&nbs`; ? ? ? The same disposition which had led him to make the journey himself now impelled to test the lock without waiting to reach the privacy of his own room. After all, he was alone in the car, filecoin price yahoo financeexcept for Burfoot, sitting in front, and Burfoot was the man to whom the distribution would be entrusted. He drew out his bunch of keys, readily found one which would open the case, and would have done nothing to inspect its contents beyond the casual glance which he gave through the two-inch opening which followed the yielding of lock, had he not been astonished by that which the gap revealed.
"Yes, it's the same game precisely," she affirmed. "A shamelessold roue makes love to you, and he writes you a stack of sillyletters."The pouting lips of the listener took on a pathetic droop, andher voice quivered as she spoke with an effective semblance ofvirginal terror.litecoin mimblewimble"He might have ruined my life!"Mary continued without giving much attention to thesehistrionics.
"If you had asked him for all this money for the return of hisletters, it would have been blackmail, and we'd have gone to jailin all human probability. But we did no such thing--no, indeed!What we did wasn't anything like that in the eyes of the law.What we did was merely to have your lawyer take steps toward asuit for damages for breach of promise of marriage for the sum often thousand dollars. Then, his lawyer appears in behalf ofGeneral Hastings, and there follow a number of conferencesbetween the legal representatives of the opposing parties. Bymeans of these conferences, the two legal gentlemen run up veryrespectable bills of expenses. In the end, we get our tenthousand dollars, and the flighty old General gets back hisletters... . My dear," Mary concluded vaingloriously, "we'reinside the law, and so we're perfectly safe. And there you are!"Chapter 11 The ThiefMary remained in joyous spirits after her victorious matching ofbrains against a lawyer of high standing in his profession. Forthe time being, conscience was muted by gratified ambition. Herthoughts just then were far from the miseries of the past, withtheir evil train of consequences in the present. But that pastwas soon to be recalled to her with a vividness most terrible.
She had entered the telephone-booth, which she had caused to beinstalled out of an extra closet of her bedroom for the sake ofgreater privacy on occasion, and it was during her absence fromthe drawing-room that Garson again came into the apartment,seeking her. On being told by Aggie as to Mary's whereabouts, hesat down to await her return, listening without much interest tothe chatter of the adventuress.... It was just then that the maidappeared."There's a girl wants to see Miss Turner," she explained."Have the cashier send my usual five hundred to the CharitiesOrganization Society," he ordered. With this new evidence of hisgenerous virtue, the frown passed from his brows. If, for afleeting moment, doubt had assailed him under the spur of thesecretary's words, that doubt had now vanished under his habitualconviction as to his sterling worth to the world at large.
It was, therefore, with his accustomed blandness of manner thathe presently acknowledged the greeting of George Demarest, thechief of the legal staff that looked after the firm's affairs.He was aware without being told that the lawyer had called toacquaint him with the issue in the trial of Mary Turner."Well, Demarest?" he inquired, as the dapper attorney advancedinto the room at a rapid pace, and came to a halt facing thedesk, after a lively nod in the direction of the secretary.The lawyer's face sobered, and his tone as he answered was tingedwith constraint.
"Judge Lawlor gave her three years," he replied, gravely. It wasplain from his manner that he did not altogether approve.But Gilder was unaffected by the attorney's lack of satisfactionover the result. On the contrary, he smiled exultantly. Hisoritund voice took on a deeper note, as he turned toward thesecretary.
"Good!" he exclaimed. "Take this, Sarah." And he continued, asthe girl opened her notebook and poised the pencil: "Be sure tohave Smithson post a copy of it conspicuously in all the girls'dressing-rooms, and in the reading-room, and in the lunch-rooms,and in the assembly-room." He cleared his throat ostentatiouslyand proceeded to the dictation of the notice:"Mary Turner, formerly employed in this store, was to-daysentenced to prison for three years, having been convicted forthe theft of goods valued at over four hundred dollars. Themanagement wishes again to draw attention on the part of itsemployees to the fact that honesty is always the best policy....Got that?""Yes, sir." The secretary's voice was mechanical, without anytrace of feeling. She was not minded to disturb her employer asecond time this morning by injudicious comment.
"Take it to Smithson," Gilder continued, "and tell him that Iwish him to attend to its being posted according to my directionsat once."Again, the girl made her formal response in the affirmative, thenleft the room.Gilder brought forth a box of cigars from a drawer of the desk,opened it and thrust it toward the waiting lawyer, who, however,shook his head in refusal, and continued to move about the roomrather restlessly. Demarest paid no attention to the other'sinvitation to a seat, but the courtesy was perfunctory onGilder's part, and he hardly perceived the perturbation of hiscaller, for he was occupied in selecting and lighting a cigarwith the care of a connoisseur. Finally, he spoke again, and nowthere was an infinite contentment in the rich voice."Three years--three years! That ought to be a warning to the restof the girls." He looked toward Demarest for acquiescence.The lawyer's brows were knit as he faced the proprietor of thestore.
"Funny thing, this case!" he ejaculated. "In some features, oneof the most unusual I have seen since I have been practicinglaw."The smug contentment abode still on Gilder's face as he puffed inleisurely ease on his cigar and uttered a trite condolence."Very sad!--quite so! Very sad case, I call it." Demarest wenton speaking, with a show of feeling: "Most unusual case, in myestimation. You see, the girl keeps on declaring her innocence.
That, of course, is common enough in a way. But here, it'sdifferent. The point is, somehow, she makes her protestationsmore convincing than they usually do. They ring true, as itseems to me."Gilder smiled tolerantly."They didn't ring very true to the jury, it would seem," heretorted. And his voice was tart as he added: "Nor to the judge,since he deemed it his duty to give her three years.""Some persons are not very sensitive to impressions in suchcases, I admit," Demarest returned, coolly. If he meant anysubtlety of allusion to his hearer, it failed wholly to piercethe armor of complacency.
"The stolen goods were found in her locker," Gilder declared in atone of finality. "Some of them, I have been given tounderstand, were actually in the pocket of her coat.""Well," the attorney said with a smile, "that sort of thing makesgood-enough circumstantial evidence, and without circumstantialevidence there would be few convictions for crime. Yet, as alawyer, I'm free to admit that circumstantial evidence alone isnever quite safe as proof of guilt. Naturally, she says some oneelse must have put the stolen goods there. As a matter of exactreasoning, that is quite within the measure of possibility. Thatsort of thing has been done countless times."Gilder sniffed indignantly."And for what reason?" he demanded. "It's too absurd to thinkabout.""In similar cases," the lawyer answered, "those actually guiltyof the thefts have thus sought to throw suspicion on the innocentin order to avoid it on themselves when the pursuit got too hoton their trail. Sometimes, too, such evidence has beenmanufactured merely to satisfy a spite against the one unjustlyaccused.""It's too absurd to think about," Gilder repeated, impatiently."The judge and the jury found no fault with the evidence."Demarest realized that this advocacy in behalf of the girl washardly fitting on the part of the legal representative of thestore she was supposed to have robbed, so he abruptly changed hisline of argument."She says that her record of five years in your employ ought tocount something in her favor."Gilder, however, was not disposed to be sympathetic as to amatter so flagrantly opposed to his interests."A court of justice has decreed her guilty," he asserted onceagain, in his ponderous manner. His emphasis indicated thatthere the affair ended.Demarest smiled cynically as he strode to and fro.
"Nowadays," he shot out, "we don't call them courts of justice:we call them courts of law."Gilder yielded only a rather dubious smile over the quip. Thismuch he felt that he could afford, since those same courts servedhis personal purposes well in deed.
"Anyway," he declared, becoming genial again, "it's out of ourhands. There's nothing we can do, now.""Why, as to that," the lawyer replied, with a hint of hesitation,"I am not so sure. You see, the fact of the matter is that,though I helped to prosecute the case, I am not a little bitproud of the verdict."Gilder raised his eyebrows in unfeigned astonishment. Even yet,he was quite without appreciation of the attorney's feeling inreference to the conduct of the case."Why?" he questioned, sharply.
"Because," the lawyer said, again halting directly before thedesk, "in spite of all the evidence against her, I am not surethat Mary Turner is guilty--far from it, in fact!"Gilder uttered an ejaculation of contempt, but Demarest went onresolutely."Anyhow," he explained, "the girl wants to see you, and I wish tourge you to grant her an interview."Gilder flared at this suggestion, and scowled wrathfully on thelawyer, who, perhaps with professional prudence, had turned awayin his rapid pacing of the room.
"What's the use?" Gilder stormed. A latent hardness revealeditself at the prospect of such a visitation. And along with thishardness came another singular revelation of the nature of theman. For there was consternation in his voice, as he continuedin vehement expostulation against the idea. If there washarshness in his attitude there was, too, a fugitive suggestionof tenderness alarmed over the prospect of undergoing such aninterview with a woman."I can't have her crying all over the office and begging formercy," he protested, truculently. But a note of fear lay underthe petulance.Demarest's answer was given with assurance""You are mistaken about that. The girl doesn't beg for mercy.In fact, that's the whole point of the matter. She demandsjustice--strange as that may seem, in a court of law!--andnothing else. The truth is, she's a very unusual girl, a longway beyond the ordinary sales-girl, both in brains and ineducation.""The less reason, then, for her being a thief," Gilder grumbledin his heaviest voice.
"And perhaps the less reason for believing her to be a thief,"the lawyer retorted, suavely. He paused for a moment, then wenton. There was a tone of sincere determination in his voice."Just before the judge imposed sentence, he asked her if she hadanything to say. You know, it's just a usual form--a thing thatrarely means much of anything. But this case was different, letme tell you. She surprised us all by answering at once that shehad. It's really a pity, Gilder, that you didn't wait. Why,that poor girl made a--damn--fine speech!"The lawyer's forensic aspirations showed in his honestappreciation of the effectiveness of such oratory from the heartas he had heard in the courtroom that day.
"Pooh! pooh!" came the querulous objection. "She seems to havehypnotized you." Then, as a new thought came to the magnate, hespoke with a trace of anxiety. There were always the reporters,looking for space to fill with foolish vaporings."Did she say anything against me, or the store?""Not a word," the lawyer replied, gravely. His smile ofappreciation was discreetly secret. "She merely told us how herfather died when she was sixteen years old. She was compelledafter that to earn her own living. Then she told how she hadworked for you for five years steadily, without there ever beinga single thing against her. She said, too, that she had neverseen the things found in her locker. And she said more thanthat! She asked the judge if he himself understood what it meansfor a girl to be sentenced to prison for something she hadn'tdone. Somehow, Gilder, the way she talked had its effect oneverybody in the courtroom. I know! It's my business tounderstand things like that. And what she said rang true. Whatshe said, and the way she said it, take brains and courage. Theordinary crook has neither. So, I had a suspicion that she mightbe speaking the truth. You see, Gilder, it all rang true! Andit's my business to know how things ring in that way." There wasa little pause, while the lawyer moved back and forth nervously.
Then, he added: "I believe Lawlor would have suspended sentenceif it hadn't been for your talk with him."There were not wanting signs that Gilder was impressed. But thegentler fibers of the man were atrophied by the habits of alifetime. What heart he had once possessed had been buried inthe grave of his young wife, to be resurrected only for his son.In most things, he was consistently a hard man. Since he had noimagination, he could have no real sympathy.
He whirled about in his swivel chair, and blew a cloud of smokefrom his mouth. When he spoke, his voice was deeply resonant."I simply did my duty," he said. "You are aware that I did notseek any consultation with Judge Lawlor. He sent for me, andasked me what I thought about the case--whether I thought itwould be right to let the girl go on a suspended sentence. Itold him frankly that I believed that an example should be madeof her, for the sake of others who might be tempted to steal.Property has some rights, Demarest, although it seems to begetting nowadays so that anybody is likely to deny it." Then thefretful, half-alarmed note sounded in his voice again, as hecontinued: "I can't understand why the girl wants to see me."The lawyer smiled dryly, since he had his back turned at themoment."Why," he vouchsafed, "she just said that, if you would see herfor ten minutes, she would tell you how to stop the thefts inthis store."Gilder displayed signs of triumph. He brought his chair to alevel and pounded the desk with a weighty fist.
"There!" he cried. "I knew it. The girl wants to confess.Well, it's the first sign of decent feeling she's shown. Isuppose it ought to be encouraged. Probably there have beenothers mixed up in this."Demarest attempted no denial.
"Perhaps," he admitted, though he spoke altogether withoutconviction. "But," he continued insinuatingly, "at least it cando no harm if you see her. I thought you would be willing, so Ispoke to the District Attorney, and he has given orders to bringher here for a few minutes on the way to the Grand CentralStation. They're taking her up to Burnsing, you know. I wish,Gilder, you would have a little talk with her. No harm in that!"With the saying, the lawyer abruptly went out of the office,leaving the owner of the store fuming.Chapter 4 Kisses And Kleptomania
"Hello, Dad!"After the attorney's departure, Gilder had been rather fussilygoing over some of the papers on his desk. He was experiencing avague feeling of injury on account of the lawyer's ill-veiledefforts to arouse his sympathy in behalf of the accused girl. Inthe instinct of strengthening himself against the possibility ofyielding to what he deemed weakness, the magnate rehearsed thefacts that justified his intolerance, and, indeed, soon came togloating over the admirable manner in which righteousness thrivesin the world. And it was then that an interruption came in theutterance of two words, words of affection, of love, cried out inthe one voice he most longed to hear--for the voice was that ofhis son. Yet, he did not look up. The thing was altogetherimpossible! The boy was philandering, junketing, somewhere on theRiviera. His first intimation as to the exact place would comein the form of a cable asking for money. Somehow, his feelingshad been unduly stirred that morning; he had grown sentimental,dreaming of pleasant things.... All this in a second. Then, helooked up. Why, it was true! It was Dick's face there, smilingin the doorway. Yes, it was Dick, it was Dick himself! Gildersprang to his feet, his face suddenly grown younger, radiant."Dick!" The big voice was softened to exquisite tenderness.