"But is reform really so impossible as you describe it? Is it quite hopeless?"
"Reform such as he wants is utterly hopeless, and not even desirable."
Mrs. Lee, with much earnestness of manner, still pressed her question:
"Surely something can be done to check corruption. Are we for ever to be at the mercy of thieves and ruffians? Is a respectable government impossible in a democracy?"
Her warmth attracted Jacobi's attention, and he spoke across the room. "What is that you say, Mrs. Lee? What is it about corruption?"
All the gentlemen began to listen and gather about them.
"I am asking Senator Ratcliffe," said she, "what is to become of us if corruption is allowed to go unchecked."
"And may I venture to ask permission to hear Mr. Ratcliffe's reply?" asked the baron.