A Far Country
That winter many other entertainments were given in our honour. But the conviction grew upon me that Maude had no real liking for the social side of life, that she acquiesced in it only on my account. Thus, at the very outset of our married career, an irritant developed: signs of it, indeed, were apparent from the first, when we were preparing the house we had rented for occupancy. Hurrying away from my office at odd times to furniture and department stores to help decide such momentous questions as curtains, carpets, chairs and tables I would often spy the tall, uncompromising figure of Susan Peters standing beside Maude's, while an obliging clerk spread out, anxiously, rugs or wall-papers for their inspection.
"Why don't you get Nancy to help you, too!" I ventured to ask her once.
"Ours is such a little house—compared to Nancy's, Hugh."
My attitude towards Susan had hitherto remained undefined. She was Tom's wife and Tom's affair. In spite of her marked disapproval of the modern trend in business and social life,—a prejudice she had communicated to Tom, as a bachelor I had not disliked her; and it was certain that these views had not mitigated Tom's loyalty and affection for me. Susan had been my friend, as had her brother Perry, and Lucia, Perry's wife: they made no secret of the fact that they deplored in me what they were pleased to call plutocratic obsessions, nor had their disapproval always been confined to badinage. Nancy, too, they looked upon as a renegade. I was able to bear their reproaches with the superior good nature that springs from success, to point out why the American tradition to which they so fatuously clung was a things of the past. The habit of taking dinner with them at least once a week had continued, and their arguments rather amused me. If they chose to dwell in a backwater out of touch with the current of great affairs, this was a matter to be deplored, but I did not feel strongly enough to resent it. So long as I remained a bachelor the relationship had not troubled me, but now that I was married I began to consider with some alarm its power to affect my welfare.
It had remained for Nancy to inform me that I had married a woman with a mind of her own. I had flattered myself that I should be able to control Maude, to govern her predilections, and now at the very beginning of our married life she was showing a disquieting tendency to choose for herself. To be sure, she had found my intimacy with the Peterses and Blackwoods already formed; but it was an intimacy from which I was growing away. I should not have quarrelled with her if she had not discriminated: Nancy made overtures, and Maude drew back; Susan presented herself, and with annoying perversity and in an extraordinarily brief time Maude had become her intimate. It seemed to me that she was always at Susan's, lunching or playing with the children, who grew devoted to her; or with Susan, choosing carpets and clothes; while more and more frequently we dined with the Peterses and the Blackwoods, or they with us. With Perry's wife Maude was scarcely less intimate than with Susan. This was the more surprising to me since Lucia Blackwood was a dyed-in-the-wool "intellectual," a graduate of Radcliffe, the daughter of a Harvard professor. Perry had fallen in love with her during her visit to Susan. Lucia was, perhaps, the most influential of the group; she scorned the world, she held strong views on the higher education of women; she had long discarded orthodoxy for what may be called a Cambridge stoicism of simple living and high thinking; while Maude was a strict Presbyterian, and not in the least given to theories. When, some months after our homecoming, I ventured to warn her gently of the dangers of confining one's self to a coterie—especially one of such narrow views—her answer was rather bewildering.
"But isn't Tom your best friend?" she asked.
I admitted that he was.
"And you always went there such a lot before we were married."
This, too, was undeniable. "At the same time," I replied, "I have other friends. I'm fond of the Blackwoods and the Peterses, I'm not advocating seeing less of them, but their point of view, if taken without any antidote, is rather narrowing. We ought to see all kinds," I suggested, with a fine restraint.
"You mean—more worldly people," she said with her disconcerting directness.
"Not necessarily worldly," I struggled on. "People who know more of the world—yes, who understand it better."
"I do try, Hugh,—I return their calls,—I do try to be nice to them. But somehow I don't seem to get along with them easily—I'm not myself, they make me shy. It's because I'm provincial."
"Nonsense!" I protested, "you're not a bit provincial." And it was true; her dignity and self-possession redeemed her.
Nancy was not once mentioned. But I think she was in both our minds....
Since my marriage, too, I had begun to resent a little the attitude of Tom and Susan and the Blackwoods of humorous yet affectionate tolerance toward my professional activities and financial creed, though Maude showed no disposition to take this seriously. I did suspect, however, that they were more and more determined to rescue Maude from what they would have termed a frivolous career; and on one of these occasions—so exasperating in married life when a slight cause for pique tempts husband or wife to try to ask myself whether this affair were only a squall, something to be looked for once in a while on the seas of matrimony, and weathered: or whether Maude had not, after all, been right when she declared that I had made a mistake, and that we were not fitted for one another? In this gloomy view endless years of incompatibility stretched ahead; and for the first time I began to rehearse with a certain cold detachment the chain of apparently accidental events which had led up to my marriage: to consider the gradual blindness that had come over my faculties; and finally to wonder whether judgment ever entered into sexual selection. Would Maude have relapsed into this senseless fit if she had realized how fortunate she was? For I was prepared to give her what thousands of women longed for, position and influence. My resentment rose again against Perry and Tom, and I began to attribute their lack of appreciation of my achievements to jealousy. They had not my ability; this was the long and short of it.... I pondered also, regretfully, on my bachelor days. And for the first time, I, who had worked so hard to achieve freedom, felt the pressure of the yoke I had fitted over my own shoulders. I had voluntarily, though unwittingly, returned to slavery. This was what had happened. And what was to be done about it? I would not consider divorce.
Well, I should have to make the best of it. Whether this conclusion brought on a mood of reaction, I am unable to say. I was still annoyed by what seemed to the masculine mind a senseless and dramatic performance on Maude's part, an incomprehensible case of "nerves." Nevertheless, there stole into my mind many recollections of Maude's affection, many passages between us; and my eye chanced to fall on the ink-well she had bought me out of the allowance I gave her. An unanticipated pity welled up within me for her loneliness, her despair in that room upstairs. I got up—and hesitated. A counteracting, inhibiting wave passed through me. I hardened. I began to walk up and down, a prey to conflicting impulses. Something whispered, "go to her"; another voice added, "for your own peace of mind, at any rate." I rejected the intrusion of this motive as unworthy, turned out the light and groped my way upstairs. The big clock in the hall struck twelve.
I listened outside the door of the bedroom, but all was silent within. I knocked.
"Maude!" I said, in a low voice.
There was no response.
"Maude—let me in! I didn't mean to be unkind—I'm sorry."
After an interval I heard her say: "I'd rather stay here,—to-night."
But at length, after more entreaty and self-abasement on my part, she opened the door. The room was dark. We sat down together on the window-seat, and all at once she relaxed and her head fell on my shoulder, and she began weeping again. I held her, the alternating moods still running through me.
"Hugh," she said at length, "how could you be so cruel? when you know I love you and would do anything for you."
"I didn't mean to be cruel, Maude," I answered.
"I know you didn't. But at times you seem so—indifferent, and you can't understand how it hurts. I haven't anybody but you, now, and it's in your power to make me happy or—or miserable."
Later on I tried to explain my point of view, to justify myself.
"All I mean," I concluded at length, "is that my position is a little different from Perry's and Tom's. They can afford to isolate themselves, but I'm thrown professionally with the men who are building up this city. Some of them, like Ralph Hambleton and Mr. Ogilvy, I've known all my life. Life isn't so simple for us, Maude—we can't ignore the social side."
"I understand," she said contentedly. "You are more of a man of affairs—much more than Tom or Perry, and you have greater responsibilities and wider interests. I'm really very proud of you. Only—don't you think you are a little too sensitive about yourself, when you are teased?"
I let this pass....
I give a paragraph from a possible biography of Hugh Paret which, as then seemed not improbable, might in the future have been written by some aspiring young worshipper of success.
"On his return from a brief but delightful honeymoon in England Mr. Paret took up again, with characteristic vigour, the practice of the law. He was entering upon the prime years of manhood; golden opportunities confronted him as, indeed, they confronted other men—but Paret had the foresight to take advantage of them. And his training under Theodore Watling was now to produce results.... The reputations had already been made of some of that remarkable group of financial geniuses who were chiefly instrumental in bringing about the industrial evolution begun after the Civil War: at the same time, as is well known, a political leadership developed that gave proof of a deplorable blindness to the logical necessity of combinations in business. The lawyer with initiative and brains became an indispensable factor," etc., etc.
The biography might have gone on to relate my association with and important services to Adolf Scherer in connection with his constructive dream. Shortly after my return from abroad, in answer to his summons, I found him at Heinrich's, his napkin tucked into his shirt front, and a dish of his favourite sausages before him.
"So, the honeymoon is over!" he said, and pressed my hand. "You are right to come back to business, and after awhile you can have another honeymoon, eh? I have had many since I married. And how long do you think was my first? A day! I was a foreman then, and the wedding was at six o'clock in the morning. We went into the country, the wife and I."
He laid down his knife and fork, possessed by the memory. "I have grown rich since, and we've been to Europe and back to Germany, and travelled on the best ships and stayed at the best hotels, but I never enjoyed a holiday more than that day. It wasn't long afterwards I went to Mr. Durrett and told him how he could save much money. He was always ready to listen, Mr. Durrett, when an employee had anything to say. He was a big man,—an iron-master. Ah, he would be astonished if only he could wake up now!"
"He would not only have to be an iron-master," I agreed, "but a financier and a railroad man to boot."
"A jack of all trades," laughed Mr. Scherer. "That's what we are—men in my position. Well, it was comparatively simple then, when we had no Sherman law and crazy statutes, such as some of the states are passing, to bother us. What has got into the politicians, that they are indulging in such foolishness?" he exclaimed, more warmly. "We try to build up a trade for this country, and they're doing their best to tie our hands and tear it down. When I was in Washington the other day I was talking with one of those Western senators whose state has passed those laws. He said to me, 'Mr. Scherer, I've been making a study of the Boyne Iron Works. You are clever men, but you are building up monopolies which we propose to stop.' 'By what means?'" I asked. "'Rebates, for one,' said he, 'you get preferential rates from your railroad which give you advantages over your competitors.' Foolishness!" Mr. Scherer exclaimed. "I tell him the railroad is a private concern, built up by private enterprise, and it has a right to make special rates for large shippers. No,—railroads are public carriers with no right to make special rates. I ask him what else he objects to, and he says patented processes. As if we don't have a right to our own patents! We buy them. I buy them, when other steel companies won't touch 'em. What is that but enterprise, and business foresight, and taking risks? And then he begins to talk about the tariff taking money out of the pockets of American consumers and making men like me rich. I have come to Washington to get the tariff raised on steel rails; and Watling and other senators we send down there are raising it for us. We are building up monopolies! Well, suppose we are. We can't help it, even if we want to. Has he ever made a study of the other side of the question—the competition side? Of course he hasn't."
He brought down his beer mug heavily on the table. In times of excitement his speech suggested the German idiom. Abruptly his air grew mysterious; he glanced around the room, now becoming empty, and lowered his voice.
"I have been thinking a long time, I have a little scheme," he said, "and I have been to Washington to see Watling, to talk over it. Well, he thinks much of you. Fowndes and Ripon are good lawyers, but they are not smart like you. See Paret, he says, and he can come down and talk to me. So I ask you to come here. That is why I say you are wise to get home. Honeymoons can wait—eh?"
I smiled appreciatively.
"They talk about monopoly, those Populist senators, but I ask you what is a man in my place to do? If you don't eat, somebody eats you—is it not so? Like the boa-constrictors—that is modern business. Look at the Keystone Plate people, over there at Morris. For years we sold them steel billets from which to make their plates, and three months ago they serve notice on us that they are getting ready to make their own billets, they buy mines north of the lakes and are building their plant. Here is a big customer gone. Next year, maybe, the Empire Tube Company goes into the business of making crude steel, and many more thousands of tons go from us. What is left for us, Paret?"
"Obviously you've got to go into the tube and plate business yourselves," I said.
"So!" cried Mr. Scherer, triumphantly, "or it is close up. We are not fools, no, we will not lie down and be eaten like lambs for any law. Dickinson can put his hand on the capital, and I—I have already bought a tract on the lakes, at Bolivar, I have already got a plant designed with the latest modern machinery. I can put the ore right there, I can send the coke back from here in cars which would otherwise be empty, and manufacture tubes at eight dollars a ton less than they are selling. If we can make tubes we can make plates, and if we can make plates we can make boilers, and beams and girders and bridges.... It is not like it was but where is it all leading, my friend? The time will come—is right on us now, in respect to many products—when the market will be flooded with tubes and plates and girders, and then we'll have to find a way to limit production. And the inefficient mills will all be forced to shut down."
The logic seemed unanswerable, even had I cared to answer it.... He unfolded his campaign. The Boyne Iron Works was to become the Boyne Iron Works, Ltd., owner of various subsidiary companies, some of which were as yet blissfully ignorant of their fate. All had been thought out as calmly as the partition of Poland—only, lawyers were required; and ultimately, after the process of acquisition should have been completed, a delicate document was to be drawn up which would pass through the meshes of that annoying statutory net, the Sherman Anti-trust Law. New mines were to be purchased, extending over a certain large area; wide coal deposits; little strips of railroad to tap them. The competition of the Keystone Plate people was to be met by acquiring and bringing up to date the plate mills of King and Son, over the borders of a sister state; the Somersworth Bridge and Construction Company and the Gring Steel and Wire Company were to be absorbed. When all of this should have been accomplished, there would be scarcely a process in the steel industry, from the smelting of the ore to the completion of a bridge, which the Boyne Iron Works could not undertake. Such was the beginning of the "lateral extension" period.
"Two can play at that game," Mr. Scherer said. "And if those fellows could only be content to let well enough alone, to continue buying their crude steel from us, there wouldn't be any trouble."...
It was evident, however, that he really welcomed the "trouble," that he was going into battle with enthusiasm. He had already picked out his points of attack and was marching on them. Life, for him, would have been a poor thing without new conflicts to absorb his energy; and he had already made of the Boyne Iron Works, with its open-hearth furnaces, a marvel of modern efficiency that had opened the eyes of the Steel world, and had drawn the attention of a Personality in New York,—a Personality who was one of the new and dominant type that had developed with such amazing rapidity, the banker-dinosaur; preying upon and superseding the industrial-dinosaur, conquering type of the preceding age, builder of the railroads, mills and manufactories. The banker-dinosaurs, the gigantic ones, were in Wall Street, and strove among themselves for the industrial spoils accumulated by their predecessors. It was characteristic of these monsters that they never fought in the open unless they were forced to. Then the earth rocked, huge economic structures tottered and fell, and much dust arose to obscure the vision of smaller creatures, who were bewildered and terrified. Such disturbances were called "panics," and were blamed by the newspapers on the Democratic party, or on the reformers who had wantonly assailed established institutions. These dominant bankers had contrived to gain control of the savings of thousands and thousands of fellow-citizens who had deposited them in banks or paid them into insurance companies, and with the power thus accumulated had sallied forth to capture railroads and industries. The railroads were the strategic links. With these in hand, certain favoured industrial concerns could be fed, and others starved into submission.
Adolf Scherer might be said to represent a transitional type. For he was not only an iron-master who knew every detail of his business, who kept it ahead of the times; he was also a strategist, wise in his generation, making friends with the Railroad while there had yet been time, at length securing rebates and favours. And when that Railroad (which had been constructed through the enterprise and courage of such men as Nathaniel Durrett) had passed under the control of the banker-personality to whom I have referred, and had become part of a system, Adolf Scherer remained in alliance, and continued to receive favours.... I can well remember the time when the ultimate authority of our Railroad was transferred, quietly, to Wall Street. Alexander Barbour, its president, had been a great man, but after that he bowed, in certain matters, to a greater one.
I have digressed.... Mr. Scherer unfolded his scheme, talking about "units" as calmly as though they were checkers on a board instead of huge, fiery, reverberating mills where thousands and thousands of human beings toiled day and night—beings with families, and hopes and fears, whose destinies were to be dominated by the will of the man who sat opposite me. But—did not he in his own person represent the triumph of that American creed of opportunity? He, too, had been through the fire, had sweated beside the blasts, had handled the ingots of steel. He was one of the "fittest" who had survived, and looked it. Had he no memories of the terrors of that struggle?... Adolf Scherer had grown to be a giant. And yet without me, without my profession he was a helpless giant, at the mercy of those alert and vindictive lawmakers who sought to restrain and hamper him, to check his growth with their webs. How stimulating the idea of his dependence! How exhilarating too, the thought that that vision which had first possessed me as an undergraduate—on my visit to Jerry Kyme—was at last to be realized! I had now become the indispensable associate of the few who divided the spoils, I was to have a share in these myself.
"You're young, Paret," Mr. Scherer concluded. "But Watling has confidence in you, and you will consult him frequently. I believe in the young men, and I have already seen something of you—so?"...
When I returned to the office I wrote Theodore Watling a letter expressing my gratitude for the position he had, so to speak, willed me, of confidential legal adviser to Adolf Scherer. Though the opportunity had thrust itself upon me suddenly, and sooner than I expected it, I was determined to prove myself worthy of it. I worked as I had never worked before, making trips to New York to consult leading members of this new branch of my profession there, trips to Washington to see my former chief. There were, too, numerous conferences with local personages, with Mr. Dickinson and Mr. Grierson, and Judah B. Tallant,—whose newspaper was most useful; there were consultations and negotiations of a delicate nature with the owners and lawyers of other companies to be "taken in." Nor was it all legal work, in the older and narrower sense. Men who are playing for principalities are making war. Some of our operations had all the excitement of war. There was information to be got, and it was got—somehow. Modern war involves a spy system, and a friendly telephone company is not to be despised. And all of this work from first to last had to be done with extreme caution. Moribund distinctions of right and wrong did not trouble me, for the modern man labours religiously when he knows that Evolution is on his side.
For all of these operations a corps of counsel had been employed, including the firm of Harrington and Bowes next to Theodore Watling, Joel Harrington was deemed the ablest lawyer in the city. We organized in due time the corporation known as the Boyne Iron Works, Limited; a trust agreement was drawn up that was a masterpiece of its kind, one that caused, first and last, meddling officials in the Department of Justice at Washington no little trouble and perplexity. I was proud of the fact that I had taken no small part in its composition.... In short, in addition to certain emoluments and opportunities for investment, I emerged from the affair firmly established in the good graces of Adolf Scherer, and with a reputation practically made.
A year or so after the Boyne Company, Ltd., came into existence I chanced one morning to go down to the new Ashuela Hotel to meet a New Yorker of some prominence, and was awaiting him in the lobby, when I overheard a conversation between two commercial travellers who were sitting with their backs to me.
"Did you notice that fellow who went up to the desk a moment ago?" asked one.
"The young fellow in the grey suit? Sure. Who is he? He looks as if he was pretty well fixed."
"I guess he is," replied the first. "That's Paret. He's Scherer's confidential counsel. He used to be Senator Watling's partner, but they say he's even got something on the old man."
In spite of the feverish life I led, I was still undoubtedly young-looking, and in this I was true to the incoming type of successful man. Our fathers appeared staid at six and thirty. Clothes, of course, made some difference, and my class and generation did not wear the sombre and cumbersome kind, with skirts and tails; I patronized a tailor in New York. My chestnut hair, a little darker than my father's had been, showed no signs of turning grey, although it was thinning a little at the crown of the forehead, and I wore a small moustache, clipped in a straight line above the mouth. This made me look less like a college youth. Thanks to a strong pigment in my skin, derived probably from Scotch-Irish ancestors, my colour was fresh. I have spoken of my life as feverish, and yet I am not so sure that this word completely describes it. It was full to overflowing—one side of it; and I did not miss (save vaguely, in rare moments of weariness) any other side that might have been developed. I was busy all day long, engaged in affairs I deemed to be alone of vital importance in the universe. I was convinced that the welfare of the city demanded that supreme financial power should remain in the hands of the group of men with whom I was associated, and whose battles I fought in the courts, in the legislature, in the city council, and sometimes in Washington,—although they were well cared for there. By every means ingenuity could devise, their enemies were to be driven from the field, and they were to be protected from blackmail.
A sense of importance sustained me; and I remember in that first flush of a success for which I had not waited too long—what a secret satisfaction it was to pick up the Era and see my name embedded in certain dignified notices of board meetings, transactions of weight, or cases known to the initiated as significant. "Mr. Scherer's interests were taken care of by Mr. Hugh Paret." The fact that my triumphs were modestly set forth gave me more pleasure than if they had been trumpeted in headlines. Although I might have started out in practice for myself, my affection and regard for Mr. Watling kept me in the firm, which became Watling, Fowndes and Paret, and a new, arrangement was entered into: Mr. Ripon retired on account of ill health.
There were instances, however, when a certain amount of annoying publicity was inevitable. Such was the famous Galligan case, which occurred some three or four years after my marriage. Aloysius Galligan was a brakeman, and his legs had become paralyzed as the result of an accident that was the result of defective sills on a freight car. He had sued, and been awarded damages of $15,000. To the amazement and indignation of Miller Gorse, the Supreme Court, to which the Railroad had appealed, affirmed the decision. It wasn't the single payment of $15,000 that the Railroad cared about, of course; a precedent might be established for compensating maimed employees which would be expensive in the long run. Carelessness could not be proved in this instance. Gorse sent for me. I had been away with Maude at the sea for two months, and had not followed the case.
"You've got to take charge, Paret, and get a rehearing. See Bering, and find out who in the deuce is to blame for this. Chesley's one, of course. We ought never to have permitted his nomination for the Supreme Bench. It was against my judgment, but Varney and Gill assured me that he was all right."
I saw Judge Bering that evening. We sat on a plush sofa in the parlour of his house in Baker Street.
"I had a notion Gorse'd be mad," he said, "but it looked to me as if they had it on us, Paret. I didn't see how we could do anything else but affirm without being too rank. Of course, if he feels that way, and you want to make a motion for a rehearing, I'll see what can be done."
"Something's got to be done," I replied. "Can't you see what such a decision lets them in for?"
"All right," said the judge, who knew an order when he heard one, "I guess we can find an error." He was not a little frightened by the report of Mr. Gorse's wrath, for election-day was approaching. "Say, you wouldn't take me for a sentimental man, now, would you?"
I smiled at the notion of it.
"Well, I'll own up to you this kind of got under my skin. That Galligan is a fine-looking fellow, if there ever was one, and he'll never be of a bit of use any more. Of course the case was plain sailing, and they ought to have had the verdict, but that lawyer of his handled it to the queen's taste, if I do say so. He made me feel real bad, by God,—as if it was my own son Ed who'd been battered up. Lord, I can't forget the look in that man Galligan's eyes. I hate to go through it again, and reverse it, but I guess I'll have to, now."
The Judge sat gazing at the flames playing over his gas log.
"Who was the lawyer?" I asked.
"A man by the name of Krebs," he replied. "Never heard of him before. He's just moved to the city."
"This city?" I ejaculated.
The Judge glanced at me interestedly.
"This city, of course. What do you know about him?"
"Well," I answered, when I had recovered a little from the shock—for it was a distinct shock—"he lived in Elkington. He was the man who stirred up the trouble in the legislature about Bill 709."
The Judge slapped his knee.
"That fellow!" he exclaimed, and ruminated. "Why didn't somebody tell me?" he added, complainingly. "Why didn't Miller Gorse let me know about it, instead of licking up a fuss after it's all over?"...
Of all men of my acquaintance I had thought the Judge the last to grow maudlin over the misfortunes of those who were weak or unfortunate enough to be defeated and crushed in the struggle for existence, and it was not without food for reflection that I departed from his presence. To make Mr. Bering "feel bad" was no small achievement, and Krebs had been responsible for it, of course,—not Galligan. Krebs had turned up once more! It seemed as though he were destined to haunt me. Well, I made up my mind that he should not disturb me again, at any rate: I, at least, had learned to eliminate sentimentality from business, and it was not without deprecation I remembered my experience with him at the Capital, when he had made me temporarily ashamed of my connection with Bill 709. I had got over that. And when I entered the court room (the tribunal having graciously granted a rehearing on the ground that it had committed an error in the law!) my feelings were of lively curiosity and zest. I had no disposition to underrate his abilities, but I was fortified by the consciousness of a series of triumphs behind me, by a sense of association with prevailing forces against which he was helpless. I could afford to take a superior attitude in regard to one who was destined always to be dramatic.
As the case proceeded I was rather disappointed on the whole that he was not dramatic—not even as dramatic as he had been when he defied the powers in the Legislature. He had changed but little, he still wore ill-fitting clothes, but I was forced to acknowledge that he seemed to have gained in self-control, in presence. He had nodded at me before the case was called, as he sat beside his maimed client; and I had been on the alert for a hint of reproach in his glance: there was none. I smiled back at him....
He did not rant. He seemed to have rather a remarkable knowledge of the law. In a conversational tone he described the sufferings of the man in the flannel shirt beside him, but there could be no question of the fact that he did produce an effect. The spectators were plainly moved, and it was undeniable that some of the judges wore rather a sheepish look as they toyed with their watch chains or moved the stationery in front of them. They had seen maimed men before, they had heard impassioned, sentimental lawyers talk about wives and families and God and justice. Krebs did none of this. Just how he managed to bring the thing home to those judges, to make them ashamed of their role, just how he managed—in spite of my fortified attitude to revive something of that sense of discomfort I had experienced at the State House is difficult to say. It was because, I think, he contrived through the intensity of his own sympathy to enter into the body of the man whose cause he pleaded, to feel the despair in Galligan's soul—an impression that was curiously conveyed despite the dignified limits to which he confined his speech. It was strange that I began to be rather sorry for him, that I felt a certain reluctant regret that he should thus squander his powers against overwhelming odds. What was the use of it all!
At the end his voice became more vibrant—though he did not raise it—as he condemned the Railroad for its indifference to human life, for its contention that men were cheaper than rolling-stock.
I encountered him afterward in the corridor. I had made a point of seeking him out, perhaps from some vague determination to prove that our last meeting in the little restaurant at the Capital had left no traces of embarrassment in me: I was, in fact, rather aggressively anxious to reveal myself to him as one who has thriven on the views he condemned, as one in whose unity of mind there is no rift. He was alone, apparently waiting for someone, leaning against a steam radiator in one of his awkward, angular poses, looking out of the court-house window.
"How are you?" I said blithely. "So you've left Elkington for a wider field." I wondered whether my alert cousin-in-law, George Hutchins, had made it too hot for him.
He turned to me unexpectedly a face of profound melancholy; his expression had in it, oddly, a trace of sternness; and I was somewhat taken aback by this evidence that he was still bearing vicariously the troubles of his client. So deep had been the thought I had apparently interrupted that he did not realize my presence at first.
"Oh, it's you, Paret. Yes, I've left Elkington," he said.
"Something of a surprise to run up against you suddenly, like this."
"I expected to see you," he answered gravely, and the slight emphasis he gave the pronoun implied not only a complete knowledge of the situation and of the part I had taken in it, but also a greater rebuke than if his accusation had been direct. But I clung to my affability.
"If I can do anything for you, let me know," I told him. He said nothing, he did not even smile. At this moment he was opportunely joined by a man who had the appearance of a labour leader, and I walked away. I was resentful; my mood, in brief, was that of a man who has done something foolish and is inclined to talk to himself aloud: but the mood was complicated, made the more irritating by the paradoxical fact that that last look he had given me seemed to have borne the traces of affection....
It is perhaps needless to add that the court reversed its former decision.