The Honourable Hilary grunted again.
"I suppose I am by nature a free-lance," Austen continued. "You were good enough to acknowledge the force of my argument when I told you it would be best for me to strike out for myself. And I suppose it was inevitable, such being the case, and you the chief counsel for the Northeastern Railroads, that I should at some time or another be called upon to bring suits against your client. It would have been better, perhaps, if I had not started to practise in this State. I did so from what I believe was a desire common to both of us to--to live together."
The Honourable Hilary reached for his Honey Dew, but he did not speak.
"To live together," Austen repeated. "I want to say that, if I had gone away, I believe I should always have regretted the fact." He paused, and took from his pocket a slip of paper. I made up my mind from the start that I would always be frank with you. In spite of my desire to amass riches, there are some suits against the Northeastern which I have-- somewhat quixotically--refused. Here is a section of the act which permitted the consolidation of the Northeastern Railroads. You are no doubt aware of its existence."
The Honourable Hilary took the slip of paper in his hand and stared at it. "The rates for fares and freights existing at the time of the passage of this act shall mot be increased on the roads leased or united under it." What his sensations were when he read it no man might have read in his face, but his hand trembled a little, and along silence ensued before he gave it back to his son with the simple comment:--
"I do not wish to be understood to ask your legal opinion, although you probably know that lumber rates have been steadily raised, and if a suit under that section were successful the Gaylord Lumber Company could recover a very large sum of money from the Northeastern Railroads," said Austen. "Having discovered the section, I believe it to be my duty to call it to the attention of the Gaylords. What I wish to know is, whether my taking the case would cause you any personal inconvenience or distress? If so, I will refuse it."
"No," answered the Honourable Hilary, "it won't. Bring suit. Much use it'll be. Do you expect they can recover under that section?"
"I think it is worth trying," said Austen.