Can you write the poetry yourself?

Can you write the poetry yourself?

Montague had to wait only a minute or two, and then he was escorted through a chain of rooms, and came at last to the magnate's inner sanctum. This was plain, with an elaborate and studied plainness, and Jim Hegan sat in front of a flat mahogany desk which had not a scrap of paper anywhere upon it.

He rose as the other came in, stretching out his huge form. “How do you do, Mr. Montague?” he said, and shook hands. Then he sat down in his chair, and settled back until his head rested on the back, and bent his great beetling brows, and gazed at his visitor.

The last time that Montague had met Hegan they had talked about horses, and about old days in Texas; but Montague was wise enough to realise that this had been in the evening. “I have come on a matter of business, Mr. Hegan,” he said. “So I will be as brief as possible.”

“A course of action which I do my best to pardon,” was the smiling reply.

“I want to propose to you to interest yourself in the affairs of the Northern Mississippi Railroad,” said the other.

“The Northern Mississippi?” said Hegan, knitting his brows. “I have never heard of it.”

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“I don't imagine that many people have,” the other answered, and went on to tell the story of the line.

“I have five hundred shares of the stock myself,” he said, “but it has been in my family for a long time, and I am perfectly satisfied to let it stay there. I am not making this proposition on my own account, but for a client who has a block of five thousand shares. I have here the annual reports of the road for several years, and some other information about its condition. My idea was that you might care to take the road, and make the proposed extension to the works of the Mississippi Steel Company.”

“Mississippi Steel!” exclaimed Hegan. He had evidently heard of that.

“How long ago did you say it was that this plan was looked into?” he asked. And Montague told him the story of the survey, and what he himself had heard about it.

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“That sounds curious,” said Hegan, and bent his brows, evidently in deep thought. “I will look into the matter,” he said, finally. “I have no plans of my own that would take me into that neighbourhood, but it may be possible that I can think of someone who would be interested. Have you any idea what your client wants for the thousand shares?”

“My client has put the matter into my hands,” he answered. “The matter was only broached to me this morning, and I shall have to look further into the condition of the road. I should advise her to accept a fair offer—say seventy-five per cent of the par value of the stock.”

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“We can talk about that later,” said Hegan, “if I can find the man for you.” And Montague shook hands with him and left.

He stopped in on his way home in the evening to tell Lucy about the result of his interview. “We shall hear from him soon,” he said. “I don't imagine that Hegan is a man who takes long to make up his mind.”

“My prayers will be with him,” said Lucy, with a laugh. Then she added, “I suppose I shall see you Friday night at Mr. Harvey's.”

“I shan't come out until Saturday afternoon,” said he. “I am very busy these days, working on a case. But I try to find time to get down to Siegfried Harvey's; I seem to get along with him.”

“They tell me he goes in for horses,” said Lucy.