Infomotions, Inc.A Wasted Day / Davis, Richard Harding, 1864-1916



Author: Davis, Richard Harding, 1864-1916
Title: A Wasted Day
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): thorndike; andrews; spear; district attorney; attorney; district; judge; archive; literary; court
Contributor(s): Cotton, Charles, 1630-1687 [Translator]
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable
Services: find in a library; evaluate using concordance
Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 8,001 words (really short) Grade range: 8-11 (high school) Readability score: 60 (average)
Identifier: etext1820
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Title: A Wasted Day

Author: Richard Harding Davis

Release Date: May 12, 2006 [EBook #1820]

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*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK A WASTED DAY ***




Produced by Don Lainson





A WASTED DAY


By Richard Harding Davis



When its turn came, the private secretary, somewhat apologetically, laid
the letter in front of the Wisest Man in Wall Street.

"From Mrs. Austin, probation officer, Court of General Sessions," he
explained. "Wants a letter about Spear. He's been convicted of theft.
Comes up for sentence Tuesday."

"Spear?" repeated Arnold Thorndike.

"Young fellow, stenographer, used to do your letters last summer going
in and out on the train."

The great man nodded. "I remember. What about him?"

The habitual gloom of the private secretary was lightened by a grin.

"Went on the loose; had with him about five hundred dollars belonging to
the firm; he's with Isaacs & Sons now, shoe people on Sixth Avenue. Met
a woman, and woke up without the money. The next morning he offered to
make good, but Isaacs called in a policeman. When they looked into it,
they found the boy had been drunk. They tried to withdraw the charge,
but he'd been committed. Now, the probation officer is trying to get the
judge to suspend sentence. A letter from you, sir, would--"

It was evident the mind of the great man was elsewhere. Young men who,
drunk or sober, spent the firm's money on women who disappeared before
sunrise did not appeal to him. Another letter submitted that morning
had come from his art agent in Europe. In Florence he had discovered the
Correggio he had been sent to find. It was undoubtedly genuine, and he
asked to be instructed by cable. The price was forty thousand dollars.
With one eye closed, and the other keenly regarding the inkstand,
Mr. Thorndike decided to pay the price; and with the facility of long
practice dismissed the Correggio, and snapped his mind back to the
present.

"Spear had a letter from us when he left, didn't he?" he asked. "What he
has developed into, SINCE he left us--" he shrugged his shoulders. The
secretary withdrew the letter, and slipped another in its place.

"Homer Firth, the landscape man," he chanted, "wants permission to use
blue flint on the new road, with turf gutters, and to plant silver firs
each side. Says it will run to about five thousand dollars a mile."

"No!" protested the great man firmly, "blue flint makes a country place
look like a cemetery. Mine looks too much like a cemetery now. Landscape
gardeners!" he exclaimed impatiently. "Their only idea is to insult
nature. The place was better the day I bought it, when it was running
wild; you could pick flowers all the way to the gates." Pleased that
it should have recurred to him, the great man smiled. "Why, Spear," he
exclaimed, "always took in a bunch of them for his mother. Don't you
remember, we used to see him before breakfast wandering around the
grounds picking flowers?" Mr. Thorndike nodded briskly. "I like his
taking flowers to his mother."

"He SAID it was to his mother," suggested the secretary gloomily.

"Well, he picked the flowers, anyway," laughed Mr. Thorndike. "He didn't
pick our pockets. And he had the run of the house in those days. As
far as we know," he dictated, "he was satisfactory. Don't say more than
that."

The secretary scribbled a mark with his pencil. "And the landscape man?"

"Tell him," commanded Thorndike, "I want a wood road, suitable to a
farm; and to let the trees grow where God planted them."

As his car slid downtown on Tuesday morning the mind of Arnold Thorndike
was occupied with such details of daily routine as the purchase of a
railroad, the Japanese loan, the new wing to his art gallery, and an
attack that morning, in his own newspaper, upon his pet trust. But his
busy mind was not too occupied to return the salutes of the traffic
policemen who cleared the way for him. Or, by some genius of memory,
to recall the fact that it was on this morning young Spear was to be
sentenced for theft. It was a charming morning. The spring was at
full tide, and the air was sweet and clean. Mr. Thorndike considered
whimsically that to send a man to jail with the memory of such a morning
clinging to him was adding a year to his sentence. He regretted he had
not given the probation officer a stronger letter. He remembered the
young man now, and favorably. A shy, silent youth, deft in work, and
at other times conscious and embarrassed. But that, on the part of a
stenographer, in the presence of the Wisest Man in Wall Street, was not
unnatural. On occasions, Mr. Thorndike had put even royalty--frayed,
impecunious royalty, on the lookout for a loan--at its ease.

The hood of the car was down, and the taste of the air, warmed by the
sun, was grateful. It was at this time, a year before, that young Spear
picked the spring flowers to take to his mother. A year from now where
would young Spear be?

It was characteristic of the great man to act quickly, so quickly
that his friends declared he was a slave to impulse. It was these same
impulses, leading so invariably to success, that made his enemies
call him the Wisest Man. He leaned forward and touched the chauffeur's
shoulder. "Stop at the Court of General Sessions," he commanded. What
he proposed to do would take but a few minutes. A word, a personal word
from him to the district attorney, or the judge, would be enough. He
recalled that a Sunday Special had once calculated that the working time
of Arnold Thorndike brought him in two hundred dollars a minute. At that
rate, keeping Spear out of prison would cost a thousand dollars.


Out of the sunshine Mr. Thorndike stepped into the gloom of an echoing
rotunda, shut in on every side, hung by balconies, lit, many stories
overhead, by a dirty skylight. The place was damp, the air acrid with
the smell of stale tobacco juice, and foul with the presence of many
unwashed humans. A policeman, chewing stolidly, nodded toward an
elevator shaft, and other policemen nodded him further on to the office
of the district attorney. There Arnold Thorndike breathed more freely.
He was again among his own people. He could not help but appreciate the
dramatic qualities of the situation; that the richest man in Wall Street
should appear in person to plead for a humble and weaker brother. He
knew he could not escape recognition, his face was too well known, but,
he trusted, for the sake of Spear, the reporters would make no display
of his visit. With a deprecatory laugh, he explained why he had come.
But the outburst of approbation he had anticipated did not follow.

The district attorney ran his finger briskly down a printed card.
"Henry Spear," he exclaimed, "that's your man. Part Three, Judge Fallon.
Andrews is in that court." He walked to the door of his private office.
"Andrews!" he called.

He introduced an alert, broad-shouldered young man of years of much
indiscretion and with a charming and inconsequent manner.

"Mr. Thorndike is interested in Henry Spear, coming up for sentence
in Part Three this morning. Wants to speak for him. Take him over with
you."

The district attorney shook hands quickly, and retreated to his private
office. Mr. Andrews took out a cigarette and, as he crossed the floor,
lit it.

"Come with me," he commanded. Somewhat puzzled, slightly annoyed, but
enjoying withal the novelty of the environment and the curtness of his
reception, Mr. Thorndike followed. He decided that, in his ignorance, he
had wasted his own time and that of the prosecuting attorney. He should
at once have sent in his card to the judge. As he understood it, Mr.
Andrews was now conducting him to that dignitary, and, in a moment, he
would be free to return to his own affairs, which were the affairs of
two continents. But Mr. Andrews led him to an office, bare and small,
and offered him a chair, and handed him a morning newspaper. There
were people waiting in the room; strange people, only like those Mr.
Thorndike had seen on ferry-boats. They leaned forward toward young Mr.
Andrews, fawning, their eyes wide with apprehension.

Mr. Thorndike refused the newspaper. "I thought I was going to see the
judge," he suggested.

"Court doesn't open for a few minutes yet," said the assistant district
attorney. "Judge is always late, anyway."

Mr. Thorndike suppressed an exclamation. He wanted to protest, but his
clear mind showed him that there was nothing against which, with reason,
he could protest. He could not complain because these people were not
apparently aware of the sacrifice he was making. He had come among them
to perform a kindly act. He recognized that he must not stultify it by a
show of irritation. He had precipitated himself into a game of which he
did not know the rules. That was all. Next time he would know better.
Next time he would send a clerk. But he was not without a sense of
humor, and the situation as it now was forced upon him struck him as
amusing. He laughed good-naturedly and reached for the desk telephone.

"May I use this?" he asked. He spoke to the Wall Street office. He
explained he would be a few minutes late. He directed what should be
done if the market opened in a certain way. He gave rapid orders on many
different matters, asked to have read to him a cablegram he expected
from Petersburg, and one from Vienna.

"They answer each other," was his final instruction. "It looks like
peace."

Mr. Andrews with genial patience had remained silent. Now he turned
upon his visitors. A Levantine, burly, unshaven, and soiled, towered
truculently above him. Young Mr. Andrews with his swivel chair tilted
back, his hands clasped behind his head, his cigarette hanging from his
lips, regarded the man dispassionately.

"You gotta hell of a nerve to come to see me," he commented cheerfully.
To Mr. Thorndike, the form of greeting was novel. So greatly did it
differ from the procedure of his own office, that he listened with
interest.

"Was it you," demanded young Andrews, in a puzzled tone, "or your
brother who tried to knife me?" Mr. Thorndike, unaccustomed to cross
the pavement to his office unless escorted by bank messengers and
plain-clothes men, felt the room growing rapidly smaller; the figure of
the truculent Greek loomed to heroic proportions. The hand of the banker
went vaguely to his chin, and from there fell to his pearl pin, which he
hastily covered.

"Get out!" said young Andrews, "and don't show your face here--"

The door slammed upon the flying Greek. Young Andrews swung his swivel
chair so that, over his shoulder, he could see Mr. Thorndike. "I don't
like his face," he explained.

A kindly eyed, sad woman with a basket on her knee smiled upon Andrews
with the familiarity of an old acquaintance.

"Is that woman going to get a divorce from my son," she asked, "now that
he's in trouble?"

"Now that he's in Sing Sing?" corrected Mr. Andrews. "I HOPE so! She
deserves it. That son of yours, Mrs. Bernard," he declared emphatically,
"is no good!"

The brutality shocked Mr. Thorndike. For the woman he felt a thrill of
sympathy, but at once saw that it was superfluous. From the secure and
lofty heights of motherhood, Mrs. Bernard smiled down upon the assistant
district attorney as upon a naughty child. She did not even deign a
protest. She continued merely to smile. The smile reminded Thorndike of
the smile on the face of a mother in a painting by Murillo he had lately
presented to the chapel in the college he had given to his native town.

"That son of yours," repeated young Andrews, "is a leech. He's robbed
you, robbed his wife. Best thing I ever did for YOU was to send him up
the river."

The mother smiled upon him beseechingly.

"Could you give me a pass?" she said.

Young Andrews flung up his hands and appealed to Thorndike.

"Isn't that just like a mother?" he protested. "That son of hers has
broken her heart, tramped on her, cheated her; hasn't left her a cent;
and she comes to me for a pass, so she can kiss him through the bars!
And I'll bet she's got a cake for him in that basket!"

The mother laughed happily; she knew now she would get the pass.

"Mothers," explained Mr. Andrews, from the depth of his wisdom, "are
all like that; your mother, my mother. If you went to jail, your mother
would be just like that."

Mr. Thorndike bowed his head politely. He had never considered going
to jail, or whether, if he did, his mother would bring him cake in a
basket. Apparently there were many aspects and accidents of life not
included in his experience.

Young Andrews sprang to his feet, and, with the force of a hose flushing
a gutter, swept his soiled visitors into the hall.

"Come on," he called to the Wisest Man, "the court is open."


In the corridors were many people, and with his eyes on the broad
shoulders of the assistant district attorney, Thorndike pushed his way
through them. The people who blocked his progress were of the class
unknown to him. Their looks were anxious, furtive, miserable. They stood
in little groups, listening eagerly to a sharp-faced lawyer, or, in
sullen despair, eying each other. At a door a tipstaff laid his hand
roughly on the arm of Mr. Thorndike.

"That's all right, Joe," called young Mr. Andrews, "he's with ME." They
entered the court and passed down an aisle to a railed enclosure
in which were high oak chairs. Again, in his effort to follow, Mr.
Thorndike was halted, but the first tipstaff came to his rescue. "All
right," he signalled, "he's with Mr. Andrews."

Mr. Andrews pointed to one of the oak chairs. "You sit there," he
commanded, "it's reserved for members of the bar, but it's all right.
You're with ME."

Distinctly annoyed, slightly bewildered, the banker sank between the
arms of a chair. He felt he had lost his individuality. Andrews had
become his sponsor. Because of Andrews he was tolerated. Because Andrews
had a pull he was permitted to sit as an equal among police-court
lawyers. No longer was he Arnold Thorndike. He was merely the man "with
Mr. Andrews."

Then even Andrews abandoned him. "The judge'll be here in a minute,
now," said the assistant district attorney, and went inside a railed
enclosure in front of the judge's bench. There he greeted another
assistant district attorney whose years were those of even greater
indiscretion than the years of Mr. Andrews. Seated on the rail, with
their hands in their pockets and their backs turned to Mr. Thorndike,
they laughed and talked together. The subject of their discourse was one
Mike Donlin, as he appeared in vaudeville.

To Mr. Thorndike it was evident that young Andrews had entirely
forgotten him. He arose, and touched his sleeve. With infinite sarcasm
Mr. Thorndike began: "My engagements are not pressing, but--"

A court attendant beat with his palm upon the rail.

"Sit down!" whispered Andrews. "The judge is coming."

Mr. Thorndike sat down.

The court attendant droned loudly words Mr. Thorndike could not
distinguish. There was a rustle of silk, and from a door behind him
the judge stalked past. He was a young man, the type of the Tammany
politician. On his shrewd, alert, Irish-American features was an
expression of unnatural gloom. With a smile Mr. Thorndike observed that
it was as little suited to the countenance of the young judge as was
the robe to his shoulders. Mr. Thorndike was still smiling when young
Andrews leaned over the rail.

"Stand up!" he hissed. Mr. Thorndike stood up.

After the court attendant had uttered more unintelligible words, every
one sat down; and the financier again moved hurriedly to the rail.

"I would like to speak to him now before he begins," he whispered. "I
can't wait."

Mr. Andrews stared in amazement. The banker had not believed the young
man could look so serious.

"Speak to him, NOW!" exclaimed the district attorney. 'You've got to
wait till your man comes up. If you speak to the judge, NOW--" The voice
of Andrews faded away in horror.

Not knowing in what way he had offended, but convinced that it was
only by the grace of Andrews he had escaped a dungeon, Mr. Thorndike
retreated to his arm-chair.


The clock on the wall showed him that, already, he had given to young
Spear one hour and a quarter. The idea was preposterous. No one better
than himself knew what his time was really worth. In half an hour there
was a board meeting; later, he was to hold a post mortem on a railroad;
at every moment questions were being asked by telegraph, by cable,
questions that involved the credit of individuals, of firms, of even the
country. And the one man who could answer them was risking untold sums
only that he might say a good word for an idle apprentice. Inside the
railed enclosure a lawyer was reading a typewritten speech. He assured
his honor that he must have more time to prepare his case. It was one
of immense importance. The name of a most respectable business house was
involved, and a sum of no less than nine hundred dollars. Nine hundred
dollars! The contrast struck Mr. Thorndike's sense of humor full in the
centre. Unknowingly, he laughed, and found himself as conspicuous as
though he had appeared suddenly in his night-clothes. The tipstaffs
beat upon the rail, the lawyer he had interrupted uttered an indignant
exclamation, Andrews came hurriedly toward him, and the young judge
slowly turned his head.

"Those persons," he said, "who cannot respect the dignity of this
court will leave it." As he spoke, with his eyes fixed on those of Mr.
Thorndike, the latter saw that the young judge had suddenly recognized
him. But the fact of his identity did not cause the frown to relax or
the rebuke to halt unuttered. In even, icy tones the judge continued:
"And it is well they should remember that the law is no respecter of
persons and that the dignity of this court will be enforced, no matter
who the offender may happen to be."

Andrews slipped into the chair beside Mr. Thorndike, and grinned
sympathetically.

"Sorry!" he whispered. "Should have warned you. We won't be long now,"
he added encouragingly. "As soon as this fellow finishes his argument,
the judge'll take up the sentences. Your man seems to have other
friends; Isaacs & Sons are here, and the type-writer firm who taught
him; but what YOU say will help most. It won't be more than a couple of
hours now."

"A couple of hours!" Mr. Thorndike raged inwardly. A couple of hours
in this place where he had been publicly humiliated. He smiled, a
thin, shark-like smile. Those who made it their business to study his
expressions, on seeing it, would have fled. Young Andrews, not being
acquainted with the moods of the great man, added cheerfully: "By one
o'clock, anyway."

Mr. Thorndike began grimly to pull on his gloves. For all he cared now
young Spear could go hang. Andrews nudged his elbow.

"See that old lady in the front row?" he whispered. "That's Mrs. Spear.
What did I tell you; mothers are all alike. She's not taken her eyes off
you since court opened. She knows you're her one best bet."

Impatiently Mr. Thorndike raised his head. He saw a little, white-haired
woman who stared at him. In her eyes was the same look he had seen
in the eyes of men who, at times of panic, fled to him, beseeching,
entreating, forcing upon him what was left of the wreck of their
fortunes, if only he would save their honor.

"And here come the prisoners," Andrews whispered. "See Spear? Third man
from the last." A long line, guarded in front and rear, shuffled into
the court-room, and, as ordered, ranged themselves against the wall.
Among them were old men and young boys, well dressed, clever-looking
rascals, collarless tramps, fierce-eyed aliens, smooth-shaven,
thin-lipped Broadwayards--and Spear.

Spear, his head hanging, with lips white and cheeks ashen, and his eyes
heavy with shame.

Mr. Thorndike had risen, and, in farewell, was holding out his hand to
Andrews. He turned, and across the court-room the eyes of the financier
and the stenographer met. At the sight of the great man, Spear flushed
crimson, and then his look of despair slowly disappeared; and into his
eyes there came incredulously hope and gratitude. He turned his head
suddenly to the wall.

Mr. Thorndike stood irresolute, and then sank back into his chair.

The first man in the line was already at the railing, and the questions
put to him by the judge were being repeated to him by the other
assistant district attorney and a court attendant. His muttered answers
were in turn repeated to the judge.

"Says he's married, naturalized citizen, Lutheran Church, die-cutter by
profession."

The probation officer, her hands filled with papers, bustled forward and
whispered.

"Mrs. Austin says," continued the district attorney, "she's looked into
this case, and asks to have the man turned over to her. He has a wife
and three children; has supported them for five years."

"Is the wife in court?" the judge said.

A thin, washed-out, pretty woman stood up, and clasped her hands in
front of her.

"Has this man been a good husband to you, madam?" asked the young judge.

The woman broke into vehement assurances. No man could have been a
better husband. Would she take him back? Indeed she would take him back.
She held out her hands as though she would physically drag her husband
from the pillory.

The judge bowed toward the probation officer, and she beckoned the
prisoner to her.

Other men followed, and in the fortune of each Mr. Thorndike found
himself, to his surprise, taking a personal interest. It was as good as
a play. It reminded him of the Sicilians he had seen in London in their
little sordid tragedies. Only these actors were appearing in their
proper persons in real dramas of a life he did not know, but which
appealed to something that had been long untouched, long in disuse. It
was an uncomfortable sensation that left him restless because, as he
appreciated, it needed expression, an outlet. He found this, partially,
in praising, through Andrews, the young judge who had publicly rebuked
him. Mr. Thorndike found him astute, sane; his queries intelligent, his
comments just. And this probation officer, she, too, was capable, was
she not? Smiling at his interest in what to him was an old story, the
younger man nodded.

"I like her looks," whispered the great man. "Like her clear eyes and
clean skin. She strikes me as able, full of energy, and yet womanly.
These men when they come under her charge," he insisted, eagerly, "need
money to start again, don't they?" He spoke anxiously. He believed he
had found the clew to his restlessness. It was a desire to help; to be
of use to these failures who had fallen and who were being lifted to
their feet. Andrews looked at him curiously. "Anything you give her," he
answered, "would be well invested."

"If you will tell me her name and address?" whispered the banker. He was
much given to charity, but it had been perfunctory, it was extended on
the advice of his secretary. In helping here, he felt a genial glow
of personal pleasure. It was much more satisfactory than giving an Old
Master to his private chapel.

In the rear of the court-room there was a scuffle that caused every
one to turn and look. A man, who had tried to force his way past the
tipstaffs, was being violently ejected, and, as he disappeared, he waved
a paper toward Mr. Thorndike. The banker recognized him as his chief
clerk. Andrews rose anxiously. "That man wanted to get to you. I'll see
what it is. Maybe it's important."

Mr. Thorndike pulled him back.

"Maybe it is," he said dryly. "But I can't see him now, I'm busy."


Slowly the long line of derelicts, of birds of prey, of sorry, weak
failures, passed before the seat of judgment. Mr. Thorndike had moved
into a chair nearer to the rail, and from time to time made a note upon
the back of an envelope. He had forgotten the time or had chosen to
disregard it. So great was his interest that he had forgotten the
particular derelict he had come to serve, until Spear stood almost at
his elbow.

Thorndike turned eagerly to the judge, and saw that he was listening to
a rotund, gray little man with beady, bird-like eyes who, as he talked,
bowed and gesticulated. Behind him stood a younger man, a more modern
edition of the other. He also bowed and, behind gold eye-glasses, smiled
ingratiatingly.

The judge nodded, and leaning forward, for a few moments fixed his eyes
upon the prisoner.

"You are a very fortunate young man," he said. He laid his hand upon a
pile of letters. "When you were your own worst enemy, your friends
came to help you. These letters speak for you; your employers, whom you
robbed, have pleaded with me in your favor. It is urged, in your behalf,
that at the time you committed the crime of which you are found guilty,
you were intoxicated. In the eyes of the law, that is no excuse. Some
men can drink and keep their senses. It appears you can not. When you
drink you are a menace to yourself--and, as is shown by this crime,
to the community. Therefore, you must not drink. In view of the good
character to which your friends have testified, and on the condition
that you do not touch liquor, I will not sentence you to jail, but will
place you in charge of the probation officer."

The judge leaned back in his chair and beckoned to Mr. Andrews. It was
finished. Spear was free, and from different parts of the courtroom
people were moving toward the door. Their numbers showed that the
friends of the young man had been many. Mr. Thorndike felt a certain
twinge of disappointment. Even though the result relieved and pleased
him, he wished, in bringing it about, he had had some part.

He begrudged to Isaacs & Sons the credit of having given Spear
his liberty. His morning had been wasted. He had neglected his own
interests, and in no way assisted those of Spear. He was moving out of
the railed enclosure when Andrews called him by name.

"His honor," he said impressively, "wishes to speak to you."

The judge leaned over his desk and shook Mr. Thorndike by the hand. Then
he made a speech. The speech was about public-spirited citizens who, to
the neglect of their own interests, came to assist the ends of justice,
and fellow-creatures in misfortune. He purposely spoke in a loud voice,
and every one stopped to listen.

"The law, Mr. Thorndike, is not vindictive," he said. "It wishes only
to be just. Nor can it be swayed by wealth or political or social
influences. But when there is good in a man, I, personally, want to know
it, and when gentlemen like yourself, of your standing in this city,
come here to speak a good word for a man, we would stultify the purpose
of justice if we did not listen. I thank you for coming, and I wish more
of our citizens were as unselfish and public-spirited."

It was all quite absurd and most embarrassing, but inwardly Mr.
Thorndike glowed with pleasure. It was a long time since any one had
had the audacity to tell him he had done well. From the friends of Spear
there was a ripple of applause, which no tipstaff took it upon himself
to suppress, and to the accompaniment of this, Mr. Thorndike walked to
the corridor. He was pleased with himself and with his fellow-men. He
shook hands with Isaacs & Sons, and congratulated them upon their public
spirit, and the type-writer firm upon their public spirit. And then he
saw Spear standing apart regarding him doubtfully.

Spear did not offer his hand, but Mr. Thorndike took it, and shook it,
and said: "I want to meet your mother."

And when Mrs. Spear tried to stop sobbing long enough to tell him how
happy she was, and how grateful, he instead told her what a fine son she
had, and that he remembered when Spear used to carry flowers to town for
her. And she remembered it, too, and thanked him for the flowers. And
he told Spear, when Isaacs & Sons went bankrupt, which at the rate they
were giving away their money to the Hebrew Hospital would be very soon,
Spear must come back to him. And Isaacs & Sons were delighted at the
great man's pleasantry, and afterward repeated it many times, calling
upon each other to bear witness, and Spear felt as though some one had
given him a new backbone, and Andrews, who was guiding Thorndike out of
the building, was thinking to himself what a great confidence man had
been lost when Thorndike became a banker.


The chief clerk and two bank messengers were waiting by the automobile
with written calls for help from the office. They pounced upon the
banker and almost lifted him into the car.

"There's still time!" panted the chief clerk.

"There is not!" answered Mr. Thorndike. His tone was rebellious,
defiant. It carried all the authority of a spoiled child of fortune.
"I've wasted most of this day," he declared, "and I intend to waste the
rest of it. Andrews," he called, "jump in, and I'll give you a lunch at
Sherry's."

The vigilant protector of the public dashed back into the building.

"Wait till I get my hat!" he called.

As the two truants rolled up the avenue the spring sunshine warmed them,
the sense of duties neglected added zest to their holiday, and young Mr.
Andrews laughed aloud.

Mr. Thorndike raised his eyebrows inquiringly. "I was wondering," said
Andrews, "how much it cost you to keep Spear out of jail?"

"I don't care," said the great man guiltily; "it was worth it."





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