the Speaker, sternly, "you have absented yourself
from the House during its sitting contrary to law and without the leave
of the House. What excuse have you to offer?"

"The best excuse in the world," said the accused one, lifting his leg up
very painfully. "My excuse is rheumatic gout."

A roar of laughter greeted this sally, and helped to restore the peevish
members to a condition approaching good humor.

After a final call of the roll, for the purpose of establishing a
quorum, the debate was renewed and was carried on with much spirit for
nearly an hour. At the end of that time Mr. Carlton demanded a roll call
on the final passage of his Postal Savings bill. The leaders of the
Opposition interposed various dilatory motions, but John Carlton swept
them aside one by one. The strength and the power of his mind was never
more firmly proven than on this historic occasion. He seemed to thrive
on opposition. His strong brain seemed to grow keener and quicker as
obstacles were placed in his way, but greatest of all, his iron will,
no less than his great physical endurance, stood as a most effective
barrier against repeated onslaughts of the minority.

The demand for the roll call was finally complied with, and each member
answered to his name amid intense silence. The vote was pretty evenly
divided, but when the last name had been called and it was shown that
the bill had the number of votes required by law, a storm of applause
broke out that lasted for several minutes.

It was almost daylight when the wearied members streamed out of the
doors of the Capitol. John Carlton came along with a group of his
admiring friends. He noticed Barry and Joe Hart and several other page
boys standing near the doorway and called to them gaily:

"Boys, you all did well."

Barry and Joe walked home together that morning, and discussed the
events of the night. Joe, looking at his friend in a furtive sort of
way, said:

"Barry, do you remember that Mr. Carlton said we all did well?"

"Yes," said Barry, "I heard him say it and I was glad of it. I worked
hard, but I didn't do a bit more than any of the other boys. I'm older
now and more experienced than when I first came to Washington. I've got
sense enough to realize that I'm only a little cog in a great big
machine, and the work that I did was simply my duty and nothing more."



CHAPTER XVII

THE MISSING BILL


The all-night session of the House of Representatives and the dramatic
passage of the Postal Savings bill had a stimulating effect upon all the
members of Congress. There was no longer a disposition to lag, and the
policy of marking time was abandoned in favor of the new programme of
progress. As a consequence, committee meetings were being held in all
parts of the Capitol and bills that had been slumbering for many months
were taken from pigeon holes and given the consideration to which they
were entitled.

On the third morning after the night session a notice went out that a
meeting of the Committee on Naval Affairs would be held at four o'clock
that afternoon, for the purpose of taking up the final consideration of
the bills that were pending before the Committee.

The notice was like a call to arms to John Carlton. He sent out notices
at once to the members of the Committee whom he knew to be friendly,
asking them to make it a point to be present for the purpose of helping
his bill. Barry happened to come in just about that time, and he
utilized the boy in a number of ways.

"I know that you want to be on the field when this battle takes place,"
he said, laughingly. "I look on you as my mascot, and if we win you will
get all the glory."

Barry protested, but Mr. Carlton humorously insisted that he must have
his own way in matters of this kind.

There was no doubt about the interest in the Naval Repair Station bill.
Copies of the measure had been printed some time before, but the demand
for them was so great that the supply had already been exhausted.
Several members called during the course of the morning and asked for
duplicates of the bill, but Mr. Carlton was unable to accommodate them.

Just about noon time Mr. Benedict, one of his close friends, entered the
office and said in a mysterious way:

"John, I hear that your bill is coming up for consideration today?"

"That's correct," was the response, "and I hope you'll be on hand."

"Sure," was the response, "but see here, I heard last night that some
change had been made in the phraseology of the Act. If that is so, it
will have to go over to be printed and that will cause a delay of at
least two weeks in your bill."

"I think you must be mistaken," was the reply. "The bill was in perfect
shape at the last meeting of the Committee, and I am positive that no
amendments of any kind were offered."

"That may be," was the response, "but if I were in your place I'd make
sure of it."

Carlton thought that this was good advice, and he summoned Barry to his
side.

"My boy," he said, "I want you to go over to the headquarters of the
Committee on Naval Affairs. You'll find Mr. Joel Phipps, the Committee
clerk, in charge. Tell him I want to see the Committee's copy of the
Naval Station bill."

Barry hurried off at once. He found the room without any difficulty.
Joel Phipps was there very busily engaged with several Congressmen.
Barry had to wait his turn and finally when the clerk was at leisure,
explained his mission. Phipps did not take his visit kindly; in fact, he
was distinctly disagreeable.

"I am too busy to bother with matters of this kind today," he said.

"Shall I give that message to Mr. Carlton," cried Barry, in a
challenging tone.

"No," was the grumbling reply. "Just sit down there and I'll find the
bill for you."

He dug down amongst the papers and finally fished out the desired
document. He handed it to the boy with very bad grace, and then turned
to attend to the wants of several other visitors who had arrived in the
meantime. Barry felt very angry at Joel Phipps, but he was forced to
admit that the clerk was an extremely busy man, and that probably there
was some justification for his irritation. A man that has to attend to a
dozen things within as many minutes can scarcely be blamed if he is not
blessed with an angelic temperament.

Carlton read the bill over very carefully and found that it was
flawless. He handed it back to Barry.

"Leave it with the clerk of the Committee when you go to your lunch," he
said. "It's all a false alarm. The bill is all right."

For the next two or three hours Mr. Carlton found his time fully
occupied. He had a large mail to answer, and after that he attended a
Committee meeting. As soon as he had finished he hastened to attend the
regular session of the House. At half-past three he looked at his watch
and realized that he would have to leave his seat if he expected to get
a bite of lunch before the meeting of the Committee on Naval Affairs. On
the way out he was stopped by one or two friends who wanted him to do
favors for them.

The clock was striking four when the Congressman entered the room
occupied by the Committee; the Chairman had just summoned the members to
order, and the clerk was engaged in calling the roll. While these
preliminaries were going on John Carlton made a hasty count of noses. He
found that there were seventeen members present, and by a careful
calculation he felt sure that at least ten of these would vote in favor
of the Cleverly bill. To make sure of it, he quietly slipped around from
one to the other and confirmed his first estimate. The clerk had
finished the roll call, and the Congressman arose in his seat with a
great deal of confidence.

"Mr. Chairman," he said, "I move that the Committee now take up for
consideration the bill making an appropriation for a Naval Repair
Station at Cleverly."

"The members have heard the motion," said the presiding officer, "all in
favor will please say aye."

There was a chorus of ayes, and the Chairman declared the motion
carried. "The clerk of the Committee," he said, "will now read the
bill."

Joel Phipps turned to the pile of papers in front of him and began
turning them over one by one. He reached the bottom of the heap without
discovering the Cleverly bill. Then he turned them over and went through
the pile again, very carefully and very painstakingly. A look of
perplexity gathered on his face. The members were becoming impatient.
The Chairman seemed to voice the opinion of his colleagues.

"The clerk will read the bill," he said, curtly.

"In a moment, sir," said Phipps, in an agitated voice.

He continued to fumble among the documents on his desk. He looked very
much embarrassed. He moistened his lips with his tongue and then looked
about the room helplessly.

"Well," demanded John Carlton, "why don't you read the bill?"

"I am sorry to say that I can't find it."

"How is that?"

"I don't know, sir; but I can't put my hand on it."

"Well," said Carlton, addressing the Chairman, "I have a typewritten
copy of the measure in my pocket, and if the Chairman is agreeable, I
will have that read in place of the original bill."

Jesse Hudson was on his feet in an instant.

"I object," he shouted. "I object to this method of doing business. We
have very important matters to consider before this Committee and we
cannot afford to transact them in an irregular and possibly an illegal
manner. The only bills that this Committee has a right to consider are
the bills that are in its custody. If you permit the members to
substitute other bills at their pleasure, no one can tell where it will
lead nor what the consequence may be."

"But," persisted Carlton, "the bill that I am going to hand you is
identical with the one that was in the possession of the Committee."

"That may be," was Hudson's smooth retort, "but it is not the identical
bill that was before the Committee. I object to its consideration."

His remarks appeared to have made some impression upon the members of
the Committee. Indeed, one of the Congressmen, who was known to be
friendly to Carlton, arose in his place and said:

"I think there is some merit in what Mr. Hudson says. At any rate it
will do no harm to postpone this matter until the public printer can
supply the Committee with another copy of the bill."

"Am I to regard that as a motion?" queried the Chairman.

"Yes, sir," was the response.

"The members have heard the motion," said the Chairman, "all in favor
of postponing the consideration of the Cleverly bill for the present
will say aye."

There was a loud chorus of ayes.

"All those who oppose it, say no."

A few scattered voices called out "no."

"The ayes have it," said the Chairman, "and the motion to postpone is
carried."

Carlton was plainly nettled at the turn of affairs. He turned to the
clerk angrily and said:

"I think it's the business of the clerk to take care of the papers of
the Committee, and I think it is a great mistake to make a member of
Congress and his constituents suffer from the negligence of an employé."

Joel Phipps became white in the face. At this unexpected thrust,
however, he had the courage to rise behind his desk, and said:

"I am very sorry the bill was lost, but it's not my fault. The members
of the Committee unfortunately have gotten into the habit of taking away
papers without obtaining the permission of the Chairman or without
giving a receipt for the same. Several of them have done this during the
past few days, and Mr. Carlton, I regret to say, is one of the chief
offenders."

Mr. Carlton gave a half laugh.

"I guess you're right, Joel," he said, "and I will have to plead
guilty."

Nevertheless he left the room in a very dissatisfied frame of mind. The
measure in which he was so deeply interested had been thrown back for at
least two weeks. That was not the worst feature of the case, either. He
had enough votes now to pass the bill. He might not have them when the
bill came up for consideration again. The thought rankled in his mind
and gave him a disagreeable feeling towards his fellow creatures. As he
reached the door of the Committee Room a reporter from one of the
Cleverly newspapers, who had heard of the disappearance of the bill,
stopped the Congressman and asked him what comments he had to make.

"It's a mighty queer piece of business," was Carlton's reply. "That's
all I have got to say."



CHAPTER XVIII

RUMORS OF WAR


Washington is a city of rumors, and for some hours after the mysterious
disappearance of the Cleverly bill the air was filled with stories of an
approaching political war. Some of John Carlton's bitter partisans made
the emphatic assertion that Joel Phipps was at the bottom of the whole
business and that he had deliberately destroyed the bill in order to
prevent its passage by the Committee. The Congressman was the first one
to repudiate this charge.

"There is no proof whatever," he said, "that Joel Phipps is in any way
responsible for the loss of the bill. I am a believer in fair play, and
I want it distinctly understood that I have not in any way impugned the
good faith of my colleagues or of any employé of the Committee."

"But you put the blame on the clerk at the meeting of the Committee."

"Yes," he admitted reluctantly, "I did, but it was a case of hasty
judgment on my part."

"Then you acquit Phipps?"

"I have neither acquitted or convicted anyone."

"But what do you suppose became of the bill?"

"I'm sure I don't know," was the despairing reply.

In spite of John Carlton's peaceful talk, the friends and enemies of the
bill seemed determined to stir strife. Some of them went so far as to
say that the disappearance of the bill was a bit of trickery which had
been engineered by opponents of the Administration, who took this method
of punishing the Congressman for his loyalty to the President. Carlton
pooh-poohed this, but in spite of his protests, the story was flashing
along newspaper row. The whole thing illustrated the astonishing
rapidity with which a mere rumor can grow into an accepted fact. It was
like a snowball rolling down a hill. It gathered weight and momentum as
it proceeded. By nightfall some of the sensational journalists were
building up a story of a political war that was to involve the entire
United States.

Barry missed all of this. He had been sent to Georgetown to obtain some
law books for a member of Congress, and he was entirely unaware of the
fate that had befallen his beloved bill. Mr. Carlton, in a half amused
way, wondered how the boy would feel when he learned the news. He was at
dinner in the hotel when one of the newspaper correspondents called on
him to inquire whether he would make a statement concerning the great
political war.

"Certainly," he said.

The young man pulled out his pencil and note book.

"It will be short," warned the Congressman.

"Very well," was the smiling rejoinder, "anything you may say will be of
interest."

"Rubbish!" said the statesman.

The newspaper man looked at him curiously.

"Well, I am still waiting," he said.

"But I have given you the statement you desired," said Carlton.

"What was it?"

"Rubbish--that's all."

"Do you really mean to put that out as your answer to the charges and
innuendos that are floating about Washington?"

"That is precisely what I mean. I desire to say neither more nor less.
Simply state that Congressman Carlton, when questioned on this matter,
said 'Rubbish.'"

While Carlton was doing his best to pour oil on the troubled waters,
Hudson was, on the other hand, going about sedulously stirring up the
angry passions of the legislators. Without making any direct charges, he
insinuated that the proposed bill had a significance which it really did
not possess. He still felt very sore over the effective manner in which
Carlton had blocked the claim which he presented in the House earlier
in the session. A big, broad-minded man would have accepted this defeat
gracefully, but Hudson was not that type of statesman. He had a
grievance and he nursed it, hoping that in the end he would succeed in
revenging himself upon the even-tempered Carlton.

Carlton was still at the table, placidly eating his dinner, when Felix
Conway burst into the room, his face red and his eyes staring.

"Sit down, Felix," said Carlton, "and have some dinner with me."

"I don't want any dinner. I've had all the dinner I care for."

The Congressman smiled.

"Then have a plate of ice cream. It may cool you off."

"No; nothing will cool me off, and after you hear what I have got to
say, you may be a little warm yourself!"

"Well, go ahead and tell me what is on your mind."

"It's just this," cried Conway, explosively. "These fellows are going
around the town trying to injure you. They're putting all sorts of false
constructions on your failure to get your bill through today."

"Well, that's no more than I expected;--it's a penalty a man has to pay
for being in public life."

"But you don't know what they're saying."

"No," agreed the other, placidly, "and I am not very anxious to hear."

"But," said the journalist, "you've got to listen to me."

"I am listening."

Conway fumbled in his pockets and finally pulled out copies of the
evening papers. He opened one of them hurriedly and turning to an inside
page, began reading some of the gossip that had been printed concerning
Carlton and his bill. The writer said that the whole business had been,
as he phrased it, "a grandstand play." He said that it was the belief of
men who were on the inside of the Committee that the bill had been
purposely sidetracked. He added that Carlton was credited with knowing
all about it and that in all probability the bill would never be heard
of again. As he finished reading, Conway exclaimed:

"What do you think of _that_?"

"Not much," was the even reply.

Felix Conway looked at his friend in hopeless amazement. He wondered if
anything would arouse him. Then he opened the second paper and began to
read from that. The insinuations of the second writer were worse than
the first. He practically charged Carlton with having destroyed the bill
himself, because he knew that it would be impossible to pass it at the
pending session of Congress. He said that it was apparently better to
lose the bill than to go home and admit to the people of Cleverly that
he had been unable to pass it.

Conway threw both papers on the table with a gesture of anger.

"Now," he exclaimed, dramatically, "What do you think of _that_?"

Carlton smiled as the young man indignantly asked the question. He spoke
very quietly.

"I think even less of that than I did of the first comment."

Conway seemed dazed.

"Why, you're the queerest man I ever met. Of course, you must strike
back at these fellows. You don't propose to let these insinuations
stand, do you?"

The Congressman leaned over and put his hand on the correspondent's
shoulder, and, speaking in a tone that a father might use to his son,
said:

"My boy, I don't propose to do a thing."

"Don't propose to do a thing?" echoed the other.

"No, I do not. If a lifetime of honesty and faithful service is not a
sufficient answer to these false and malicious reports, then nothing I
can say at this time would have any effect with the people of Cleverly."

Conway looked at him with genuine admiration.

"You've got splendid courage, anyhow," he admitted, "and if you won't
answer these reports, I suppose there's nothing for me to do but go back
and get out my nightly grind."

"No, Felix," said the other, with an air of finality, "there is nothing
else that you can do."

"But," insisted Conway, "if you won't talk for publication, I suppose
you will act for your own satisfaction. You will go after these fellows,
won't you?"

"No," was the response, "I won't!"

"Well, what in the world are you going to do?"

"Do," smiled the other, "I am going to do nothing. I am going to let
events take their natural course!"



CHAPTER XIX

SORELY TEMPTED


It was late when Barry Wynn returned from his errand to Georgetown. The
mission he had undertaken for the Sergeant-at-Arms took much longer than
he anticipated. When he reached his boarding house that evening, Joe
Hart and most of the other boarders had finished dinner. Barry was
greatly disappointed, for he counted upon news from Joe Hart concerning
the action of the Committee on Naval Affairs.

Barry, it will be remembered, had not read the evening papers or he
would not have been in ignorance of the rapid-fire course of events
during his absence. Indeed, it must be confessed that the matter of the
Cleverly bill, of itself, did not cut much figure in the affairs of the
national Capitol. It was really only in its relation to other and
greater issues, that it had attracted the attention of the bright young
men who supply the metropolitan newspapers with information concerning
the latest moves on the national checker board.

After dinner Barry found a letter from home awaiting him. He went to his
room so that he could read it in uninterrupted silence. It was a long,
gossipy communication, and his mother had evidently been at great pains
to give him all the news about the people of Cleverly. She was well and
happy, and Hiram Blake was proving himself a most devoted brother. In
fact, he had gone down into his own pocketbook on more than one occasion
in order to supply her not only with the necessities but the comforts of
life.

Mrs. Wynn dwelt with much satisfaction on the letters she had received
from Barry. She said she had heard about him in many indirect ways. She
alluded to the visit of the Cleverly delegation to Washington, and said
that the men were all warmly enthusiastic about the young page boy.

Daniel Smithers had called upon her and assured her with the utmost
sincerity that her son would eventually become the President of the
United States. When she raised her eyebrows, he had modified his
prediction by saying that the boy would at least become Governor of his
native state. Then, still seeing some signs of skepticism in her eyes,
he had feebly expressed the hope that Barry would at least become the
Mayor of Cleverly.

And so the letter went on in an impulsive, good-natured way. It sounded
like a chat by the fireside; it was all so familiar and so natural.
Finally, the fond mother assured Barry that he was the biggest kind of a
success, and that the few little faults, which had insisted upon popping
out at inopportune moments, should be utilized by him as the means of
arriving at perfection. Barry was sensible enough to realize that his
mother was a partial judge, but all the same her letter gave him immense
satisfaction. He felt a curious glow of contentment in his heart and he
thought, as he stood before the glass combing his hair, that he was a
pretty good sort of a fellow after all.

At that moment, of all others, his glance happened to fall upon an
evening newspaper that had been thrown across the bed. He began to read
the headlines in a perfunctory sort of way. The Cleverly bill had been
postponed and possibly beaten. He ceased combing his hair and sat down
on the side of the bed like a person who had been suddenly stricken with
some physical ailment. Presently, he recovered his breath and read the
article through. The statements they contained brought the hot blush of
indignation to his cheeks. He felt in a vague sort of way that Joel
Phipps must be at the bottom of all this trickery.

Mechanically he finished his toilet, thinking in a numbed way of the
misfortune that had befallen Mr. Carlton. One thing he regretted, and
that was the fact that he had not been there. He was not foolish enough
to think it would have made any difference, but he felt somehow or
other that it might have softened the blow to his benefactor.

He was preparing to go to the business school where he had made such
progress in stenography and typewriting that he was almost ready to
graduate. He was a tidy boy, and tonight, as on other occasions, he
changed his suit so that he would make a good appearance before his
fellow students. He reached for his coat, in the closet, and put it on.
As he did so his attention was attracted by some crinkly substance in
the inside pocket; it was bulky, too. He put his hand in and drew out
the paper. The sight that met his eyes drew forth a groan of despair.

It was the missing bill--the Cleverly Naval Repair Station bill!

The whole miserable business came to him with a certainty and directness
that left no room for doubt. He remembered receiving the bill from Mr.
Carlton and he recalled, only too vividly, the message of the
Congressman. He was to return the bill to Joel Phipps on his way to
luncheon. And he had failed to do so. That was the great, big irritating
fact that stuck out like a sore finger.

He thought of the consequences of his carelessness, and he actually
moaned. To have failed in his duty would have been bad enough under any
circumstances, but to involve the fortunes and the reputations of others
was almost too dreadful to think about. He picked up the newspaper and
read it through again. Every sentence was like a knife to the sensitive
boy.

He remembered with a pang of remorse that Joel Phipps had been
accused--at least by innuendo--of trickery. He had thought so himself.
What an injustice to a man who was probably better in every way than
himself! He looked on the very darkest side of the picture. Suppose, as
seemed probable, that the people of Cleverly should lose the coveted
Naval Station. They could charge their loss to an insignificant page
boy. But that, bad as it sounded, was only one phase of the case. The
incident might be the means of ending the public career of John Carlton.
The thought brought tears to his eyes.

The newspapers had hinted that the disappearance of the bill would prove
to be the beginning of a bitter factional warfare. He tried to dismiss
the notion as absurd. And yet, greater events have proceeded from
smaller causes. He remembered reading how a stupid cow, by kicking over
an oil lamp in a stable, had caused the burning of the great city of
Chicago.

At this point in his reflections a new and alarming question presented
itself to his mind. Now that he had found the missing bill, what should
he do with it? The thought made his heart beat violently. To confess
that he was responsible for all the trouble seemed too humiliating to
contemplate. The story had become public property. He would be drawn
into the limelight. What would Mr. Carlton think? What would he say? How
would the announcement of the truth be received by his opponents? They
would gloat over it beyond a doubt. Already he could see the jeering
face of Joel Phipps.

Suddenly an idea flashed in his mind--an idea so unexpected and yet so
plausible that it made him throw himself on the bed. It was simple, and
yet, at first, it was awful. It entered his mind in the shape of a
question. Why should he say anything about finding the bill? Why not
destroy it, or if not that, why not slip it back with the other bills
without the knowledge of Joel Phipps or the members of the Committee. It
would require a little ingenuity, but it could be accomplished.

He lay there on his back on the bed gazing at the ceiling, and revolving
the question in his mind. There hardly seemed to be any room for debate.
He had just about convinced himself that he should remain silent
concerning his discovery when a clear, small voice cried out:

"Would it be square? Would it be honest? Could you look yourself in the
face afterward?"

He roused himself and sat up straight in bed. He looked about him. No
one was in the room. The voice that he heard was evidently the voice of
his inner consciousness.

Immediately another voice, lower and more persuasive, attracted his
attention. It was argumentative. What good would it do anyone, said this
voice, to humiliate yourself? The harm has been done. It cannot be
repaired. You only injure yourself without benefiting Mr. Carlton. Just
forget that you found the bill and that will be the end of the whole,
ugly business.

"But could you ever forget it?" warned the small, clear voice. "Wouldn't
the remembrance of it hang over you like a heavy cloud? Beside that,
wouldn't you put yourself in the position of deliberately deceiving the
best friend you ever had?"

Barry jumped from the bed with a physical determination which meant that
he had arrived at his decision. In his excitement and eagerness, he
spoke aloud:

"I'll go to Mr. Carlton and tell him the whole story."

It had been a hard battle. It showed in his face. But the small, clear
voice of conscience had won a decisive victory over the low, persuasive
one of temptation. Barry was surprised at the great relief he
experienced the moment he arrived at his decision. He still felt very
sorry, of course, at his sin of omission, and he was wondering how he
should phrase his confession. But outside of these details, his mind was
no longer troubled. He had a feeling of mental tranquillity that it
would be difficult to put into words.

It was hardly nine o'clock, but he resolved to find Mr. Carlton if he
had to tramp the entire city of Washington to do so. He hastily finished
his dressing and left the house. Mrs. Johnson was standing at the door.
She noticed that his face was pale and his manner determined.

"Is there anything I can do for you, Barry?" she asked.

"No, Mrs. Johnson," he replied, lightly.

But down in his heart of hearts there was an unutterable desire to throw
himself upon her bosom and tell her his troubles. How he longed at that
moment for five minutes with his mother. But it was decreed that he
should bear his burden alone.

He went first to John Carlton's hotel, where he was told that the
Congressman had gone out an hour before, leaving word that he would not
return until late that night. Barry proceeded on his way to the office
building of the members of the House of Representatives. He noticed a
light in Mr. Carlton's room. He was shaking now with a nervousness that
he could not understand. But his purpose to make a clean breast of the
mystery was unaltered and unalterable.

He paused for a moment and then knocked on the door. There was no
response. The boy, waiting there like a culprit, began to hope that
after all his friend might not be in his office. But he screwed up his
courage to the sticking point and knocked again. A familiar voice called
out:

"Come in."

The page boy opened the door and walked in the room. Mr. Carlton merely
raised his eyes and said pleasantly:

"Hello, Barry; how are you?"

The boy was silent. The Congressman was so absorbed in his work that he
did not notice the long pause in the conversation. When he looked up the
second time he was startled at the sight that met his gaze. Barry's face
was the color of chalk. He appeared to have shrivelled so much that his
clothes hung from his body.

"Are you ill?" asked the statesman, with real concern in his voice.

"No," said Barry, huskily; "I've found the bill!"

"Well," laughing and surprised in the same breath, "I'm glad to hear
that, but you needn't be so solemn about it."

The boy was tongue-tied. He stood on one foot and then on the other.

"Where was it found?" finally asked the Congressman.

"Where it was not lost," blurted out Barry. "I found it in my coat
pocket!"

Carlton's face clouded.

"You come here to tell me this?" he said, sternly.

"Yes," nodded Barry, his eyes on the floor. "It's been an awful
struggle, but I had to tell you."

John Carlton was silent for a long, long while. His eyes were never
removed from the boy's face for a moment. His own jaws were set in an
ugly fashion. But presently it dawned upon him that Barry was very worn
and haggard. At once he relented. He spoke mildly:

[Illustration: His eyes were never removed from the boy's face for a
moment.

_See page 264_]

"You know all the trouble you have caused?"

"Only too well," exclaimed the boy. "It was utter carelessness on my
part. I would not have had it happen for the world! I--"

"You never returned the bill," interrupted Carlton.

"No; I forgot it. I changed my coat. The bill was in the inside pocket.
I found it there tonight. I'm ready to pay the penalty. I'll resign my
position if--"

"Barry--" began the Congressman.

"Yes, sir; yes, sir," cried the young page in his agitation, breaking
into the other's remarks.

"Barry," resumed Carlton, in a voice that was singularly gentle, "you've
already paid the penalty."

"Already paid it?"

"Yes--you've suffered, and you've done the manly thing by coming right
to me and telling the truth."

Barry looked at him with gratitude beaming from his eyes.

"You think so?"

"I know it. We all have to pay for our sins of omission and our sins of
commission. You've done the only thing that mortal can do. You're sorry;
you've confessed--and, I'm sure it will be the lesson of a lifetime."

"I'm positive of that," was the fervent response.

"Well," said Carlton, rising and putting his arm about the boy's
shoulder, "you can go home now and go to sleep with a good conscience."



CHAPTER XX

HUDSON PLAYS POLITICS


At ten o'clock the next morning Barry Wynn walked into the rooms of the
Committee on Public Buildings, and coolly handed Joel Phipps the missing
bill.

"Here is a document that belongs to the Committee," he said.

Phipps looked at the bill and gasped.

"What? The Cleverly bill?"

"Yes; Mr. Carlton gave it to me to return to you before the meeting of
the Committee. I forgot all about it. I found it in my coat pocket last
night and went and told him. He instructed me to hand it to you this
morning. I'm sorry it happened."

The clerk seemed too stunned to speak. When he recovered his breath he
broke out into a string of adjectives.

"Well, of all the cheeky kids, you're about the worst I ever met," was
the peroration.

"I said I was sorry," said Barry, half resentfully.

Joel sneered.

"You don't suppose you can get anyone to believe that, do you?"

"What do you mean?"

"I mean that it looks like a bit of tricky business on the part of Mr.
Carlton and yourself."

Barry's eyes blazed.

"Don't you dare to reflect on Mr. Carlton," he cried. "He didn't know a
thing about it. Besides, he defended you before the Committee. Have you
forgotten that?"

Joel was mollified.

"That's so. I take back what I said about him. But it looks bad for
you."

The return of the bill caused a mild sensation in Congressional circles.
Most of Mr. Carlton's associates accepted the explanation by the young
page. But a number of others, who desired to make political capital out
of the incident, magnified its importance and tried to make it appear
that the Congressman had been guilty of the folly of stealing his own
bill.

When Barry heard this he was very much perturbed. He hurried to the
office of his benefactor.

"I can't tell you how badly I feel, Mr. Carlton," he said; "isn't there
anything I can do to make reparation for my folly?"

"No," was the mild reply, "you can do nothing more than you have done.
It will be a nine days' wonder and after that it will be forgotten."

"I'll not forget it very soon," said the boy, soberly.

"No," admitted the Congressman, "and Barry, that's the worst of our
faults. They leave marks that are sometimes never entirely eliminated by
time. My father tried to illustrate the fact for me when I was a boy. He
had a fine piece of walnut that he intended to utilize in making a
piece of furniture. It was smoothly planed and polished. One rainy day,
with the destructiveness of youth, I hammered it full of nails. I was
not a vicious boy, but I knew that I was doing wrong."

"What did he say?" asked Barry eagerly.

"He was very much grieved, but instead of thrashing me, as I expected,
he made me pull the nails out one by one. After that he gave me a plane
and bade me smooth the board off as best I could. Finally I was told to
putty up the holes. After that he asked me if I thought the board was as
good as it had been before I disfigured it."

"Of course, it wasn't," commented Barry.

"No, it was not. The marks of the nails were still there. And he used
the fact to convey a moral lesson. He told me the same thing happened
every time a boy was guilty of a fault or a sin,--he damaged his
character to that extent. The inference is plain. While we must do our
best to repair the wrongs we do, we cannot forget that the scars still
remain."

If Mr. Carlton and Barry imagined that the incident of the missing bill
was closed, they were doomed to disappointment. While they were still
talking, the door opened and Felix Conway came in, his forehead wrinkled
with indignation. The Congressman, who was a self-contained man, could
not help smiling.

"What's the matter now?"

"Matter enough," retorted the correspondent, "Hudson's playing peanut
politics."

"It's the only kind he knows," was the placid retort.

"But you wouldn't think he'd fight a boy."

"What is it?" asked Carlton, with a trace of impatience. "What's he
doing now?"

"He's written a letter to the Sergeant-at-Arms, demanding the dismissal
of Barry Wynn on the charge of conduct unbecoming an employé of the
Government. In a word, he's after the official scalp of our young
friend."

John Carlton sprang from his chair, his honest face red with anger. He
brought his big fist down on the desk in front of him with such force
that the ink bottles danced in sympathy with his passion.

"Well, he won't get it--and you can tell him that for me."

Conway laughed in spite of himself.

"You're not taking this thing seriously too, are you?"

"So much so that I'll stake my reputation on beating Hudson."

But the journalist held up a restraining hand.

"One moment, please," he said, "this is my business, and I'd like you to
keep out of it--for the present, at least."

"I'd like to know why."

"Because I have my own notion of the way in which it should be handled."

"All right, go ahead; but I don't propose to sit still and see him hurt
the boy."

Barry intervened at this stage of the conversation.

"Mr. Carlton," he said, very earnestly, "I'm very grateful for your
good will and your friendship, but I hope you will not permit me to
stand in your way politically. I'm not blind. I know that I've brought
this thing on myself, and I'm willing to take the consequences. It's not
fair to ask you to bear the brunt of my faults, and I don't expect it."

"My dear Barry," said the Congressman, soothingly, "Jesse Hudson's not
after you; he's after me. Now, I must either fight him or turn tail and
run. Surely you wouldn't ask me--"

"No, no," said the boy, eagerly, "I never thought of that side of it."

"By the way, Conway," remarked Carlton, turning to the correspondent,
"did Hudson write privately to the Sergeant-at-Arms?"

The journalist laughed.

"Not much. He gave his letter to all the newspapers. That's what made me
hot. He's courting publicity, and I'll bet he gets all he wants before
he is through."

"Well," said the Congressman, "what is your desire with me? I know you
didn't come here just for the pleasure of denouncing Hudson."

"I want a short, snappy interview with you defending Barry from the
charge of intentional wrong. Then I want a few sharp comments on what
you think of a Congressman who will strike at a boy in order to revenge
himself on a political opponent."

"You know how I feel."

"Yes."

"Well, make me say anything you want. Go as far as you like."

Felix Conway was not the man to do things by halves. He took John
Carlton at his word and evolved an interview that was a mixture of
brimstone and vitriol. It made the oldest members of the House sit up
and gasp with wonder. The resourceful journalist did not stop at this.
He had interviews with half a dozen Congressmen, all denouncing Hudson
for his cowardice. Finally, there was a cartoon on the front page of his
paper. It depicted Hudson as a giant lifting a big club marked
"Revenge" against a very small page boy.

Conway made it his business to see that a copy of his paper was placed
on the desk of every member. When Carlton entered the House he was
surrounded by a group of members who shook hands with him, heartily
congratulating him on the forceful interview they had read in the
morning paper.

"It was right to the point," said one enthusiastic Westerner, "it was
what we call 'hot stuff.'"

Carlton smiled at the recollection of his talk with Conway.

"I only deserve part of the praise," he said; "most of it belongs to our
friend Felix. He's the brightest reporter in Washington."

Hudson, on his entrance, found that he was looked upon with coldness. He
realized before long that his latest move against Carlton had been a
mistake. He was furious over the counter attack which had been made
against him by Felix Conway, but he was helpless to resist it.
Moreover, such members as did not openly condemn his own charge against
Barry Wynn, slyly ridiculed him. He could not stand that. Few public men
can stand up against ridicule. So, at the first opportunity, Hudson
slipped out of the House and disappeared from view.

During a lull in the proceedings Mr. Carlton left his desk and started
for the office of the Sergeant-at-Arms. He met Conway in the corridor.

"Hello, where are you bound for?" asked the journalist.

"To thrash out this threat of Hudson's," was the response. "I'm going to
get a copy of the charges, and then it will be a fight to the finish."

"I reckon you won't have much trouble," said Conway, with the Southern
drawl that he used occasionally.

"Won't you go along to see fair play?" laughed the Congressman.

"No," was the reply, with a curious laugh. "I've got all sorts of
confidence in your ability to take care of yourself, and I have no
sympathy with the other fellow."

Five minutes later Carlton was facing the Sergeant-at-Arms of the House.
That official, who knew him well, greeted him most hospitably.

"McDonald," said the Congressman, "I understand that charges were filed
with you against Barry Wynn. Is that correct?"

"Yes, sir; it is."

"Well, sir, I'm here to answer in his behalf. I'd like to have a copy of
the charges. I'm ready to answer them."

"Very sorry," said the other, with a strange smile, "but I can't oblige
you."

"Why not," asked Carlton, bristling up at once.

"Because there are no charges now."

"No charges now? What do you mean?"

The Sergeant-at-Arms did an amazing thing. He winked at the
Congressman. After that he spoke with a significant emphasis.

"Hudson beat you by about ten minutes; he's withdrawn the charges, and
says I'm to consider them as never having been made."

Carlton looked at him blankly.

"Well, that beats the old Harry," he said, finally; "how do you account
for it."

"I should say," said the other, slowly, "that Hudson's action was
prompted by the force of public opinion."

"The force of public opinion?" echoed the Congressman.

"Yes," repeated McDonald, slyly, "the force of public opinion as
represented by Mr. Felix Conway."



CHAPTER XXI

CONWAY MAKES A HIT


In less than a week the incident of the missing bill was relegated to
the lumber room of forgotten events. As Mr. Carlton had predicted, other
and more important things arose to occupy the minds of the national
legislators.

But Barry Wynn did not forget the disastrous affair quite so readily. It
remained in his mind as a warning for the future. It was a red light
waving him away from the edge of many a dangerous precipice. But
blessings often come in disguise, and eventually this lapse proved to be
a good thing for the young page boy. He became more careful, accurate
and painstaking. He never again postponed until "after a while" the task
that could be done at once.

But in the meantime, the incident itself, while forgotten by
Congressmen, led to unexpected complications. What had been a
single-handed battle between Hudson and Carlton now broadened out until
it became a spirited contest between those who favored the reform bills
of the Administration and those who opposed them. Like most contentions
of this kind, what had been a trivial matter grew to great proportions.
The incident of the missing bill might have been likened to a pebble
thrown into a placid stream, creating circle after circle until all of
the waters were in commotion.

For the next few weeks there was a ferment of factional politics. Even
those who tried to keep out of the unpleasant muss were drawn into it as
the peaceful waters are sometimes sucked into a fierce eddy. Meetings,
large and small, were being held every day. There were conferences,
caucuses, and secret gatherings of all kinds. One morning Felix Conway
sent for Barry Wynn in a great hurry.

"Barry," he said, when the boy appeared, "there is to be a very
important meeting this afternoon, composed of the men who are fighting
the reform measures of the Administration. I want to get a good report
of that gathering, but I am afraid that if I go to the meeting the
members who know me will shut up like clams and I will have my labor for
my pains."

"Well," questioned Barry, "how can I help you?"

"Very easily," was the quick reply. "Your shorthand is good, isn't it?"

"Yes, it is. I think I have accuracy and speed."

"Well, you're just the boy I want. First of all, I want a list of those
who are present, and after that I would like very much to get a verbatim
report of the remarks of some of the principal speakers. Will you help
me?"

Barry thought for a moment before replying.

"Well," he said, finally, "if you think that I am competent to do the
work, I am willing to undertake it."

Conway laughed.

"There is no question at all about your competency. The only point to
consider now is your courage."

"My courage?" echoed Barry.

"Yes, your courage. Some pretty hot-headed men expect to attend that
meeting. If they thought that you were there to report it, they would
not hesitate to take you up by the scruff of the neck and the seat of
the trousers and toss you out of a convenient window."

Barry laughed at this description, and then was silent for a moment.

"Well, my boy," cried the journalist, "if you're not game I won't press
the proposition."

"I am game enough," retorted Barry, "but I wouldn't want to do anything
that wasn't decent."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean that I would not like the notion of any underhand work. I don't
take much stock in this business of peeping through keyholes and things
of that kind."

Conway's face flushed.

"You don't suppose I would ask you to do anything that I wouldn't do
myself, do you?"

"No."

"Well, then there is no more to be said. This is a meeting of public men
to consider public business, and the public has a right to know all
about it."

"But you don't care to go there yourself?" suggested Barry.

"No. For the reason that I have already told you. The sight of me would
frighten those fellows, and the public would thereby be deprived of
information which it has a right to."

"I'll go," cried Barry, ending the parley, "and I will promise to do the
best I can for you."

The meeting was held in a secluded Committee room on the ground floor of
the Capitol. There were thirty or forty men present, and when Barry
reached the door of the room it was pretty well filled. Joel Phipps
stood at the entrance scanning the members as they came in. Just as
Barry arrived someone called Phipps to the other end of the room, and
in the interval while the door was unguarded, the boy slipped in and
made his way through the crowd to the last row of chairs. A tall,
good-natured member, seeing him, cried out:

"What district do you represent, my boy?"

Before Barry had time to respond, another member, glancing at him,
replied carelessly:

"Oh, that's one of the page boys."

When the meeting was called to order a few minutes later, Barry found
himself almost hidden in a corner of the room. The men around him were
so large and he was so small and so quiet that he was completely
unnoticed. Joel Phipps called the roll and Barry was able to take the
names down. After the members had responded to their names there was a
general discussion of the various bills that were pending in the House
of Representatives. Mention was made of the fact that the Administration
was beginning to bring pressure to bear upon certain members in order to
enact various reform measures into law.

The sensation of the meeting came when Jesse Hudson arose and made a
spirited attack upon the Administration. He did not mince words. He said
just what he thought, and some of his thoughts were not very pleasant.
He concluded by saying that he was firmly opposed to certain reform
measures that were being backed by the Administration, and that he would
vote against them and hoped that other members would do the same.

One or two Congressmen followed Hudson, and spoke in a similar vein.
Finally, resolutions were adopted pledging all those present to work
together. The meeting adjourned after the appointment of three members
for the purpose of gaining recruits among those who had not attended the
meeting.

Barry, who had been taking down the proceedings in shorthand, managed to
slip out of the room unobserved. He took a trolley car and went to his
own room in order that he might be able to transcribe his notes without
interruption. In two hours his report was in the hands of Felix Conway.
They proved to be the groundwork for one of the biggest political
articles that had been written for many a long day.

The following morning Conway's newspaper appeared with a great, big,
exclusive story which took the Capitol by storm. It told in detail, not
only the story of the meeting, but also the plans that had been
formulated for the balance of the session of Congress. The rival
newspaper men were furious because they realized that Conway had secured
what everybody in journalistic circles call "the scoop of the session."
The Congressmen who participated in the meeting were angry at this
unexpected exposure, but the President and his supporters, who were
backing the reform bills, were delighted beyond measure, and before
nightfall Conway was complimented by a letter in the handwriting of the
Chief Executive of the nation, inviting him to call at the White House.



CHAPTER XXII

PROOF CONCLUSIVE


There was no doubt about the effect of the publication of the story
concerning the meeting of the Congressmen. It was a genuine sensation.
It was like an unexpected explosion of a bombshell. There was a run to
cover. Nearly all of those who had attended the meeting went out of
their way to disavow personal responsibility for having called it
together. Others, while admitting their presence at the meeting, and
conceding their opposition to certain legislation, said they wanted it
understood that they did not endorse all of the rash statements made by
the speakers at the meeting.

Jesse Hudson found himself the centre of a raging storm. One after
another of the men who had attended the meeting came to Hudson and
protested against the publicity they had received.

"What do you mean by involving me in an affair of this kind?" said one
big fellow from California. "I'd like to know why you selected me to
pull your chestnuts out of the fire."

"You didn't object last night," retorted Hudson, hotly.

"No," was the answer, "but at that time I had no idea that the story of
this meeting was to be spread broadcast."

"Nor did I," said Hudson, drily.

Before the day was over the protests became so numerous and so insistent
that Hudson was driven in a corner, so to speak. He realized that he
would have to do something to save himself from the sea of unpopularity
in which he threatened to be engulfed. Finally he began, in a mild sort
of way, to deny the truthfulness of the report in the newspaper. He
thought, vaguely, that at best, it would be simply Conway's word against
his own, and in such a contest, he thought he might stand a chance to
come out even.

But Felix Conway was not the man to submit to an injustice of any kind.
He promptly sought the Congressman and said:

"Mr. Hudson, I understand that you have questioned the accuracy of my
report. I challenge you to refute any portion of it!"

Hudson was manifestly annoyed.

"I have no time to bother with you," he said. "I think you have done
enough mischief, and I am too busy to be disturbed just now."

Conway laughed joyously.

"Well, I'd like it to be understood," he said, "that I am always ready
for a disturbance."

"I'll give you all you want some other time," was the snappy rejoinder.

Later in the day Conway learned that while Hudson admitted that there
had been a meeting, he denied the accuracy of the reported speech in
which he had been placed on record as declaring himself against the
President's policies. This was put out in such a plausible manner that
it made an impression on more than one member; hence, before the day
was over, there was a general feeling among a large number of the
members that Conway, while correct in the main, had taken unwarranted
liberties in reporting Hudson's speech. Conway first learned of this
impression when he met the venerable statesman who was the Chairman of
the Committee that had charge of the press galleries of Congress.

Senator Graves was a statesman of the old school. He wore a high silk
hat and a long frock coat, and was smoothly shaven and spoke in well
modulated sentences. His whole manner and appearance was against the
prevailing spirit of speed.

"Conway," he said, solemnly, "I understand that you have been printing
some sensational stuff. In other words, to put it plainly, I understand
that you have been sending out misleading reports concerning members of
Congress."

"Does anyone make the charge?" asked Conway, quickly.

"No," said the Congressman, "but the report is being circulated so
persistently that it gives me great annoyance."

"I can't meet rumor," said Conway, "but if you can produce anyone who
makes such a charge specifically, I shall be glad to face him."

"My dear boy," was the reply, "I don't want you to think for a moment
that I have any fault to find with you. My experience is that you have
never abused the privileges, or broken any of the rules which govern the
press galleries of the House or Senate. You know as well as I do how
carefully we have tried to guard these privileges, and the measures that
have been taken to keep unworthy persons from obtaining access to the
floors or galleries of Congress."

"I understand it very well, Senator," was the reply, "and for that
reason, I am most anxious to clear myself of even a suggestion of having
done anything improper."

"Well, there is nothing more to say," was the response, "as there are no
charges, there can be no investigation."

"But," persisted the journalist, "I want an investigation."

"What for?"

"For my own satisfaction and for your satisfaction. I will regard it as
a great favor if you will go into this matter personally."

"Well, really," began the other, "I--"

"Senator," pleaded Conway, "I want you to do this as a personal favor."

"Very well," said the statesman, relenting, "if you put it that way I
don't see how I can refuse you."

"Thank you, very much, and now if you will fix an hour that will suit
your convenience tonight, I shall be glad to bring you the evidence that
will convince you that I have acted in good faith."

"All right," was the response, "you may meet me at my hotel at eight
o'clock."

The statesman had started away when Conway called to him:

"Oh, Senator, one other word."

"What is it," asked Mr. Graves, pausing.

"I'd like you to have an expert stenographer at your room."

"Why, I didn't think you wanted an official investigation."

"I don't."

"Well, then, what do you want a man to take notes for?"

"I don't. I simply want a stenographer who can read the notes of another
person."

Mr. Graves looked puzzled.

"Well, have it your own way. I'll be there, and have a stenographer in
attendance also."

Promptly at eight o'clock that night Felix Conway reported at the rooms
of Senator Graves. Barry Wynn was with him, and carried in his pocket
the book he had used in making his shorthand notes of the afternoon
meeting.

The Senator waved them all to a seat and then introduced Mr. Conway and
Barry to a young man who was present and who proved to be one of the
official stenographers of the House of Representatives.

"Senator," said Conway, in the voice of an attorney addressing a jury,
"my evidence will be brief and to the point. I have to present Mr. Barry
Wynn, who is responsible for the report of the speeches made at the
meeting in question."

Barry, thus introduced, stepped forward and handed his note book to the
Senator.

"This contains the remarks that I reported at the meeting," he said. "I
have enclosed an affidavit which declares that they are the identical
shorthand notes taken by me at the meeting."

"What now?" asked the Senator, looking at Mr. Conway.

"I'd like your stenographer to read these notes."

The young man, thus called upon, read from the book in a clear and
distinct voice. The transcript that he made from the notes was identical
with the report of the speeches that Felix Conway had made in his
newspaper.

"That is sufficient," said Senator Graves, and rising, and putting one
hand on Conway's shoulder and the other on Barry's, he said:

"There is nothing further to be said in the matter. You boys know your
business. You have the proof conclusive that you were in the right. No
one can successfully attack Mr. Conway's report."



CHAPTER XXIII

WHAT BARRY OVERHEARD


John Carlton was very much concerned with the current political
developments and felt a particular interest in the storm which had been
aroused by Jesse Hudson's ill advised meeting. He was discussing the
situation with a fellow member of the House when he was joined by Felix
Conway, his Celtic face aglow with enthusiasm.

"We've got 'em going, Mr. Carlton!" he exclaimed.

The Congressman nodded soberly.

"Yes, you've got 'em going, all right," he assented.

The journalist was quick to catch the note of doubt in his friend's
voice.

"I hope you're not afraid of a battle," he said, somewhat nettled.

Carlton looked at him a moment before replying. Then he spoke rather
deliberately.

"No, Felix; I am not afraid of a battle. I am not afraid of war either.
I went through one war, as you know, and I've got some scars on me to
show for it. But there is one thing you must not forget. There is hardly
ever a battle or a war without a list of killed and wounded."

Conway was disposed to be argumentative.

"That's true," he admitted, "but you will have to admit that it's a
glorious thing to die in a good cause."

"It's a glorious thing for the survivors," assented the Congressman,
"but I don't know how the killed and wounded feel about it."

"Your bill comes up tomorrow, I believe," he said.

"Yes," responded Mr. Carlton, "and that's what I have been thinking
about all the time."

"Don't you feel sure about it?"

"I wish I could. It was all right a few weeks ago, but since this
factional fight has sprung up, I hardly know where we stand. You know
these contests create enmities that are hard to heal. It's another case
of the killed and wounded. You fellows may win your fight against Hudson
and his crowd, but my poor bill for the erection of a Naval Repair
Station in Cleverly may be numbered among the killed."

"I never thought of that part of it," said Felix, "and I am mighty sorry
to know that your interests have been put in jeopardy. If I had to do it
over again I'd probably change my tactics."

Carlton took Felix by both hands. He spoke fervently:

"My dear boy," he said, "I wouldn't have you do any such thing for the
world. I haven't a single regret for anything that has been done. I have
been simply trying to look the situation in the face. I know I'm up
against a hard fight and I don't want to deceive myself,--that's all. I
am not repining in the least, and you will discover that I am not afraid
of the fight."

Conway's face brightened again.

"Now, you make me feel better," he said, "but, seriously, don't you
think you will get away with the trick?"

"Yes, I do. It's going to be mighty close, but I think I'll win."

"When is the meeting?"

"It has been called for three o'clock tomorrow afternoon."

"By George! That's short notice."

"Yes, it is, and that's why I have been giving some serious thought to
the proposition. I have counted noses a dozen times today, and I am
willing to take my oath that I have got a sure majority of two votes."

"That's good, but it's close."

"Yes, but in a hot race a nose is as good as a mile."

Conway seemed lost in thought for a while. Presently he spoke in a tone
of half admiration and half wonder:

"You know, Mr. Carlton," he said, "the more I think of it the more I am
surprised at what you have told me."

"What do you mean?"

"I simply mean that in the face of this bitter factional fight it is
almost a miracle that an overwhelming majority of the Committee has not
declared against your bill."

"Oh, I don't know about that," was the calm rejoinder. "Men can't afford
to lose their heads altogether. Besides, there are other members that
have bills that they want passed."

"What do you mean by that?" was the quick interrogation.

"I mean that successful legislation is largely a matter of compromise."

Barry, who had been listening, now spoke firmly but with due deference.

"I don't like to hear you talk like that," he said, "it doesn't sound
right."

The Congressman laughed.

"I am surprised to hear you talking in such a strain, Barry. I thought
that a boy of your experience would know that life is a game of give and
take. The men that come to Washington to represent their constituents
simply carry out this universal law in a concrete way."

The page boy shook his head laughingly.

"Now, you 're getting too deep for me," he said. "If you go much farther
I won't be able to follow you at all."

"Why, it's as plain as the nose on your face," retorted the other.
"Nearly all important legislation takes the form of log-rolling.
Theorists who have never gotten down to the rough-and-tumble of real
life, look at log-rolling as if, it were a political crime. It is
nothing of the sort. It is giving up something you don't want for
something that you need very badly, and as long as there is no
dishonesty in the transaction I can see no harm being done. You have got
to reconcile conflicting interests, and if you do so with a good motive
I think you are serving your country."

"That sounds very well, Mr. Carlton," said the insistent Barry, "but I
don't believe it's the way the founders of the Republic would have
talked. I don't think you can make real patriots believe in that sort of
thing."

Mr. Carlton did a remarkable thing. He burst out laughing. Barry looked
annoyed. His feelings were ruffled.

"My dear Barry," said the Congressman, "your assertion does not really
need an answer. You have furnished it yourself."

"In what way?"

"By your reference to the founders of the Republic. You believe, don't
you, that Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson were high-minded men
and loved their country?"

"I certainly do."

"Well, then, let me tell you that the vote in Congress by which the city
of Washington was decided upon as the capital of the nation was the
result of a compromise between these two men."

"I think I've heard something about that, but I never thought there was
anything in it."

"There's everything in it," was the prompt retort. "The people of today
have no idea of the bitterness that was engendered during the fight to
locate the capital of the Republic. Every city in the middle states
desired it, and immense sums of money were offered for the privilege of
securing the capital city. The Eastern states had openly threatened
secession, and their Northern and Southern members were so bitter that
they would not meet together for the transaction of public business.
Hamilton and Jefferson happened to meet one day and between them they
arranged a compromise by which the present city of Washington, in the
District of Columbia, was selected as the capital. The compromise was
effected by the Northern states agreeing to the capital being placed on
the Potomac river on condition that the Southern states should consent
that the debt of the creditor states should be assumed by the national
Government. The whole affair was patched up at a dinner given by Thomas
Jefferson."

Conway interposed with a gesture of mock despair.

"Barry surrenders. Anyhow, he didn't know that he was laying himself
open for a lecture on the early history of the Government."

The two men separated laughingly, and Conway promised to be on hand if
it were possible for him to render any assistance in the final
consideration of the Cleverly bill.

Before Barry Wynn left the Capitol that day, Mr. Carlton suggested that
it would be a good idea for him to be on hand at the meeting of the
Committee on Naval Affairs the following afternoon.

"It is impossible to foretell just what may happen," he said, "and I
would like you to be near by in case it is necessary for me to send out
any messages."

Barry promised and went home that night with his mind very much absorbed
in the question of the bill which was to come up for final consideration
on the following day. He met Joe Hart at his boarding house that night,
and after dinner the little fellow told him that he had been given a
message to deliver to Senator Graves at the Cosmopolis Hotel that
evening.

"I'll go with you," said Barry. "I'm through with the shorthand school,
and I feel too restless to stay in the house tonight."

So the two boys walked down Pennsylvania Avenue together to the hotel.
Joe went to the desk and informed the clerk that he had a message to
deliver to Senator Graves.

"I am sorry," said the clerk, "but the Senator is not in now. We expect
him back in about half an hour, if you care to wait that long."

Joe realized that there was nothing to do under the circumstances but to
wait. He walked around the corridor of the hotel for a while with Barry,
but finally the boys became tired and sat down together on a cushioned
seat that had been built around one of the great columns in the lobby of
the hotel. It was very comfortable and they enjoyed it very much indeed.
The Cosmopolis was one of the leading hotels of the capital, and
important men were walking in and out all the time. It was quite
comfortable in the lobby and after a while the boys ceased talking.
Presently Joe, boy-like, went to sleep. Barry was in a half doze himself
when he was suddenly aroused by the sound of a familiar voice:

"Carlton's bill is going to be taken up by the Committee at three
o'clock tomorrow afternoon."

Barry's eyes opened wide. He was thoroughly awake, but he did not move
nor speak. He sat perfectly still. Presently the voice sounded again:

"He thinks he is going to get it through, but we will have to give him a
surprise party."

Someone answered this sally, but in such a low voice that the reply
could not be understood by the listening page.

There was silence for some time after this and Barry, moving very slowly
and cautiously, peered round the corner of the big pillar, and was
rewarded by a sight of the men on the other side of the column. One was
Jesse Hudson, the other was Joel Phipps, and the third was a man he did
not know. Barry quickly dodged back to his former position and listened
very quietly in the hope of hearing more of the conversation. It was
unsatisfactory. He only got fragments of the talk. Occasionally Hudson
raised his voice, but the stranger invariably answered in a whisper. The
boy snuggled up closer in the hope of getting some telltale phrase. In a
moment he was rewarded to some extent:

"It hinges on Warrington," said Hudson.

"But he's for the bill," whispered the unknown man.

"Yes," muttered Hudson, "but he must stay away."

"I don't think you can get him to do that."

"I think we can."

"I doubt it very much."

"I don't," was the confident rejoinder. "You know that Warrington loves
a good dinner?"

In a few moments the three men walked away, leaving the boys alone on
the cushioned seat. By this time Senator Graves had arrived at the
hotel and Joe Hart was enabled to deliver his message. Barry did not
confide the conversation he had overheard to Joe Hart. He wondered what
it all meant. He wondered whether he should tell Mr. Carlton about it.
After considerable thought he concluded that it was not very important
after all and that, in any event, the Congressman was able to take care
of himself. But at intervals during the night he kept hearing a familiar
voice saying:

"You know that Warrington loves a good dinner!"



CHAPTER XXIV

THE LAST STAND


Barry Wynn awoke the following morning with a confused recollection of
what he had heard behind the big column in the Cosmopolis Hotel. But in
the clear light of day it did not take him long to determine what he
should do. He resolved to tell the story to Mr. Carlton for just what it
was worth.

Immediately after breakfast he hastened to the Capitol, but was
disappointed to learn that the Congressman would not be in his office
until noon. Barry waited until that hour only to find that it would not
be possible for Mr. Carlton to see anyone until later in the day. The
boy was in a fever of impatience by this time. He hardly knew what to
do. He knew that the Committee on Naval Affairs was to meet at three
o'clock and he resolved to stand at the door of the Committee room and
intercept Mr. Carlton as he went into the meeting. It was a minute
after the appointed time when the familiar form of the Congressman came
swinging down the corridor in double-quick time.

"Mr. Carlton! Mr. Carlton!" cried the boy.

"Hello, Barry," responded the statesman, but without stopping.

The young page ran after him and caught him by the sleeve.

"There is something I want to tell you--something important," he panted.

The Congressman slackened his pace without stopping.

"Well, what is it? You must speak quickly. I'm in a mighty big hurry."

"I heard--I heard," gasped Barry, trying to talk and keep pace with his
friends at the same time, "I heard that Mr. Hudson was going to try and
defeat your bill today."

John Carlton laughed.

"I've heard that myself a dozen times. I can't say it's news."

"But they talked it over last night," persisted the boy. "I heard
them--while I was at the hotel."

"I don't doubt it," retorted the other, wearily, "and if I stay here
talking to you any longer they'll cook my goose sure enough."

"But I have more I must tell you. I'm sure--"

"Not now," interrupted Carlton.

With that he hurried into the room where nearly all of the members of
the Committee had assembled. Barry was in despair. He tried to tell his
news and failed. In the meantime Joel Phipps, the clerk, was calling the
roll to ascertain whether a quorum of the Committee was in attendance.
Barry, at his post in the doorway, could see Mr. Carlton flitting about
from one member to another.

While he stood there Felix Conway came along and greeted him cordially.
The sight of that beaming countenance was to the boy like a grateful
rain upon a parched desert. What he had tried to tell the Congressman he
could impart to Conway's receptive ears. Felix listened in silence. At
the conclusion of the narrative he gave a prolonged whistle.

"Did you tell this to John Carlton?" he demanded.

"I tried to, but I couldn't get him to listen."

"Oh. I suppose he was so busy that he didn't know what you were talking
about."

"That's right. I don't think he knew what I meant."

"I wonder how we can reach him?" asked Felix; then almost immediately
answering his own question, he said:

"Thank goodness, he's coming out now."

Carlton was slowly making his way to the door. It was evident from his
looks and his manner that something was wrong. His forehead was drawn
and his eyebrows contracted with a frown. There was a grayish look about
the corners of his mouth. It was rare indeed for this self-contained man
to show such emotion.

"Well," exclaimed Conway, anticipating him, "how are things going? Have
you got your majority of three?"

The Congressman shook his head with a gesture of disgust.

"No--they've got Curwood. I was sure he was with me last night, but he
tells me now that he is going to vote against the bill."

"But that still leaves you a majority of one."

Carlton wagged his head again.

"It would if all my supporters were here--but one's away."

"Who is he?"

"Warrington."

Conway slapped Barry on the back.

"That proves your story, my boy."

"What story?" asked Carlton, quickly.

"The story Wynn was trying to tell you when you went into the meeting."

He smiled in a melancholy way.

"I was so distracted that I didn't really know what Barry was trying to
say."

Prompted by the journalist, the page boy himself repeated what he had
heard in the hotel lobby the night before. As he concluded, Conway
exclaimed:

"What do you think of that?"

"I'm fighting a resourceful crowd," admitted Carlton, sorrowfully.

Before he had finished the sentence, Conway had rushed over to a
telephone booth and had the receiver at his ear. He was back in a
minute, his face flushed.

"I've had Warrington's apartments. His housekeeper tells me that he went
to Wynnwood this morning. He told her he would take dinner there and
return in time for the meeting of your Committee this afternoon. Barry,"
he concluded, "get me a suburban timetable."

Quickly the page boy returned with a railroad schedule. Conway looked it
over feverishly. He gave a groan.

"What's the matter?" asked Carlton.

"There's only one train out of that one-horse town this afternoon."

"I guess one train is sufficient to carry Warrington," retorted Carlton,
with forced gaiety.

"Yes," said the other, dropping the timetable with a gesture of
disgust, "but it won't leave Wynnwood until half-past four. That means
that he can't get here until after five o'clock."

"What does that mean?" asked the Congressman, anxiously.

"It means that your bill is beaten unless you can have it amended
tomorrow."

"That's out of the question," admitted the other, "tomorrow is the last
day of the session, and it will be a physical impossibility to have the
general bill reopened for changes of any kind."

"Do you believe in Warrington?" asked the journalist.

"As I believe in myself. He's careless, but he's as true as steel. He's
gone away in the full belief that he would get back in time. I'd stake
my life on his loyalty."

"When will the Committee reach your bill?"

"By four o'clock at the latest. There are only two bills ahead of it."

"How long will it take to dispose of it?"

"I should say it will either be passed or killed by half-past four."

Conway shook his fist at an imaginary foe.

"The rascals! They've timed it perfectly."

"How?"

"Warrington will only be taking the train for Washington at that time."

Conway paced the width of the corridor two or three times. Suddenly he
paused, a look of resolution in his eyes.

"Is debate restricted to the Committee?" he asked, unexpectedly.

"No."

"Then, by Jove, I think I have it. It's only a chance in a thousand, but
it's worth trying."

During the next few minutes the journalist showed the latent
possibilities that reposed beneath his placid exterior. He hustled Barry
to his rooms for certain papers. Joe Hart, who happened along, was
hurried off on another errand. All the while Conway was talking in
quick, jerky, excited whispers to John Carlton. Barry and Joe returned
about the same time, loaded down with reports and pamphlets. These were
placed in the arms of the astonished Congressman.

"Now, Carlton," was the farewell greeting of the correspondent, "I'm
going to take Barry with me. I may need him. Joe Hart will stay here in
case you need his services. In the meantime, good-bye and good luck."

He was off like a flash. John Carlton returned to the Committee room and
silently took his seat. His quiet demeanor surprised Hudson. He looked
for an outbreak of some sort. But, instead the man from Maine sat there
as mute as though he had been deprived of the power of speech.

"Takes defeat better than I expected," whispered Hudson to his neighbor.

"Oh," was the confident rejoinder, "he sees he's up against it and knows
there's no use in making a fight."

The Committee proceeded with its work mechanically. The two bills that
were ahead of the Cleverly measure were taken up in their order. The
sponsor of the first one was about to make some remarks in its favor
when the Chairman said that as there did not appear to be any opposition
to the bill, there was scarcely any need for debate. Carlton was on his
feet at once.

"I think the gentleman should have the privilege of saying what he
pleases."

No one objected, and the legislator proceeded to orate for the space of
fifteen minutes. It was that much time killed. The Committee voted
unanimously to incorporate his measure in the naval programme, which
would afterwards have to go in the general appropriation bill. The
second bill was favorably reported without debate.

The hands of the clock pointed to four when the Committee took up the
Cleverly measure. Carlton made a masterly speech in its favor. But the
speech consumed a half hour, which many of the Committee considered an
insufferably long time. After that Hudson and two of his friends made
short, snappy three-minute speeches against the bill. As the last man
sat down Hudson called for a vote on the proposition.

But Carlton was on his feet, holding aloft a protesting arm.

"One minute, Mr. Chairman," he cried, "I can't permit the remarks of
these gentlemen to go unanswered. It would not be fair to my
constituents to do so. I am told that you propose to defeat this bill.
Very well. But, before you do so, I demand the right to place myself on
record."

Cries of "Hear! hear! Go on" and "Give the man a chance," greeted this
opening.

The Chairman nodded a reluctant consent, and John Carlton began his
speech against time. His desk was piled high with papers, pamphlets, and
books. Thus fortified, he gave the members an exhibition of
old-fashioned, backwoods oratory. Whenever he was at a loss for a new
idea he would reach over, pick up a book and begin to read extracts from
some ancient report. He sketched the art of building navies from its
beginning down to the present era. He read portions of messages from the
great architects of the past and present. Finally, he discussed the
character of naval stations which should be erected by the United States
Government.

The opposition members were becoming restless. Already three quarters of
an hour had been consumed, and they wanted to bring the matter to a
conclusion. They knew that they had the votes and they wanted to defeat
the bill and have done with it.

"I call time," shouted one of them, "the gentleman is talking in the
most trivial manner."

Carlton simulated intense indignation.

"The member is insulting," he shouted.

"I call for a vote," retorted the other.

"That's gag law," declared the member from Cleverly in his most dramatic
style, "and I hope that it will never be said that such law was ever
invoked by this Committee."

The result of this tirade was an extension of time. He talked until his
voice became husky, all the while watching the hands of the clock. They
seemed to crawl around at a snail's pace. But time moves on in spite of
men and mice. Soon the timepiece pointed to ten minutes of five. Carlton
talked on. The hands reached five minutes of five. The statesman
continued his rambling discourse. The clock struck five. At that Hudson
arose in a rage. He could risk no more delay.

"I insist upon an immediate vote," he shouted.

"And I demand a roll call on the request," retorted Carlton.

Everybody knew that this was a dilatory motion. But the purpose was
accomplished. Three or four more minutes were wasted. Then the
inevitable came. The final call of the roll on whether Cleverly was to
have its Naval Repair Station was ordered.

Carlton sank in his seat exhausted. He had come to the end of his
resources. He knew only too well that he was short one vote. Joel
Phipps with his sing-song voice did his work expeditiously. Four-fifths
of the names had been called and Conway had not come with his promised
relief. Carlton gave one last anxious look at the door. No one was in
sight. He gave a sigh--the sigh of a defeated man, and waited in a
perfunctory way for the conclusion of the roll call.



CHAPTER XXV

A RACE AGAINST TIME


After their talk with John Carlton, Barry and Felix left the meeting
room together, and, hurrying down the corridor, emerged on the plaza
fronting the Southern side of the Capitol. The boy was all a-quiver with
excitement.

"What did you mean by dumping all of those reports on John Carlton?" he
asked.

Conway laughed joyously.

"That's food for thought. He must feed it out to the Committee by
degrees."

"What good will it do?" asked Barry, skeptically.

"It will postpone the vote on the Cleverly bill."

"But the postponement won't do any good unless Warrington gets here."

"You've hit the nail on the head."

Barry had confidence in the resourcefulness of the journalist. He felt
sure that he had conceived some brilliant plan by which Warrington could
be instantly and miraculously--if you will--delivered to Carlton. He
wondered why Conway did not tell him all about it. His hints had not
given him much satisfaction. So he spoke bluntly:

"What are you trying to do?"

The honest blue eyes of Felix twinkled. Perplexity was drowned in
merriment. He threw up both hands in a gesture of abandonment.

"Blest if I know!"

Barry was so amazed at this unexpected reply that he stood stock still
at the foot of the Capitol steps.

"You don't know!" he interrogated in a reproachful tone.

"No," replied the other, putting his hands in his pockets, and raising
himself up and down on his heels, "I don't know."

"And you left Mr. Carlton believing that you would be back with
Warrington at your heels."

"It was the only thing to do. You must never say die, my boy. Fight to
the last ditch, but never surrender. There is always the possibility
that something may turn up. The first and most important factor in this
fight was delay. We've secured that. How long Carlton will hold that
crowd is more than I can predict. After that we need an additional vote.
The vote is at Wynnwood."

"Yes, I know all about that--but I don't see how this talk is going to
help," cried Barry, irritably.

"Nor do I," responded the imperturbable Irishman, "but do you know that
sometimes in the mere act of stating a difficulty you discover a way out
of it."

The boy laughed in spite of himself.

"There's no way of getting to Wynnwood--no trains, I mean," he said.

"Quite right, and Wynnwood, being obstinate, won't come to us."

"If we could locate a wireless operator, we might flash a message to
Warrington," said Barry, banteringly.

"Yes," assented the other, "or if we could pick up a flying machine
that wasn't otherwise engaged, it might help some."

The boy gave a gesture of dismay.

"While we're out here fooling, Mr. Carlton is probably talking himself
hoarse."

Conway suddenly broke away from Barry and started across the asphalted
street.

"I've got it!" he shouted. "I've got it! The very thing!"

"What is it?" cried the boy, running after him.

"Look across the street," responded the correspondent, breathlessly, "do
you see that big automobile, and do you see that red-haired youth in the
front seat?"

"Yes, but I don't see the connection--yet."

"You will in a second. That's Danny Burns. He was in my class at
Georgetown. He's the only son of one of the rubber kings. He has all
kinds of wealth; money to burn, and oceans of time to consume it."

Before Barry could reply, Conway was hailing the young man in the
automobile:

"Danny! Danny!"

The red-haired one turned around indolently.

"Why, hello, you rascal, what's the matter? Running a foot race, or is
the world on fire?"

"Neither, you time-killer. I want you to give me a ride in your
machine."

"Well, of all the cheek you--"

"You've invited me fifty times," interrupted Felix.

"Yes, and you've declined forty-nine."

"Hurry up, or I may change my mind."

"Jump in," shouted the young millionaire.

In a thrice Conway and Barry were in the machine. After the newspaper
man had presented the boy, the amateur chauffeur turned to Felix:

"Where to?"

"Straight South, and I'll tell you all about it as we go."

As the big touring car whizzed along, the newspaper man told his college
chum the story of the Cleverly bill. He explained the plight of John
Carlton and told of the mysterious disappearance of Congressman
Warrington. The question was whether it would be possible to reach
Wynnwood and return to Washington before the meeting of the Committee
was concluded.

The love of adventure was strong in Danny Burns' veins, and he listened
with eager interest. When Felix finished his story, Danny turned the
steering wheel over to Conway while he consulted road maps and made
calculations regarding the possibility of landing Warrington in
Washington at the time appointed.

"Say, Danny," cried Felix, as he reluctantly took hold of the wheel, "I
don't know a blessed thing about this machine. I wish you'd run it
yourself."

"Oh, it's only for a few minutes. If a chicken or a rabbit gets in your
way, run over it. If it's a cow, turn aside. We don't want to help the
trusts by sending beef any higher; besides it might scratch the varnish
on the car."

For a man that knew nothing whatever of motoring, Felix did fairly well.
Once the machine threatened to run into a barbed wire fence, and again
it skidded on a slippery stretch of road, but otherwise he managed it
very creditably. He was glad enough when the owner of the car relieved
him.

"I figure it out that Wynnwood is nearly twenty miles from Washington.
Now if we can keep up our speed both ways and do not meet with any
mishaps, there is a bare possibility that we may win out--just a bare
possibility."

Felix groaned.

"That means we're beaten," he said. "When a confirmed optimist becomes
cautious, it makes me believe the jig's up."

"What time must you be back?" asked Burns, ignoring the reference to
himself.

"Well, the bill should come up at four o'clock."

"Well, that's what I based my calculation upon. You see, it's after
three o'clock now."

Barry, who had been listening to the conversation, now spoke:

"I think, Mr. Burns," he said, "that Mr. Carlton will keep the votes
back until some time after four o'clock."

"Good," cried the young man, "every minute saved in that way is a minute
gained."

"Sure," responded Conway, recovering his hopeful manner at once, "and if
Danny could gain a few minutes more with this old tin can of a motor
car, we'd come mighty near winning the race."

Danny's answer was characteristic of that spoiled darling of fortune. He
pulled the lever back one or two notches and the machine shot ahead as
though it were possessed of a thousand furies, each one urging the other
on to greater excesses. The shock threw Conway against the cushions and
made him shake his fist at his friend in pretended anger. As for Barry,
the sudden rush of the machine fairly took his breath away.

They were out in the open country now on a great waste of level land
where speed laws could be ignored with impunity. They soon went so
swiftly that intelligible conversation was out of the question. The
young page boy was enjoying it to the fullest. There was something
exhilarating about it that made him close his eyes and breathe a
long-drawn sigh of utter contentment. He was perfectly satisfied to
remain quiet and drink in the joys of this wonderful ride.

[Illustration: The young page boy was enjoying it to the fullest

_See page 331_]

But even the whizzing of the wind was not sufficient to keep the
youthful owner of the car from talking. From time to time he shouted in
Conway's ear, taunting him with being an old fogy and offering to bet
anything from a red apple to a hundred-dollar bill that he could drive
the next mile faster than he had driven the last one. Felix, who was in
momentary fear that the machine would be wrecked and that they would
all lose their lives, permitted the jibe of his friend to go unanswered.

But the longest journeys have their end, and presently the village of
Wynnwood hove in sight. Danny Burns said he knew it, because once, while
suffering from temporary aberration of the mind, he had gone fishing
there. He said the only house in the place was the old fisherman's
cottage where unfortunate visitors were regaled with country dinners at
New York prices.

So, being well acquainted with the locality, Danny kept his machine in
motion until it reached the front door of the Ancient Mariner of the
village. It had scarcely stopped before there was a scampering of feet
within and Warrington ran out on the porch, very red in the face and too
angry almost for coherent speech. The recognition of Conway caused him
to emit a shriek of delight.

"Felix," he cried, "you're an angel in disguise!"

"Why?" asked the wise one, with pretended innocence.

"I've got to get back to Washington at once. I promised Carlton I'd vote
for his bill. When I accepted an invitation to eat a dinner here today I
had no idea that there were no trains back until four o'clock. I've been
telephoning everywhere for a conveyance, but all in vain."

"It's all right," said Conway, quietly, "we came here to take you back
to Washington--that is, if you want to go."

"Want to go," he retorted, angrily, "don't you dare to insinuate--"

"I insinuate nothing," was the quiet rejoinder, "but Barry Wynn heard
some things last night that convinced me that you would be unable to
reach the meeting today unless we came here with a motor car."

Something about Conway's manner rather than his words, caught the
Congressman.

"It was a scheme on the part of Hudson's crowd then, wasn't it? I've
tried hard not to think so. Conway, I thank you and the boy and your
friend. Please put on steam. I want to save that bill if I can. If I
fail, I give you my word that I'll make all Washington howl!"

In ten minutes they had started on their return journey. Burns drove his
car at a rate that was simply scandalous. The machine ate up the road.
It consumed mile after mile like a glutton whose appetite grows with
what it feeds upon. Astonished farmers stood at their gate posts and
gazed after the queer quartette and wondered if they were escaped
lunatics. And Danny Burns, whose recklessness had passed into a proverb,
sat there cherubic with delight. Conway looked at his watch. He smiled
his satisfaction. He leaned over to his friend and shouted in his ear:

"Keep it up! You're doing fine! You made the last mile in less than a
minute."

At that moment there was a loud report, like the shot of a rifle. There
was an unaccountable slowing down of speed and the machine began to limp
along like a runner whose breath is exhausted.

"What's the matter?" inquired Barry.

"Nothing," was the philosophical retort, "except that we've burst a
tire."

In a few minutes Danny had all of them at work. Warrington, perspiring
like a stoker in a fire-room, was jacking up the axle of the machine,
while Barry was pulling away on the extra tire which the discreet Burns
always carried on the back of his car.

Presently everything was as good as new, but as they started off Felix
happened to glance at his watch, and what he discovered made him thump
his breastbone in unavailing anger. It was half-past four o'clock, and
according to schedule the Committee should be through with the Cleverly
bill. He said nothing, because the time for talk had passed.

Presently they came near to the city limits and instead of slowing down,
the reckless driver increased his speed. On and on they whizzed until
Barry's head ached from the new sensation. They bounced up and down on
their seats as though they were rubber balls. A clock in the steeple
struck five.

Every one in the car felt that the Cleverly bill was dead and buried by
this time. But they kept on with a grim taciturnity that would have been
worthy of bigger men in a greater cause. Just as they came within view
of the Capitol a young lady, followed by a fluffy little dog, crossed
the track of the car. With a trial for homicide staring him in the face,
Danny Burns acted with great promptness. He twisted the machine out of
its course and undoubtedly saved the life of the girl, not to speak of
the dog.

The car skidded up the side of the little park, the centre of which was
ornamented with a miniature pond for the cultivation of lilies. The
sudden twist of the steering gear gave the machine a terrific jolt. It
did more than that. It threw Felix Conway and Congressman Warrington
over the dasher and into the midst of the pond lilies. Barry, with the
ingenuity of boyhood, clung desperately to his seat in the car.

By very good fortune, neither of the men were injured and they were
able to continue their journey. But their personal appearance was a
sight to excite the jeers of the frivolous--sopping wet and
fantastically decorated with the clinging leaves of the water lilies.

A few minutes later the doors of the Committee room were thrown open and
Barry Wynn and Danny Burns hurried into the meeting, closely followed by
Felix Conway and Congressman Warrington. The big statesman was coatless.
His hair was in disorder, and one end of his collar had been torn from
the button. Add to this the fact that the water was dripping from his
clothes and that he was fighting mad, and the rest of the scene may be
imagined. The clerk, apparently, had just ceased calling the roll.

"Mr. Chairman," shouted Warrington, "I desire to record my vote on the
Cleverly Naval Station bill."

There was a tense silence, and then, after a moment's deliberation, the
presiding officer said in a hard, cold tone:

"I'm very sorry, but the gentleman is too late. The vote has just been
taken and the bill is defeated."

Barry felt as if he would crumple up and fall on the floor in a heap.
Danny Burns made his contribution to the general grief in one sentence.
He said:

"It's a beastly shame!"

But John Carlton evidently had an inspiration. He was on his feet in an
instant.

"I move that the vote by which the Cleverly bill was defeated be
reconsidered."

The Chairman looked at him reproachfully.

"The gentleman surely knows that a motion to reconsider can only be made
by a person who has voted in the negative."

"Who voted against your bill, John?" cried Warrington, in fine disregard
of parliamentary law.

"Curwood, for one."

Warrington lurched over to Curwood. He faced him in a menacing
attitude.

"Move to reconsider," he shouted, hoarsely.

Before Curwood realized what he was doing, he had made the motion. The
vote to reconsider carried and then the bill was once more placed before
the members of the Committee. When Warrington's name was called, his
loud "aye" reverberated through the capital. The clerk handed the tally
to the Chairman. He put on his glasses and read it to the members:

"The new Naval Repair Station for Cleverly carries by a vote of 10 to
9."

Amid the applause that followed; John Carlton threw his arms around the
lily-bespattered form of Warrington and actually hugged him. Barry, on
his part, shook hands hysterically with Conway and then with Danny
Burns, and all three seemed to enjoy the performance very much.



CHAPTER XXVI

THE HOME COMING


It was the last day of the session, and everyone at the Capitol was
laboring under a great strain. The national legislators, with
characteristic unwisdom, were trying to crowd the work of three or four
weeks into three or four hours.

Several important bills remained to be acted upon. One of these was the
General Appropriation bill, which included among its numerous items, a
provision to pay for the erection of the Naval Repair Station at
Cleverly.

As John Carlton was going into the Capitol with Barry Wynn by his side,
Felix Conway greeted the man and the boy:

"How are you feeling after the battle?" he cried.

"Fine," was the genial response of the Congressman.

"Do you think your bill will go through all right this morning?"

"Sure! It becomes a part of what we call the omnibus bill, and as that
measure provides for a dozen different objects, I think there will be a
general disposition to let it go through without any further change."

Conway shook his head.

"That sounds all right, but if I were you I'd keep my eye on Hudson."

"Oh, Hudson's all right," declared Carlton, "he assured me a little
while ago that he would vote for the bill."

Conway looked puzzled.

"Well, that's funny," he said, finally.

"Nothing funny about it. Why, at the session only last night I voted for
a bill that he was interested in."

The journalist seemed petrified with astonishment. When he was able to
voice his feeling he emitted two startled words:

"You did!"

"Certainly, I did. It was a proper bill and one that should have been
passed. I harbor no resentment against Hudson. He is human, that's all;
only he was a little more human than most people. He thought I had done
him a wrong and he tried to get even with me. I must admit that I do not
particularly admire his methods, but I can assure you that I cherish no
resentment whatever against him."

Conway whistled--his favorite way of expressing unusual emotion.

"What did Hudson say when you voted with him?"

Carlton laughed.

"He came over and thanked me. He did more than that. He said he was
sorry that he had struck below the belt and promised me he would never
do it again."

Conway looked at his friend with undisguised admiration.

"Well," he said, "it's no wonder that you are successful. A man who is
as charitable as you are doesn't deserve to have any enemies."

The trio laughingly separated, and Carlton hurried into the House,
followed by his young friend. He busied himself at his desk for a few
minutes and then said:

"Barry, that omnibus bill will go through in a few minutes and after it
has been signed by the Speaker of the House and the President of the
Senate, I want you to take it in to a gentleman sitting at a desk in
that room yonder."

He pointed to a little doorway leading to an apartment finished in
marble. Barry was about to ask who the gentleman was when his attention
was distracted by a Congressman calling to him.

The greatest commotion prevailed in the House. Everyone seemed to be
doing a different thing at the same time. The Speaker pounded his desk;
the clerk called the roll; members indulged in short, snappy debates,
while the page boys rushed in every direction, tripping over each
other's heels and otherwise adding to the general din and confusion. But
in spite of the appearance of chaos, the members had settled down to
business and were engaged in steadily passing upon bills that yet
remained to be considered. Minor legislation, of course, was out of the
question. Only three or four of the big bills, like the General
Appropriation bill, the Naval programme, the Public Buildings bill, and
the Rivers and Harbors bill, were given a place on the calendar.

The House had been in session about an hour when the Speaker summoned
Barry Wynn to his side. He had a document before him and had just
finished appending his signature to it.

"Barry," he said, in a kindly tone, "take this bill over to the
presiding officer of the Senate and have him place his autograph
directly below my own."

The page boy did as he was told and returned in a few minutes. The Clerk
of the House, who seemed to have eyes in the back of his head, beckoned
to him as soon as he reached the desk.

"Go right into that room," he said, "and get the final signature to this
piece of legislation."

Barry wonderingly followed instructions. He opened the door leading
into the marble room and was greeted by a clerk, who motioned him toward
a pleasant looking gentleman, who sat at a big table, signing bills as
fast as they were handed to him. He told Barry to take a seat and
glanced over the bill hastily. After that he accepted a pen which was
handed to him by one of the bystanders and placed his autograph at the
bottom of the bill. It only needed a glance to tell Barry that he was
once again in the presence of the President of the United States. He
beckoned to Barry. The boy went to his side, and the Chief Magistrate
handed him the pen with which he had signed the bill.

"My son," he said, "take this home with you as a souvenir. I understand
that you have been very much interested in this legislation, and I think
you deserve this little token as a reminder of the success of John
Carlton and yourself."

Barry, beaming with delight, hurried to his patron and friend and told
him what had taken place. The Congressman smiled indulgently.

"He told me he would do it," he said, in a musing tone, "and I never yet
knew him to forget a promise."

Congress sat in session until very late that night, but at the
suggestion of Congressman Carlton, Barry made arrangements to return
home on the first train the following day. Mrs. Johnson helped him to
pack his trunk and he left her home-like boarding house with a feeling
of genuine regret. But when he went to the train he did not go alone. He
took with him his good friend and confidant, Joe Hart, who, after much
urging, had consented to spend a fortnight at the Wynn home in Cleverly.
To the delight of the two boys, John Carlton was on the same train and
with him was his enthusiastic admirer, Felix Conway.

All four were destined to be treated to a surprise when they reached the
little railroad station at Cleverly. The train had scarcely slowed up
when the blare of a brass band was heard, and looking out, the
embarrassed Congressman discovered that almost the entire population of
the city had come to the station to welcome him home and to celebrate
his success in winning the new Naval Repair Station for his native
place.

Barry's mother was on the platform, in the forefront of the crowd, and
he leaped from the train and was soon locked in her arms. In the
meantime the procession was forming; an open barouche, drawn by two
black horses, had been provided for John Carlton, and Felix Conway,
because of his loyalty and devotion to Carlton, was given a seat beside
the Congressman. Daniel Smithers, school teacher and philosopher, was
chief marshal of the procession, an honor that he carried blushingly and
with all due modesty. His assistants were Postmaster Ford and Hiram
Blake.

Chief Marshal Smithers, as if by inspiration, insisted that Barry Wynn
and Joe Hart, should Occupy the other seat in the carriage with
Congressman Carlton and Felix Conway. They climbed in amidst the
applause of the crowd, and in a few minutes the procession had started
on its way, while the band played in quick succession, "Hail to the
Chief," "The Star Spangled Banner," and "There'll be a Hot Time in the
Old Town Tonight."

Up one street and down another it proceeded, the enthusiasm growing more
intense with each passing minute. Presently they passed the home of
Barry Wynn, and at that point the crowd, as if in sympathy with the
significance of the occasion, redoubled its cheers and applause. As the
barouche, containing the four chief persons in the parade, passed on its
way, Barry instinctively turned his head, and the last thing he saw with
his tear-dimmed eyes, was the figure of his dear mother standing on the
edge of the porch, frantically waving a tiny lace handkerchief.



ADVERTISEMENTS


First Volume of the "Camp and Trail" Series

THE YOUNG TIMBER-CRUISERS;
or Fighting the Spruce Pirates

By HUGH PENDEXTER
Author of "Tiberius Smith"

Illustrated by Charles Copeland

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The Camp and Trail Series deals with the adventures of two boys, Stanley
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MORE ADVENTURES OF STANLEY AND BUB

THE YOUNG GEM-HUNTERS;
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By HUGH PENDEXTER
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Illustrated by Charles Copeland

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In this, the second volume of the Camp and Trail Series, we pursue the
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SMALL, MAYNARD & COMPANY

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THE SULTAN'S RIVAL

By BRADLEY GILMAN
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Publishers, Boston


"I hope this admirable book may have what it deserves: the widest
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--_Gifford Pinchot._

THE LAND WE LIVE IN
The Boys' Book of Conservation

By OVERTON W. PRICE
Vice-President National Conservation Association

With a Foreword by Gifford Pinchot, President National
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Illustrated by reproductions of 136 photographs
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book. His experience has been exactly what he needed to fit him for the
task. Mr. Price is a forester, and was for many years my right hand in
the Forest Service. Indeed, if credit could be allotted justly for work
done, I believe it would be found that he had more to do with the
success of the Service than I had. In addition to his intimate knowledge
of the whole country acquired in the Forest Service, Mr. Price has been
associated with the Conservation movement from its very beginning. It
was with him that I discussed it first, after the idea had occurred to
me, and from that time to this little has happened in Conservation which
has not profited by his wide knowledge, remarkable powers of
organization and unusual executive ability.... His scientific accuracy
is the guarantee for the accuracy of this book.... I hope this admirable
book may have what it

SMALL, MAYNARD & COMPANY Publishers, Boston


A book of nation-wide interest and importance.

THE LAND WE LIVE IN--(Continued)

deserves,--the widest circulation among the young people of America. All
the boys and girls who read it while they are young will be more useful
to the Nation because of it when they grow up; and unless I am mistaken,
they will thoroughly enjoy reading it besides."

The book is fascinating reading, as the following table of contents and
topics discussed readily suggests: Foreword; Preface; Chapter
One.--America Three Hundred Years Ago: This Country Then; What We Owe
the Settlers; The Indians Then and the Indians Now; A Picture to
Remember; The Journey; Home Again; Chapter Two.--America Today; Another
Journey; The Open Country; We Must Live Within Our Means; Not Only the
Settlers Were Blind; Chapter Three.--How the Forest Is Used, Abroad and
at Home; In Germany; Elsewhere in Europe; In the Southern Pine Belt;
Among the Douglas Fir; Logging in the North Woods; The Same Nearly
Everywhere; We Must Grow Timber or Go Without; Chapter Four.--In a
National Forest; A Busy Job; The Cowboy; The Timber Sale; How the Fires
Start; Fighting the Fire; Brave Ranger Pulaski; Fire not the Only Enemy;
The Forester; Private Forests; Teaching the People; Two Great Tasks;
Chapter Five.--The Farmers' Farms and the Nation's Farm; Cotton and
Corn; Boys the Best Farmers; North and West; We Must Grow What Food We
Need; The Public Domain; The Sheep Herders and the Cowboys; Stock
Followed Buffalo; The Range is Being Wasted; The Work of the Reclamation
Service; Three Great Problems; Chapter Six.--The Treasures Underground;
In a Coal Mine; Waste of Life and of Coal; The Bureau of Mines; Chapter
Seven.--Wild Life: The Roe Deer and the Ranger; A Royal Hunt; The Young
Germans in New York; How the Game Has Dwindled; Predatory Animals Cost
Us Dearly; We Can All Help to Save the Game; Chapter Eight.--The Rivers:
One More Journey; The First Sign of Use; Who Will Control the Water
Powers?; Other Great Uses; Rivers Are Roads; Chapter Nine.--What This
Means to Us; The Merchant's Son; The Farmer's Son; Why Taxes are Higher;
The Nation and the Government; Chapter Ten.--How We Can Help; Knowing
the Game; Learning the Game; Organization Counts; The Railroad; The
Police Squad; We Can All Help; Chapter Eleven.--This is Conservation;
The Ship of State; A Good Fight; Chapter Twelve.--An Inventory of
Natural Resources; Forests; Waters; Lands; Minerals.

The one hundred and thirty-six photographic illustrations are the very
pick of over fifty thousand photographs at the command of the National
Conservation Association, not only in their own numerous collection and
the collections of affiliated societies and individuals, but in the
immense collections of the Government itself.

SMALL, MAYNARD & COMPANY Publishers, Boston


Are you a "fan"? Then this is the book for YOU!

THE BIG LEAGUE
By CHARLES E. VAN LOAN

With a frontispiece and a decorative wrapper in three colors by
Arthur Covey

$1.00 net; by mail, $1.10

Never before has baseball had a portrayer at once so vivid, so dramatic
and so humorous. "A good, honest picture of the game," says Frank
Chance. "A lot of fun. I've read every one of these stories and so have
all the boys on the Detroit team," says Wm. E. Donovan, of the Detroits.
"The best thing of the kind," says Mordecai Brown, of the Chicago
"Cubs." Here is the list:

I THE CRAB. "It was Charley Brydon who christened Henry Gilman 'The
Crab'." He was a great catcher but one day his arm went back on him and
it looked as if he had made his last throw to second. The game of the
year came and "The Crab" showed that his _legs_ were all right--and
showed some other things, too.

II THE LOW BROW. "When they were dealing out foreheads they gave Biff
the lowest one they had in stock. Biff was a low brow, and he never
denied it; but he was also the greatest catcher that ever buckled on a
wind pad, and he never denied that either."

III THE FRESH GUY. "The freshest young thing that a big-league currycomb
ever hauled out of the baseball business"--that was Potts, a pickup from
nowhere, without reputation or standing in the world of baseball. But
watch him play ball!

IV THE QUITTER. "The Gamecocks were specialists, welded by a baseball
genius into the snappiest, scrappiest collection of fence breakers,
umpire baiters, and 'goat-getters' in professional baseball." Then they
imported a "quitter"--a curious kind of "quitter," who piled up surprise
on surprise.

V THE BUSH LEAGUE DEMON. "He's got a yellow streak," said the old third
baseman. "Wait until some one stings him good and hard!" And this tells
how the "Demon" was stung!

VI THE CAST-OFF. Walloping pitchers are rare birds. The man who can wrap
a ball around a batter's neck and also hit a .340 clip from one end of
the season to the other is of the extraordinary type. That's the
"Cast-Off." But one thing he lacked--a sense of humor.

VII THE BUSHER. "Old Reuben Glue's only son" came to town and was
introduced to a Big League training squad as the new man. You would say
he looked like a farmer, on or off the diamond; but looks don't always
tell the story.

VIII A JOB FOR A PITCHER. The Clarksville rooters were delirious with
joy. Every time the stranger whipped a strike over the plate some
Clarksville man was sure to yell: "What did you say his name was?" And
the answer would come like a thunderclap: "SMITH!"

IX THE GOLDEN BALL OF THE ARGONAUTS. Old Tom Carson, the proprietor of
the Golden Eagle Hotel, renews his acquaintance with an old baseball
antagonist and many things surprise the town of Collinsville.

SMALL, MAYNARD & COMPANY Publishers, Boston





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