Part 4 out of 4
"Looking at it that way, you know," said he, "makes it seem as if
criminals were rather to be admired."
"Well, some of them are, and a great multitude of them certainly were,"
answered Mr. Tutt. "All the early Christian martyrs were criminals in
the sense that they were law-breakers."
"And Martin Luther," suggested Tutt.
"And Garibaldi," added Mr. Tutt.
"And George Washington--maybe?" hazarded the junior partner.
Mr. Tutt shrugged his high shoulders.
"You press the analogy a long way, but--in a sense every successful
revolutionist was in the beginning a criminal--as every rebel is and
perforce must be," he replied.
"So," said Tutt, "if you're a big enough criminal you cease to be a
criminal at all. If you're going to be a crook, don't be a piker--it's
too risky. Grab everything in sight. Exterminate a whole nation, if
possible. Don't be a common garden highwayman or pirate; be a Napoleon
or a Willy Hohenzollern."
"You have the idea," replied Mr. Tutt. "Crime is unsuccessful defiance
of the existing order of things. Once rebellion rises to the dignity of
revolution murder becomes execution and the murderers become
belligerents. Therefore, as all real progress involves a change in or
defiance of existing law, those who advocate progress are essentially
criminally minded, and if they attempt to secure progress by openly
refusing to obey the law they are actual criminals. Then if they
prevail, and from being in the minority come into power, they are taken
out of jail, banquets are given in their honor, and they are called
patriots and heroes. Hence the close connection between crime and
Tutt scratched his chin doubtfully.
"That sounds pretty good," he admitted, "but"--and he shook his
head--"there's something the matter with it. It doesn't work except in
the case of crimes involving personal rights and liberties. I see your
point that all progressives are criminals in the sense that they are
'agin the law' as it is, but--I also see the hole in your argument,
which is that the fact that all progressives are criminals doesn't make
all criminals progressive. Your proposition is only a half truth."
"You're quite wrong about my theory being a half truth," retorted Mr.
Tutt. "It is fundamentally sound. The fellow who steals a razor or a few
dollars is regarded as a mean thief, but if he loots a trust company or
takes a million he's a financier. The criminal law, I maintain, is
administered for the purpose of protecting the strong from the weak, the
successful from the unsuccessful the rich from the poor. And, sir"--Mr.
Tutt here shook his fist at an imaginary jury--"the man who wears a red
necktie in violation of the taste of his community or eats peas with his
knife is just as much a criminal as a man who spits on the floor when
there's a law against it. Don't you agree with me?"
"I do not!" replied Tutt. "But that makes no difference. Nevertheless
what you say about the criminal law being devised to protect the rich
from the poor interests me very much--very much indeed But I think
there's a flaw in that argument too, isn't there? Your proposition is
true only to the extent that the criminal law is invoked to protect
property rights--and not life and liberty. Naturally the laws that
protect property are chiefly of benefit to those who have it--the rich."
"However that may be," declared Mr. Tutt fiercely, "I claim that the
criminal laws are administered, interpreted and construed in favor of
the rich as against the liberties of the poor, for the simple reason
that the administrators of the criminal law desire to curry favor with
the powers that be."
"The moral of which all is," retorted the other, "that the law ought to
be very careful about locking up people."
"At any rate those who have violated laws upon which there can be a
legitimate difference of opinion," agreed Mr. Tutt.
"That's where we come in," said Tutt. "We make the difference--even if
there never was any before."
Mr. Tutt chuckled.
"We perform a dual service to society," he declared. "We prevent the law
from making mistakes and so keep it from falling into disrepute, and we
show up its weak points and thus enable it to be improved."
"And incidentally we keep many a future statesman and prophet from going
to prison," said Tutt. "The name of the last one was Solomon
Rabinovitch--and he was charged with stealing a second-hand razor from a
colored person described in the papers as one Morris Cohen."
How long this specious philosophic discussion would have continued is
problematical had it not been interrupted by the entry of a young
gentleman dressed with a somewhat ostentatious elegance, whose wizened
face bore an expression at once of vast good nature and of a deep and
It was clear that he held an intimate relationship to Tutt & Tutt from
the familiar way in which he returned their cordial, if casual,
"Well, here we are again," remarked Mr. Doon pleasantly, seating himself
upon the corner of Mr. Tutt's desk and spinning his bowler hat upon the
forefinger of his left hand. "The hospitals are empty. The Tombs is as
dry as a bone. Everybody's good and every day'll be Sunday by and by."
"How about that man who stole a razor?" asked Tutt.
"Discharged on the ground that the fact that he had a full beard created
a reasonable doubt," replied Doon. "Honestly there's nothing doing in my
line--unless you want a tramp case."
"A tramp case!" exclaimed Tutt & Tutt.
"I suppose you'd call it that," he answered blandly. "I don't think he
was a burglar. Anyhow he's in the Tombs now, shouting for a lawyer. I
listened to him and made a note of the case."
Mr. Tutt pushed over the box of stogies and leaned back attentively.
"You know the Hepplewhite house up on Fifth Avenue--that great stone
one with the driveway?"
The Tutts nodded.
"Well, it appears that the prisoner--our prospective client--was
snooping round looking for something to eat and found that the butler
had left the front door slightly ajar. Filled with a natural curiosity
to observe how the other half lived, he thrust his way cautiously in and
found himself in the main hall--hung with tapestry and lined with stands
of armor. No one was to be seen. Can't you imagine him standing there in
his rags--the Weary Willy of the comic supplements--gazing about him at
the _objets d'art_, the old masters, the onyx tables, the
statuary--wondering where the pantry was and whether the housekeeper
would be more likely to feed him or kick him out?"
"Weren't any of the domestics about?" inquired Tutt.
"Not one. They were all taking an afternoon off, except the third
assistant second man who was reading 'The Pilgrim's Progress' in the
servants' hall. To resume, our friend was not only very hungry, but very
tired. He had walked all the way from Yonkers, and he needed everything
from a Turkish bath to a manicuring. He had not been shaved for weeks.
His feet sank almost out of sight in the thick nap of the carpets. It
was quiet, warm, peaceful in there. A sense of relaxation stole over
him. He hated to go away, he says, and he meditated no wrong. But he
wanted to see what it was like upstairs.
"So up he went. It was like the palace of 'The Sleeping Beauty.'
Everywhere his eyes were soothed by the sight of hothouse plants, marble
floors, priceless rugs, luxurious divans--"
"Stop!" cried Tutt. "You are making me sleepy!"
"Well, that's what it did to him. He wandered along the upper hall,
peeking into the different rooms, until finally he came to a beautiful
chamber finished entirely in pink silk. It had a pink rug--of silk; the
furniture was upholstered in pink silk, the walls were lined with pink
silk and in the middle of the room was a great big bed with a pink silk
coverlid and a canopy of the same. It seemed to him that that bed must
have been predestined for him. Without a thought for the morrow he
jumped into it, pulled the coverlid over his head and went fast asleep.
"Meanwhile, at tea time Mrs. De Lancy Witherspoon arrived for the
week-end. Bibby, the butler, followed by Stocking, the second man,
bearing the hand luggage, escorted the guest to the Bouguereau Room, as
the pink-silk chamber is called."
Mr. Bonnie Doon, carried away by his own powers of description, waved
his hand dramatically at the old leather couch against the side wall,
in which Weary Willy was supposed to be reclining.
"Can't you see 'em?" he declaimed. "The haughty Bibby with nose in air,
preceding the great dame of fashion, enters the pink room and comes to
attention, 'This way, madam!' he declaims, and Mrs. Witherspoon sweeps
across the threshold." Bonnie Doon, picking up an imaginary skirt,
waddled round Mr. Tutt and approached the couch. Suddenly he started
"Oh, la, la!" he half shrieked, dancing about. "There is a man in the
Both Tutts stared hard at the couch as if fully expecting to see the
form of Weary Willy thereon. Bonnie Doon had a way of making things
appear very vivid.
"And sure enough," he concluded, "there underneath the coverlid in the
middle of the bed was a huddled heap with a stubby beard projecting like
Excalibur from a pink silk lake!"
"Excuse me," interrupted Tutt. "But may I ask what this is all about?"
"Why, your new case, to be sure," grinned Bonnie, who, had he been
employed by any other firm, might have run the risk of being regarded as
an ambulance chaser. "To make a long and tragic story short, they sent
for the watchman, whistled for a policeman, telephoned for the hurry-up
wagon, and haled the sleeper away to prison--where he is now, waiting
to be tried."
"Tried!" ejaculated Mr. Tutt. "What for?"
"For crime, to be sure," answered Mr. Doon.
"I don't know. They'll find one, of course."
Mr. Tutt swiftly lowered his legs from the desk and brought his fist
down upon it with a bang.
"Outrageous! What was I just telling you, Tutt!" he cried, a flush
coming into his wrinkled face. "This poor man is a victim of the
overzealousness which the officers of the law exhibit in protecting the
privileges and property of the rich. If John De Puyster Hepplewhite fell
asleep in somebody's vestibule the policeman on post would send him home
in a cab; but if a hungry tramp does the same thing he runs him in. If
John De Puyster Hepplewhite should be arrested for some crime they would
let him out on bail; while the tramp is imprisoned for weeks awaiting
trial, though under the law he is presumed to be innocent. Is he
presumed to be innocent? Not much! He is presumed to be guilty,
otherwise he would not be there. But what is he presumed to be guilty
of? That's what I want to know! Just because this poor man--hungry,
thirsty and weary--happened to select a bed belonging to John De Puyster
Hepplewhite to lie on he is thrown into prison, indicted by a grand
jury, and tried for felony! Ye gods! 'Sweet land of liberty!'"
"Well, he hasn't been tried yet," replied Bonnie Doon. "If you feel that
way about it why don't you defend him?"
"I will!" shouted Mr. Tutt, springing to his feet. "I'll defend him and
He seized his tall hat, placed it upon his head and strode rapidly
through the door.
"He will too!" remarked Bonnie, winking at Tutt.
"He thinks that tramp is either a statesman or a prophet!" mused Tutt,
his mind reverting to his partner's earlier remarks.
"He won't think so after he's seen him," replied Mr. Doon.
It sometimes happens that those who seek to establish great principles
and redress social evils involve others in an involuntary martyrdom far
from their desires. Mr. Tutt would have gone to the electric chair
rather than see the Hepplewhite Tramp, as he was popularly called by the
newspapers convicted of a crime, but the very fact that he had become
his legal champion interjected a new element into the situation,
particularly as O'Brien, Mr. Tutt's arch enemy in the district
attorney's office, had been placed in charge of the case.
It would have been one thing to let Hans Schmidt--that was the tramp's
name--go, if after remaining in the Tombs until he had been forgotten by
the press he could have been unobtrusively hustled over the Bridge of
Sighs to freedom. Then there would have been no comeback. But with
Ephraim Tutt breathing fire and slaughter, accusing the police and
district attorney of being trucklers to the rich and great, and
oppressors of the poor--law breakers, in fact--O'Brien found himself in
the position of one having an elephant by the tail and unable to let go.
In fact, it looked as if the case of the Hepplewhite Tramp might become
a political issue. That there was something of a comic side to it made
it all the worse.
"Holy cats, boys!" snorted District Attorney Peckham to the circle of
disgruntled police officers and assistants gathered about him on the
occasion described by the reporters as his making a personal
investigation of the case, "Why in the name of common sense didn't you
simply boot the fellow into the street?"
"I wish we had, counselor!" assented the captain of the Hepplewhite
precinct mournfully. "But we thought he was a burglar. I guess he was,
at that--and it was Mr. Hepplewhite's house."
"I've heard that until I'm sick of it!" retorted Peckham.
"One thing is sure--if we turn him out now Tutt will sue us all for
false arrest and put the whole administration on the bum," snarled
"But I didn't know the tramp would get Mr. Tutt to defend him,"
expostulated the captain. "Anyhow, ain't it a crime to go to sleep in
another man's bed?"
"If it ain't it ought to be!" declared his plain-clothes man
sententiously. "Can't you indict him for burglary?"
"You can indict all day; the thing is to convict!" snapped Peckham.
"It's up to you, O'Brien, to square this business so that the law is
vindicated--somehow It must be a crime to go into a house on Fifth
Avenue and use it as a hotel. Why, you can't cross the street faster
than a walk these days without committing a crime. Everything's a
"Sure thing," agreed the captain. "I never yet had any trouble finding a
crime to charge a man with, once I got the nippers on him."
"That's so," interjected the plain-clothes man. "Did you ever know it
was a crime to mismanage a steam boiler? Well, it is."
"Quite right," agreed Mr. Magnus, the indictment clerk. "The great
difficulty for the perfectly honest man nowadays is to avoid some act or
omission which the legislature has seen fit to make a crime without his
knowledge. Refilling a Sarsaparilla bottle, for instance, or getting up
a masquerade ball or going fishing or playing on Sunday or loitering
about a building to overhear what people are talking about inside--"
"That's no crime," protested the captain scornfully.
"Yes, it is too!" retorted Mr. Magnus, otherwise known to his fellows as
Caput, because of his supposed cerebral inflation. "Just like it is a
crime to have any kind of a show or procession on Sunday except a
funeral, in which case it's a crime to make a disbursing noise at it."
"What's a disbursing noise?" demanded O'Brien.
"I don't know," admitted Magnus. "But that's the law anyway. You can't
make a disbursing noise at a funeral on Sunday."
"Oh, hell!" ejaculated the captain. "Come to think of it, it's a crime
to spit. What man is safe?"
"It occurs to me," continued Mr. Magnus thoughtfully, "that it is a
crime under the law to build a house on another man's land; now I should
say that there was a close analogy between doing that and sleeping in
"Hear! Hear!" commented O'Brien. "Caput Magnus, otherwise known as Big
Head, there is no doubt but that your fertile brain can easily devise a
way out of our present difficulty."
"Well, I've no time to waste on tramp cases," remarked District
Attorney Peckham. "I've something more important to attend to. Indict
this fellow and send him up quick. Charge him with everything in sight
and trust in the Lord. That's the only thing to be done. Don't bother me
about it, that's all!"
Meantime Mr. Hepplewhite became more and more agitated. Entirely against
his will and, so far as he could see, without any fault of his own, he
suddenly found himself the center of a violent and acrimonious
controversy respecting the fundamental and sacred rights of freemen
which threatened to disrupt society and extinguish the supremacy of the
dominant local political organization.
On the one hand he was acclaimed by the conservative pulpit and press as
a public-spirited citizen who had done exactly the right
thing--disinterestedly enforced the law regardless of his own
convenience and safety as a matter of principle and for the sake of the
community--a moral hero; on the other, though he was president of
several charitable organizations and at least one orphan asylum he was
execrated as a heartless brute, an oppressor of the poor, an octopus, a
soulless capitalist who fattened on the innocent and helpless and
who--Mr. Hepplewhite was a bachelor--probably if the truth could be
known lived a life of horrid depravity and crime.
Indeed there was a man named Tutt, of whom Mr. Hepplewhite had never
before heard, who publicly declared that he, Tutt, would show him,
Hepplewhite, up for what he was and make him pay with his body and his
blood, to say nothing of his money, for what he had done and caused to
be done. And so Mr. Hepplewhite became even more agitated, until he
dreamed of this Tutt as an enormous bird like the fabled roc, with a
malignant face and a huge hooked beak that some day would nip him in the
abdomen and fly, croaking, away with him. Mrs. Witherspoon had returned
to Aiken, and after the first flood of commiserations from his friends
on Lists Numbers One, Two, Three and Four he felt neglected, lonely and
And then one morning something happened that upset his equanimity
entirely. He had just started out for a walk in the park when a flashy
person who looked like an actor walked impudently up to him and handed
him a piece of paper in which was wrapped a silver half dollar. In a
word Mr. Hepplewhite was subpoenaed and the nervous excitement attendant
upon that operation nearly caused his collapse. For he was thereby
commanded to appear before the Court of General Sessions of the Peace
upon the following Monday at ten a.m. as a witness in a criminal action
prosecuted by the People of the State of New York against Hans Schmidt.
Moreover, the paper was a dirty-brown color and bore the awful name of
Tutt. He returned immediately to the house and telephoned for Mr.
Edgerton, his lawyer, who at once jumped into a taxi on the corner of
Wall and Broad Streets and hurried uptown.
"Edgerton," said Hepplewhite faintly as the lawyer entered his library,
"this whole unfortunate affair has almost made me sick. I had nothing to
do with the arrest of this man Schmidt. The police did everything. And
now I'm ordered to appear as a witness! Why, I hardly looked at the man.
I shouldn't know him if I saw him. Do I have to go to court?"
Mr. Edgerton smiled genially in a manner which he thought would
encourage Mr. Hepplewhite.
"I suppose you'll have to go to court. You can't help that, you know, if
you've been subpoenaed. But you can't testify to anything that I can
see. It's just a formality."
"Formality!" groaned his client. "Well, I supposed the arrest was just a
Mr. Edgerton smiled again rather unconvincingly.
"Well, you see, you can't always tell what will happen when you once
start something," he began.
"But I didn't start anything," answered Mr. Hepplewhite. "I had nothing
to say about it."
At that moment Bibby appeared in the doorway.
"Excuse me, sir," he said. "There is a young man outside who asked me to
tell you that he has a paper he wishes to serve on you--and would you
mind saving him the trouble of waiting for you to go out?"
"Another!" gagged Mr. Hepplewhite.
"Yes, sir! Thank you, sir," stammered Bibby.
Mr. Hepplewhite looked inquiringly at Mr. Edgerton and rose feebly.
"He'll get you sooner or later," declared the lawyer. "A man as well
known as you can't avoid process."
Mr. Hepplewhite bit his lips and went out into the hall.
Presently he returned carrying a legal-looking bunch of papers.
"Well, what is it this time?" asked Edgerton jocosely.
"It's a suit for false imprisonment for one hundred thousand dollars!"
choked Mr. Hepplewhite.
Mr. Edgerton looked shocked.
"Well, now you've got to convict him!" he declared.
"Convict him?" retorted Mr. Hepplewhite. "I don't want to convict him.
I'd gladly give a hundred thousand dollars to get out of the--the--darn
Which was as near profanity as he had ever permitted himself to go.
* * * * *
Upon the following Monday Mr. Hepplewhite proceeded to court--flanked by
his distinguished counsel in frock coats and tall hats--simply because
he had been served with a dirty-brown subpoena by Tutt & Tutt; and his
distress was not lessened by the crowd of reporters who joined him at
the entrance of the Criminal Courts Building; or by the flashlight bomb
that was exploded in the corridor in order that the evening papers might
reproduce his picture on the front page. He had never been so much in
the public eye before, and he felt slightly defiled. For some curious
reason he had the feeling that he and not Schmidt was the actual
defendant charged with being guilty of something; nor was this
impression dispelled even by listening to the indictment by which the
Grand Jury charged Schmidt in eleven counts with burglary in the first,
second and third degrees and with the crime of entering his,
Hepplewhite's, house under circumstances not amounting to a burglary but
with intent to commit a felony, as follows:
"Therefore, to wit, on the eleventh day of January in the year of our
Lord one thousand nine hundred and nineteen in the night-time of the
said day at the ward, city and county aforesaid the dwelling house of
one John De Puyster Hepplewhite there situate, feloniously and
burglariously did break into and enter there being then and there a
human being in said dwelling house, with intent to commit some crime
therein, to wit, the goods, chattels, and personal property of the said
John De Puyster Hepplewhite, then and there being found, then and there
feloniously and burglariously to steal, take and carry away one silver
tea service of the value of five hundred dollars and one pair of opera
glasses of the value of five dollars each with force and arms----"
"But that silver tea service cost fifteen thousand dollars and weighs
eight hundred pounds!" whispered Mr. Hepplewhite.
"Order in the court!" shouted Captain Phelan, pounding upon the oak rail
of the bar, and Mr. Hepplewhite subsided.
Yet as he sat there between his lawyers listening to all the
extraordinary things that the Grand Jury evidently had believed Schmidt
intended to do, the suspicion began gradually to steal over him that
something was not entirely right somewhere. Why, it was ridiculous to
charge the man with trying to carry off a silver service weighing nearly
half a ton when he simply had gone to bed and fallen asleep. Still,
perhaps that was the law.
However, when the assistant district attorney opened the People's case
to the jury Mr. Hepplewhite began to feel much more at ease. Indeed
O'Brien made it very plain that the defendant had been guilty of a very
grievous--he pronounced it "gree-vious"--offense in forcing his way into
another man's private house. It might or might not be burglary--that
would depend upon the testimony--but in any event it was a criminal,
illegal entry and he should ask for a conviction. A man's house was his
castle and--to quote from that most famous of orators and
statesmen--Edmund Burke--"the wind might enter, the rain might enter,
but the King of England might not enter!" Thus Schmidt could not enter
the house of Hepplewhite without making himself amenable to the law.
Hepplewhite was filled with admiration for Mr. O'Brien, and his drooping
spirits reared their wilted heads as the prosecutor called Bibby to the
stand and elicited from him the salient features of the case. The jury
was vastly interested in the butler personally, as well as his account
rendered in the choicest cockney of how he had discovered Schmidt in his
master's bed. O'Brien bowed to Mr. Tutt and told him that he might
And then it was that Mr. Hepplewhite discovered why he had been haunted
by that mysterious feeling of guilt; for by some occult and subtle
method of suggestion on the part of Mr. Tutt, the case, instead of
being a trial of Schmidt, resolved itself into an attack upon Mr.
Hepplewhite and his retainers and upon the corrupt minions of the law
who had violated every principle of justice, decency and morality in
order to accomplish the unscrupulous purposes of a merciless
aristocrat--meaning him. With biting sarcasm, Mr. Tutt forced from the
writhing Bibby the admission that the prisoner was sound asleep in the
pink silk fastnesses of the Bouguereau Room when he was discovered that
he made no attempt to escape, that he did not assault anybody and that
he had appeared comatose from exhaustion; that there was no sign of a
break anywhere, and that the pair of opera glasses "worth five dollars
_apiece_"--Tutt invited the court's attention to this ingenuous
phraseology of Mr. Caput Magnus, as a literary curiosity--were a figment
of the imagination.
In a word Mr. Tutt rolled Bibby up and threw him away, while his master
shuddered at the open disclosure of his trusted major-domo's vulgarity,
mendacity and general lack of sportsmanship. Somehow all at once the
case began to break up and go all to pot. The jury got laughing at
Bibby, the footmen and the cops as Mr. Tutt painted for their
edification the scene following the arrival of Mrs. Witherspoon, when
Schmidt was discovered asleep, as Mr. Tutt put it, like Goldilocks in
the Little, Small, Wee Bear's bed.
Stocking was the next witness, and he fared no better than had Bibby.
O'Brien, catching the judge's eye, made a wry face and imperceptibly
lowered his left lid--on the side away from the jury, thus officially
indicating that, of course, the case was a lemon but that there was
nothing that could be done except to try it out to the bitter end.
Then he rose and called out unexpectedly: "Mr. John De Puyster
Hepplewhite--take the stand!"
It was entirely unexpected. No one had suggested that he would be called
for the prosecution. Possibly O'Brien was actuated by a slight touch of
malice; possibly he wanted to be able, if the case was lost, to accuse
Hepplewhite of losing it on his own testimony. But at any rate he
certainly had no anticipation of what the ultimate consequence of his
act would be.
Mr. Hepplewhite suddenly felt as though his entire intestinal mechanism
had been removed. But he had no time to take counsel of his fears.
Everybody in the courtroom turned with one accord and looked at him. He
rose, feeling as one who dreams; that he is naked in the midst of a
multitude. He shrank back hesitating, but hostile hands reached out and
pushed him forward. Cringing, he slunk to the witness chair, and for the
first time faced the sardonic eyes of the terrible Tutt, his adversary
who looked scornfully from Hepplewhite to the jury and then from the
jury back to Hepplewhite as if to say: "Look at him! Call you this a
"You are the Mr. Hepplewhite who has been referred to in the testimony
as the owner of the house in which the defendant was found?" inquired
"Yes--yes," answered Mr. Hepplewhite deprecatingly.
"The first witness--Bibby--is in your employ?"
"Did you have a silver tea set of the value of--er--at least five
hundred dollars in the house?"
"It was worth fifteen thousand," corrected Mr. Hepplewhite.
"Oh! Now, have you been served by the defendant's attorneys with a
summons and complaint in an action for false arrest in which damages are
claimed in the sum of one hundred thousand dollars?"
"I object!" shouted Mr. Tutt. "It is wholly irrelevant."
"I think it shows the importance of the result of this trial to the
witness," argued O'Brien perfunctorily. "It shows this case isn't any
joke--even if some people seem to think it is."
"Objection sustained," ruled the court. "The question is irrelevant. The
jury is supposed to know that every case is important to those
concerned--to the defendant as well as to those who charge him with
"That's all. You may examine, Mr. Tutt."
The old lawyer slowly unfolded his tall frame and gazed quizzically down
upon the shivering Hepplewhite.
"You have been sued by my client for one hundred thousand dollars,
haven't you?" he demanded.
"Object!" shot out O'Brien.
"Overruled," snapped the court. "It is a proper question for
cross-examination. It may show motive."
Mr. Hepplewhite sat helplessly until the shooting was over.
"Answer the question!" suddenly shouted Mr. Tutt.
"But I thought--" he began.
"Don't think!" retorted the court sarcastically. "The time to think has
gone by. Answer!"
"I don't know what the question is," stammered Mr. Hepplewhite,
"Lord! Lord!" groaned O'Brien in plain hearing of the jury.
Mr. Tutt sighed sympathetically in mock resignation.
"My dear sir," he began in icy tones, "when you had my client arrested
and charged with being a burglar, had you made any personal inquiry as
to the facts?"
"I didn't have him arrested!" protested the witness.
"You deny that you ordered Bibby to charge the defendant with burglary?"
roared Mr. Tutt. "Take care! You know there is such a crime as perjury,
do you not?"
"No--I mean yes," stuttered Mr. Hepplewhite abjectly. "That is, I've
heard about perjury--but the police attended to everything for me."
"Aha!" cried Mr. Tutt, snorting angrily like the war horse depicted in
the Book of Job. "The police 'attended' to my client for you, did they?
What do you mean--for you? Did you pay them for their little attention?"
"I always send them something on Christmas," said Mr. Hepplewhite. "Just
like the postmen."
Mr. Tutt looked significantly at the jury, while a titter ran round the
"Well," he continued with patient irony, "what we wish to know is
whether these friends of yours whom you so kindly remember at Christmas
dragged the helpless man away from your house, threw him into jail and
charged him with burglary by your authority?"
"I didn't think anything about it," asserted Hepplewhite "Really I
didn't. I assumed that they knew what to do under such circumstances. I
didn't suppose they needed any authority from me."
Mr. Tutt eyed sideways the twelve jurymen.
"Trying to get out of it, are you? Attempting to avoid responsibility?
Are you thinking of what your position will be if the defendant is
acquitted--with an action against you for one hundred thousand dollars?"
Ashamed, terrified, humiliated, Mr. Hepplewhite almost burst into tears.
He had suffered a complete moral disintegration--did not know where to
turn for help or sympathy. The whole world seemed to have risen against
him. He opened his mouth to reply, but the words would not come. He
looked appealingly at the judge, but the judge coldly ignored him. The
whole room seemed crowded with a multitude of leering eyes. Why had God
made him a rich man? Why was he compelled to suffer those terrible
indignities? He was not responsible for what had been done--why then,
was he being treated so abominably?
"I don't want this man punished!" he suddenly broke out in fervent
expostulation. "I have nothing against him. I don't believe he intended
to do any wrong. And I hope the jury will acquit him!"
"Oho!" whistled Mr. Tutt exultantly, while O'Brien gazed at Hepplewhite
in stupefaction. _Was_ this a man?
"So you admit that the charge against my client is without foundation?"
insisted Mr. Tutt.
Hepplewhite nodded weakly.
"I don't know rightly what the charge is--but I don't think he meant any
harm," he faltered.
"Then why did you have the police put him under arrest and hale him
away?" challenged Mr. Tutt ferociously.
"I supposed they had to--if he came into my house," said Mr.
Hepplewhite. Then he added shamefacedly: "I know it sounds silly--but
frankly I did not know that I had anything to say in the matter. If your
client has been injured by my fault or mistake I will gladly reimburse
him as handsomely as you wish."
O'Brien gasped. Then he made a funnel of his hands and whispered toward
the bench: "Take it away, for heaven's sake!"
"That is all!" remarked Mr. Tutt with deep sarcasm, making an elaborate
bow in the direction of Mr. Hepplewhite. "Thank you for your excellent
A snicker followed Mr. Hepplewhite as he dragged himself back to his
seat among the spectators.
He felt as though he had passed through a clothes wringer. Dimly he
heard Mr. Tutt addressing the court.
"And I move, Your Honor," the lawyer was paying, "that you take the
counts for burglary in the first, second and third degrees away from the
jury on the ground that there has been a complete failure of proof that
my client broke into the house of this man Hepplewhite either by night
or by day, or that he assaulted anybody or stole anything there, or ever
"Motion granted," agreed the judge. "I quite agree with you, Mr. Tutt.
There is no evidence here of any breaking. In fact, the inferences are
all the other way."
"I further move that you take from the consideration of the jury the
remaining count of illegally entering the house with intent to commit a
crime and direct the jury to acquit the defendant for lack of evidence,"
continued Mr. Tutt.
"But what was your client doing in the house?" inquired the judge. "He
had no particular business in it, had he?"
"That does not make his presence a crime, Your Honor," retorted the
lawyer. "A man is not guilty of a felony who falls asleep on my haycock.
Why should he be if he falls asleep in my bed?"
The judge smiled.
"We have no illegal entry statute with respect to fields or meadows, Mr.
Tutt," he remarked good-naturedly. "No, I shall be obliged to let the
jury decide whether this defendant went into that house for an honest
or dishonest purpose. It is clearly a proper question for them to pass
upon. Proceed with your case."
Now when, as in the case of the Hepplewhite Tramp, the chief witness for
the prosecution throws up his hands and offers to repay the defendant
for the wrong he has done him, naturally it is all over but the
"There is no need for me to call the defendant," Mr. Tutt told the
court, "in view of the admissions made by the last witness. I am ready
to proceed with the summing up."
"As you deem wise," answered the judge. "Proceed then."
Through a blur of sight and sound Mr. Hepplewhite dimly heard Mr. Tutt
addressing the jury and saw them lean forward to catch his every word.
Beside him Mr. Edgerton was saying protestingly: "May I ask why you made
those fool statements on the witness stand?"
"Because I didn't want an innocent man convicted," returned Mr.
"Well, you'll get your wish!" sniffed his lawyer. "And you'll get soaked
for about twenty thousand dollars for false arrest!"
"I don't care," retorted the client. "And what's more I hope Mr. Tutt
gets a substantial fee out of it. He strikes me as a lawyer who knows
The oldest and fattest court officers, men so old and fat that they
remembered the trial of Boss Tweed and the days when Delancey Nicoll was
the White Hope of the Brownstone Court House--declared Mr. Tutt's
summation was the greatest that ever they heard. For the shrewd old
lawyer had an artist's hand with which he played upon the keyboard of
the jury and knew just when to pull out the stops of the _vox humana_ of
pathos and the grand diapason of indignation and defiance. So he began
by tickling their sense of humor with an ironic description of afternoon
tea at Mr. Hepplewhite's, with Bibby and Stocking as chief actors, until
all twelve shook with suppressed laughter and the judge was forced to
hide his face behind the _Law Journal_; ridiculed the idea of a criminal
who wanted to commit a crime calmly going to sleep in a pink silk bed in
broad daylight; and then brought tears to their eyes as he pictured the
wretched homeless tramp, sick, footsore and starving, who, drawn by the
need of food and warmth to this silk nest of luxury, was clubbed,
arrested and jailed simply because he had violated the supposed sanctity
of a rich man's home.
The jury watched him as intently as a dog watches a piece of meat held
over its nose. They smiled with him, they wept with him, they glared at
Mr. Hepplewhite and they gazed in a friendly way at Schmidt, whom Mr.
Tutt had bailed out just before the trial. The very stars in their
courses seemed warring for Tutt & Tutt. In the words of Phelan: "There
was nothing to it!"
"Thank God," concluded Mr. Tutt eloquently, "that in this land of
liberty in which we are privileged to dwell no man can be convicted of a
crime except by a jury of his peers--a right sacred under our
Constitution and inherited from Magna Charta, that foundation stone of
English liberty, in which the barons forced King John to declare that
'No freeman shall be taken, or imprisoned, or disseized, or outlawed, or
exiled, or in any way harmed ... save by the lawful judgment of his
peers or by the law of the land.'
"Had I the time I would demonstrate to you the arbitrary character of
our laws and the inequality with which they are administered.
"But in this case the chief witness has already admitted the innocence
of the defendant. There is nothing more to be said. The prosecution has
cried '_Peccavi!_' I leave my client in your hands."
He resumed his seat contentedly and wiped his forehead with his silk
handkerchief. The judge looked down at O'Brien with raised eyebrows.
"I will leave the case to the jury on Your Honor's charge," remarked
the latter carelessly.
"Gentlemen of the jury," began the judge, "the defendant is accused of
entering the house of Mr. Hepplewhite with the intent to commit a crime
Mr. Hepplewhite sat, his head upon his breast, for what seemed to him
several hours. He had but one thought--to escape. His ordeal had been
far worse than he had anticipated. But he had made a discovery. He had
suddenly realized that one cannot avoid one's duties to one's fellows by
leaving one's affairs to others--not even to the police. He perceived
that he had lived with his head stuck in the sand. He had tried to
escape from his responsibilities as a citizen by hiding behind the thick
walls of his stone mansion on Fifth Avenue. He made up his mind that he
would do differently if he ever had the chance. Meanwhile, was not the
jury ever going to set the poor man free?
They had indeed remained out a surprisingly long time in order merely to
reach a verdict which was a mere formality. Ah! There they were! Mr.
Hepplewhite watched with palpitating heart while they straggled slowly
in. The clerk made the ordinary perfunctory inquiry as to what their
verdict was. Mr. Hepplewhite did not hear what the foreman said in
reply, but he saw both the Tutts and O'Brien start from their seats and
heard a loud murmur rise throughout the court room.
"What's that!" cried the clerk in astonished tones. "What did you say,
"I said that we find the defendant guilty," replied the foreman calmly.
Mr. Tutt stared incredulously at the twelve traitors who had betrayed
"Never mind, Mr. Tutt," whispered Number Six confidentially. "You did
the best you could. Your argument was fine--grand--but nobody could ever
make us believe that your client went into that house for any purpose
except to steal whatever he could lay his hands on. Besides, it wasn't
Mr. Hepplewhite's fault. He means well. And anyhow a nut like that has
got to be protected against himself."
He might have enlightened Mr. Tutt further upon the psychology of the
situation had not the judge at that moment ordered the prisoner
arraigned at the bar.
"Have you ever been convicted before?" asked His Honor sharply.
"Sure," replied the Hepplewhite Tramp carelessly. "I've done three or
four bits, I'm a burglar. But you can't give me more than a year for
"That is quite true," admitted His Honor stiffly. "And it isn't half
enough!" He hesitated. "Perhaps under the circumstances you'll tell us
what you were doing in Mr. Hepplewhite's bed?"
"Oh, I don't mind," returned the defendant with the superior air of one
who has put something over. "When I heard the guy in the knee breeches
coming up the stairs I just dove for the slats and played I was asleep."
Leaving the courthouse Mr. Tutt encountered Bonnie Doon.
"Young man," he remarked severely, "you assured me that fellow was only
a harmless tramp!"
"Well," answered Bonnie, "that's what he said."
"He says now he's a burglar," retorted Mr. Tutt wrathfully. "I don't
believe he knows what he is. Did you ever hear of such an outrageous
verdict? With not a scrap of evidence to support it?"
Bonnie lit a cigarette doubtfully.
"Oh, I don't know," he muttered. "The jury seems to have sized him up
rather better than we did."
"Jury!" growled Mr. Tutt, rolling his eyes heavenward. "'Sweet land of
"Ethics: The doctrine of man's duty in respect to
himself and the rights of others."
"I don't say that all these people couldn't be squared;
but it is right to tell you that I shouldn't be sufficiently
degraded in my own estimation unless I was insulted
with a very considerable bribe."
"I've been all over those securities," Miss Wiggin informed Mr. Tutt as
he entered the office one morning, "and not a single one of them is
listed on the Stock Exchange."
"What securities are those?" asked her employer, hanging his tall hat on
the antiquated mahogany coat tree in the corner opposite the screen that
ambushed the washing apparatus. "I don't remember any securities," he
remarked as he applied a match to the off end of a particularly green
and vicious-looking stogy.
"Why, of course you do, Mr. Tutt!" insisted Miss Wiggin. "Don't you
remember those great piles of bonds and stocks that Doctor Barrows left
here with you to keep for him?"
"Oh, those!" Mr. Tutt smiled inscrutably. "Mr. Barrows is not a
physician," he corrected her, running his eye over the General Sessions
calendar. "He's only a 'doc'--that is to say, one who doctors. You know
you can doctor a lot of things besides the human anatomy. No, I guess
they're not listed on the Stock Exchange or anywhere else."
"Well, here's a schedule I made of them--Miss Sondheim typed it--and
their total face value is seventeen million eight hundred thousand
dollars. I tried to find out all I could, but none of the firms on Wall
Street had ever heard of any of them--excepting of one that was traded
in on the curb up to within a few weeks. There's Great Lakes and
Canadian Southern Railway Company," she went on, "Chicago Water Front
and Terminal Company, Great Geyser Texan Petroleum and Llano Estacado
Land Company--dozens and dozens of them, and not one has an office or,
so far as I can find out, any tangible existence--but the one I spoke
"Which is this great exception?" queried Mr. Tutt absently as he
searched through the _Law Journal_ for the case he was going to try that
afternoon. "You said one of them had been dealt in on the curb? You
"It's got a funny name," she answered. "It almost sounds as if they
meant it for a joke--Horse's Neck Extension."
"I guess they meant it for a joke all right--on the public," chuckled
her employer. "How many shares are there?"
"A hundred thousand," she answered.
"Jumping Jehoshaphat!" ejaculated Mr. Tutt. "How on earth did old Doc
manage to get hold of them?"
"It sold for only ten cents a share!" replied Miss Wiggin. "That would
mean ten thousand dollars--"
"If Doc paid for it," supplemented Mr. Tutt. "Which he probably didn't.
What's it selling for now?"
"It isn't selling at all."
Mr. Tutt pressed the button that summoned Willie.
"When you haven't anything better to do," he said to her, "why don't you
go round and see what has become of--of--Horse's Neck Extension?"
"I will," assented Miss Wiggin. "It makes me feel rich just to talk
about such things. I just love it."
"Many a slick crook has taken advantage of just that kind of feeling,"
mused Mr. Tutt. "There are two things that women--particularly trained
nurses--seem to like better than anything else in the world--babies and
Then upon the arrival of the recalcitrant William he gathered up his
papers and took down his hat from the tree.
"I wish you'd let me get your hat ironed, Mr. Tutt," remarked Miss
Wiggin. "It would cost you only fifty cents."
"That's all you know about it, my dear," he answered. "More likely it
would cost me a hundred thousand dollars."
* * * * *
Mr. Tobias Greenbaum, of Scherer, Hunn, Greenbaum & Beck, carefully
placed his cigar where it would not char his Italian Renaissance desk
and smoothed out the list which Mr. Elderberry, the secretary of The
Horse's Neck Extension Copper Mining Company, handed to him. The list
was typed on thin sheets; of foolscap and contained the names of
stockholders, but as it had lain rolled up in the bottom of Mr.
Elderberry's desk for five years without being disturbed it was inclined
to resist the gentle pressure of Mr. Greenbaum's fingers.
Mr. Greenbaum glanced sharply round the plate-glass lake that separated
him from the other directors of Horse's Neck, rather as if he had
detected his associates in a crime.
"Isaacs says," he announced in an arrogant, almost insulting tone,
though below the surface he was an entirely genial person, "that the new
vein in the Amphalula runs into the west drift of Horse's Neck almost to
where we quit work in Number Nine five years ago."
"If it does it will make it a bonanza property," emphatically declared
his partner, Mr. Scherer, a dolichocephalous person with very black hair
and thin bluish cheeks. "It's a pity we didn't buy it all in at ten
cents a share."
"We did!" retorted Greenbaum. "All that could be shaken out. We've got
all the stock that hasn't gravitated to the cemeteries."
"Even if the Amphalula vein doesn't run into it it will come near
enough to make Horse's Neck worth dollars per share. It's a
heads-I-win-tails-you-lose proposition," commented Mr. Hunn dryly. "Who
"We do," snapped Greenbaum.
"Then it's a cinch," returned Hunn mildly. "Shake out the sleepers,
reorganize, and sell or hold as seems most advisable later on."
Mr. Elderberry cleared his throat tentatively.
"If you gentlemen will pardon me--I have been considering this matter
for some little time," he hazarded. Mr. Elderberry was not only the
professional salaried secretary of Horse's Neck but was also treasurer
of the Amphalula, and general factotum, representative and interlocking
director for Scherer, Hunn, Greenbaum & Beck in their various mining
enterprises, combining in his person almost as many offices as, Pooh-Bah
in "The Mikado." Though he could not have claimed to serve as "First
Lord of the Treasury, Lord Chief Justice, Commander-in-Chief, Lord High
Admiral, Master of the Buck Hounds, Groom of the Back Stairs, Archbishop
of Titipu and Lord Mayor, both acting and elect, all rolled into one,"
he could with entire modesty have admitted the soft impeachment of being
simultaneously treasurer of Amphalula, vice-president of Hooligan Gulch
and Red Water, secretary of Horse's Neck, Holy Jo, Gargoyle Extension,
Cowhide Number Five, Consolidated Bimetallic, Nevada Mastodon, Leaping
Frog, Orelady Mine, Why Marry and Sol's Cliff Buttress, and president of
All these various properties were either owned or controlled by Scherer,
Hunn, Greenbaum & Beck and had been acquired with the use of the same
original capital in various entirely legal ways, which at the present
moment are irrelevant. The firm was a strictly honorable business house,
from both their own point of view and that of the Street. Everything
they did was with and by the advice of counsel. Yet not one of these
active-minded gentlemen, including Mr. Greenbaum, the dolichocephalous
Scherer and the acephalous Hunn, had ever done a stroke of productive
work or contributed anything toward the common weal. In fact, distress
to somebody in some form, and usually to a large number of persons,
inevitably followed whatever deal they undertook, since their business
was speculating in mining properties and unloading the bad ones upon an
unsuspecting public which Scherer, Hunn, Greenbaum & Beck had permitted
to deceive itself.
Thus, when Greenbaum called upon Mr. Elderberry for advice, it savored
strongly of Koko's consulting Pooh-Bah and was sometimes almost as
confusing, for just as Pooh-Bah on these occasions was won't to reply,
"Certainly. In which of my capacities? As First Lord of the Treasury,
Lord Chamberlain, Attorney-General, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Privy
Purse or Private Secretary?" so the financial and corporate Elderberry
might equally well ask: "Exactly. But are you seeking my advice as
secretary of Horse's Neck, of Holy Jo, of Cowhide Number Five, or as
vice-president of Hooligan Gulch and Red Water, treasurer of Amphalula
or president of Blimp Consolidated?"
Just now it was, of course, obvious that he was addressing the company
in his capacity of secretary of Horse's Neck.
"It goes without saying, gentlemen, that this property is pretty nearly
down and out. You will recall that most of the insiders sold out on the
tail of the Goldfield Boom and waited for the market to sag until we
could buy in again. The mines are full of water, work was abandoned over
four years ago, and the property is practically defunct. The original
capitalization was ten million shares at one dollar a share. We own or
control at least four million shares, for which we paid ten to fifteen
cents, while we had sold our original holdings for one dollar sixty to
one dollar ninety-five a share. While Horse's Neck represents a handsome
profit--in my opinion"--he cleared his throat again as if deprecating
the vulgarity of his phrase--"it is good for another whirl."
"You say it's full of water?" inquired Hunn.
"It will cost about fifty thousand dollars to pump out the mines and a
hundred thousand to repair the machinery. Then there's quite an
indebtedness--about seventy-five thousand; and tax liens--another fifty.
Half a million dollars would put Horse's Neck on the map, and if the
Amphalula vein crosses the property it will be worth ten millions. If it
doesn't, the chance that it is going to will make a market for the
Mr. Elderberry swept with a bland inquiring eye the shore of the glassy
sea about which his associates were gathered.
"I've been over the ground," announced Greenbaum "and it's a good
gamble. We want Horse's Neck for ourselves--at any rate until we are
confident that it's a real lemon. Half a million will do it. I'll
personally put up a hundred thousand."
"How are you going to get rid of the fifty thousand other stockholders?"
asked Mr. Beck dubiously "We don't want them trailing along with us."
"I propose," answered Mr. Elderberry brightly, in his capacity as chief
conspirator for Scherer, Hunn, _et al._, "that we organize a new
corporation to be called 'Lallapaloosa Limited' and capitalize it at a
million dollars--one million shares at a dollar a share. Then we will
execute a contract between Horse's Neck and Lallapaloosa by the terms of
which the old bankrupt corporation will sell to the new corporation all
its assets for one hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars. We
underwrite the stock of Lallapaloosa at fifty cents a share, thus
supplying the new corporation with the funds with which to purchase the
properties of the old. In a word we shall get Horse's Neck for a hundred
and twenty-five thousand and have three hundred and seventy-five
thousand left out of what we subscribe to underwrite the stock to put
it on its feet."
"That's all right," debated Hunn. "But how about the other stockholders
in Horse's Neck that Beck referred to? Where do they come in?"
"I've thought of that," returned Elderberry. "Of course you can't just
squeeze 'em out entirely. That wouldn't be legal. They must be given the
chance to subscribe at par to the stock of the new corporation on the
basis of one share in the new for every ten they hold in the old; or, as
Horse's Neck is a Delaware corporation, to have their old stock
appraised under the laws of Delaware. In point of fact, they've all
written off their holdings in Horse's Neck as a total loss years ago and
you couldn't drag 'em into putting in any new money. They'll simply let
it go--forfeit their stock in Horse's Neck and be wiped out because they
were not willing to go in and reorganize the property with us."
"They would if they knew about Amphalula," remarked Beck.
"Well, they don't!" snapped Greenbaum, "and we're under no obligations
to tell 'em. They can infer what they like from the fact that Horse's
Neck has been selling for ten cents a share for the last three years."
"Is that right, Chippingham?" inquired Beck of the attorney who was in
attendance. "I mean--is it legal?"
"Perfectly legal," replied Mr. Chippingham conclusively. "A corporation
has a perfect right to dispose of its entire assets for a proper
consideration and if any minority stockholder feels aggrieved he can
take the matter to the Delaware courts and get his equity assessed.
Besides, everybody is treated alike--all the stockholders in Horse's
Neck can subscribe pro rata for Lallapaloosa."
"Only they won't," grinned Scherer.
"And so, as they are wiped out--the new corporation--that is us--in fact
gets their equity, just as much as if they had deeded it to us."
"That is, we get for nothing about one-half the value of the property,"
agreed Elderberry. "Now, I've been over the list and I don't think
you'll hear a peep from any of them."
"He's got 'em on the list--he's got 'em on the list;
And they'll none of 'em be missed--they'll none of 'em be missed!"
hummed Mr. Beck. "It looks good to me! I'll take a hundred thousand."
"Mr. Chippingham has the papers drawn already," continued Elderberry.
"Of course you've got to give the old stockholders notice, but we can
rush the thing through and before anybody wakes up the thing will be
done. Then they can holler all they want."
"Well, I'll come in," announced Hunn complacently.
"So will I," echoed Scherer. "And the firm can underwrite the last
hundred thousand, and that will clean it up."
"Is it all right for us to underwrite the stock ourselves at half
price?" inquired Mr. Beck. "I mean--is it legal?"
"Sure!" reiterated Mr. Chippingham. "Somebody's got to underwrite it;
why not us?"
"Move we adjourn," said Mr. Greenbaum. "Elderberry--the usual."
Mr. Elderberry removed from his change pocket five glittering gold
pieces and slid one across the glass sheet to each director.
"Second motion. Carried! All up--seventh inning!" smiled Mr. Scherer;
and the directors, pocketing their gold pieces, arose.
If, as it has been defined, ethics consists of a "system of principles
and rules concerning moral obligations and regard for the rights of
others," it may be interesting to speculate as to whether or not these
gentlemen had any or not, and, if so, what it may have been. But in
considering this somewhat nice question it should be borne in mind that
Messrs. Scherer, Hunn, Greenbaum & Beck were bankers of standing, and
were advised by a firm of attorneys of the highest reputation. On its
face, and as it was about to be represented to the stockholders of
Horse's Neck, the proposition appeared fair enough.
The circular, shortly after sent out to all the names upon the list,
stated succinctly that financial and labor conditions had been such that
it had been found impossible to operate the mine profitably for several
years, that it had depreciated greatly in value owing to the water which
had accumulated in its lower levels, that it had exhausted its surplus,
that a heavy indebtedness had accumulated, that the corporation's
outstanding notes had been protested and that the property would be sold
under foreclosure unless money was immediately raised to pay them, the
interest due and taxes; that half a million dollars was needed to put
the property in operation and that there was no way to secure it, as
nobody was willing to loan money to a bankrupt mining concern. That
under these circumstances no practical method had been proposed except
to organize a new corporation capitalized at one million instead of ten,
to the stock of which each shareholder in Horse's Neck might subscribe
in proportion to his holdings, at par, and to which the assets of the
old corporation should be transferred practically for its debts. That
this, in a word, was the only way to save the situation and possibly
make a go of a bad business, and that it was a gamble in which the old
stockholders had a right, up to a certain date, to participate if they
saw fit. Those that did not would find their stock in Horse's Neck
entirely valueless as it would have no assets left which had not been
transferred to Lallapaloosa. Stockholders who were dissatisfied could
protest against the enabling resolution to be offered at the annual
meeting of the stockholders of Horse's Neck to be held the following
week at Wilmington, Delaware, and could avail themselves of the right to
have their equity assessed under the laws of Delaware, but as the
liabilities practically equaled the present value of the property that
equity would naturally be highly problematical.
Now, as a matter of morals or of law the only thing that made the
proposed reorganization unethical or inequitable was the single trifling
fact that those responsible for it were the only ones who knew of the
existence and proximity of the Amphalula vein. When a mining company, a
railroad, an oil well or any other enterprise is down and out it is only
fair that the majority stockholders, who are obliged to protect their
investment, should have the right to call upon the rest to come forward
and do their share or else drop out. A minority stockholder cannot
appeal to any canon of fair play whereby he should be entitled to sit
back and let the majority take all the risks and then claim his share of
The imponderable element of injustice in the situation consisted in the
suppression of a fact which the directors concealed but concerning
which, however, they made no representation, false or otherwise. They
were going to risk half a million dollars of their own money and they
wanted the whole gamble for themselves. They sincerely felt that nobody
else was entitled to take that risk with them. Once they had floated
Horse's Neck they had come to look upon it as their own private affair.
The minority had no rights which they, the majority, were bound to
respect. The minority were nothing but a lot of piking gamblers, anyway,
who bought or sold for a rise or fall of a few cents. They knew nothing
of the property and cared less for its real value. They were merely
traders and if they lost they forgot it or tried to. On the other hand
Scherer, Hunn, Greenbaum & Beck were promoters, who contributed
something to the economic advancement of the nation.
* * * * *
"Regarding my hat, which you suggested this morning should be pressed at
a cost of fifty cents," remarked Mr. Tutt to Miss Wiggin when he
returned to the office upon the adjournment of court in the afternoon
and replaced that ancient object in its accustomed resting-place
--"regarding that precious hat of mine"--he eyed it affectionately
--"I can only say that I would as soon send myself to a dry-cleaning
establishment as to permit its profanation by the iron of a
Miss Wiggin laughed lightly.
"That doesn't explain your cryptic statement that it would probably cost
you a hundred thousand dollars," she replied. "Still--"
Mr. Tutt turned suddenly upon his heel and held her with an upraised
hand, the bony wrist of which was encircled, after an intervening space
of some five inches, by a frayed cuff confined with a black onyx button
the size of a quarter.
"Behold," he cried in the deep resonant voice that he used in addressing
juries at the climax of a peroration, "the integuments of my
personality--the ancient habiliments of an honorable profession--the
panoply of the legal warrior. Here, my corslet"--he touched his dingy
waistcoat with his left hand; "my greaves"--he brushed the baggy legs of
his pantaloons; "my halberd"--he raised his old mahogany cane with its
knot of yellow ivory; "my casque"--he indicated his ruffled stove-pipe
"Arrayed in these I am Mr. Ephraim Tutt, attorney and counselor at
law--the senior partner in Tutt & Tutt--a respected member of the bar
duly accredited and authorized to practise before the Supreme Court of
the State of New York, the Court of Appeals, the District Court of the
United States, the Circuit Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court of the
United States, the Court of Claims--"
"--the Police Court and the Coroner's Court," concluded Miss Wiggin,
making him a mock curtsy.
"Without these indicia of my profession and my individuality I should be
like David without his sling or Samson without his hair. I should be
merely Tutt, a criminal lawyer--one of a multitude--regarded perhaps as
a shyster. But in these robes of my high office I am a high priest of
the law; just as you, my dear girl, are one of its many devoted and
worthy priestesses. Can you imagine me going to court in a bowler hat or
arguing to the jury in a cutaway coat or bobtail business suit? Can you
picture Ephraim Tutt with his hair cut short or in an Ascot tie, any
more than you can envisage him in riding breeches or wearing lilacs? No!
There is but one Mr. Tutt, and these are his only garments. He who
steals my hat may steal trash, but without it I should be like a
disembodied spirit unable to return to my earthly dwelling-place.
"A paltry hundred thousand?
"Nay, without my hat--my helmet!--I should be valueless to myself and
everybody else; so estimate my worth and you can assay the value of my
hat. What am I worth in your opinion?"
And then Miss Wiggin, having glanced cautiously if quickly round, made a
most astonishing declaration.
"Just about a million times more than anybody else in the whole world,
you old dear!" she whispered and rising upon her toes she kissed his
"Dear me! You really mustn't do that!" gasped Mr. Tutt.
"Well," she retorted, "you can discharge me if you like. But first sit
down, light a cigar and let me tell you something."
Mr. Tutt did as he was bid, chuckling.
"Well," said Miss Wiggin, "there is such a thing as Horse's Neck
Extension after all!"
"Um--you don't say?" he answered, struggling to make his stogy draw.
"And it has an office with about a hundred other corporations of various
kinds--most of them with names that sound like the zoo--Yellow Wildcat,
Jumping Leapfrog, and that sort of thing. It seems Horse's Neck is
played out and they are going to reorganize it--"
"Who are?" demanded her employer, suddenly sitting erect.
"Scherer, Hunn, Greenbaum & Beck."
"The dickens they are!" he ejaculated. "That bunch of pirates? Not if I
"Reorganize! Reorganize? Reorganization is my middle name!" cried Mr.
Tutt. "So Scherer, Hunn, Greenbaum & Beck are going to reorganize
something, are they? Let 'em try! Not so long as I've got my hat!"
"This is all very enigmatical to me," replied Miss Wiggin. "But then,
I'm only a woman. Aren't they all right? Why shouldn't they reorganize a
mine if it's exhausted?"
"If it's exhausted why do they want to reorganize it?" he demanded,
climbing to his feet. "Let me tell you something, Minerva! All my life
I've been fighting against tyranny--the tyranny of the law, the tyranny
of power, the tyranny of money."
He drew fiercely on his stogy, which being desiccated flared like a
"You don't need to tell me what this plan of reorganization is; because
they wouldn't propose one unless it was going to benefit them in some
way, and the only way it can be made to benefit them is at the expense
of the other stockholders. _Quod erat demonstrandum_."
Mr. Tutt seemed to have become distended somehow and to have spread over
the entire wall surface of his office like the genie which the
fisherman innocently permitted to escape from the bottle.
"There isn't one reorganization scheme in a hundred that isn't crooked
"According to that, if a business is unsuccessful it ought to be allowed
to go to pot for fear that somebody might make a profit in putting it on
its feet," she countered. "I think you're a violent, irascible,
prejudiced old man!"
"All the same," he retorted, "show me a reorganization scheme and I'll
show you a flimflam! What's this one? Bet you anything you like it's as
crooked as a ram's horn. I don't have to hear about it. Don't want to
read the plan. But I'll bust it--higher than Hades. See if I don't!"
He spat the remaining filaments of his stogy from the window and fished
"How do we come into it, anyhow?" he demanded.
"Doctor--I mean Mister Barrows," replied Miss Wiggin.
"Oh, yes. Of course. Well, you send for him to come down here and sign
"The complaint and order to show cause."
"But there isn't any."
"There will be, all right, by the time he gets here."
Miss Wiggin looked first puzzled and then pained.
"I don't understand," she said rather stiffly. "Do you mean that the
firm of Tutt & Tutt is going to engage in the enterprise of trying to
break up a plan of reorganization without knowing what it is? Won't you
lay us all open to the accusation of being strikers?"
Mr. Tutt's ordinarily brown complexion became slightly tinged with
"Let the court decide!" he cried hotly. "You say Scherer, Hunn,
Greenbaum & Beck are proposing to reorganize a mining company? You admit
we hold some of the stock? Well--as the natural-born and perennial
champion of the outraged minority--I'm going to attack it, and bust it,
and raise heck with it--on general principles. I'm going to throw that
damned old hat of mine into the ring, my child, and play hell with
And with a cluck Mr. Tutt leaned over, produced a dingy bottle wrapped
in a coat of many colors and poured himself out a glass of malt extract.
* * * * *
When Mr. Greenbaum was summoned to the telephone and informed by Mr.
Elderberry in disgruntled tones that somebody had just served upon him
an order to show cause why the proposed reorganization of Horse's Neck
should not be set aside and enjoined, he not only became instantly
annoyed but highly excited.
"What!" he almost screamed.
"I'll read it to you, if you don't believe it!" said Mr. Elderberry.
"'United States District Court, Southern District of New York, Edward V.
Barrows, Complainant against Horse's Neck Extension Mining Company,
"'Upon the subpoena herein and the complaint duly verified the
nineteenth day of February, 1919, and the affidavit of Ephraim Tutt
"Who in hell is Tutt?" shouted Greenbaum, interrupting.
"I don't know," retorted Elderberry; "or Barrows either."
"Well, skip all the legal rot and get to the point," directed Greenbaum.
"'Ordered--ordered, that the defendant, Horse's Neck Extension Mining
Company, show cause at a stated term to be held in and for--'"
"I said to cut the legal rot!"
"Um--um--'why an injunction order should not be issued herein pending
the trial of this action and enjoining the defendant from disposing of
its assets and for the appointment of a receiver of the assets of the
defendant corporation; and why the complainant should not have such
other, further and different relief as may be equitable.'"
There was a long pause during which Mr. Elderberry was under a
convincing delusion that he could actually hear the thoughts that were
rattling round in Mr. Greenbaum's brain.
"You there?" he inquired presently.
"Oh, yes, I'm here!" retorted Greenbaum. "This is the devil of a note!
Have you spoken to Chippingham?"
"What does he say?"
"He says it's awkward. They have got hold somewhere of one of our old
circulars of 1914 in which the property is described as worth about ten
million dollars--that was during the boom, you remember--and they claim
we are selling it to ourselves for less than one million and that on its
face it's a fraud on the minority stockholders who can't afford to buy
stock in the new corporation--as of course it would be if the mine was
really worth ten million or anything like it."
"Did we really ever get out any circular like that?" demanded Greenbaum
in a protesting voice. "I don't recall any."
"That was when we were making a market for the stock," Elderberry
reminded him. "We couldn't say enough. Honestly, to look at the thing
now is enough to make you sick!"
"Well, it's just a hold-up--that's what it is. Some crook like this
Tutt or this Barrows has found out about Amphalula and is bringing a
strike suit. You'll have to call a meeting right away. I'd like to
strangle all these shyster lawyers!"
And it never occurred to Mr. Greenbaum that the possible existence of
the Amphalula vein was what in fact made the order to show cause
justifiable--his actual ground of complaint being that anybody should,
as he assumed, have found out about it in defiance of his plans.
* * * * *
"Yeronner," said Attendant Mike Horan as he helped Judge Pollak into his
black bombazine gown in his chambers in the old Post-Office Building on
the morning of the return day, "there's a great bunch out there in the
court room waitin' for ye, an' no mistake!"
"Indeed!" remarked His Honor. "And who are they? What is the case?"
"Hanged if I know," answered Mike, snipping a piece of fluff off his
judgeship's shoulder. "There's a white-bearded old guy, two or three
swell gents with tall hats, Counselor Tutt and an attorney named
Chippingham, besides that pretty Miss Wiggin; and they ain't speakin'
none to one another, neither."
"It must be that mining-reorganization case," answered the judge. "Well,
it's time to go in."
They walked down the dirty marble corridor and entered the court room,
while the clerk rapped on the railing.
"Hear ye! Hear ye! Hear ye! All persons having any business to do with
the District Court of the United States draw near, give your attention
and you will be heard," he intoned with unctuous authority.
The "bunch" rose and made obeisance.
"Good morning," said the judge pleasantly, sitting down with a side
switch of the bombazine. "Barrows against the--er--er--Horse's Neck
Mining Company. Do you represent the complainant, Mr. Tutt?"
"I do," answered Mr. Tutt with great dignity. "Your Honor, this is a
motion for an order to show cause why an injunction _pendente lite_
should not issue restraining the sale of the assets, of this corporation
to another in fraud of its minority stockholders--and for a receiver. My
client, an aged man living upon his farm in the northern part of the
state, is the owner of one hundred thousand shares in the Horse's Neck
Mining Company of the par value of one hundred thousand dollars. He has
owned these securities for many years. They represent his entire
capital. He is a bona fide stockholder--"
"May I be pardoned for interrupting?" sneered Chippingham, springing to
his feet. "I think the court should be informed at the outset that this
man, Barrows, is a notorious ex-convict."
Judge Pollak raised his eyebrows.
"This is an outrage!" thundered Mr. Tutt, his form rising ceilingward.
"My client--like all of us--has had his misfortunes, but they are
happily a thing of the past; he has the same rights as if he were an
archbishop, the president of a university or--a judge of this honorable
"We are sitting in equity," remarked His Honor. "The question of _bona
fides_ is a vital one. _Is_ the complainant an ex-convict?"
"This is the complainant, sir," cried Mr. Tutt, indicating old Doc, now
for the first time in his life smartly arrayed in a new checked suit,
red tie, patent-leather shoes and suede gloves, and with his beard
neatly trimmed. "This is the unfortunate man whose honest savings of a
lifetime are being wrested from him by an unscrupulous group of
manipulators who--in my opinion--are more deserving of confinement
behind prison walls than he ever was."
The gentlemen with the tall hats bit their lips and showed signs of
poorly suppressed agitation.
"But _is_ your client an ex-convict, Mr. Tutt?" repeated the judge
"Yes, Your Honor, he is."
"When and how did he become possessed of his stock?"
Mr. Tutt turned to Doc with an air of ineffectually striving to master
his righteous indignation.
"Tell the court, Mr. Barrows," he cried, "in your own words."
Doc Barrows wonderingly rose.
"If you please, sir," he began, "it's quite a long story. You see, I was
the owner of all the stock of The Chicago Water Front and Terminal
Company--there was a flaw in the title deed which I can explain to you
privately if you wish--and when I was--er--visiting--up on the Hudson--I
met a man there who was the owner of a hundred thousand shares of
Horse's Neck, and we agreed to exchange."
The judge tried to hide a slight smile.
"I see," he replied pleasantly. "And what was the man's name?"
"Oscar Bloom, sir."
The gentlemen with the tall hats exchanged agitated glances.
"Do you know how he got his stock?"
"That is all. Go on, Mr. Tutt."
Doc sat down while Mr. Tutt again unhooked his lank form.
"To resume where I was interrupted, Your Honor, the directors
controlling a majority of the stock of this corporation, the capital of
which is ten millions of dollars, have made a contract to sell all of
its properties to another corporation, organized by themselves and
capitalized for one million, for the sum of one hundred and twenty-five
"It is true that in their plan of reorganization they offer to permit
any stockholder in the old corporation to subscribe for stock in the new
at par--thus at first glance placing all upon what seems to be an
equality; but any stockholder who does not see fit to subscribe or
cannot afford to do so is wiped out, for there will be nothing left in
the way of assets in Horse's Neck after the transfer is completed.
"Now these gentlemen have underwritten the stock in the new Lallapaloosa
Company at fifty cents upon the dollar, and if this nefarious deal is
permitted to go through they will thus acquire a property worth ten
millions for five hundred thousand dollars, of which they will use only
one hundred and twenty-five thousand in payment of old indebtedness. In
effect, they confiscate the equity of all the minority stockholders in
Horse's Neck who cannot afford to subscribe for stock in Lallapaloosa."
He turned upon the uncomfortable tall hats with an arraigning eye.
"In the criminal courts, Your Honor, such a conspiracy would be
properly described as grand larceny; in Wall Street perchance it may be
viewed as high finance. But so long as there are courts of equity such a
wrong upon a helpless stockholder will not go unrebuked. Have I made
myself clear to Your Honor?"
Judge Pollak looked interested. He was a man famous for his protection
of helpless minorities and his court had been selected by Mr. Tutt on
"If the facts are as you state them, Mr. Tutt," he answered seriously,
"the plan on its face would seem to be inequitable. If the property is
worth ten million the consideration is palpably inadequate. Your
client's equity, worth on that basis at least one hundred thousand
dollars, would be entirely destroyed without any redress."
"Your Honor," burst out Mr. Chippingham, whose bald head had been
bobbing about in excited contiguity with the tall hats, "this is a most
misleading statement. The assets of Horse's Neck aren't worth a hundred
thousand dollars. And if any of the minority don't want to come into the
reorganization--and I assure Your Honor that we would welcome their
participation--they can have their equity appraised under the laws of
Delaware and the finding becomes a lien on the assets even after they
have been transferred."
"What relief does that give a man like Mr. Barrows?" shouted Mr. Tutt.
"He can't afford to go down to Wilmington with a carload of books and a
corps of experts to prove the value of Horse's Neck. It would cost him
more than his stock is worth!"
"That remedy is not exclusive, in any event," declared the judge. "If
this complainant is going to be defrauded I will enjoin this contract
_pendente lite_ and appoint a receiver."
"Your Honor!" protested Chippingham in great agony. "It is not the fact
that this mine is worth ten million. It isn't worth at the most more
than one hundred thousand. It is, full of water, the machinery is rusted
and falling to pieces and the workings are practically exhausted. The
only way to rehabilitate this property is for everybody to come in and
put up enough money by subscribing to the stock of the new corporation
to pump it out, buy new engines and start producing again. Is it fair to
the majority, who are willing to go on, put up more money, and make an
attempt to save the property, to have this complainant--an ex-convict
who never paid a cent for his stock, dug up from heaven knows
where--enjoin their contract and throw the corporation into the hands of
a receiver? This is nothing but a strike suit. I repeat--a strike suit!"
He glowered breathless at his adversary.
"Oh! Oh!" groaned Mr. Tutt in horrified tones.
"Gentlemen! Gentlemen!" expostulated the court. "This will not do!"
"I beg pardon--of the court," stammered Mr. Chippingham.
"Your Honor," mourned Mr. Tutt, "I have practised here for thirty years
and this is the first time I have ever been insulted in open court. A
strike suit? I hold in my hand"--he waved it threateningly at the tall
hats--"a circular issued by these directors less than five years ago, in
which they give the itemized value of this property as ten million
dollars. Shortly after that circular was issued the stock sold in the
open market at one dollar and ninety cents a share. In two years it sank
to ten cents a share. Will a little water, a little rust, a little
trouble with labor reduce the value of a great property like this from
ten millions of dollars to one hundred thousand--one per cent of its
appraised value? Either"--he fixed Chippingham with an exultant and
terrifying glance--"they were lying then or they are lying now!"
"Let me look at that circular," directed Judge Pollak. He took it from
Mr. Tutt's eager hand, glanced through it and turned sharply upon the
"How long have you been attorney for Scherer, Hunn, Greenbaum & Beck?"
"Twelve years, Your Honor."
"Who is Wilson W. Elderberry?"
"He is the secretary of the Horse's Neck Extension, Your Honor."
"Is he in court?"
From a distant corner Mr. Elderberry bashfully rose.
"Come here!" ordered the court. And the Pooh-Bah of the
Scherer-Hunn-Greenbaum-Beck enterprises came cringing to the bar.
"Did you sign this circular in 1914?" demanded Judge Pollak.
"Yes, Your Honor."
"Were the statements contained in it true?"
"Ye-es, Your Honor. That is--they were to the best of my knowledge and
belief. I was, of course, obliged to take what information was at
"Did you sign the other circular, issued last month, to the effect that
the mine was practically valueless?"
"Yes, sir." Elderberry studiously examined the moldings on the cornice
of the judge's canopy.
"Um!" remarked the court significantly.
There was a flurry among the tall hats. Then Mr. Greenbaum sprang to his
"If you please, Your Honor," he announced, staccato, "we entirely
disavow Mr. Elderberry's circular of 1914. It was issued without our
knowledge or authority. It is no evidence that the mine was worth ten
millions or any other amount at that time."
"Oh! Oh!" choked Mr. Tutt, while Miss Wiggin giggled delightedly into
her brief case.
Judge Pollak bent upon Mr. Greenbaum a withering glance.
"Did your firm sell any of its holdings in Horse's Neck after the
issuance of that circular?"
Greenbaum hesitated. He would have liked to wring that judge's neck.
"Why--how do I know? We may have."
"Say 'yes,' for God's sake," hissed Chippingham "or you'll land in the
"I am informed that we did," answered Greenbaum defiantly. "That is, I
don't _say_ we did. Very likely we did. Our books would show. But I
repeat--we disavow this circular and we deny any responsibility for this
This man, Elderberry, who for twelve long years had writhed under the
biting lash of his employer's tongue, hating him with a hatred known
only to those in subordinate positions who are bribed to suffer the
"whips and scorns of time, the oppressor's wrong, the proud man's
contumely," quivered and saw red. He was going to be made the goat!
They expected him to take all the responsibility and give them a clean
slate! The nerve of it! To hell with them! Suddenly he began to cry,
shockingly, with deep stertorous suspirations.
"No--you won't!" he hiccuped. "You shan't lay the blame on me! I'll tell
the truth, I will! I won't stand for it! Your Honor, they want to
reorganize Horse's Neck because they think there's a vein in Amphalula
that crosses one of the old workings and that it'll make the property
worth millions and millions."
Utter silence descended upon the court room--silence broken only by the
slow ticktack of the self-winding clock on the rear wall and the whine
of the electric cars on Park Row. One of the tall hats crept quietly to
the door and vanished. The others sat like images.
Then the court said very quietly: "I will adjourn this matter for one
week. I need not point out that what has occurred has a very grave
interpretation. Adjourn court!"
* * * * *
Old Doc Barrows, the two Tutts and Miss Wiggin were sitting in Mr.
Tutt's office an hour later when Willie announced that Mr. Tobias
Greenbaum was outside and would like an interview.
"Send him in!" directed Mr. Tutt, winking at Miss Wiggin.
Mr. Greenbaum entered, frowning and without salutation, while Doc
partially rose, moved by the acquired instinct of disciplinary
politeness, then changed his mind and sat down again.
"See here," snarled Greenbaum. "You sure have made a most awful hash of
this business. I don't want to argue about it. We could go ahead and
beat you, but Pollak is prejudiced and will probably give you your
injunction and appoint a receiver. If he does, that will knock the whole
property higher than a kite. Nobody would ever buy stock in it or even
finance it. Now how much do you want to call off your suit?"
"Have a stogy?" asked Mr. Tutt politely.
"We want exactly one hundred thousand dollars."
Greenbaum laughed derisively.
"A hundred thousand fiddlesticks! This old jailbird swindled another
"Oh, Bloom was a crook too, was he?" chuckled Mr. Tutt. "He worked for
your firm, didn't he?"
"That's nothing to do with it!" retorted Greenbaum angrily. "Your
swindling client traded some bum stock in a fake corporation for Bloom's
stock, which he received for bona fide services--"
"Like Elderberry's?" inquired Tutt innocently.
"Your man never paid a cent for his holdings. That alone would throw
him out of court. The mine isn't worth a cent without the Amphalula
vein. We're taking a big chance. You've got us down and we've got to
pay; but we'll pay only ten thousand dollars--that's final."
"I ain't any more of a swindler than you be!" said Doc with plaintive
"What do you wish to do, Mr. Barrows?" asked Mr. Tutt, turning to him
"I leave it entirely to you, Mr. Tutt. It's your stock; I gave it all to
you months ago."
"Then," answered Mr. Tutt with fine scorn, "I shall tell this miserable
cheating rogue and rascal either to pay you a hundred thousand dollars
or go to hell."
Mr. Tobias Greenbaum clenched his fists and cast a black glance upon the
"You can wreck this corporation if you choose, you bunch of dirty
blackmailers, but you'll get not a cent more than ten thousand. For the
last time, will you take it or not?"
Mr. Tutt rose and pointed toward the door.
"Kindly remove yourself before I call the police," he said coldly. "I
advise the firm of Scherer, Hunn, Greenbaum & Beck to retain criminal
counsel. Your ten thousand may come in handy for that purpose."
Mr. Tobias Greenbaum went.
"And now, Miss Wiggin, how about a cup of tea?" said Mr. Tutt.
The firm of Tutt & Tutt claimed to be the only law firm in the city of
New York which still maintained the historic English custom of having
tea at five o'clock. Whether the claim had any foundation or not the tea
was none the less an institution, undoubtedly generating a friendly,
sociable atmosphere throughout the office; and now Willie pulled aside
the screen in the corner and disclosed the gate-leg table over which
Miss Wiggin exercised her daily prerogative. Soon the room was filled
with the comfortable odor of Pekoe, of muffins toasted upon an electric
heater, of cigarettes and stogies. Yet there was, and had been ever
since their conversation about the hat, a certain restraint between Miss
Wiggin and Mr. Tutt, rising presumably out of her suggestion that his
course savored of blackmail, however justified it had afterward turned
out to be.
"My, isn't this nice!" murmured Doc, trying unsuccessfully to eat a
muffin, drink his tea and do justice to a stogy at the same time. "It's
so homy now, isn't it?"
"Doc," answered Mr. Tutt, "did you really want that ten thousand?"
"Me?" repeated Doc vaguely. "Why, I told you I gave that stock to you
long ago. It isn't mine any longer. Besides, I don't want any money.
I'm perfectly happy as I am."
Mr. Tutt laughed genially.
"Oh, well," he said, "it's no matter who owns it. Elderberry just
telephoned me that he had received a telegram from the Amphalula that
the vein had definitely run out. It's all over--including the shouting."
"Elderberry telephone you?" queried Miss Wiggin in astonishment.
"Yes, Elderberry. You see, he's done, he says, with Scherer, Hunn,
Greenbaum & Beck. Wants to turn state's evidence and put 'em all in
jail. I've said I'd help him."
"Then why didn't you take the ten thousand and call it quits while the
getting was good?" demanded his partner icily.
"Because I knew I'd never get the ten anyway," replied Mr. Tutt.
"Greenbaum would have learned about the vein on his return to the
"Well, I must be getting along back to Pottsville!" mumbled Doc. "This
has been a very pleasant trip--very pleasant; and quite--quite--exciting.
"What I'd like to know, Mr. Tutt," interrupted Miss Wiggin, "is how you
justify your course in this matter. When you attempted to block this
proposed reorganization you knew nothing about the Elderberry circular
of 1914 valuing the property at ten million, or of the Amphalula vein.
On its face you were attempting to wreck a perfectly honest piece of
financiering, and unless it was a strike suit--which I hope and pray it
"Strike suit!" protested Mr. Tutt with a slight twinkle in his eye. "How
can you suggest such a thing! Didn't the events demonstrate the wisdom
of my judgment?"
"But you didn't know what was going to happen when you began your suit!"
she argued firmly. "I hate to say it, but I should think that if
everything had not come out just as it has your motives might easily
have been misconstrued."
"It was a matter of principle with me, my dear," declared Mr. Tutt
solemnly. "Just to show there's no ill feeling, won't you give me
another cup of tea?"