Peter waved his hat, and turning, walked off the pier.
"Could he forget them?" was the question he asked himself.
"My friend," said an old and experienced philosopher to a young man, who with all the fire and impatience of his years wished to conquer the world quickly, "youth has many things to learn, but one of the most important is never to let another man beat you at waiting."
Peter went back to his desk, and waited. He gave up looking at the wall of his office, and took to somebody "On Torts" again. When that was finished he went through the other law books of his collection. Those done, he began to buy others, and studied them with great thoroughness and persistence. In one of his many walks, he stumbled upon the Apprentices' Library. Going in, he inquired about its privileges, and became a regular borrower of books. Peter had always been a reader, but now he gave from three or four hours a day to books, aside from his law study. Although he was slow, the number of volumes, he not merely read, but really mastered was marvellous. Books which he liked, without much regard to their popular reputation, he at once bought; for his simple life left him the ability to indulge himself in most respects within moderation. He was particularly careful to read a classic occasionally to keep up his Greek and Latin, and for the same reason he read French and German books aloud to himself. Before the year was out, he was a recognized quantity in certain book-stores, and was privileged to browse at will both among old and new books without interference or suggestion from the "stock" clerks. "There isn't any good trying to sell him anything," remarked one. "He makes up his mind for himself."
His reading was broadened out from the classic and belles-lettres grooves that were still almost a cult with the college graduate, by another recreation now become habitual with him. In his long tramps about the city, to vary the monotony, he would sometimes stop and chat with people—with a policeman, a fruit-vender, a longshoreman or a truckster. It mattered little who it was. Then he often entered manufactories and "yards" and asked if he could go through them, studying the methods, and talking to the overseer or workers about the trade. When he occasionally encountered some one who told him "your kind ain't got no business here" he usually found the statement "my father was a mill-overseer" a way to break down the barrier. He had to use it seldom, for he dressed plainly and met the men in a way which seldom failed to make them feel that he was one of them. After such inspection and chat, he would get books from the library, and read up about the business or trade, finding that in this way he could enjoy works otherwise too technical, and really obtain a very good knowledge of many subjects. Just how interesting he found such books as "Our Fire-Laddies," which he read from cover to cover, after an inspection of, and chat with, the men of the nearest fire-engine station; or Latham's "The Sewage Difficulty," which the piping of uptown New York induced him to read; and others of diverse types is questionable. Probably it was really due to his isolation, but it was much healthier than gazing at blank walls.
When the courts opened, Peter kept track of the calendars, and whenever a case or argument promised to be interesting, or to call out the great lights of the profession, he attended and listened to them. He tried to write out the arguments used, from notes, and finally this practice induced him to give two evenings a week during the winter mastering shorthand. It was really only a mental discipline, for any case of importance was obtainable in print almost as soon as argued, but Peter was trying to put a pair of slate-colored eyes out of his thoughts, and employed this as one of the means.
When winter came, and his long walks became less possible, he turned to other things. More from necessity than choice, he visited the art and other exhibitions as they occurred, he went to concerts, and to plays, all with due regard to his means, and for this reason the latter were the most seldom indulged in. Art and music did not come easy to him, but he read up on both, not merely in standard books, but in the reviews of the daily press, and just because there was so much in both that he failed to grasp, he studied the more carefully and patiently.
One trait of his New England training remained to him. He had brought a letter from his own Congregational church in his native town, to one of the large churches of the same sect in New York, and when admitted, hired a sitting and became a regular attendant at both morning and evening service. In time this produced a call from his new pastor. It was the first new friend he had gained in New York. "He seems a quiet, well-informed fellow," was the clergyman's comment; "I shall make a point of seeing something of him." But he was pastor of a very large and rich congregation, and was a hard-worked and hard-entertained man, so his intention was not realized.
Peter spent Christmastide with his mother, who worried not a little over his loss of flesh.
"You have been overworking," she said anxiously.
"Why mother, I haven't had a client yet," laughed Peter.
"Then you've worried over not getting on," said his mother, knowing perfectly well that it was nothing of the sort. She had hoped that Peter would be satisfied with his six months' trial, but did not mention her wish. She marvelled to herself that New York had not yet discovered his greatness.
When Peter returned to the city, he made a change in his living arrangements. His boarding-place had filled up with the approach of winter, but with the class of men he already knew too well. Even though he met them only at meals, their atmosphere was intolerable to him. When a room next his office fell vacant, and went begging at a very cheap price, he decided to use it as a bedroom. So he moved his few belongings on his return from his visit to his mother's.
Although he had not been particularly friendly to the other boarders, nor made himself obtrusive in the least, not one of them failed to speak of his leaving. Two or three affected to be pleased, but "Butter-and-cheese" said he "was a first-rate chap," and this seemed to gain the assent of the table generally.
"I'm dreadfully sorry to lose him," his landlady informed her other boarders, availing herself, perhaps, of the chance to deliver a side hit at some of them. "He never has complained once, since he came here, and he kept his room as neat as if he had to take care of it himself."
"Well," said the box-office oracle, "I guess he's O.K., if he is a bit stiff; and a fellow who's best man to a big New York swell, and gets his name in all the papers, doesn't belong in a seven-dollar, hash-seven-days-a-week, Bleecker Street boarding-house."
Peter fitted his room up simply, the sole indulgence (if properly so called) being a bath, which is not a usual fitting of a New York business office, consciences not yet being tubbable. He had made his mother show him how to make coffee, and he adopted the Continental system of meals, having rolls and butter sent in, and making a French breakfast in his own rooms. Then he lunched regularly not far from his office, and dined wherever his afternoon walk, or evening plans carried him. He found that he saved no money by the change, but he saved his feelings, and was far freer to come and go as he chose.
He did not hear from the honeymoon party. Watts had promised to write to him and send his address "as soon as we decide whether we pass the winter in Italy or on the Nile." But no letter came. Peter called on the Pierces, only to find them out, and as no notice was taken of his pasteboard, he drew his own inference, and did not repeat the visit.
Such was the first year of Peter's New York life. He studied, he read, he walked, and most of all, he waited. But no client came, and he seemed no nearer one than the day he had first seen his own name on his office door. "How much longer will I have to wait? How long will my patience hold out?" These were the questions he asked himself, when for a moment he allowed himself to lose courage. Then he would take to a bit of wall-gazing, while dreaming of a pair of slate-colored eyes.
Mr. Converse had evidently thought that the only way for Peter to get on was to make friends. But in this first year Peter did not made a single one that could be really called such. His second summer broadened his acquaintance materially, though in a direction which promised him little law practice.
When the warm weather again closed the courts and galleries, and brought an end to the concerts and theatres, Peter found time harder to kill, the more, because he had pretty well explored the city. Still he walked much to help pass the time, and to get outside of his rooms into the air. For the same reason he often carried his book, after the heat of the day was over, to one of the parks, and did his reading there. Not far from his office, eastwardly, where two streets met at an angle, was a small open space too limited to be called a square, even if its shape had not been a triangle. Here, under the shade of two very sickly trees, surrounded by tall warehouses, were a couple of benches. Peter sat here many evenings smoking his pipe. Though these few square feet made perhaps the largest "open" within half a mile of his office, the angle was confined and dreary. Hence it is obvious there must have been some attraction to Peter, since he was such a walker, to make him prefer spending his time there rather than in the parks not far distant The attraction was the children.
Only a few hundred feet away was one of the most densely crowded tenement districts of New York. It had no right to be there, for the land was wanted for business purposes, but the hollow on which it was built had been a swamp in the old days, and the soft land, and perhaps the unhealthiness, had prevented the erection of great warehouses and stores, which almost surrounded it. So it had been left to the storage of human souls instead of merchandise, for valuable goods need careful housing, while any place serves to pack humanity. It was not a nice district to go through, for there was a sense of heat and dirt, and smell, and crowd, and toil and sorrow throughout. It was probably no nicer to live in, and nothing proved it better than the overflow of the children therefrom into the little, hot, paved, airless angle. Here they could be found from five in the morning till twelve at night. Here, with guards set, to give notice of the approach of the children's joy-destroying Siva—otherwise the policeman—they played ball. Here "cat" and "one old cat" render bearable many a wilting hour for the little urchins. Here "Sally in our Alley" and "Skip-rope" made the little girls forget that the temperature was far above blood-heat. Here of an evening, Peter smoked and watched them.
At first he was an object of suspicion, and the sport visibly ceased when he put in an appearance. But he simply sat on one of the benches and puffed his pipe, and after a few evenings they lost all fear of him, and went on as if he were not there. In time, an intercourse sprang up between them. One evening Peter appeared with a stick of wood, and as he smoked, he whittled at it with a real jack-knife! He was scrutinized by the keen-eyed youngsters with interest at once, and before he had whittled long, he had fifty children sitting in the shape of a semicircle on the stone pavement, watching his doings with almost breathless Interest. When the result of his work actually developed into a "cat" of marvellous form and finish, a sigh of intense joy passed through the boy part of his audience. When the "cat" was passed over to their mercies, words could not be found to express their emotions. Another evening, the old clothes-line that served for a jump-rope, after having bravely rubbed against the pavement many thousand times in its endeavor to lighten the joyless life of the little pack, finally succumbed, worn through the centre and quite beyond hope of further knotting. Then Peter rose, and going to one of the little shops that supplied the district, soon returned with a real jump-rope, with wooden handles! So from time to time, real tops, real dolls, real marbles and various other real, if cheap, things, hitherto only enjoyed in dreams, or at most through home-made attempts, found their way into the angle, and were distributed among the little imps. They could not resist such subtle bribery, and soon Peter was on as familiar and friendly a footing as he could wish. He came to know each by name, and was made the umpire in all their disputes and the confidant in all their troubles. They were a dirty, noisy, lawless, and godless little community, but they were interesting to watch, and the lonely fellow grew to like them much, for with all their premature sharpness, they were really natural, and responded warmly to his friendly overtures.
After a time, Peter tried to help them a little more than by mere small gifts. A cheap box of carpenter's tools was bought, and under his superintendence, evenings were spent in the angle, in making various articles. A small wheel barrow, a knife-and-fork basket, a clock-bracket and other easy things were made, one at a time. All boys, and indeed some girls, were allowed to help. One would saw off the end of a plank; another would rule a pencil line; the next would plane the plank down to that line; the next would bore the holes in it; the next would screw it into position; the next would sandpaper it The work went very slowly, but every one who would, had his share in it, while the rest sat and watched. When the article was completed, lots were drawn for it, and happy was the fortunate one who drew the magnificent prize in life's lottery!
Occasionally too, Peter brought a book with him, and read it aloud to them. He was rather surprised to find that they did not take to Sunday-school stories or fairy tales. Wild adventures in foreign lands were the most effective; and together they explored the heart of Africa, climbed the Swiss mountains, fought the Western Indians, and attempted to discover the North Pole. They had a curious liking for torture, blood-letting, and death. Nor were they without discrimination.
"I guess that fellow is only working his jaw," was one little chap's criticism at a certain point of the narrative of a well-known African explorer, rather famous for his success in advertising himself. Again, "that's bully," was the comment uttered by another, when Peter, rather than refuse their request to read aloud, had been compelled to choose something in Macaulay's Essays, and had read the description of the Black Hole of Calcutta, "Say, mister," said another, "I don't believe that fellow wasn't there, for he never could a told it like that, if he wasn't."
As soon as his influence was secure, Peter began to affect them in other ways. Every fight, every squabble, was investigated, and the blame put where it belonged. Then a mandate went forth that profanity was to cease: and, though contrary to every instinct and habit, cease it did after a time, except for an occasional unconscious slip. "Sporadic swearing," Peter called it, and explained what it meant to the children, and why he forgave that, while punishing the intentional swearer with exclusion from his favor. So, too, the girls were told that to "poke" tongues at each other, and make faces, was but another way of swearing; "for they all mean that there is hate in your hearts, and it is that which is wrong, and not the mere words or faces." He ran the risk of being laughed at, but they didn't laugh, for something in his way of talking to them, even when verging on what they called "goody-goody," inspired them with respect.
Before many weeks of this intercourse, Peter could not stroll east from his office without being greeted with yells of recognition. The elders, too, gave him "good-evening" pleasantly and smiled genially. The children had naturally told their parents about him of his wonderful presents, and great skill with knife and string.
"He can whittle anything you ask!"
"He knows how to make things you want!"
"He can tie a knot sixteen different kinds!"
"He can fold a newspaper into soldiers' and firemen's caps!"
"He's friends with the policeman!"
Such laudations, and a hundred more, the children sang of him to their elders.
"Oh," cried one little four-year-old girl, voicing the unanimous feeling of the children, "Mister Peter is just shplendid."
So the elders nodded and smiled when they met him, and he was pretty well known to several hundred people whom he knew not.
But another year passed, and still no client came.
HIS FIRST CLIENT.
Peter sat in his office, one hot July day, two years after his arrival, writing to his mother. He had but just returned to New York, after a visit to her, which had left him rather discouraged, because, for the first time, she had pleaded with him to abandon his attempt and return to his native town. He had only replied that he was not yet prepared to acknowledge himself beaten; but the request and his mother's disappointment had worried him. While he wrote came a knock at the door, and, in response to his "come in," a plain-looking laborer entered and stood awkwardly before him.
"What can I do for you?" asked Peter, seeing that he must assist the man to state his business.
"If you please, sir," said the man, humbly, "it's Missy. And I hope you'll pardon me for troubling you."
"Certainly," said Peter. "What about Missy?"
"She's—the doctor says she's dying," said the man, adding, with a slight suggestion of importance, blended with the evident grief he felt: "Sally, and Bridget Milligan are dead already."
"And what can I do?" said Peter, sympathetically, if very much at sea.
"Missy wants to see you before she goes. It's only a child's wish, sir, and you needn't trouble about it. But I had to promise her I'd come and ask you. I hope it's no offence?"
"No." Peter rose, and, passing to the next room, took his hat, and the two went into the street together.
"What is the trouble?" asked Peter, as they walked.
"We don't know, sir. They were all took yesterday, and two are dead already." The man wiped the tears from his eyes with his shirtsleeve, smearing the red brick dust with which it was powdered, over his face.
"You've had a doctor?"
"Not till this morning. We didn't think it was bad at first."
"What is your name?"
"Blackett, sir—Jim Blackett."
Peter began to see daylight. He remembered both a Sally and Matilda Blackett.—That was probably "Missy."
A walk of six blocks transferred them to the centre of the tenement district. Two flights of stairs brought them to the Blackett's rooms. On the table of the first, which was evidently used both as a kitchen and sitting-room, already lay a coffin containing a seven-year-old girl. Candles burned at the four corners, adding to the bad air and heat. In the room beyond, in bed, with a tired-looking woman tending her, lay a child of five. Wan and pale as well could be, with perspiration standing in great drops on the poor little hot forehead, the hand of death, as it so often does, had put something into the face never there before.
"Oh, Mister Peter," the child said, on catching sight of him, "I said you'd come."
Peter took his handkerchief and wiped the little head. Then he took a newspaper, lying on a chair, twisted it into a rude fan, and began fanning the child as he sat on the bed.
"What did you want me for?" he asked.
"Won't you tell me the story you read from the book? The one about the little girl who went to the country, and was given a live dove and real flowers."
Peter began telling the story as well as he could remember it, but it was never finished. For while he talked another little girl went to the country, a far country, from which there is no return—and a very ordinary little story ended abruptly.
The father and mother took the death very calmly. Peter asked them a few questions, and found that there were three other children, the eldest of whom was an errand boy, and therefore away. The others, twin babies, had been cared for by a woman on the next floor. He asked about money, and found that they had not enough to pay the whole expenses of the double funeral.
"But the undertaker says he'll do it handsome, and will let the part I haven't money for, run, me paying it off in weekly payments," the man explained, when Peter expressed some surprise at the evident needless expense they were entailing on themselves.
While he talked, the doctor came in.
"I knew there was no chance," he said, when told of the death. "And you remember I said so," he added, appealing to the parents.
"Yes, that's what he said," responded the father.
"Well," said the doctor, speaking in a brisk, lively way peculiar to him, "I've found what the matter was."
"No?" said the mother, becoming interested at once.
"It was the milk," the doctor continued. "I thought there was something wrong with it, the moment I smelt it, but I took some home to make sure." He pulled a paper out of his pocket. "That's the test, and Dr. Plumb, who has two cases next door, found it was just the same there."
The Blacketts gazed at the written analysis, with wonder, not understanding a word of it. Peter looked too, when they had satisfied their curiosity. As he read it, a curious expression came into his face. A look not unlike that which his face had worn on the deck of the "Sunrise." It could hardly be called a change of expression, but rather a strengthening and deepening of his ordinary look.
"That was in the milk drunk by the children?" he asked, placing his finger on a particular line.
"Yes," replied the doctor. "The milk was bad to start with, and was drugged to conceal the fact. These carbonates sometimes work very unevenly, and I presume this particular can of milk got more than its share of the doctoring.
"There are almost no glycerides," remarked Peter, wishing to hold the doctor till he should have had time to think.
"No," said the doctor. "It was skim milk."
"You will report it to the Health Board?" asked Peter.
"When I'm up there," said the doctor. "Not that it will do any good. But the law requires it"
"Won't they investigate?"
"They'll investigate too much. The trouble with them is, they investigate, but don't prosecute."
"Thank you," said Peter. He shook hands with the parents, and went upstairs to the fourth floor. The crape on a door guided him to where Bridget Milligan lay. Here preparations had gone farther. Not merely were the candles burning, but four bottles, with the corks partly drawn, were on the cold cooking stove, while a wooden pail filled with beer, reposed in the embrace of a wash-tub, filled otherwise with ice. Peter asked a few questions. There was only an elder brother and sister. Patrick worked as a porter. Ellen rolled cigars. They had a little money laid up. Enough to pay for the funeral. "Mr. Moriarty gave us the whisky and beer at half price," the girl explained incidentally. "Thank you, sir. We don't need anything." Peter rose to go. "Bridget was often speaking of you to us. And I thank you for what you did for her."
Peter went down, and called next door, to see Dr. Plumb's patients. These were in a fair way for recovery.
"They didn't get any of the milk till last night," the gray-haired, rather sad-looking doctor told him, "and I got at them early this morning. Then I suspected the milk at once, and treated them accordingly. I've been forty years doing this sort of thing, and it's generally the milk. Dr. Sawyer, next door, is a new man, and doesn't get hold quite as quick. But he knows more of the science of the thing, and can make a good analysis."
"You think they have a chance?"
"If this heat will let up a bit" said the doctor, mopping his forehead. "It's ninety-eight in here; that's enough to kill a sound child."
"Could they be moved?"
"Mrs. Dooley, could you take your children away to the country to-morrow, if I find a place for you?"
"It's very little money I have, sir."
"It won't cost you anything. Can you leave your family?"
"There's only Moike. And he'll do very well by himself," he was told.
"Then if the children can go, be ready at 10:15 to-morrow, and you shall all go up for a couple of weeks to my mother's in Massachusetts. They'll have plenty of good food there," he explained to the doctor, "grass and flowers close to the house and woods not far away."
"That will fix them," said the doctor.
"About this milk. Won't the Health Board punish the sellers?" Peter asked.
"Probably not," he was told "It's difficult to get them to do anything, and at this season so many of them are on vacations, it is doubly hard to make them stir."
Peter went to the nearest telegraph, and sent a dispatch to his mother. Then he went back to his office, and sitting down, began to study his wall. But he was not thinking of a pair of slate-colored eyes. He was thinking of his first case. He had found a client.
Peter went to work the next morning at an hour which most of us, if we are indiscreet enough to wake, prefer to use as the preface to a further two to four hours' nap. He had spent his evening in a freshening of his knowledge in certain municipal laws, and other details which he thought he might need, and as early as five o clock he was at work in the tenement district, asking questions and taking notes. The inquiry took little skill The milk had come from the cart of a certain company, which passed daily through the locality, not to supply orders, but to peddle milk to whoever cared to buy. Peter had the cart pointed out that morning, but, beyond making a note of the exact name of the company, he paid no attention to it. He was aiming at bigger game than a milk cart or its driver.
His work was interrupted only by his taking Mrs. Dooley and the two children to the train. That done, Peter walked northwardly and westwardly, till he had nearly reached the river front. It took some little inquiry, but after a while he stumbled on a small shanty which had a sign:
NATIONAL MILK COMPANY.
The place, however, was closed and no one around seemed connected with it, though a number of milk carts were standing about. Close to these was a long line of sheds, which in turn backed up against a great brewery. A couple of men lounged at the door of the sheds. Peter walked up to them, and asked if they could tell him where he could find any one connected with the milk company.
"The boss is off for lunch," said one. "I can take an order, if that's what you want."
Peter said it was not an order, and began chatting with the men. Before he had started to question them, a third man, from inside the sheds, joined the group at the door.
"That cow's dead," he remarked as he came up.
"Is it?" said the one called Bill. Both rose, and went into the shed. Peter started to go with them.
"You can't come in," said the new-comer.
But Peter passed in, without paying the least attention to him.
"Come back," called the man, following Peter.
Peter turned to him: "You are one of the employees of the National Milk Company?" he asked.
"Yes," said the man, "and we have orders—"
Peter usually let a little pause occur after a remark to him, but in this case he spoke before the man completed his speech. He spoke, too, with an air of decision and command that quieted the man.
"Go back to your work," he said, "and don't order me round. I know what I'm about." Then he walked after the other two men as rapidly as the dimness permitted. The employee scratched his head, and then followed.
Dim as the light was, Peter could discern that he was passing between two rows of cows, with not more than space enough for men to pass each other between the rows. It was filthy, and very warm, and there was a peculiar smell in the air which Peter did not associate with a cow stable. It was a kind of vapor which brought some suggestion to his mind, yet one he could not identify. Presently he came upon the two men. One had lighted a lantern and was examining a cow that lay on the ground. That it was dead was plain. But what most interested Peter, although he felt a shudder of horror at the sight, were the rotted tail and two great sores on the flank that lay uppermost.
"That's a bad-looking cow," he said.
"Ain't it?" replied the one with the lantern. "But you can't help their havin' them, if you feed them on mash."
"Hold your tongue, Bill," said the man who had followed Peter.
"Take some of your own advice," said Peter, turning quickly, and speaking in a voice that made the man step back. A terrible feeling was welling up in Peter's heart. He thought of the poor little fever-stricken children. He saw the poor fever-stricken cow. He would like to—to—.
He dropped the arm he had unconsciously raised. "Give me that lantern," he demanded.
The man hesitated and looked at the others.
"Give me that lantern," said Peter, speaking low, but his voice ringing very clear.
The lantern was passed to him, and taking it, he walked along the line of cows. He saw several with sores more or less developed. One or two he saw in the advanced stages of the disease, where the tail had begun to rot away. The other men followed him on his tour of inspection, and whispered together nervously. It did not take Peter long to examine all he wanted to see. Handing back the lantern at the door, he said: "Give me your names."
The men looked nonplussed, and shifted their weights uneasily from leg to leg.
"You," said Peter, looking at the man who had interfered with him.
"Wot do yer want with it?" he was asked.
"That's my business. What's your name?"
"Where do you live?"
"310 West 61st Street."
Peter obtained and wrote down the names and addresses of the trio. He then went to the "office" of the company, which was now opened.
"Is this an incorporated company?" he asked of the man tilted back in a chair.
"No," said the man, adding two chair legs to terra firma, and looking at Peter suspiciously.
"Who owns it?" Peter queried.
"I'm the boss."
"That isn't what I asked."
"That's what I answered."
"And your name is?"
"Do you intend to answer my question?"
"Not till I know your business."
"I'm here to find out against whom to get warrants for a criminal prosecution."
"The warrant will say."
The man squirmed in his chair. "Will you give me till to-morrow?"
"No. The warrant is to be issued to-day. Decide at once, whether you or your principal, shall be the man to whom it shall be served."
"I guess you'd better make it against me," said the man.
"Very well," said Peter. "Of course you know your employer will be run down, and as I'm not after the rest of you, you will only get him a few days safety at the price of a term in prison."
"Well, I've got to risk it," said the man.
Peter turned and walked away. He went down town to the Blacketts.
"I want you to carry the matter to the courts," he told the father. "These men deserve punishment, and if you'll let me go on with it, it shan't cost you anything; and by bringing a civil suit as well, you'll probably get some money out of it."
Blackett gave his assent. So too did Patrick Milligan, and "Moike" Dooley. They had won fame already by the deaths and wakes, but a "coort case" promised to give them prestige far beyond what even these distinctions conferred. So the three walked away proudly with Peter, and warrants were sworn to and issued against the "boss" as principal, and the driver and the three others as witnesses, made returnable on the following morning. On many a doorstep of the district, that night, nothing else was talked of, and the trio were the most envied men in the neighborhood. Even Mrs. Blackett and Ellen Milligan forgot their grief, and held a joint soiree on their front stoop.
"Shure, it's mighty hard for Mrs. Dooley, that she's away!" said one. "She'll be feeling bad when she knows what she's missed."
The next morning, Peter, the two doctors, the Blacketts, the Milligans, Dooley, the milk quintet, and as many inhabitants of the "district" as could crush their way in, were in court by nine o'clock. The plaintiffs and their friends were rather disappointed at the quietness of the proceedings. The examinations were purely formal except in one instance, when Peter asked for the "name or names of the owner or owners" of the National Milk Company. Here the defendant's attorney, a shrewd criminal lawyer, interfered, and there was a sharp passage at arms, in which an attempt was made to anger Peter. But he kept his head, and in the end carried his point. The owner turned out to be the proprietor of the brewery, as Peter had surmised, who thus utilized the mash from his vats in feeding cattle. But on Peter's asking for an additional warrant against him, the defendant's lawyer succeeded in proving, if the statement of the overseer proved it, that the brewer was quite ignorant that the milk sold in the "district" was what had been unsalable the day before to better customers, and that the skimming and doctoring of it was unknown to him. So an attempt to punish the rich man as a criminal was futile. He could afford to pay for straw men.
"Arrah!" said Dooley to Peter as they passed out of the court, "Oi think ye moight have given them a bit av yer moind."
"Wait till the trial," said Peter. "We mustn't use up our powder on the skirmish line."
So the word was passed through the district that "theer'd be fun at the rale trial," and it was awaited with intense interest by five thousand people.
NEW YORK JUSTICE.
Peter saw the District Attorney the next morning for a few moments, and handed over to him certain memoranda of details that had not appeared in the committing court's record.
"It shall go before the grand jury day after to-morrow," that official told him, without much apparent interest in the matter.
"How soon can it be tried, if they find a true bill? asked Peter.
"Can't say," replied the official.
"I merely wished to know," said Peter, "because three of the witnesses are away, and I want to have them back in time."
"Probably a couple of weeks," yawned the man, and Peter, taking the hint, departed.
The rest of the morning was spent in drawing up the papers in three civil suits against the rich brewer. Peter filed them as soon as completed, and took the necessary steps for their prompt service.
These produced an almost immediate result, in the shape of a call the next morning from the same lawyer who had defended the milkmen in the preliminary examination. Peter, as he returned from his midday meal, met the lawyer on the stairs.
"Ah, Mr. Stirling. Good-morning," said the man, whose name was Dummer. "I've just left your office, finding it closed."
"Come in," said Peter.
The lawyer glanced around the plain room, and a quiet look of satisfaction came over his face. The two sat down.
"About those cases, Mr. Stirling?"
"For reasons you can easily understand, we don't wish them to come to trial."
"And we take it for granted that your clients will be quite willing to settle them."
"We will talk about that, after the criminal trial is over"
"Why not now?"
"Because we hope to make Coldman speak the truth in the trial, and thus be able to reach Bohlmann."
"You're wasting your time."
"Not if there's the smallest chance of sending the brewer to prison."
"There isn't. Coldman will stick to what he said if the thing is ever tried, which it won't be."
Peter eyed Dummer without changing a muscle. "The District Attorney told me that it ought to be in the courts in a couple of weeks."
Dummer smiled blandly, and slowly closed one eye. "The District Attorney tries to tell the truth," he said, "and I have no doubt he thought that was what he was telling you. Now, name your figure?"
"The civil suits will not be compromised till the criminal one is finished."
"But I tell you the criminal one is dead. Squashed. Bohlmann and I have seen the right people, and they've seen the District Attorney. That case won't even go to the grand jury. So now, drop it, and say what you'll settle the civil suits for?"
"James Coldman shall go to prison for killing those children," said Peter, "and till he does, it is waste time to talk of dropping or settling anything."
"Humph," half laughed the lawyer, though with obvious disgust at the mulishness in Peter's face and voice. "You think you know it all. But you don't. You can work for ten years, and that case will be no nearer trial than it is to-day. I tell you, young man, you don't know New York."
"I don't know New York," said Peter, "but—"
"Exactly," interrupted Dummer. "And I do."
"Probably," replied Peter quietly, "You may know New York, Mr. Dummer, but you don't know me. That case shall be tried."
"Well," laughed Dummer, "if you'll agree not to press the civil suits, till that's out of the way, we shall have no need to compromise. Good-day."
The next morning Peter went to the District Attorney's office, and inquired for him.
"He's gone to Bar Harbor for a couple of weeks' vacation," he was told.
"Whom must I see in his stead?" And after some time Peter was brought face to face with the acting official.
"Mr. Nelson told me he should present the Coldman case to the grand jury to-day, and finding he has left the city, I wish to know who has it in charge?" asked Peter.
"He left all the presentments with me," the deputy replied, "but there was no such case as that."
"Could he have left it with some one else to attend to?"
Peter went back to his office, took down the Code and went over certain sections. His eyes had rather a sad look as they gazed at his wall, after his study, as if what he had read had not pleased him. But if the eyes were sad, the heavy jaw had a rigidness and setness which gave no indication of weakness or yielding.
For two weeks Peter waited, and then once more invaded officialdom.
"The District Attorney's engaged, and can't see you," he was told. Peter came again in the afternoon, with the same result. The next morning, brought only a like answer, and this was duplicated in the afternoon. The third day he said he would wait, and sat for hours in the ante-room, hoping to be called, or to intercept the officer. But it was only to see man after man ushered into the private office, and finally to be told that the District Attorney had gone to lunch, and would not return that day. The man who told him this grinned, and evidently considered it a good joke, nor had Peter been unconscious that all the morning the clerks and underlings had been laughing, and guying him as he waited. Yet his jaw was only set the more rigidly, as he left the office.
He looked up the private address of the officer in the directory, and went to see him that evening. He was wise enough not to send in his name, and Mr. Nelson actually came into the hall to see him.
The moment he saw Peter, however, he said: "Oh, it's you. Well, I never talk business except in business hours."
"I have tried to see you—" began Peter.
"Try some more," interrupted the man, smiling, and going toward the parlor.
Peter followed him, calmly. "Mr. Nelson," he said, "do you intend to push that case?"
"Of course," smiled Nelson. "After I've finished four hundred indictments that precede it."
"Not till then?"
"Mr. Nelson, can't you overlook politics for a moment, and think of—"
"Who said anything of politics?" interrupted Nelson, "I merely tell you there are indictments which have been in my office for five years and are yet to be tried, and that your case is going to take its turn." Nelson passed into the back room, leaving his caller alone.
Peter left the room, and passed out of the front door, just as a man was about to ring the bell.
"Is Mr. Nelson in?" asked the man.
"I have just left him, Mr. Dummer," said Peter.
"Ah! Good-evening, Mr. Stirling. I think I can guess your business. Well. How do you come on?" Dummer was obviously laughing internally.
Peter started down the steps without answering.
"Perhaps I can help you?" said Dummer. "I know Mr. Nelson very well in politics, and so does Mr. Bohlmann. If you'll tell me what you are after, I'll try to say a good word for you?"
"I don't need your help, thank you," said Peter calmly.
"Good," said Dummer. "You think a briefless lawyer of thirty can go it alone, do you, even against the whole city government?"
"I know I have not influence enough to get that case pushed, Mr. Dummer, but the law is on my side, and I'm not going to give up yet."
"Well, what are you going to do about it?" said Dummer, sneeringly.
"Fight," said Peter, walking away.
He went back to his office, and sitting at his desk, wrote a formal letter to the District Attorney, calling his attention to the case, and asking information as to when it would be brought to trial. Then he copied this, and mailed the original. Then he read the Code again. After that he went over the New York reports, making notes. For a second time the morning sun found Peter still at his desk. But this time his head was not bowed upon his blotter, as if he were beaten or dead. His whole figure was stiff with purpose, and his jaw was as rigid as a mastiff's.
The only reply which Peter received to his letter to the District-Attorney, was a mere formal reiteration of that officer's verbal statement, that the case would be taken up in its due order, after those which preceded it had been dealt with. Peter knew enough of the numberless cases which never reach trial to understand that this meant in truth, the laying aside of the case, till it was killed by the statute of limitations.
On receiving this reply, Peter made another move, by going to three newspapers, and trying to see their managing editors. One declined to see him. A second merely told Peter, after his statement, which the editor only allowed him partly to explain, that he was very busy and could not take time to look into it, but that Peter might come again in about a month. The third let Peter tell his story, and then shook his head:
"I have no doubt you are right, but it isn't in shape for us to use. Such a case rarely goes to trial for six months or a year, and so, if we begin an attack now, it will simply fall flat. If you can get us a written statement from the District Attorney that he doesn't intend to push the case, we can do something, but I suppose he's far too shrewd to commit himself."
"Then there's no use in beginning an attack, for you really have no powder. Come in again a year from now, and then we may be able to say something, if he hasn't acted in the meantime."
Peter left the office, knowing that that chance of pressure was gone. If the papers of the Republican party would not use it, it was idle spending time in seeing or trying to see the editors of the Democratic papers. He wasted therefore no more efforts on newspapers.
The next three days Peter passed in the New York Law Institute Library, deep in many books. Then he packed his bag, and took an afternoon train for Albany. He was going to play his last card, with the odds of a thousand to one against his winning. But that very fact only nerved him the more.
Promptly at ten o'clock, the morning after his arrival at the state capital, he sent in his card to the Governor. Fortunately for him, the middle of August is not a busy time with that official, and after a slight delay, he was ushered into the executive chamber.
Peter had been planning this interview for hours, and without explanation or preamble, he commenced his statement. He knew that he must interest the Governor promptly, or there would be a good chance of his being bowed out. So he began with a description of the cow-stables. Then he passed to the death of the little child. He sketched both rapidly, not taking three minutes to do it, but had he been pleading for his own life, he could not have spoken more earnestly nor feelingly.
The Governor first looked surprised at Peter's abruptness; then weary; then interested; and finally turned his revolving chair so as to put his back to Peter. And after Peter had ended his account, he remained so for a moment. That back was very expressive to Peter. For the first time he felt vanquished.
But suddenly the Governor turned, and Peter saw tears on his cheek. And he said, after a big swallow, "What do you want of me?" in a voice that meant everything to Peter.
"Will you listen to me for five minutes?" asked Peter, eagerly.
Than Peter read aloud a statement of the legal proceedings, and of his interviews with the District Attorney and with Dummer, in the clearest and most compact sentences he had been able to frame.
"You want me to interfere?" asked the Governor.
"I'm afraid it's not possible. I can of course remove the District Attorney, but it must be for cause, and I do not see that you can absolutely prove his non intention to prosecute those scoundrels."
"That is true. After study, I did not see that you could remove him. But there's another remedy."
"What is that?"
"Through the State Attorney you can appoint a special counsel for this case."
"Are you sure?"
Peter laid one of the papers in his hands before the Governor. After reading it, the Governor rang a bell.
"Send for Mr. Miller," he said to the boy. Then he turned, and with Peter went over the court papers, till Mr. Miller put in an appearance.
"State the matter to Mr. Miller," said the Governor, and Peter read his paper again and told what he wished.
"The power unquestionably exists," said the Attorney-General. "But it has not been used in many years. Perhaps I had better look into it a bit."
"Go with Mr. Miller, Mr. Stirling, and work over your papers with him," said the Governor.
"Thank you," said Peter simply, but his hand and face and voice said far more, as he shook hands. He went out with the first look of hope his face had worn for two years.
The ground which the Attorney-General and his subordinates had to traverse was that over which Peter had so well travelled already, that he felt very much at home, while his notes indeed aided the study, and were doubly welcomed, because the summer season had drained the office of its underlings. Half as assistant, and half as principal, he worked till three o'clock, with pleasure that grew, as he saw that the opinion of the Attorney-General seemed to agree more and more with his own. Then they returned to the Governor, to whom the Attorney-General gave his opinion that his present conclusion was that the Governor could empower him, or some appointee, to prosecute the case.
"Well," said the Governor, "I'm glad you think so. But if we find that it isn't possible, Mr. Stirling, I'll have a letter written to the District Attorney that may scare him into proceeding with the case."
Peter thanked him, and rose to go.
"Are you going to New York at once?" asked the Governor.
"Yes. Unless I can be of use here."
"Suppose you dine with me, and take a late train?"
"It will be a great pleasure," said Peter.
"Very well. Six sharp." Then after Peter had left the room, the Governor asked, "How is he on law?"
"Very good. Clear-headed and balanced."
"He knows how to talk," said the Governor. "He brought my heart up in my mouth as no one has done in years. Now, I must get word to some of the people in New York to find out who he is, and if this case has any concealed boomerang in it."
The dinner was a very quiet one with only the Governor and his wife. The former must have told his better-half something about Peter, for she studied him with a very kind look in her face, and prosaic and silent as Peter was, she did not seem bored. After the dinner was eaten, and some one called to talk politics with the Governor, she took Peter off to another room, and made him tell her about the whole case, and how he came to take it up, and why he had come to the Governor for help. She cried over it, and after Peter had gone, she went upstairs and looked at her own two sleeping boys, quite large enough to fight the world on their own account, but still little children to the mother's heart, and had another cry over them. She went downstairs later to the Governor's study, and interrupting him in the work to which he had settled down, put her arms about his neck, and kissed him. "You must help him, William," she said. "Do everything you can to have those scoundrels punished, and let him do it."
The Governor only laughed; but he pushed back his work, and his wife sat down, and told of her admiration and sympathy for Peter's fight. There was a bad time ahead for the criminal and his backers. They might have political influence of the strongest character, fighting their battle, but there was a bigger and more secret one at work. Say what we please, the strongest and most subtle "pull" this world as yet contains is the under-current of a woman's influence.
Peter went back to New York that night, feeling hopeful, yet doubtful. It almost seemed impossible that he had succeeded, yet at twenty-three, failure is hard to believe in. So he waited, hoping to see some move on the part of the State, and dreaming of nothing better. But better came, for only five days after his return his mail brought him a large envelope, and inside that envelope was a special commission, which made Peter a deputy of the Attorney-General, to prosecute in the Court of Sessions, the case of "The People of the State of New York versus James Goldman." If any one could have seen Peter's face, as he read the purely formal instrument, he would not have called it dull or heavy. For Peter knew that he had won; that in place of justice blocking and hindering him, every barrier was crushed down; that this prosecution rested with no officials, but was for him to push; that that little piece of parchment bound every court to support him; that if necessary fifty thousand troops would enforce the power which granted it. Within three hours, the first formal steps to place the case in the courts had been taken, and Peter was working at the evidence and law in the matter.
These steps produced a prompt call from Dummer, who showed considerably less assurance than hitherto, even though he tried to take Peter's success jauntily. He wanted Peter to drop the whole thing, and hinted at large sums of money, but Peter at first did not notice his hints, and finally told him that the case should be tried. Then Dummer pleaded for delay. Peter was equally obdurate. Later they had a contest in the court over this. But Peter argued in a quiet way, which nevertheless caught the attention of the judge, who ended the dispute by refusing to postpone. The judge hadn't intended to act in this way, and was rather surprised at his own conduct. The defendant's lawyer was furious.
No stone was left unturned, however, to prevent the case going to trial. Pressure of the sharpest and closest kind was brought to bear on the Governor himself—pressure which required backbone to resist. But he stood by his act: perhaps because he belonged to a different party than that in control of the city government; perhaps because of Peter's account, and the truthfulness in his face as he told it; perhaps because the Attorney-General had found it legal; perhaps because of his wife; perhaps it was a blending of all these. Certain it is, that all attempts to block failed, and in the last week in August it came before the court.
Peter had kept his clients informed as to his struggles, and they were tremendously proud of the big battle and ultimate success, as indeed were the residents of the whole district, who felt that it was really their own case. Then the politicians were furious and excited over it, while the almost unexampled act of the Governor had created a good deal of public interest in the case. So the court was packed and the press had reporters in attendance. Since the trial was fully reported, it is needless to go over the testimony here. What Peter could bring out, is already known. The defence, by "experts," endeavored to prove that the cowsheds were not in a really unhygienic condition; that feeding cows on "mash" did not affect their milk, nor did mere "skin sores;" that the milk had been sold by mistake, in ignorance that it was thirty-six hours old, and skimmed; and that the proof of this particular milk being the cause of the deaths was extremely inadequate and doubtful. The only dramatic incident in the testimony was the putting the two little Dooleys (who had returned in fat and rosy condition, the day before) on the stand.
"Did you find country milk different from what you have here?" Peter asked the youngest.
"Oh, yes," she said. "Here it comes from a cart, but in the country it squirts from a cow."
"Order," said the judge to the gallery.
"Does it taste differently?"
"Yes. It's sweet, as if they put sugar in it. It's lovely I like cow milk better than cart milk."
"Damn those children!" said Dummer, to the man next him.
The event of the trial came, however, when Peter summed up. He spoke quietly, in the simplest language, using few adjectives and no invective. But as the girl at the Pierces' dinner had said, "he describes things so that one sees them." He told of the fever-stricken cows, and he told of the little fever-stricken children in such a way that the audience sobbed; his clients almost had to be ordered out of court; the man next Dummer mopped his eyes with his handkerchief; the judge and jury thoughtfully covered their eyes (so as to think the better); the reporters found difficulty (owing to the glary light), in writing the words despite their determination not to miss one; and even the prisoner wiped his eyes on his sleeve. Peter was unconscious that he was making a great speech; great in its simplicity, and great in its pathos. He afterwards said he had not given it a moment's thought and had merely said what he felt. Perhaps his conclusion indicated why he was able to speak with the feeling he did. For he said:
"This is not merely the case of the State versus James Goldman. It is the case of the tenement-house children, against the inhumanity of man's greed."
Dummer whispered to the man next him, "There's no good. He's done for us." Then he rose, and made a clever defence. He knew it was wasting his time. The judge charged against him, and the jury gave the full verdict: "Man-slaughter in the first degree." Except for the desire for it, the sentence created little stir. Every one was still feeling and thinking of Peter's speech.
And to this day that speech is talked of in "the district."
Nor was it the district alone which talked of the speech. Perhaps the residents of it made their feelings most manifest, for they organized a torchlight procession that night, and went round and made Peter an address of thanks. Mr. Dennis Moriarty being the spokesman. The judge shook hands with him after the trial, and said that he had handled his case well. The defendant's lawyer told him he "knew his business." A number of the reporters sought a few words with him, and blended praise with questions.
The reporters did far more than this, however. It was the dull newspaper season, and the case had turned out to be a thoroughly "journalistic" one. So they questioned and interviewed every one concerned, and after cleverly winnowing the chaff, which in this case meant the dull, from the gleanings, most of them gave several columns the next morning to the story. Peter's speech was printed in full, and proved to read almost as well as it had sounded. The reporters were told, and repeated the tales without much attempt at verification, that Peter had taken the matter up without hope of profit; had paid the costs out of his own pocket; had refused to settle "though offered nine thousand dollars:" had "saved the Dooley children's lives by sending them into the country;" and "had paid for the burials of the little victims." So all gave him a puff, and two of the better sort wrote really fine editorials about him. At election time, or any other than a dull season, the case would have had small attention, but August is the month, to reverse an old adage, when "any news is good news."
The press began, too, a crusade against the swill-milk dealers, and the men who had allowed all this to be possible. "What is the Health Board about, that poison for children can be sold in the public streets?" "Where is the District Attorney, that prosecutions for the public good have to be brought by public-spirited citizens?" they demanded. Lynx-eyed reporters tracked the milk-supplies of the city, and though the alarm had been given, and many cows had been hastily sent to the country, they were able to show up certain companies, and print details which were quite lurid enough, when sufficiently "colored" by their skilful pens. Most residents of New York can remember the "swill-milk" or "stump-tail milk" exposures and prosecutions of that summer, and of the reformation brought about thereby in the Board of Health. As the details are not pleasant reading, any one who does not remember is referred to the daily press, and, if they want horrible pictures, to Frank Leslie's Illustrated Weekly. Except for the papers, it is to be questioned if Peter's case would have resulted in much more than the punishment of the man actually convicted; but by the press taking the matter up, the moment's indignation was deepened and intensified to a degree which well-nigh swept every cow-stable off the island, and drove the proper officials into an activity leading to great reforms.
No one was more surprised than Peter, at the sudden notoriety, or at the far-reaching results. He collected the articles, and sent them to his mother. He wrote:
"Don't think that this means any great start. In truth, I am a hundred dollars the poorer for the case, and shall have to cut off a few expenses for the rest of the year. I tell you this, because I know you will not think for a moment that I grudge the money, and you are not to spoil my trifling self-denial by any offer of assistance You did quite enough in taking in those two little imps. Were they very bad? Did they tramp on your flowers, and frighten poor old Russet [Russet was the cat] out of his fast waning lives? It was a great pleasure to me to see them so plump and brown, and I thank you for it. Their testimony in court was really amusing, though at the same time pathetic. People tell me that my speech was a good one. What is more surprising, they tell me that I made the prisoner, and Mr. Bohlmann, the brewer, who sat next to Dummer, both cry. I confess I grieve over the fact that I was not prosecuting Bohlmann. He is the real criminal, yet goes scot free. But the moral effect is, I suppose, the important thing, and any one to whom responsibility could be traced (and convicted) gives us that. I find that Mr. Bohlmann goes to the same church I attend!"
His mother was not surprised. She had always known her Peter was a hero, and needed no "York papers" to teach her the fact. Still she read every line of the case, and of the subsequent crusade. She read Peter's speech again and again, stopping to sob at intervals, and hugging the clipping to her bosom from time to time, as the best equivalent for Peter, while sobbing: "My boy, my darling boy." Every one in the mill-town knew of it, and the clippings were passed round among Peter's friends, beginning with the clergyman and ending with his school-boy companions. They all wondered why Peter had spoken so briefly. "If I could talk like that," said a lawyer to the proud mother, "I'd have spoken for a couple of hours." Mrs. Stirling herself wished it had been longer. Four columns of evidence, and only a little over a half column of speech! It couldn't have taken him twenty minutes at the most. "Even the other lawyer, who had nothing to say but lies, took over a column to his speech. And his was printed close together, while that of Peter's was spread out (e.g. solid and leaded) making the difference in length all the greater." Mrs. Stirling wondered if there could be a conspiracy against her Peter, on the part of the Metropolitan press. She had promptly subscribed for a year to the New York paper which glorified Peter the most, supposing that from this time on his name would appear on the front page. When she found it did not and that it was not mentioned in the press and Health Board crusade against the other "swill-milk" dealers, she became convinced that there was some definite attempt to rob Peter of his due fame. "Why, Peter began it all," she explained, "and now the papers and Health Board pretend it's all their doings." She wrote a letter to the editor of the paper—a letter which was passed round the office, and laughed over not a little by the staff. She never received an answer, nor did the paper give Peter the more attention because of it.
Two days after the trial, Peter had another call from Dummer.
"You handled that case in great style, Mr. Stirling," he told Peter. "You know the ropes as well as far older men. You got just the right evidence out of your witnesses, and not a bit of superfluous rubbish. That's the mistake most young men make. They bury their testimony in unessential details, I tell you, those two children were worth all the rest put together. Did you send them to the country on purpose to get that kind of evidence?"
"No," said Peter.
"Well, every man in that jury was probably a father, and that child's talk took right hold of them. Not but that your speech would have done the business. You were mighty clever in just telling what you saw, and not going into the testimony. You could safely trust the judge to do that. It was a great speech."
"Thank you," said Peter.
"He's not to be taffied," thought the lawyer. "Plain talking's the way to deal with him." He ended his allusions to the trial, and said: "Now, Mr. Stirling, Mr. Bohlmann doesn't want to have these civil suits go any further. Mr. Bohlmann's a man of respectability, with a nice wife and some daughters. The newspapers are giving him quite enough music without your dragging him into court."
"It's the only way I can reach him," said Peter.
"But you mustn't want to reach him. He's really a well-meaning man, and if you ask your clergyman—for I believe you go to Dr. Purple's church?—you'll find he's very charitable and generous with his money."
Peter smiled curiously. "Distributing money made that way is not much of a charity."
"He didn't know," said the lawyer. Then catching a look which came into Peter's face, he instantly added, "at least, he had no idea it was that bad. He tells me that he hadn't been inside those cow-sheds for four years."
"Come and see me to-morrow," said Peter.
After Dummer had gone, Peter walked uptown, and saw his clergyman.
"Yes," he was told, "Mr. Bohlmann has always stood high in the church, and has been liberal and sensible with his money. I can't tell you how this whole thing has surprised and grieved me, Mr. Stirling. It must be terrible for his wife. His daughters, too, are such nice sweet girls. You've probably noticed them in church?"
"No," Peter had not noticed them. He did not add that he did not notice young girls—that for some reason they had not interested him since—since—
"Where does he live?" inquired Peter.
"Not ten blocks from here," replied Dr. Purple, and named the street and number.
Peter looked at his watch and, thanking the clergyman, took his leave. He did not go back to his office, but to the address, and asked for Mr. Bohlmann. A respectable butler showed him into a handsome parlor and carried his name to the brewer.
There were already two girls in the room. One was evidently a caller. The other, a girl with a sweet, kindly, German face, was obviously one of the "nice" daughters. His arrival checked the flow of conversation somewhat, but they went on comparing their summer experiences. When the butler came back and said aloud, "Mr. Bohlmann will see you in the library, Mr. Stirling," Peter noticed that both girls turned impulsively to look at him, and that the daughter flushed red.
He found Mr. Bohlmann standing uneasily on the rug by the fireplace, and a stout woman gazing out of the window, with her back to the room.
"I had a call from your lawyer this morning, Mr. Bohlmann," said Peter, "and I have taken the liberty of coming to see you about the cases."
"Sid down, sid down," said his host, nervously, though not sitting himself.
Peter sat down. "I want to do what is best about the matter," he said.
The woman turned quickly to look at him, and Peter saw that there were tears in her eyes.
"Vell," said the brewer, "what is dat?"
"I don't know," said Peter, "and that's why I've come to see you."
Mr. Bohlmann's face worked for a moment. Then suddenly he burst into tears. "I give you my word, Mr. Stirling," he said, "that I didn't know it was so. I haven't had a happy moment since you spoke that day in court." He had heretofore spoken in English with a slight German accent. But this he said in German. He sat down at the table and buried his face in his arms. His wife, who was also weeping, crossed to him, and tried to comfort him by patting him on the back.
"I think," said Peter, "we had best drop the suits."
Mr. Bohlmann looked up. "It is not the money, Mr. Stirling," he said, still speaking in German. "See." He drew from a drawer in his desk a check-book, and filling up a check, handed it to Peter. It was dated and signed, but the amount was left blank. "There," he said, "I leave it to you what is right."
"I think Mr. Dummer will feel we have not treated him fairly," said Peter, "if we settle it in this way."
"Do not think of him. I will see that he has no cause for complaint," the brewer said. "Only let me know it is ended, so that my wife and my daughters—" he choked, and ended the sentence thus.
"Very well," said Peter. "We'll drop the suits."
The husband and wife embraced each other in true German fashion.
Peter rose and came to the table. "Three of the cases were for five thousand each, and the other two were for two thousand each," he said, and then hesitated. He wished to be fair to both sides. "I will ask you to fill in the check for eight thousand dollars. That will be two each for three, and one each for two."
Mr. Bohlmann disengaged himself from his wife, and took his pen. "You do not add your fee," he said.
"I forgot it," laughed Peter, and the couple laughed with him in their happiness. "Make it for eight thousand, two hundred and fifty."
"Och," said the brewer once more resuming his English. "Dat is too leedle for vive cases."
"No," said Peter. "It was what I had decided to charge in case I got any damages."
So the check was filled in, and Peter, after a warm handshake from both, went back to his office.
"Dat iss a fine yoong mahn," said the brewer.
A NEW FRIEND.
The day after this episode, Peter had the very unusual experience of a note by his morning's mail. Except for his mother's weekly letter, it was the first he had received since Watts had sailed, two years before. For the moment he thought that it must be from him, and the color came into his face at the mere thought that he would have news of—of—Watts. But a moment's glance at the writing showed him he was wrong, and he tore the envelope with little interest in his face. Indeed after he had opened it, he looked at his wall for a moment before he fixed his mind on it.
It contained a brief note, to this effect:
"A recent trial indicates that Mr. Stirling needs neither praise not reward as incentives for the doing of noble deeds.
"But one who prefers to remain unknown cannot restrain her grateful thanks to Mr. Stirling for what he did; and being debarred from such acts herself, asks that at least she may be permitted to aid him in them by enclosing a counsel fee for 'the case of the tenement children of New York against the inhumanity of men's greed.'
Peter looked at the enclosure, and found it was a check for five hundred dollars. He laid it on his desk, and read the note over again. It was beyond question written by a lady. Every earmark showed that, from the delicate scent of the paper, to the fine, even handwriting. Peter wanted to know who she was. He looked at the check to see by whom it was signed; to find that it was drawn by the cashier of the bank at which it was payable.
Half an hour later, a rapid walk had brought him to the bank the name of which was on the check. It was an uptown one, which made a specialty of family and women's accounts. Peter asked for the cashier.
"I've called about this check," he said, when that official materialized, handing the slip of paper to him.
"Yes," said the cashier kindly, though with a touch of the resigned sorrow in his voice which cashiers of "family's" and women's banks acquire. "You must sign your name on the back, on the left-hand end, and present it to the paying-teller, over at that window. You'll have to be identified if the paying-teller doesn't know you."
"I don't want the money," said Peter, "I want to know who sent the check to me?"
The cashier looked at it more carefully. "Oh!" he said. Then he looked up quickly at Peter? with considerable interest, "Are you Mr. Stirling?"
"Well, I filled this up by order of the president, and you'll have to see him about it, if you want more than the money."
"Can I see him?"
"Come this way."
They went into a small office at the end of the bank.
"Mr. Dyer," said the cashier, "this is Mr. Stirling, and he's come to see about that check."
"Glad to see you, Mr. Stirling. Sit down."
"I wish to learn who sent the check."
"Very sorry we can't oblige you. We had positive instructions from the person for whom we drew it, that no name was to be given."
"Can you receive a letter?"
"That was forbidden too."
"Nothing was said about that."
"Then will you do me the favor to say to the lady that the check will not be cashed till Mr. Stirling has been able to explain something to her."
"Certainly. She can't object to that."
"Not at all." The president rose and escorted him to the door. "That was a splendid speech of yours, Mr. Stirling," he added. "I'm not a bit ashamed to say that it put salt water in my old eyes."
"I think," said Peter, "it was the deaths of the poor little children, more than anything I said, that made people feel it."
The next morning's mail brought Peter a second note, in the same handwriting as that of the day before. It read:
"Miss De Voe has received Mr. Stirling's message and will be pleased to see him in regard to the check, at half after eleven to-day (Wednesday) if he will call upon her.
"Miss De Voe regrets the necessity of giving Mr. Stirling such brief notice, but she leaves New York on Thursday."
As Peter walked up town that morning, he was a little surprised that he was so cool over his intended call. In a few minutes he would be in the presence of a lady, the firmness of whose handwriting indicated that she was not yet decrepit. Three years ago such a prospect would have been replete with terror to him. Down to that—that week at the Pierce's, he had never gone to a place where he expected to "encounter" (for that was the word he formerly used) women without dread. Since that week—except for the twenty-four hours of the wedding, he had not "encountered" a lady. Yet here he was, going to meet an entire stranger without any conscious embarrassment or suffering. He was even in a sense curious. Peter was not given to self-analysis, but the change was too marked a one for him to be unconscious of it. Was it merely the poise of added years? Was it that he had ceased to care what women thought of him? Or was it that his discovery that a girl was lovable had made the sex less terrible to him? Such were the questions he asked himself as he walked, and he had not answered them when he rang the bell of the old-fashioned, double house on Second Avenue.
He was shown into a large drawing-room, the fittings of which were still shrouded in summer coverings, preventing Peter from inferring much, even if he had had time to do so. But the butler had scarcely left him when, with a well-bred promptness from which Peter might have drawn an inference, the rustle of a woman's draperies was heard. Rising, Peter found himself facing a tall, rather slender woman of between thirty-five and forty. It did not need a second glance from even Peter's untrained eye, to realize the suggestion of breeding in the whole atmosphere about her. The gown was of the simplest summer material, but its very simplicity, and a certain lack of "latest fashion" rather than "old-fashionedness" gave it a quality of respectability. Every line of the face, the set of the head, and even more the carriage of the figure, conveyed the "look of race."
"I must thank you, Mr. Stirling," she said, speaking deliberately, in a low, mellow voice, by no means so common then as our women's imitation of the English tone and inflexion has since made it, "for suiting your time to mine on such short notice."
"You were very kind," said Peter, "to comply with my request. Any time was convenient to me."
"I am glad it suited you."
Peter had expected to be asked to sit down, but, nothing being said, began his explanation.
"I am very grateful, Miss De Voe, for your note, and for the check. I thank you for both. But I think you probably sent me the latter through a mistake, and so I did not feel justified in accepting it."
"Yes. The papers made many errors in their statements. I'm not a 'poor young lawyer' as they said. My mother is comfortably off, and gives me an ample allowance."
"And what is more," continued Peter, "while they were right in saying that I paid some of the expenses of the case, yet I was more than repaid by my fees in some civil suits I brought for the relatives of the children, which we settled very advantageously."
"Won't you sit down, Mr. Stirling?" said Miss De Voe. "I should like to hear about the cases."
Peter began a very simple narrative of the matter. But Miss De Voe interjected questions or suppositions here and there, which led to other explanations, and before Peter had finished, he had told not merely the history of the cases, but much else. His mention of the two Dooley children had brought out the fact of their visit to his mother, and this had explained incidentally her position in the world. The settlement of the cases involved the story of the visit to the brewer's home, and Peter, to justify his action, added his interview with his pastor, Peter's connection with the case compelled him to speak of his evenings in the "angle," and the solitary life that had sent him there. Afterwards, Peter was rather surprised at how much he had told. He did not realize that a woman with tact and experience can, without making it evident, lead a man to tell nearly anything and everything he knows, if she is so minded. If women ever really take to the bar seriously, may Providence protect the average being in trousers, when on the witness stand.
As Peter talked, a clock struck. Stopping short, he rose. "I must ask your pardon," he said. "I had no idea I had taken so much of your time." Then putting his hand in his pocket, he produced the check. "You see that I have made a very good thing out of the whole matter and do not need this."
"One moment, Mr. Stirling," said the lady, still sitting. "Can you spare the time to lunch with me? We will sit down at once, and you shall be free to go whenever you wish."
Peter hesitated. He knew that he had the time, and it did not seem easy to refuse without giving an excuse, which he did not have. Yet he did not feel that he had the right to accept an invitation which he had perhaps necessitated by his long call.
"Thank you," said his hostess, before he had been able to frame an answer. "May I trouble you to pull that bell?"
Peter pulled the bell, and coming back, tendered the check rather awkwardly to Miss De Voe. She, however, was looking towards a doorway, which the next moment was darkened by the butler.
"Morden," she said, "you may serve luncheon at once."
"Luncheon is served, madam," said Morden.
Miss De Voe rose. "Mr. Stirling, I do not think your explanation has really affected the circumstances which led me to send that check. You acknowledge yourself that you are the poorer for that prosecution, and received no fees for trying it. As I wrote you, I merely was giving a retaining fee in that case, and as none other has been given, I still wish to do it. I cannot do such things myself, but I am weal—I—I can well afford to aid others to do them, and I hope you will let me have the happiness of feeling that I have done my little in this matter."
"Thank you," said Peter. "I was quite willing to take the money, but I was afraid you might have sent it under a misconception."
Miss De Voe smiled at Peter with a very nice look in her face. "I am the one to say 'thank you,' and I am most grateful. But we will consider that as ended, and discuss luncheon in its place."
Peter, despite his usual unconsciousness could not but notice the beauty of the table service. The meal itself was the simplest of summer luncheons, but the silver and china and glass were such as he had never seen before.
"What wine will you have with your luncheon, Mr. Stirling?" he was asked by his hostess.
"I don't—none for me," replied Peter.
"You don't approve of wine?" asked his hostess.
"Personally I have no feeling about it."
"But?" And there was a very big question mark in Miss De Voe's voice.
"My mother is strongly prejudiced against it, so I do not take it. It is really no deprivation to me, while it would mean great anxiety to her if I drank."
This started the conversation on Peter's mother and his early years, and before it had ended, his hostess had succeeded in learning much more about his origin and his New York life. The clock finally cut him short again, for they lingered at the table long after the meal was finished, though Miss De Voe made the pretence of eating a grape occasionally. When three o'clock struck, Peter, without the least simulating any other cause for going, rose hastily.
"I have used up your whole afternoon," he said, apologetically.
"I think," smiled Miss De Voe, "that we are equal culprits in that. I leave town to-morrow, Mr. Stirling, but return to the city late in October, and if your work and inclination favor it, I hope you will come to see me again?"
Peter looked at the silver and the china. Then he looked at Miss De Voe, so obviously an aristocrat.
"I shall be happy to," he said, "if, when you return, you will send me word that you wish to see me."
Miss De Voe had slightly caught her breath while Peter hesitated. "I believe he is going to refuse!" she thought to herself, a sort of stunned amazement seizing her. She was scarcely less surprised at his reply.
"I never ask a man twice to call on me, Mr. Stirling," she said, with a slight hauteur in her voice.
"I'm sorry for that," said Peter quietly.
Miss De Voe caught her breath again. "Good-afternoon," she said, holding out her hand. "I shall hope to see you."
"Good-bye," said Peter, and the next moment was walking towards his office.
Miss De Voe stood for a moment thinking. "That was curious," she thought, "I wonder if he intends to come?"
The next evening she was dining with relatives in one of the fashionable summering places, and was telling them about her call "from Mr. Stirling, the lawyer who made that splendid speech."
"I thought," she said, "when I received the message, that I was going to be buried under a bathos of thanks, or else have my gift declined with the expectation that I would gush over the disinterestedness of the refusal. Since I couldn't well avoid seeing him, I was quite prepared to snub him, or to take back the money without a word. But he wasn't a bit that kind of creature. He isn't self-assured nor tonguey—rather the reverse. I liked him so, that I forced him to stay to luncheon, and made him tell me a good deal about himself, without his knowing I was doing so. He leads a very unusual life, without seeming conscious that he does, and he tells about it very well. Uses just the right word every time, so that you know exactly what he means, without taxing your own brain to fill up blanks. He has such a nice voice too. One that makes you certain of the absolute truth underneath. No. He isn't good looking, though he has fine eyes, and hair. His face and figure are both too heavy."
"Is he a gentleman, cousin Anneke?" asked one of the party.
"He is a little awkward, and over-blunt at moments, but nothing to which one would give a second thought. I was so pleased with him that I asked him to call on me."
"It seems to me," said another, "that you are over-paying him."
"That was the most curious part," replied Miss De Voe. "I'm not at all sure that he means to come. It was really refreshing not to be truckled to, but it is rather startling to meet the first man who does not want to win his way to my visiting list. I don't think he even knows who Miss De Voe is."
"He will find out quick enough," laughed a girl, "and then he will do what they all do."
"No," said Miss De Voe. "I suspect it will make no difference. He isn't that kind, I think. I really am curious to see if I have to ask him a second time. It will be the only case I can remember. I'm afraid, my dears, your cousin is getting to be an old woman."
Peter, had in truth, met, and spent over four hours in the company of a woman whom every one wished to know. A woman equally famous for her lineage, her social position, her wealth and her philanthropy. It would not have made any difference, probably, had he known it, though it might have increased his awkwardness a little. That he was not quite as unconscious as Miss De Voe seemed to think, is shown by a passage in a letter he wrote to his mother:
"She was very much interested in the case, and asked a good many questions about it, and about myself. Some which I would rather not have answered, but since she asked them I could not bring myself to dodge them. She asked me to come and see her again. It is probably nothing but a passing interest, such as this class feel for the moment."—[Then Peter carefully inked out "such as this class feel for the moment," and reproved himself that his bitterness at—at—at one experience, should make him condemn a whole class]—"but if she asks me again I shall go, for there is something very sweet and noble about her. I think she is probably some great personage."
Later on in the letter he wrote:
"If you do not disapprove, I will put this money in the savings bank, in a special or trustee account, and use it for any good that I can do for the people about here. I gave the case my service, and do not think I am entitled to take pay when the money can be so much better employed for the benefit of the people I tried to help."
Peter had seen his clients on the morning following the settlement of the cases, and told them of their good fortune. They each had a look at Bohlmann's check, and then were asked how they would like their shares.
"Sure," said Dooley, "Oi shan't know what to do wid that much money."
"I think," said Peter, "that your two thousand really belongs to the children."
"That it does," said Mrs. Dooley, quite willing to deprive her husband of it, for the benefit of her children.
"But what shall Oi do wid it?" asked Mr. Dooley.
"I'd like Mr. Stirling to take charge of mine," said Blackett.
"That's the idea," said Dooley.
And so it was settled by all. Peter said the best thing would be to put it in the savings bank. "Perhaps later we'll find something better." They all went around to a well-known institution on the Bowery, and Peter interviewed the cashier. It proved feasible to endorse over the check to the bank, and credit the proper share to each.
"I shall have to ask you to give me the odd two hundred and fifty," Peter said, "as that is my legal fee."
"You had better let me put that in your name, Mr. Stirling?" said the president, who had been called into the consultation.
"Very well," said Peter. "I shall want some of it before long, but the rest will be very well off here." So a book was handed him, and the president shook him by the hand with all the warmth that eight thousand two hundred and fifty dollars of increased assets and four new depositors implied.
Peter did not need to draw any of the two hundred and fifty dollars, however. In November he had another knock at his door.
It proved to be Mr. Dennis Moriarty, of whom we have incidentally spoken in connection with the half-price drinks for the Milligan wake, and as spokesman of the torchlight procession.
"Good-mornin' to yez, sir," said the visitor.
It was a peculiarity of Peter's that he never forgot faces. He did not know Mr. Moriarty's name, never having had it given him, but he placed him instantly.
"Thank you," said Peter, holding out his hand. Peter did not usually shake hands in meeting people, but he liked the man's face. It would never take a prize for beauty. The hair verged on a fiery red, the nose was a real sky-scraper and the upper lip was almost proboscidian in its length. But every one liked the face.
"It's proud Oi'm bein' shakin' the hand av Misther Stirling," said the Irishman.
"Sit down," said Peter.
"My name's Moriarty, sir, Dinnis Moriarty, an' Oi keeps a saloon near Centre Street, beyant."
"You were round here in the procession."
"Oi was, sir. Shure, Oi'm not much at a speech, compared to the likes av yez, but the b'ys would have me do it."
Peter said something appropriate, and then there was a pause.
"Misther Stirling," finally said Moriarty, "Oi was up before Justice Gallagher yesterday, an' he fined me bad. Oi want yez to go to him, an' get him to be easier wid me. It's yezself can do it."
"What were you fined for?" asked Peter.
"For bein' open on Sunday."
"Then you ought to be fined."
"Don't say that till Oi tell yez. Oi don't want to keep my place open, but it's in my lease, an' so Oi have to."
"In your lease?" enquired Peter.
"Yes." And the paper was handed over to him.
Peter ran over the three documents. "I see," he said, "you are only the caretaker really, the brewer having an assignment of the lease and a chattel mortgage on your fixtures and stock."
"That's it," said Dennis. "It's mighty quick yez got at it. It's caretaker Oi am, an' a divil of a care it is. Shure, who wants to work seven days a week, if he can do wid six?"
"You should have declined to agree to that condition?"
"Then Oi'd have been turned out. Begobs, it's such poor beer that it's little enough Oi sell even in seven days."
"Why don't you get your beer elsewhere then?"
"Why, it's Edelhein put me in there to sell his stuff, an' he'd never let me sell anythin' else."
"Then Edelhein is really the principal, and you are only put in to keep him out of sight?"
"And you have put no money in yourself?"
"Divil a cent."
"Then why doesn't he pay the fine?"
"He says Oi have no business to be afther bein' fined. As if any one sellin' his beer could help bein' fined!"
"How is that?" said Peter, inferring that selling poor beer was a finable offence, yet ignorant of the statute.
"Why yez see, sir, the b'ys don't like that beer—an' sensible they are—so they go to other places, an' don't come to my place."
"But that doesn't explain your fines."
"Av course it does. Shure, if the boys don't come to my place, it's little Oi can do at the primary, an' so it's no pull Oi have in politics, to get the perlice an' the joodges to be easy wid me, like they are to the rest."
Peter studied his blank wall a bit.
"Shure, if it's good beer Oi had," continued Moriarty, "Oi'd be afther beatin' them all, for Oi was always popular wid the b'ys, on account of my usin' my fists so fine."
Peter smiled. "Why don't you go into something else?" he asked.
"Well, there's mother and the three childers to be supported, an' then Oi'd lose my influence at the primary."
"What kind of beer does Mr. Bohlmann make?" asked Peter, somewhat irrelevantly.
"Ah," said Moriarty, "that's the fine honest beer! There's never anythin' wrong wid his. An' he treats his keepers fair. Lets them do as they want about keepin' open Sundays, an' never squeezes a man when he's down on his luck."
Peter looked at his wall again. Peter was learning something.
"Supposing," he asked, "I was able to get your fine remitted, and that clause struck out of the lease. Would you open on Sunday?"
"Divil a bit."
"When must you pay the fine?"
"Oi'm out on bail till to-morrow, sir."
"Then leave these papers with me, and come in about this time."
Peter studied his wall for a bit after his new client was gone. He did not like either saloon-keepers or law-breakers, but this case seemed to him to have—to have—extenuating circumstances. His cogitations finally resulted in his going to Justice Gallagher's court. He found the judge rather curt.
"He's been up here three times in as many months, and I intend to make an example of him."
"But why is only he arrested, when every saloon keeper in the neighborhood does the same thing?"
"Now, sir," said the judge, "don't waste any more of my time. What's the next case?"
A look we have mentioned once or twice came into Peter's face. He started to leave the court, but encountered at the door one of the policemen whom he was "friends with," according to the children, which meant that they had chatted sometimes in the "angle."
"What sort of a man is Dennis Moriarty?" he asked of him.
"A fine young fellow, supporting his mother and his younger brothers."
"Why is Justice Gallagher so down on him?"
The policeman looked about a moment. "It's politics, sir, and he's had orders."
"That's more than we know. There was a row last spring in the primary, and we've had orders since then to lay for him."
Peter stood and thought for a moment. "What saloon-keeper round here has the biggest pull?" he asked.
"It's all of them, mostly, but Blunkers is a big man."
"Thank you," said Peter. He stood in the street thinking a little. Then he walked a couple of blocks and went into Blunkers's great gin palace.
"I want to see the proprietor," he said.
"Dat's me," said a man who was reading a paper behind the bar.
"Do you know Justice Gallagher?"
"Do I? Well, I guess," said the man.
"Will you do me the favor to go with me to his court, and get him to remit Dennis Moriarty's fine?"
"Will I? No. I will not. Der's too many saloons, and one less will be bully."
"In that case," said Peter quietly, "I suppose you won't mind my closing yours up?"
"Wot der yer mean?" angrily inquired the man.
"If it comes to closing saloons, two can play at that game."
"Who is yer, anyway?" The man came out from behind the bar, squaring his shoulders in an ugly manner.
"My name's Stirling. Peter Stirling."
The man looked at him with interest. "How'll yer close my place?"
"Get evidence against you, and prosecute you."
"Dat ain't de way."
"It will be my way."
"Wot yer got against me?"
"Nothing. But I intend to see Moriarty have fair play. You want to fight on the square too. You're not a man to hit a fellow in the dark."
Peter was not flattering the man. He had measured him and was telling him the result of that measure. He told it, too, in a way that made the other man realize the opinion behind the words.
"Come on," said Blunkers, good-naturedly.
They went over to the court, and a whispered colloquy took place between the justice and the bartender.
"That's all right, Mr. Stirling," presently said the judge. "Clerk, strike Dennis Moriarty's fine off the list."
"Thank you," said Peter to the saloon-keeper. "If I can ever do a turn for you, let me know it."
"Dat's hunky," said the man, and they parted.
Peter went out and walked into the region of the National Milk Company, but this time he went to the brewery. He found Mr. Bohlmann, and told him the story, asking his advice at the end.
"Dondt you vool von minute mit dod Edelheim. I dells you vot I do. I harf choost a blace vacant down in Zender Streed, and your frient he shall it haf."
So they chatted till all the details had been arranged. Dennis was to go in as caretaker, bound to use only Bohlmann's beer, with a percentage on that, and the profits on all else. He was to pay the rent, receiving a sub-lease from Bohlmann, who was only a lesee himself, and to give a chattel mortgage on the stock supplied him. Finally he was to have the right of redemption of stock, lease, and good-will at any time within five years, on making certain payments.
"You draw up der babers, Misder Stirling, and send der bill to me. Ve vill give der yoonger a chance," the brewer said.
When Dennis called the next day, he was "spacheless" at the new developments. He wrung Peter's hand.
"Arrah, what can Oi say to yez?" he exclaimed finally. Then having found something, he quickly continued: "Now, Patsy Blunkers, lookout for yezself. It's the divil Oi'll give yez in the primary this year."
He begged Peter to come down the opening night, and help to "celebrate the event."
"Thank you," said Peter, "but I don't think I will."
"Shure," said Dennis, "yez needn't be afraid it won't be orderly. It's myself can do the hittin', an' the b'ys know it."
"My mother brought me up," Peter explained, "not to go into saloons, and when I came to New York I promised her, if I ever did anything she had taught me not to, that I would write her about it. She would hardly understand this visit, and it might make her very unhappy."
Peter earned fifty dollars by drawing the papers, and at the end of the first month Dennis brought him fifty more.
"Trade's been fine, sir, an' Oi want to pay something for what yez did."
So Peter left his two hundred and fifty dollars in the bank, having recouped the expenses of the first case out of his new client.
He wrote all about it to his mother:
"I am afraid you won't approve of what I did entirely, for I know your strong feeling against men who make and sell liquor. But I somehow have been made to feel in the last few days that more can be done in the world by kindness and help than by frowns and prosecutions. I had no thought of getting money out of the case, so I am sure I was not influenced by that. It seemed to me that a man was being unfairly treated, and that too, by laws which are meant for other purposes. I really tried to think it out, and do what seemed right to me. My last client has a look and a way of speaking that makes me certain he's a fine fellow, and I shall try to see something of him, provided it will not worry you to think of me as friendly with a saloon-keeper. I know I can be of use to him."