FICTION

Lawyer Dan Weeps

Ambition never dictated a stranger episode than that which launched Dan Snyde s career

NORMAN RITCEY November 1 1932
FICTION

Lawyer Dan Weeps

Ambition never dictated a stranger episode than that which launched Dan Snyde s career

NORMAN RITCEY November 1 1932

Lawyer Dan Weeps

Ambition never dictated a stranger episode than that which launched Dan Snyde s career

NORMAN RITCEY

FICTION

WE HAD a funeral down our way a month ago, the longest funeral procession, the old folks said, they have seen in all the years of their memory in this community. That fact alone would not deserve or require recording.

Good people are passing from the seen to the unseen every day. This was the funeral of Amos Dijjhton, village merchant and lumberman. Neither is that a circumstance extraordinary-. Other villages besides Sluiceville have their first citizens. The noteworthy thing alxnit the funeral of Amos Dighton, however, was the presence among the mourners of Daniel J.

Snyde, celebrated criminal lawyer of Welton.

And when some of the villagers shook hands with him. following the last sad rites at the grave, tears trickled

will explain why the great lawyer felt the position so keenly.

IT WAS shortly before his boy was born that Ben Snyde brought his young wife Emilyto the old house, where one generation of Snydes had lived and died, on a rocky shore below Sluiceville, where the Mudway River flows into Port Starling. Three years before his marriage to EmilyWare. Ben liad been left to face life alone. 1 lis old mother drifted off into the land of sleep one night and did not return with the dawning of a new day.

During those three years of terrible vacancy the house -one big rough room and a still rougher porch, just big enough to hold a rusty stove, a wanted table, and a few rickety chairs—had been neglected. The sunlight began to squint at him through cracks in the walls. The shingles on the roof began to grow brittle and mossy, tire weakest of them having been ripped off by the bitter winds tearing in from the ocean. In rainy weather rivulets of water trickled down in a dozen different rents, deluging the tan-colored bed of straw and rags which stood in the farthest comer of the room.

But now, with Emily to give him feeble encouragement, Ben be^an, reluctantly no doubt, a process of renovating

down his fine, strong ace, and his voice choked so that he could not speak. This story-

and repairing. The roof he repaired with handshaved shingles, securing both the porch and tire main house against the intrusion of any rain driven by the wildest eastern gale. Dry moss jammed into the cracks in the walls made the sides of the house windproof and rainproof. Old nets were unearthed in his dilapidated flshhouse, spread out in the sunlight, mended and tanned. With these and an old boat, he contrived to catch a quantity of mackerel and herring, sufficient to feed him and his wife when the gales of winter piled up banks of snow all around them and welded the upper portion of the harbor into a solid block of silvery ice.

Amid such surroundings Dan Snyde was born. The coming of Dan into the world was in no sense an occasion. Ben and Emily had no poetic fancy that their baby boy was a gift from heaven; neither did they vision the time when he might become a gift to the gods. He had come and they would make the best of it.

Making the best of it was, according to some canons, making the very worst of everything. For the first six or eight months of his infant novitiate. Dan was exposed to maternal feedings, unavoidably few and unsatisfying. Thereafter he was fed “man fashion,” to quote his father. Con-

cretely, the phrase meant that Baby Dan was brought to the table, perched upon a high chair made by sinking the head of a barrel two feet from the top and cutting away the front staves, and fed all he could, or would, swallow of the daily fare that sustained life in his parents.

“It ain’t no use for jx)or people to try to raise young ones according to books,” Emily remarked one day to Ben.

The father disinterestedly knocked the ashes from his foul pipe.

“That's what." he yawned somewhat lazily.

Dan himself began to prove that his mother’s feeding philosophy was sound. According to a host of accepted theories, young Dan should have fallen a painful prey to convulsions, cholera morbus or rickets. But he did not. In summer’s heat or winter’s cold his little body functioned normally. He thrived and grew, and with little disturbance cut his first teeth, white as ivory. He developed a lusty voice, and shortly after his first birthday he took to going about on legs both straight and stout.

Dan must have been five or six years old before Ben and Emily became aware in a vague way that a child is something more than an "it.” They were jostled out of their mental routine by the number and character of the questions that tumbled from his lips. Unlike some precocious children, Dan's perplexities were not linked with the mysteries of existence. Not having heard any traditional references to kind old doctors who mine little crying babies from grassy swamps, nor to storks who carry babies clean and swathed to the family nests. Dan had no manifest interest in his origin and destiny. His theatres of wonder were the sky and the sea. And for that there was a reason. The sea flowed almost to the door. It was an object of interest to

Ben and Emily. The sky was linked to it. When the sky was dark the sea was generally unruly. In hot dry summers their shallow well gave out. At such times, Ben was forced to carry water from a spring in the deep woods. Not infrequently Dan heard his father curse copiously the bulk of nauseating brine flowing round them with tantalizing nearness.

“Mow'd the salt git in the ocean, pop?” Dan asked.

“Huh?” Ben grunted.

“What are them stars fas’ened to?”

“Huh?”

Dan propounded similar questions to his mother.

“Land sakes, child, do quit!” she urged in real despair.

Dan gave it up. But the wonder and the urge still sparkled in his eyes—a pair of rollicking, greyish green marbles set in a forehead singularly wide and high.

Nobody had ever heard of a Snyde who could read and write. The Snyde patrimony was located three miles, over a rough and lonely road, from the public school at Sluiceville. The people at the village had never made any effort to connect any of the past Snydes with their school. They decided that Providence or something equally inscrutable had predestined the Snydes to rudeness and ignorance.

TN DAN’S CASE, fate intervened in the person of Brenda

Fielding, who had been installed as teacher of the Port Starling school shortly after Dan had reached his seventh birthday. It is impossible to say who among the three, Ben, Emily or Dan, was the most astonished when Miss Fielding, full of smiles and arguments, called on the Snydes, apparently unaware that the chair upon which she sat hadn’t been thoroughly scrubbed for a number of months. She lost no time in making it plain that her mission had to do with the future education of their son and heir.

“I have your promise, Mr. Snyde,” the teacher said sweetly but none the less firmly, “that you will see that your boy attends my school, and I’ll expect you to be true to your word.”

Ben shifted uneasily from one foot to the other. It was a mile across to Port Starling. Dull as he was, he mentally figured out what his promise implied.

“Four miles rowin’ is a lot to do every day,” he objected mildly.

“It will be time w'ell spent, Mr. Snyde,” Miss Fielding assured him. “Your promise has been given, you know.”

“Well, Miss,” Ben finally agreed, “reckon I ain’t ever said much that I ain’t done.”

After Miss Fielding’s gracious departure, Emily looked enquiringly at her spouse.

“Leamin’ ain’t no use to poor people,” Ben averred. “If I’d a-bothered myself with schoolin’, I'd never amounted to nuthin’ in the world.”

“ ’Pears as if you must be right,” Emily assented.

But despite his low opinion of the worth of a trained mind, Ben kept his promise as best he could. Except for intermissions caused by unfavorable weather, Ben ferried his young son across the harbor and back again, and Dan had his first introduction to education and to the society of better children.

The next year Brenda Fielding did not return to Port Starling, and Dan’s education was interrupted by a gap— indeed, a chasm—of seven years. In that interval Dan grew tall, developing muscles of steel and a capacity for physical endurance which often made his father dizzy with mingled admiration and envy.

But whether busy or enjoying a sort of sullen leisure, something indefinable always lingered in the back of Dan’s head like the flimsy staging of a half-remembered dream. That year at school had done things for him.

“If she’d a-hung on for another year.” he often ruminated, referring to Brenda Fielding, “I mighta had a chanct, but now I ain’t got the gol damdest chanct.”

/"^\NE summer Sunday morning, Ben,

Emily and Dan attended church at Sluiceville. Parson Braintree had been to see them the week before. After the service Dan saw a number of men and women shaking hands with a young man of neat and intelligent appearance. Their greetings were warmer than the June sun. Dan looked on and wondered.

On the way back to their sea-girt hovel Dan’s thoughts found an unexpectedly sudden outlet.

“Pop, did you see how they all aimed to

fall over that citified lookin’ chap, but no one noticed us. What’s the difference?”

“Dunno,” Ben mumbled.

Dan persisted.

" ’Spose it's because he comes from the city,” he suggested.

Ben glanced at his son wonderingly.

“City nuthin’,” he growled. "That dandy was borned not far from that church."

"How'd he git like that?” Dan went on relentlessly.

“Huh! Well he had a chanct to be sumpin, and the folks around is proud, danger! proud, of him. But trash like us ain’t got no chanct. We alius has to be the same.”

Dan looked bewildered but far from convinced. “Who’s fault is it that we must alius be what

“Dunno, lad, dunno. But reckon we has no chanct.”

Here the catechism ended. In a sulky line they trudged on. As they crossed Old Kettle Bridge, Dan paused to look up the creek, noticing how flower and trees glowed with the warmth and beauty • the day. He wondered why his father and moti did not pause to drink in the matchless painting One day that same week, Dan went to Sluic* to buy a few groceries for the thin family 1On his return, he mechanically deposited his r purchases upon the kitchen table and went o where his father was splitting wood.

“Dighton’s got some swell caps and shirts i. window',” Dan announced summarily.

“Huh!” Ben rumbled, not looking at the lad.

“I aim to have some,” w?as Dan's next remark. Ben looked up and spat reflectively.

“You aim to what?”

“I aim to have a new cap an’ a coupla shirts like what I see in Dighton’s shop window' today. That’s what I said, an’ I means it.”

In an instant, Ben’s face was a black cloud.

“I ain’t got money for sich fine rags.”

Dan bit his lips to keep back something rebellious that was struggling for outlet. When he spoke his words were impressively calm.

“I ain’t askin' for a cent of your moi^y. pop, though, far’s I can sec. I git jist as much forir>y work as you do for youm an' I don’t see a flang’d penny. Ain’t that so?” • -

“You git your grub outa it. and that’s mre’n you’re worth,” his father retorted ungraciously “Mebbe that’s so,” Dan admitted, "but you cat bet your life on it, I’m gittin’ a cap an' a coupV shirts.”

Ben’s dull face began to show bluish patch«. "You stop arguin’ with me this minnit," * barked. “When I was a limp youngster like you is I’d a got my hide tanned for tryin’ to argue with my oP man.”

“I ain’t meanin' to argue, pop,” Dan insisted. "You been doin’ the arguin’. I was jist tellin’ you what I’d made up my mind to do. an’ you been too dangl'd crusty to lissen to me. Dighton starts work in his mill next week, an’ I’m aimin’ to git me a job with him.”

“Leave me to do all this work alone?" Ben sputtered. “Well, you won’t, that’s what; and you jist say one w'ord more, or even look as if you wanted to jabber, and. by gawd, I ’ll whale you with one of them staves. ”

The threat had hardly left his father’s twitching lips when Dan had a stave in his hand and was standing menacingly erect.

“Pop,” he said in a voice that wheezed with suppressed passion, "you jist take one step outa your dirty tracks an’, sure’s you’re alive, I’ll knock you silly with this here.” Like two combatants trying to appraise each other’s strength, father and son stood face to face, the father black w'ith rage, tire son rough and dirty with clean strength beneath. At last Ben sat dowrn heavily upon a pile of unhewn logs and looked out toward the blue ocean. His dull eyes blinked uncertainly. When next he turned his eyes toward the spot where his defiant son had been Ben found himself alone. For several minutes he whittled aimlessly, the little chips dropping about his feet. Then he lit his pipe, smoking sullenly, but the weed seemed suddenly to lose its soothing effect. With a hopeless gesture he flung the pipe down, and climbed to the top of a hill which gave him a view of part of the road leading to Sluiter ville. And down in a hollow he spied Dan walking toward the village That evening he remarked to Emily:

“Dan’s left us. Seems nowadays young uns is all aimin’ to be better than their pa’s and ma’s.”

On reaching Sluiceville, Dan went straight to the big store to interview Amos Dighton.

“I'm lookin' for a job in the mill/' Dan announced.

Continued on page 32

Continued from page 15

“Sorry, son.” Dighton said paternally, “but I’ve already hired all the boys I can use.”

“Who’s talkin’ about boys?” Dan asked. "I want a real money-earnin’ job, see.” Amos Dighton laughed pleasantly. “You’re a plucky youngster, I’ll say that much for you. Tell me what you can do or think you can.”

“Honest to gosh,’’ Dan said, unconsciously raising his voice, “I dunno what I can do. But down on the shore I does what the men do. Reckon if I can do what a man does there, I can do a man’s work in your , mill.”

“Well, that isn’t bad logic,” Dighton remarked quietly. “Doing a man’s work down there on the shore means hauling nets, lifting heavy anchors, and—and—”

“I done all that, done it often.”

Dighton tapped the desk with his fingers 1 and began to hum softly an old tune. There was a subtle something in the spirit of the boy that he couldn't fathom.

“The Snydes never were much for work,” he said slowly, scanning the boy’s face to study the reaction of so personal a thrust.

“How can I help what pop is?” Dan asked spiritedly. “If you was his young un you’d be the same as me, you would.”

“Now, now, son, I didn’t mean anything.” Dighton began to feel an unaccountable interest in the uncouth lad. “We’ll drop the old man out of this right now. Come along tomorrow and I’ll give you a chance.”

Dan found his work hard. His task was to remove the slabs made by the huge saw as I it ploughed through the great logs. The I slabs were heavy and roughened with bark. ! His hands blistered and his arms and shoulders ached. But he liked it. This was the life! Could a strong, husky boy be doing anything better than holding a steady job that turned in real money?

The day came when Dan called at the store and selected the articles which he had been coveting for several weeks. In the joy of possession he forgot all about the altercation with Ben. He must go home and let them see that he was succeeding. Because he was so full of joy inside, the world without seemed full of new wonders. He lingered by every wood road as he ambled along.

One of these turned into a scented pine woods. The undergrowth was green and fresh, the carpet of needles invitingly soft. Dan wandered into one of those byways for a short distance. Had any one asked him why he turned aside, he could not have given any rational reason. A flustered partridge was urging her covey of chickens to a safe hiding place. Dan was fascinated by her skill in outwitting intruders of evil design. He admired her fighting spirit. He sat down upon a mossy bank and watched until everything was quiet. So intent was he on the mother partridge and her brood that he failed to discern in himself the symptoms of drowsiness.

WHEN he opened his eyes he was in darkness. Not far off was the sound of voices. Perhaps the talking had awakened him. He couldn’t be positive about that. As to the time, he couldn’t hazard a guess. Reaching home that night was out of the question.

"D’vou think we kin do it, Jack?” a voice asked.

“Sure. Joe. we kin. Lotsa kids are onta the game.”

"I’m jes’ a bit skeered, Jack.”

“Now, Joe. don’t you git one o’ them chatterin’ fits o’ your’n. I’m tellin’ you there ain’t any risk.”

“It’s the noise I’m thinkin’ about, Jack.” “Noise! What nois> you mean. Joe?” “Why, the noise when we break in.” explained a voice that was trembling.

The other voice gave a muffled snort. “But we won’t be breakin’ in. You didn’t think I was aimin’ to smash a winder or bust open a door or sumpin? We’ll sneak in through the basement door about supper-

time an’ hide behind the bags o’ flour, an’ we’ll wait there till it’s so late the whole village’ll be dead. Before he goes home Dighton’ll hook the door and we’ll be locked in. It’ll jes’ take us a minnit to lift that big hook and slam the door wide open, an’ we’ll do it before we goes upstairs, so’s we kin run an’ run fas’. Easy, ain’t it?”

The one addressed as Joe evidently was unconvinced.

“But ’spose they git us. What’ll they do to us?”

“I tell you we won’t git caught, Joe. I got it all figgered out.”

“But ’sposin’—”

“If you must keep on guessin’, Joe, I’ll tell you. If they git us they’ll think we’s jes’ a coupla kids what had no bringin’ up an’ all the rest, an’ they’ll send us to a place called Reform School.”

“Kinda jail?” Joe asked.

“Naw!” Jack explained. “Course we’ll be fenced in. but they’ll learn us outa books same’s in school and learn us to do things. I ain't aimin’ for it, but in case . . . Well, I’m tellin’ you it ain’t so bad.”

“What good ’d book leamin’ do the likes o’ us, Jack?”

“We’ll find that out when the time comes, Joe. Let’s go, an’ don’t you fergit tomorrow night.”

Dan heard the slithering sound of their feet as they moved away. He was alone. Eastward, an owl hooted. Soon he had the sensation of floating on the air. In his dreams big buildings towered above him, and he was surrounded by heaps of books so bulky that they hid his stocky figure.

Next morning, Dan’s mind seethed with thoughts. He was almost afraid of them. Ideas and longings raced through his immature mind, decidedly interfering with his normal capacity for work. Fortunately, no one noticed that he had been disturbed. So those boÿsr were certain of their safety? Wrell, he would see that they were discovered. He had a reason for it.

After dinner he sought out Amos Dighton, telling him all about what he had overheard the night before; that is, all except the names and the plan of hiding. Dighton questioned Dan closely.

“And they didn’t once drop any names by which they could be identified?”

Dan’s eyes narrowed to two slits.

“No, sir. That, they didn't. They was talkin’ pretty softlike. An’ names is allfirin’ hard to ketch. No, sir. There ain’t no names to tell.”

“You’re sure, Dan?”

“Sure as—as anything, sir.”

Dighton turned away, wondering. Suddenly he jerked his head far enough around to get a surprise glimpse of the boy’s face. If he was expecting to find any sign of deceit or guilt there, he was disappointed. Dan’s face was a model of inscrutability.

“Thanks for the tip, Dan,” he said. “I’ll look after them.”

ONCE MORE in evening quiet, Dan sat upon the moss where he had been the night before. He could think of no other place so suitable for waiting. Nothing was changed except that now he had no desire to sleep. His heart pounded too hard to invite repose.

Waiting, he lost all sense of the passing Continued on page 31\

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Continued from page 32

Continued from page 32 hours. He only wanted darkness. It came, noiseless and thick. And then Dan slowly returned to Dighton’s store, where he j wedged himself tightly between a pile of boards and the back of the big white ¡building. With his parcel of new clothes tucked under his arm, he waited.

The basement door was just around the comer, facing the road. It had not been opened. Dan thought morning must be near. He had waited an age in thought : before the door opened with that peculiar little stir compared with which a whisper is a loud sound. Dan understood it. Then quiet reigned again. He tried to visualize what was happening inside. Jack and Joe w'ould be creeping up the flight of rough steps to the . . .

A yell that had the full force of unrestrained fear stabbed into the silence of the night. As he listened, breathless, palpitating, two slight figures tumbled through the door. Dan flew from his hiding place and fell in line with the two boys, who doubled themselves at an angle of forty-five degrees and dashed down the road. They had only gone a few yards when, out of the roadside blackness, two figures emerged and closed in on them. Cold shivers ran down Dan’s spine. There was a curious itching sensation at the nape of his neck. He was frankly and honestly scared.

From the open basement door came the sound of Amos Dighton’s voice, highpitched, trembling and angry.

“D’you get ’em?”

“Got ’em, Mr. Dighton.”

Dighton came running and turned his powerful flashlight on the boys.

“So that’s the way of it, Dan?”

“S’prised, ain’t you?” Dan asked with a poor attempt at braggadocio in his voice.

“Not on your life! Nothing that a Snyde did would ever surprise me,” Dighton said with bitterness.

Dighton and his two neighbors, George Grey and Homer Wright, marched the three boys back to the store, hustled them inside and kept them under guard until morning, when they were driven to Welton and brought before Magistrate Benson.

It was a stuffy little room into which they were ushered. Magistrate Benson, his hair silvery white, looked at the three boys over his old-fashioned, steel-rimmed spectacles; looked at them sternly enough, but not without kindly wonder. Amos Dighton came with a young lawyer full of professional energy. Dan had his first chance to observe closely the boys, Jack and Joe. He noticed that they had curly red heads, freckled noses, and looked as if they might be twin brothers.

Answering the magistrate’s question, they said that they were Jake Hardnall’s sons from Brickton Road. The young lawyer stood up to ask the young prisoners a number of questions, but before he had a chance to proceed the eldest of the Hardnall boys touched the lawyer’s elbow and whispered something to him.

“Your honor,” he said quickly, “this boy has an interesting statement to make.”

“Well, my boy,” the magistrate said informally, “what have you to say for yourself?”

“Mister,” the boy replied in a hoarse voice, “it ain’t about me an’ Joe but about that guy, there”—indicating Dan.

“What about him?” asked Magistrate Benson.

“Why, he ain’t one of us at all, he ain’t. Me an’ Joe never sot eyes on ’im before this momin’, an’ that’s the Lord’s truth.”

Amos Dighton’s face was a parchment of unspoken questions. The magistrate looked gravely interested.

“What have you to say about that?” he asked Dan.

Dan’s attempt at swagger was ludicrous.

“How’d you think 1 got here if I ain’t one of the gang? I was with ’em, wasn’t I?”

Ignoring Dan’s question, the magistrate turned suddenly to Amos Dighton.

"Did the boys take anything from your store, Mr. Dighton?"

“No, your honor! They didn’t have the chance to lift anything.” .

‘T got something,” Dan exclaimed proudly as he threw his unopened parcel down upon the desk.

The boys, Jack and Joe, looked on with bulging eyes as a shirt, a cap and a couple of ties fell out.

“What did I tell you?” Dan crowed. Magistrate Benson rapped the desk with his knuckles.

“Just a minute, son!”

Dan started to speak again, then paused. Amos Dighton was on his feet.

“Those articles,” he informed the magistrate, “came from my store, but the boy knows as well as I do that he bought and paid for them two days ago.”

MANY a more important court never experienced anything quite so tense as the few minutes that followed. Magistrate Benson and the young lawyer talked together in low voices. In turn, the lawyer and Amos Dighton held a whispered consultation. Then the lawyer again conferred with the magistrate.

“Boys,” the magistrate addressed the Hardnall lads, “I am pained more than I can say to see you here on such a serious charge. I am convinced that you are not real bad boys. Your effort to do justice to the other boy shows that you still have a sense of what is right and just. If I give you a chance, will you promise—?”

“Yessir, we will.”

“One thing more, boys. Go back to your home and work with all your might. That will keep your bodies and minds healthy. A dollar earned by honest toil is worth more than a thousand secured by theft. Will you try to remember—?”

“Yessir.”

“Now then,” the magistrate commanded sternly as he turned to Dan, “tell me the truth. Why did you put yourself into this?” “Jes’ because I’m nacherly a bomed thief, that’s what I am, jes' fit for the reform school.”

“A bom thief.” Magistrate Benson smiled grimly. “And your name is—?”

“Dan Snyde.”

The magistrate knitted his brows thoughtfully.

“I’ve heard of the name Snyde.”

“Course you have. The whole country’s heard about the Snydes. They’s the most laziest and shif’less lowdown sneaks what ever drew breath. An’ I’m the worse one of ’em all,” Dan finished with a boyish flourish of triumph.

“Just what are you trying to tell me?” the magistrate persisted.

“I’m tellin’ you what they all knows— that I was bomed bad with no chanct unless I be sent to the reform school. There ain’t a kid in the country what needs makin’ over like me.”

“What have you done in the bad line, Dan?”

Dan swept the good old magistrate with a compassionate glance; compassion for his ignorance.

“Done? Why, I done everything. Las’ summer I burned down two houses. I thro wed a stick at ol’ man Stubbins, an’ he’s had a leather lid on one eye ever sence.

I guv poison to Jane Waring’s hens an’ they all got stiff. An’ that ain’t all, by a dang sight. Only las’ week I pushed a kid what sassed me over a wharf, an’ he didn’t poke his head out of the w'ater until they hauled him up by a rope, an’ by that time he couldn’t wink a eye. I done plenty, I tell you.”

“What about these stories, Mr. Dighton?” The magistrate’s voice was beginning to show impatience.

“Your honor, some of the things the boy mentioned really occurred, but he had no more to do with them than I had with the latest revolution in China.”

“That’s wrhat I thought, Mr. Dighton. Now, Dan Snyde, I won’t stand for any more foolishness. I want the truth, and I want it this minute.”

It came then—a story poured out with snap, gesture, and with a liberal sprinkling of typical Snyde slang and profanity: a

story of a boy’s ambition to leave the ruts of a generation or two of sloveqjiness, but with a paralyzing sense of futility. Dan went over the whole ground of his enforced eavesdropping.

“I jes’ had to git into it,” he explained, ‘‘an’ git pinched so you’d send me to the reform school. An’ now you’ll do that, won’t you, Mi ter Jedge?”

Magistrate Benson blew' his nose and slowly wiped his antique spectacles.

“Son, I can’t do that. You’ve done nothing to warrant it.”

"Jes’ give me one chanct an’ I’ll do sumpin that’ll make you all hate me like poison,” Dan pled with obstinate fierceness.

“My boy”—the magistrate’s voice was tenderly paternal—“your ambition shames many a son bom to higher and better things,

but you can’t reach your goal this way. ! You’re on the w-rong road. Possibly there is j a w-ay—”

“There is a way, your honor. I know a way.” Amos Dighton laid his hand upon Dan’s shoulder. “I had a boy, a little fellow around whom my dreams focused for several years. But I lost him in the shadow's ...”

Dan Snyde was standing up. He couldn’t remember when he had left His chair. But no matter. He was wondering if a fellow could have such a sense of fullness inside and live through it. His cheeks burned, his eyes flashed, and he w'anted to laugh, cry, and whoop to keep himself from breaking in two.

Who can wonder that thirty years later Dan Snyde w'ept at the grave of Amos j Dighton?