“What was your offer, then, Mr. Clemens?” Brigham Young asked. His voice sounded deliberately cheerful.
“I can guess what the English had to offer,” Young said. “And the secessionists, for that matter—either of them might have offered me land, to the north or south of my Kingdom, that would have been very valuable. But I don’t want the Wyoming Territory.”
“Who does?” Sam agreed. “But what about Colorado, with its silver fields?”
“Is that the Union’s offer, then?” Young asked. “Join with us to prevent secession, and you can have the silver of the Rocky Mountains? Couldn’t I get the same thing from the southern states, in the event of their victory?”
“You certainly could,” Sam conceded, “and the victorious United States could offer you land all the way from St. George to Mexico, so land promises are cheap. Which is why the Union didn’t send me to promise you land.”
“No?” Rockwell was curious.
“No,” Sam continued, “my offer is one trainload of fornication pants, sizes to be specified by a duly appointed agent of the Kingdom.”
Young snorted, then began to laugh.
“I don’t mind fornication pants myself,” Rockwell said, shrugging, as Young continued to guffaw. “The rivets up the front make it easier to empty your bladder quick, and sometimes that can be a real advantage.”
“Urination pants, if you prefer.” Sam grinned, knowing that he was reeling them in. He was, after all, still on a diplomatic mission, and when the evening’s crisis was over, whoever was still standing in the Lion House would still have to make a decision about the war.
“Pissing pants!” Rockwell barked, and he started laughing, too.
The dwarf just shook his head like he thought everyone around him was crazy.
“All pants to be delivered by train to the Great Salt Lake City,” Sam finished. He jabbed an imaginary cigar at Young’s chest for emphasis. “On the new Transcontinental Railroad, one hundred percent owned and operated by the Kingdom of Deseret.”
Young stopped laughing.
“All land to be provided and all track laid at the expense of the United States government,” Sam added. “Along with rolling stock up to five million dollars in value, training in railroad operations for up to two hundred persons of your choice, and a ten year maintenance guarantee for the entire length of the track.”
“President Buchanan really wants me in the war on his side,” Young observed.
“President Buchanan really doesn’t want a war at all,” Sam disagreed. “And he thinks that the best way to avoid one is to have the Kingdom of Deseret on his side from the beginning.”