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Chapter 24 BETWEEN THE ACTS

  • For the ten days next ensuing the public craving for sensational development_n the Mainwaring case seemed likely to be gratified to an unusual degree. T_he exciting scenes of the court-room was added the suicide of Mrs. LaGrange, immediately followed by news of the discovery that Richard Hobson, th_nwilling witness in the previous day's proceedings, had absconded, leavin_ot the slightest indication of even the direction in which he had vanished.
  • By many the suicide of the one and the sudden disappearance of the other, occurring simultaneously, were considered as prima facie evidence that th_wo, so closely associated with each other, had been in some way connecte_ith the Fair Oaks tragedy.
  • From this phase of the affair, however, public attention was speedily diverte_y the report that proceedings to contest the old will had been instituted, but in the name of Ralph Mainwaring and his brother, Harold W. Mainwaring; hi_on, the sole heir under the will of Hugh Mainwaring, having altogethe_ithdrawn from the contest. This had caused an open rupture between father an_on, and the latter had established himself in a suite of apartments at th_urray Hill.
  • Young Mainwaring's course occasioned great surprise; many commended hi_isdom, but few gave him credit for the genuine sense of honor which ha_ctuated him.
  • "A neat little stroke of diplomacy," said one club-man to another, "and worth_f Hugh Mainwaring himself! There is no show for him, anyway, and it's muc_etter policy to yield the point now, don't you see, than to fight it ou_long with that pig-headed father of his."
  • "He understands on which side his bread is buttered, and don't you forget it, my dear boy," was the laughing rejoinder. "It's always best to stand in wit_he winning side; he won't lose anything in the long run, and he knows it."
  • Such remarks occasionally reached young Mainwaring, making him exceedingl_ndignant.
  • "You may say, once and for all," he said to a reporter who was interviewin_im in his apartments at the Murray Hill, "that in withdrawing from thi_ontest I am not currying favor with Harold Scott Mainwaring. He and I are th_est of friends, but that fact would not hinder me from giving him a fair an_quare fight if there were the slightest doubt as to the validity of hi_laim. But there isn't; he has proved his right, legally and morally, to th_roperty, and that's enough for me."
  • "But Mr. Ralph Mainwaring must have some tenable ground for contesting hi_laim," said the reporter, tentatively, hoping to get some of the inside fact_f the case.
  • Young Mainwaring froze instantly. "I have nothing whatever to say, sir, regarding the governor's action in this matter; any information you desire o_hat point you will have to obtain from him."
  • The next development in the Mainwaring case was a report to the effect tha_he whereabouts of Harold W. Mainwaring could not be ascertained, and it wa_enerally supposed among his London associates that he had followed hi_rother to America by the next steamer. As this report was supplemented by th_urther facts that he was a man of no principle, heavily involved in debt, an_eeply incensed at Ralph Mainwaring's success in securing for his son th_merican estate in which he himself had expected to share, public speculatio_as immediately aroused in a new direction, and "that Mainwaring affair"
  • became the absorbing topic, not alone at the clubs and other places o_asculine rendezvous, but at all social gatherings as well.
  • Regarding the principal actors in this drama, however, around whom publi_nterest really centred, little could be definitely ascertained. To many, who, on the following morning, read the details of the suicide at the Wellington, it was a matter of no small wonder that the name of Harold Scott Mainwarin_as not once mentioned in connection with that of the woman shown by th_receding day's testimony to have been so closely related to him. Perhaps n_ne was more surprised at this omission than Merrick himself but if so, hi_nly comment was made mentally.
  • "He's got the cinch on them all around, and he'll win, hands down!"
  • The inquest, held at an early hour, was merely a matter of form, the evidenc_f intentional suicide being conclusive, and the interment, a few hours later, was strictly private. Excepting the clergyman who read the burial service, there were present only the two sons of the wretched woman.
  • It was their first meeting since learning of the strange relationship existin_etween them, and Walter LaGrange, as he entered the presence of the dead, cast a curious glance, half shrinking, half defiant, at the calm, stern fac_f Harold Mainwaring, who had preceded him. His own face was haggard an_rawn, and the hard, rigid lines deepened as his glance fell for an instant o_he casket between them. Then his eyes looked straight into those of Harol_ainwaring with an expression almost imploring.
  • "Tell me," he demanded in low, hoarse tones, "is it true that I am—what sh_nce said and what report is now saying—the son of Hugh Mainwaring?"
  • "It is true," the other replied, gravely.
  • "Then curse them both!" he exclaimed, while his hands clinched involuntarily.
  • "What right had they to blight and ruin my life? What right had they to liv_s they did, and let the stigma, the shame, the curse of it all fall on me? _ew months since I had the honor and respect of my classmates and associates; to-day, not one will recognize me, and for no fault of mine!"
  • "Hush!" interposed Harold Mainwaring; "I know the wrong which has been don_ou,—they have wronged me, also, far more deeply than you know,—but this is n_ime or place to recall it!"
  • The calmness and kindness of his tones seemed to soothe and control hi_xcited companion.
  • "I know they have wronged you," the latter replied; "but they have not ruine_ou! You have not only friends and wealth, but, more than all, your father'_ame. I," he added bitterly, "am a pauper, and worse than a pauper, for I hav_ot even a name!"
  • For a few moments Harold Mainwaring silently studied the haggard young fac_onfronting him, in which anger was slowly giving place to dull, sulle_espair; and his own heart was suddenly moved with pity for the boy.
  • "Robbed of his birthright before he was born," reared in an atmosphere o_reachery and deceit calculated to foster and develop the evil tendencie_lready inherited; yet, notwithstanding all, so closely akin to himself.
  • "Walter," he said, gravely, at the same time extending his hand across th_asket, "I realize the truth of much that you have said, but you need no_llow this to ruin or blight your life. Mark my words, your future from thi_ime forth is, to a great extent, in your own hands; your life will be wha_ou make it, and you alone. See to it that it is not blighted by your ow_rong-doing! Be yourself a man of honor, and I will assure you, you can depen_pon me to stand by you and to help you." Walter LaGrange raised his eyes i_stonishment at these words, containing a pledge of probably the first genuin_riendship he had ever known in his young life. He gave a look, searching, almost cynical, into Harold Mainwaring's face; then reading nothing bu_incerity, he took the proffered hand, saying brokenly,—
  • "Do you really mean it? I supposed that you, of all others, would despise me; and it would be no great wonder if you did!"
  • "It will depend entirely upon yourself, Walter, whether or not I despise you.
  • If I ever do, it will be the result of your own unworthiness, not because o_he wrong-doing of others."
  • There were signs in the boy's face of a brief struggle between the old pride, inherited from his mother, and the self-respect which Harold Mainwaring'_ords had but just awakened.
  • "If it were the other fellow," he said, slowly, "the one the old man intende_o make his heir, had made me such a proposition, I would tell him to go t_he devil; but, by George! if you will stand by me, it's all right, and I'l_e man enough anyway that you'll never regret it."
  • A few days later, Walter LaGrange, penniless and friendless, had disappeared, whither his former associates neither knew nor cared. In a large bankin_stablishment in one of the principal western cities,—a branch of the firm o_ainwaring & Co.,—a young man, known as the ward of Harold Scott Mainwaring, was entered as an employee, with prospect of advancement should he prov_imself worthy of responsibility and trust. But of this, as of many othe_vents just then quietly transpiring behind the scenes, little or nothing wa_nown.
  • Meanwhile, as the days slipped rapidly away, the party at the Waldorf was no_dle. There were conferences, numerous and protracted, behind dosed doors, telegrams and cablegrams in cipher flashed hither and thither in multitudinou_irections, while Mr. Sutherland seemed fairly ubiquitous. Much of his time, however, was spent in the private parlors of the English party, with frequen_ourneys to the court-house to ascertain the status of the case. From one o_hese trips he returned one evening jubilant.
  • "Well," said he, settling himself comfortably, with a sigh of relief, "th_irst point in the case is decided in our favor."
  • "That is a good omen," Mr. Barton replied cheerfully; "but may I inquire t_hat you refer?"
  • "I have succeeded in getting the date for the hearing set for the next term o_ourt, which opens early in December."
  • "I am glad to hear it; a little time just now is of the utmost importance t_ur interests. Did you have any difficulty in securing a postponement unti_he next term?"
  • "Whitney, of course, opposed it strongly. He said his client wanted the matte_ettled at the earliest possible moment; but I told him that so long as Ralp_ainwaring persisted in butting against a stone wall, just so long a speed_ettlement was out of the question; it was bound to be a hard fight, and woul_e carried over into the next term in any event. Then I had a privat_nterview with Judge Bingham, and, without giving particulars, told him tha_ew developments had arisen, and, with a little time in which to procur_ertain evidence, we would have our opponents completely floored,—they woul_ot even have an inch of room left to stand upon,—while under presen_onditions, Mainwaring, so long as he had a shilling, would, if beaten, mov_or a new trial, or appeal to a higher court,—anything to keep up the fight.
  • So he will grant us till December, which, I am inclined to think, will b_mple time."
  • "It looks now," said Mr. Barton, producing a telegram, "as though we migh_ucceed in securing that evidence much sooner than we have anticipated. Wha_o you think of that?" and he handed the despatch to Mr. Sutherland.
  • The face of the latter brightened as he glanced rapidly over the yellow sheet.
  • "The dickens! McCabe has left the city!" he exclaimed.
  • Mr. Barton bowed. "Which means," he said in reply, "that he has evidentl_truck the scent; and when he once starts on the trail, it is only a questio_f time—and usually not any great length of time, either—before he runs hi_ame to cover."
  • "Well," ejaculated Mr. Sutherland, rubbing his hands togethe_nthusiastically, "I, for one, want to be 'in at the death' on this, for i_ill simply be the finest piece of work, the grandest denouement, of any cas_hat has ever come within my twenty years of legal experience!"
  • Mr. Barton smiled. "My brother is evidently of the same opinion wit_ourself," he said. "I received a cablegram from him to-day, requesting me t_nform him at once of the date set for the hearing, as he stated he would not, for a kingdom, fail of being present at the trial."
  • With the announcement that the case of Mainwaring versus Mainwaring had bee_et for the opening of the December term of court, the public paused to tak_reath and to wonder at this unlooked-for delay, but preparations for th_oming contest were continued with unabated vigor on both sides. Contrary t_ll expectations, Ralph Mainwaring, so far from objecting to the postponemen_f the case, took special pains to express his entire satisfaction with thi_urn of affairs.
  • "It is an indication of conscious weakness on their part," he remarked wit_reat complacency, as he and Mr. Whitney were dining at the club on th_ollowing day. "They have evidently discovered some flaw in their defenc_hich it will take some time to repair. I can afford to wait, however; m_ttorneys and experts will soon be here, and while our side could easily hav_een in readiness in a much shorter time, this, of course, will give us a_pportunity for still more elaborate preparation, so that we will gain a_mmense advantage over them."
  • "I suppose, Mr. Mainwaring," said one of his listeners, giving a quick side- glance at his companions, "I suppose that during this interim a truce will b_eclared, and for the time being there will be a cessation of hostilitie_etween the parties in interest, will there not?"
  • "Sir!" roared Ralph Mainwaring, transfixing the speaker with a star_alculated to annihilate him.
  • "I beg pardon, sir, I intended no offence," continued the irrepressible youn_merican, ignoring the warning signals from his associates; "it only occurre_o me that with such an immense advantage on your side you could afford to b_agnanimous and treat your opponent with some consideration."
  • "I am not accustomed to showing magnanimity or consideration to any but my ow_quals," the other rejoined, with freezing dignity; "and the fact that my
  • 'opponent,' as you are pleased to designate him, is, for the present, allowe_iberty to go and come at his pleasure, although under strict surveillance, is, in this instance, sufficient consideration."
  • "Harold Scott Mainwaring under surveillance? Incredible!" exclaimed one of th_arty in a low tone, while the first speaker remarked, "I certainly wa_naware that the gentleman in question was to be regarded in the light of _uspected criminal!"
  • "It is to be presumed," said Ralph Mainwaring, haughtily, stung by the ting_f irony in the other's tone, "that there are a number of points in this cas_f which people in general are as yet unaware, but upon which they are likel_o become enlightened in the near future, when this person who has assume_uch a variety of roles will be disclosed in his true light,—not that of _uspected criminal merely, but of a condemned criminal, convicted by a chai_f evidence every link of which has been forged by himself."
  • There was an ominous silence as Ralph Mainwaring rose from the table, broke_t last by an elderly gentleman seated at a little distance, who, whil_pparently an interested listener, had taken no part in the conversation.
  • "Begging your pardon, Mr. Mainwaring, I would judge the charges which yo_ould prefer against this young man to be unusually serious; may I inquir_heir nature?"
  • The words were spoken with the utmost deliberation, but in the calm, eve_ones there was an implied challenge, which was all that was needed at tha_nstant to fan Ralph Mainwaring's wrath into a flame. Utterly disregarding _autionary glance from Mr. Whitney, he turned his monocle upon the speaker, glaring at him in contemptuous silence for a moment.
  • "You have decidedly the advantage of me, sir, but allow me to say that th_erson under discussion has not only, with unheard of effrontery, publicly an_nblushingly proclaimed himself as a blackmailer and knave, capable o_escending to any perfidy or treachery for the purpose of favoring his ow_ase schemes, but he has also, in his inordinate greed and ambition, unwittingly proved himself by his own statements and conduct to be a villai_f the deepest dye; and I will say, furthermore, that if Harold Scot_ainwaring, as he styles himself, ends his days upon the gallows in expiatio_f the foul murder of Hugh Mainwaring, he will have only himself to thank, fo_is own words and deeds will have put the noose about his neck."
  • Having thus expressed himself, Ralph Mainwaring, without waiting for reply, left the room accompanied by Mr. Whitney. The latter made no comment unti_hey were seated in the carriage and rolling down the avenue; then h_emarked, casually,—
  • "I was surprised, Mr. Mainwaring, that you failed to recognize the gentlema_ho addressed you as you were leaving the table."
  • "His face was somewhat familiar; I have met him, but I cannot recall when o_here. I considered his tone decidedly offensive, however, and I proposed, whoever he might be, to give him to understand that I would brook n_nterference. Do you know him?"
  • "I have never met him, but I know of him," the attorney replied, watching hi_lient closely. "He is the Honorable J. Ponsonby Roget, Q. C., of London. _upposed of course that you knew him."
  • "J. Ponsonby Roget, Queen's Counsel? Egad! I have met him, but it was year_go, and he has aged so that I did not recognize him. Strange!" he added, visibly annoyed. "What the deuce is he doing in this country?"
  • "That is just what no one is able to say," replied the attorney, slowly. "H_s stopping at the Waldorf, with our friends, the English party, but whethe_s a guest or in a professional capacity, no one has been able to ascertain."
  • "Zounds, man! why did you not give me this information earlier?"
  • "For the good and sufficient reason, Mr. Mainwaring, that I did not learn o_he facts myself until within the last two hours. My attention was called t_he gentleman as I entered the club. I assumed, of course, that you knew him, at least by sight, and when he addressed you I supposed for the instant tha_ou were acquaintances."
  • "But how came he at the club? None of the party from the Waldorf were wit_im."
  • "He was there as the especial guest of Chief-Justice Parmalee, of the Suprem_ourt, the gentleman on his left. Judge Parmalee spent much of his life i_ondon, and the two are particular friends."
  • "Well, it's done, and can't be undone, and I don't know that I regret it,"
  • Ralph Mainwaring remarked, sullenly. "If he chooses to identify himself wit_hat side of the case he is at liberty to do so, but he has my opinion of hi_lient gratis."
  • Mr. Whitney made no reply, and the drive was concluded in silence.
  • Meanwhile, Ralph Mainwaring had no sooner left the club than a chorus o_xclamations, protests, and running comments arose on all sides.
  • "Harold Scott Mainwaring the murderer of Hugh Mainwaring! That is carryin_his farce beyond all bounds!"
  • "If he cannot get possession of the property in any other way, he will sen_he new heir to the gallows, eh?"
  • "He will attempt it, too; he is desperate," said one.
  • "He may make it pretty serious for the young fellow," said another, thoughtfully. "You remember, by his own statements he was the last person wh_aw Hugh Mainwaring alive; in fact, he was in his library within a few moment_receding his death; and after all that has been brought to light, it's not t_e supposed that he had any great affection for his uncle."
  • "What is this, gentlemen?" said a reporter, briskly, appearing on the scene, note-book in hand. "Any new developments in the Mainwaring case?"
  • "Yes, a genuine sensation!" shouted two or three voices.
  • "Gentlemen, attention a moment!" said a commanding voice outside, and a_nstant later a tall, well-known form entered.
  • "The ubiquitous Mr. Sutherland!" laughingly announced a jovial young fellow, standing near the entrance.
  • "Sutherland, how is this?" demanded one of the elder gentlemen. "Have you _rivate battery concealed about your person with invisible wires distribute_hroughout the city, that you seem to arrive at any and every spot just on th_ick of time?"
  • "That is one of the secrets of the profession, Mr. Norton, not to be reveale_o the uninitiated," replied the attorney, while a quick glance flashe_etween himself and the Queen's Counsel.
  • "There is one thing, gentlemen," he continued, with great dignity, "to which _ish to call your attention, particularly you gentlemen of the press. I a_ware of the nature of the 'sensation' of which you made mention a moment ago, but I wish it distinctly understood that it is to be given no publicit_hatever. The name of my client is not to be bandied about before the publi_n connection with any of Ralph Mainwaring's imputations or vilifications, fo_he reason that they are wholly without foundation. We are thoroughl_ognizant of that gentleman's intentions regarding our client, and we wil_eet him on his own ground. In the coming contest we will not only establis_eyond all shadow of doubt our client's sole right and title to the Mainwarin_state, but we will, at the same time, forever refute and silence any an_very aspersion which Ralph Mainwaring may seek to cast upon him. Even wer_here any truth in these insinuations, it would be time enough, when th_harges should be preferred against our client, to brazen them before th_ublic, but since they are only the product of spleen and malignity, simpl_onsign them to the odium and obloquy to which they are entitled."
  • "That is right!" responded two or three voices, while the reporter replied, courteously,—
  • "We will certainly respect your wishes, sir; but you see the public is on th_ui vive, so to speak, over this case, and it is our business to get hold o_very item which we can to add to the interest. You have checked us off o_ome rather interesting matter already, I believe."
  • "Perhaps so," said Mr. Sutherland, quietly, "but I can promise you that befor_ong there will be developments in the case which will give you boys all th_nteresting matter you will need for some time, and they will be fact, no_abrication."
  • As the result of Mr. Sutherland's prompt action, the newspapers contained n_llusion to that evening's scene at the club; but even his energy and cautio_ere powerless to prevent the spread of the affair from lip to lip. Mentione_carcely above a whisper, the report rippled onward, the waves widening in al_irections, with various alterations and additions, till it was regarded as a_pen secret in all circles of society. It reached young Mainwaring in hi_ather secluded bachelor quarters at the Murray Hill, and he bowed his head i_hame that a Mainwaring should stoop to so disgraceful an exhibition of hi_enomous rage and hatred. It reached Harold Scott Mainwaring, and th_mouldering fire in the dark eyes gleamed afresh and the proud face grew rigi_nd stern. Donning overcoat and hat, he left his apartments at the Waldorf; and started forth in the direction of the club most frequented by Ralp_ainwaring and Mr. Whitney.
  • He had gone but a short distance when he met young Mainwaring. The young me_xchanged cordial greetings, and, at Harold's request, his cousin retraced hi_teps to accompany him.
  • "Why are you making such a stranger of yourself; Hugh? I have scarcely see_ou of late," said Harold, after a little general conversation.
  • "Well, to be frank with you, old boy, I haven't been around so often as _ould like for two reasons; for one thing, I find people generally are no_nclined to regard our friendship in the same light that we do. You and _nderstand one another, and you don't suspect me of any flunkeyism, or an_lterior motive, don't you know,—"
  • "I understand perfectly," said Harold, as his cousin paused, seeming to fin_ome difficulty in conveying his exact meaning; "and so long as you and I d_nderstand each other, what is the use of paying any attention to outsiders?
  • Whether we were friends, or refused to recognize one another, their small tal_nd gossip would flow on forever, so why attempt to check it?"
  • "I believe you are right; but that isn't all of it, don't you know. What _are most about is the governor's losing his head in the way he has lately. I_s simply outrageous, the reports he has started in circulation!"
  • Hugh paused and glanced anxiously into his cousin's face, but the frank, brotherly kindness which he read there reassured him.
  • "My dear cousin," said Harold, warmly, "nothing that Ralph Mainwaring can eve_ay or do shall make any difference between us. There are but tw_ontingencies in this connection that I regret."
  • "And those are what?" the younger man questioned eagerly.
  • "That he bears the name of Mainwaring, and that he is your father!"
  • "By Jove! I'm with you on that," the other exclaimed heartily, "and I hop_ou'll win every point in the game; but I've been awfully cut up over what h_as said and done recently. I know that he intends to carry his threats int_xecution, and I'm afraid he'll make it deucedly unpleasant for you, don't yo_now."
  • They had reached the club-house, and Harold Mainwaring, as he paused on th_owest step, smiled brightly into the boyish face, regarding him with suc_olicitude.
  • "I understand his intentions as well as you, and know that it would give hi_reat delight to carry them into execution; but, my dear boy, he will neve_ave the opportunity to even make the attempt."
  • Young Mainwaring's face brightened. "Why, are you prepared to head him off i_hat direction? By Jove! I'm right glad to know it. Well, I'll be around t_he Waldorf in the course of a day or two No, much obliged, but I don't car_o go into the club-rooms to-night; in fact, I haven't been in there since the governor made that after- dinner speech of his. Good-night!"
  • As Harold Mainwaring sauntered carelessly through the club-rooms, returnin_he greetings of the select circle of friends which he had made, he wa_onscious of glances of interest and undisguised curiosity from the many wit_hom he had no acquaintance. No allusion was made to the subject which he wel_new was in their minds, however, until, meeting Mr. Chittenden, the latte_rew him aside into an alcove.
  • "I say, my dear Mainwaring, are you aware that your esteemed kinsman has yo_nder strict surveillance?"
  • Mainwaring smiled, though his eyes flashed. "I am aware that he has mad_tatements to that effect, although, thus far, his 'surveillance' ha_nterfered in no way either with my duties or pleasures, nor do I apprehen_hat it will."
  • "My dear fellow, it is simply preposterous! The man must be insane."
  • "Is he here this evening?" Mainwaring inquired.
  • "No; to tell the truth, he has not found it so very congenial here since tha_utbreak of his; he seldom is here now, excepting, of course, at meals. Mr.
  • Whitney is here, however."
  • "I came here," Harold Mainwaring replied, "with the express purpose of meetin_ne or the other, or both; on the whole, it will be rather better to meet Mr.
  • Whitney."
  • "No trouble, no unpleasant words, I hope?" said the elder man, anxiously.
  • "Mr. Chittenden, when you knew me as Hugh Mainwaring's private secretary, yo_new me as a gentleman; I trust I shall never be less."
  • "You are right, you are right, my boy, and I beg your pardon; but young bloo_s apt to be hasty, you know."
  • A little later Harold Mainwaring strolled leisurely across the large reading- room to a table where Mr. Whitney was seated. The latter, seeing him, rose t_reet him, while his sensitive face flushed with momentary excitement.
  • "Mr. Mainwaring, I am delighted to meet you. I had hoped from the friendl_one of that rather mysterious note of yours, upon your somewhat abrup_eparture, that we might meet again soon, and, though it is under greatl_ltered circumstances, I am proud to have the opportunity of congratulatin_ou."
  • The younger man responded courteously, and for a few moments the two chatte_leasantly upon subjects of general interest, while many pairs of eyes looke_n in silent astonishment, wondering what this peculiar interview migh_ortend.
  • At last, after a slight pause, Harold Mainwaring remarked, calmly, "Mr.
  • Whitney, I understand that, when the coming litigation is terminated, you_lient intends to institute proceedings against me of a far differen_ature,—criminal proceedings, in fact."
  • The attorney colored and started nervously, then replied in a low tone, "Mr.
  • Mainwaring, let us withdraw to one of the side rooms; this is rather a publi_lace for any conversation regarding those matters."
  • "It is none too public for me, Mr. Whitney, as I have nothing unpleasant t_ay towards yourself personally, and nothing which I am not perfectly willin_hould be heard by any and every individual in these rooms to-night. You hav_ot yet answered my inquiry, Mr. Whitney."
  • The attorney paused for a moment, as though laboring under great excitement, then he spoke in a tone vibrating with strong emotion,—
  • "Mr. Mainwaring, regarding my client's intentions, you have, in al_robability, been correctly informed. I believe that he has made statements a_arious times to that effect, and I am now so well acquainted with him that _now there is no doubt but that he will attempt to carry out what he ha_hreatened. But, Mr. Mainwaring, I wish to say a word or two for myself. I_he coming litigation over the estate, I, as Ralph Mainwaring's counsel, a_ound to do my part without any reference to my own personal opinions o_rejudices, and I expect to meet you and your counsel in an ope_ight,—perhaps a bitter one. But this much I have to say: Should Ralp_ainwaring undertake to bring against you any action of the character which h_as threatened," here Mr. Whitney rose to his feet and brought his hand dow_ith a ringing blow upon the table at his side, "he will have to employ othe_ounsel than myself, for I will have nothing whatever to do with such a case."
  • He paused a moment, then continued: "I do not claim to understand yo_erfectly, Mr. Mainwaring. I will confess you have always been a mystery t_e, and you are still. There are depths about you that I cannot fathom. But _o believe in your honor, your integrity, and your probity, and as for takin_art in any action reflecting upon your character, or incriminating you in an_espect, I never will!"
  • A roar of applause resounded through the club-rooms as he concluded. When i_ad subsided, Harold Mainwaring replied,—
  • "Mr. Whitney, I thank you for this public expression of your confidence in me.
  • The relations between us in the past have been pleasant, and I trust they wil_ontinue so in the future. As I stated, however, I came here to-night with n_nfriendly feeling towards yourself, but to ask you to be the bearer of _essage from me to your client. Ralph Mainwaring, not content with trying b_very means within his power to deprive me of my right and title to the estat_or years wrongfully withheld from my father and from myself, now accuses m_f being the murderer of Hugh Mainwaring. I Say to Ralph Mainwaring, for me, that, not through what he terms my 'inordinate greed and ambition,' bu_hrough God-given rights which no man can take from me, I will have my own, and he is powerless to prevent it or to stand in my way. But say to him that _ill never touch one farthing of this property until I stand before the worl_ree and acquitted of the most remote shadow of the murder of Hugh Mainwaring; nor until the foul and dastardly crime that stains Fair Oaks shall have bee_venged!"
  • Amid the prolonged applause that followed, Harold Mainwaring left th_uilding.