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Counsel for the Defense

Leroy Scott

  Produced by D Alexander and the Online DistributedProofreading Team at (This file wasproduced from images generously made available by TheInternet Archive)

  Counsel for the Defense


  Leroy Scott

  Author of

  "The Shears of Destiny," "To Him That Hath," "The Walking Delegate"

  Frontispiece by Charles M. Chapman


  _Copyright, 1911, 1912, by_ LEROY SCOTT

  _All rights reserved, including that of translation into foreign languages, including the Scandinavian_





  DR. DAVID WEST, her father.

  ARNOLD BRUCE, editor of the _Express_.

  HARRISON BLAKE, ex-lieutenant-governor.

  MRS. BLAKE, his mother.

  "BLIND CHARLIE" PECK, a political boss.

  HOSEA HOLLINGSWORTH, an old attorney.

  BILLY HARPER, reporter on the _Express_.

  THE REVEREND DR. SHERMAN, of the Wabash Avenue Church.

  MRS. SHERMAN, his wife.

  MRS. RACHEL GRAY, Katherine's aunt.

  ROGER KENNEDY, prosecuting attorney.


  MR. BROWN, of the National Electric & Water Company.

  MR. MANNING, a detective.

  ELIJAH STONE, a detective.



  I. Westville Prepares to Celebrate 3 II. The Bubble Reputation 15 III. Katherine Comes Home 30 IV. Doctor West's Lawyer 49 V. Katherine Prepares for Battle 63 VI. The Lady Lawyer 80 VII. The Mask Falls 98 VIII. The Editor of the _Express_ 116 IX. The Price of a Man 131 X. Sunset at The Sycamores 146 XI. The Trial 158 XII. Opportunity Knocks at Bruce's Door 172 XIII. The Deserter 191 XIV. The Night Watch 212 XV. Politics Make Strange Bedfellows 226 XVI. Through The Storm 240 XVII. The Cup of Bliss 250 XVIII. The Candidate and the Tiger 264 XIX. When Greek Meets Greek 276 XX. A Spectre Comes to Town 295 XXI. Bruce to the Front 311 XXII. The Last Stand 328 XXIII. At Elsie's Bedside 346 XXIV. Billy Harper Writes a Story 368 XXV. Katherine Faces the Enemy 388 XXVI. An Idol's Fall 403 XXVII. The End of The Beginning 418




  The room was thick with dust and draped with ancient cobwebs. In onecorner dismally reposed a literary junk heap--old magazines,broken-backed works of reference, novels once unanimously read but nowunanimously forgotten. The desk was a helter-skelter of papers. One ofthe two chairs had its burst cane seat mended by an atlas of theworld; and wherever any of the floor peered dimly through the generaldebris it showed a complexion of dark and ineradicable greasiness.Altogether, it was a room hopelessly unfit for human habitation; whichis perhaps but an indirect manner of stating that it was the office ofthe editor of a successful newspaper.

  Before a typewriter at a small table sat a bare-armed, solitary man.He was twenty-eight or thirty, abundantly endowed with bone andmuscle, and with a face----But not to soil this early page withabusive terms, it will be sufficient to remark that whatever theDivine Sculptor had carved his countenance to portray, plainly therehad been no thought of re-beautifying the earth with an Apollo. He wasconstructed not for grace, but powerful, tireless action; and therewas something absurdly disproportionate between the small machine andthe broad and hairy hands which so heavily belaboured its ladylikekeys.

  It was a custom with Bruce to write the big local news story of theday himself, a feature that had proved a stimulant to his paper'scirculation and prestige. To-morrow was to be one of the proudest daysof Westville's history, for to-morrow was the formal opening of thecity's greatest municipal enterprise, its thoroughly modernwater-works; and it was an extensive and vivid account of the nextday's programme that the editor was pounding so rapidly out of hismachine for that afternoon's issue of the _Express_. Now and then, ashe paused an instant to shape an effective sentence in his mind, heglanced through the open window beside him across Main Street towhere, against the front of the old Court House, a group ofshirt-sleeved workmen were hanging their country's colours about aspeakers' stand; then his big, blunt fingers thumped swiftly on.

  He had jerked out the final sheet, and had begun to revise his story,making corrections with a very black pencil and in a very large hand,when there sauntered in from the general editorial room a pale, slightyoung man of twenty-five. The newcomer had a reckless air, a humoroustwist to the left corner of his mouth, and a negligent smartness inhis dress which plainly had its origin elsewhere than in Westville.

  The editor did not raise his eyes.

  "In a minute, Billy," he said shortly.

  "Nothing to hurry about, Arn," drawled the other.

  The young fellow drew forward the atlas-bottomed chair, leisurelyenthroned himself upon the nations of the earth, crossed his feet uponthe window-sill, and lit a cigarette. About his lounging form therewas a latent energy like that of a relaxed cat. He gazed ratherlanguidly over at the Square, its sides abustle with excitedpreparation. Across the fronts of stores bunting was being tacked;from upper windows crisp cotton flags were being unscrolled. As forthe Court House yard itself, to-day its elm-shaded spaces werelifeless save for the workmen about the stand, a litigant or two goingup the walk, and an occasional frock-coated lawyer, his vestdemocratically unbuttoned to the warm May air. But to-morrow----

  The young fellow had turned his head slowly toward the editor's copy,and, as though reading, he began in an emotional, declamatory voice:

  "To-morrow the classic shades of Court House Square will teem with atumultuous throng. In the emblazoned speakers' stand the WestvilleBrass Band, in their new uniforms, glittering like so many grandmarshals of the empire, will trumpet forth triumphant music fit toburst; and aloft from this breeze-fluttered throne of oratory----"

  "Go to hell!" interrupted Bruce, eyes still racing through his copy.

  "And down from this breeze-fluttered throne of oratory," continuedBilly, with a rising quaver in his voice, "Mr. Harrison Blake,Westville's favourite son; the Reverend Doctor Sherman, president ofthe Voters' Union, and the Honourable Hiram Cogshell, CallowayCounty's able-bodiest orator, will pour forth prodigal and perfervideloquence upon the populace below. And Dr. David West, he who hasdirected this magnificent work from its birth unto the present, he whohas laid upon the sacred altar of his city's welfare a matchlessdevotion and a lifetime's store of scientific knowledge, he who----"

  "See here, young fellow!" The editor slammed down the last sheet ofhis revised story, and turned upon his assistant a square, bony,aggressive face that gave a sense of having been modelled by aclinched fist, and of still glowering at the blow. He had gray eyesthat gleamed dogmatically from behind thick glasses, and hair thatbrush could not subdue. "See here, Bill
y Harper, will you please go tohell!"

  "Sure; follow you anywhere, Arn," returned Billy pleasantly, holdingout his cigarette case.

  "You little Chicago alley cat, you!" growled Bruce. He took acigarette, broke it open and poured the tobacco into a black pipe,which he lit. "Well--turn up anything?"

  "Governor can't come," replied the reporter, lighting a freshcigarette.

  "Hard luck. But we'll have the crowd anyhow. Blake tell you anythingelse?"

  "He didn't tell me that. His stenographer did; she'd opened theGovernor's telegram. Blake's in Indianapolis to-day--looking after hischances for the Senate, I suppose."

  "See Doctor West?"

  "Went to his house first. But as usual he wouldn't say a thing. Thatold boy is certainly the mildest mannered hero of the day I ever wentup against. The way he does dodge the spot-light!--it's enough to makeone of your prima donna politicians die of heart failure. To do agreat piece of work, and then be as modest about it as he is--well,Arn, I sure am for that old doc!"

  "Huh!" grunted the editor.

  "When it comes time to hang the laurel wreath upon his brow to-morrowI'll bet you and your spavined old Arrangements Committee will have topush him on to the stand by the scruff of his neck."

  "Did you get him to promise to sit for a new picture?"

  "Yes. And you ought to raise me ten a week for doing it. He didn'twant his picture printed; and if we did print it, he thought thatprehistoric thing of the eighties we've got was good enough."

  "Well, be sure you get that photo, if you have to use chloroform. Isaw him go into the Court House a little while ago. Better catch himas he comes out and lead him over to Dodson's gallery."

  "All right." The young fellow recrossed his feet upon the window-sill."But, Arn," he drawled, "this certainly is a slow old burg you'vedragged me down into. If one of your leading citizens wants to catchthe seven-thirty to Indianapolis to-morrow morning, I suppose he setshis alarm to go off day before yesterday."

  "What's soured on your stomach now?" demanded the editor.

  "Oh, the way it took this suburb of Nowhere thirty years to wake up toDoctor West! Every time I see him I feel sore for hours afterward athow this darned place has treated the old boy. If your six-cylinder,sixty-horse power, seven-passenger tongues hadn't remembered that hisgrandfather had founded Westville, I bet you'd have talked him out ofthe town long ago."

  "The town didn't understand him."

  "I should say it didn't!" agreed the reporter.

  "And I guess you don't understand the town," said the editor, a littlesharply. "Young man, you've never lived in a small place."

  "Till this, Chicago was my smallest--the gods be praised!"

  "Well, it's the same in your old smokestack of the universe as it ishere!" retorted Bruce. "If you go after the dollar, you're sane. Ifyou don't, you're cracked. Doctor West started off like a winner, sothey say; looked like he was going to get a corner on all the patientsof Westville. Then, when he stopped practising----"

  "You never told me what made him stop."

  "His wife's death--from typhoid; I barely remember that. When hestopped practising and began his scientific work, the town thoughthe'd lost his head."

  "And yet two years ago the town was glad enough to get him to takecharge of installing its new water system!"

  "That's how it discovered he was somebody. When the city began to lookaround for an expert, it found no one they could get had a tenth ofhis knowledge of water supply."

  "That's the way with your self-worshipping cross-roads towns! Youraise a genius--laugh at him, pity his family--till you learn how theoutside world respects him. Then--hurrah! Strike up the band, boys!When I think how that old party has been quietly studying typhoidfever and water supply all these years, with you bunch of hayseedslooking down on him as a crank--I get so blamed sore at the place thatI wish I'd chucked your letter into the waste-basket when you wrote meto come!"

  "It may have been a dub of a town, Billy, but it'll be the best placein Indiana before we get through with it," returned the editorconfidently. "But whom else did you see?"

  "Ran into the Honourable Hiram Cogshell on Main Street, and he slippedme this precious gem." Billy handed Bruce a packet of typewrittensheets. "Carbon of his to-morrow's speech. He gave it to me, he said,to save us the trouble of taking it down. The Honourable Hiram iscertainly one citizen who'll never go broke buying himself a bushel tohide his light under!"

  The editor glanced at a page or two of it with wearied irritation,then tossed it back.

  "Guess we'll have to print it. But weed out some of his flowers ofrhetoric."

  "Pressed flowers," amended Billy. "Swipe the Honourable Hiram's copyof 'Bartlett's Quotations' and that tremendous orator would havenothing left but his gestures."

  "How about the grand jury, Billy?" pursued the editor. "Anything doingthere?"

  "Farmer down in Buck Creek Township indicted for kidnapping hisneighbour's pigs," drawled the reporter. "Infants snatched away whilefond mother slept. Very pathetic. Also that second-story man wasindicted that stole Alderman Big Bill Perkins's clothes. Remember it,don't you? Big Bill's clothes had so much diameter that the poor,hard-working thief couldn't sell the fruits of his industry. Pathosthere also. Guess I can spin the two out for a column."

  "Spin 'em out for about three lines," returned Bruce in his abruptmanner. "No room for your funny stuff to-day, Billy; the celebrationcrowds everything else out. Write that about the Governor, and thenhelp Stevens with the telegraph--and see that it's carved down to thebone." He picked up the typewritten sheets he had finished revising,and let out a sharp growl of "Copy!"

  "That's your celebration story, isn't it?" asked the reporter.

  "Yes." And Bruce held it out to the "devil" who had appeared throughthe doorway from the depths below.

  "Wait a bit with it, Arn. The prosecuting attorney stopped me as I wasleaving, and asked me to have you step over to the Court House for aminute."

  "What's Kennedy want?"

  "Something about the celebration, he said. I guess he wants to talkwith you about some further details of the programme."

  "Why the deuce didn't he come over here then?" growled Bruce. "I'm asbusy as he is!"

  "He said he couldn't leave."

  "Couldn't leave?" said Bruce, with a snap of his heavy jaw. "Well,neither can I!"

  "You mean you won't go?"

  "That's what I mean! I'll go to the very gates of hell to get a goodpiece of news, but when it comes to general affairs the politicians,business men, and the etceteras of this town have got to understandthat there's just as much reason for their coming to me as for mygoing to them. I'm as important as any of them."

  "So-ho, we're on our high horse, are we?"

  "You bet we are, my son! And that's where you've got to be if you wantthis town to respect you."

  "All right. She's a great nag, if you can keep your saddle. But Iguess I'd better tell Kennedy you're not coming."

  Without rising, Billy leaned back and took up Bruce's desk telephone,and soon was talking to the prosecuting attorney. After a moment heheld out the instrument to the editor.

  "Kennedy wants to speak with you," he said.

  Bruce took the 'phone.

  "Hello, that you Kennedy?... No, I can't come--too busy. Suppose yourun over here.... Got some people there? Well, bring 'em along.... Whycan't they come? Who are they?... Can't you tell me what the situationis?... All right, then; in a couple of minutes."

  Bruce hung up the receiver and arose.

  "So you're going after all?" asked Billy.

  "Guess I'd better," returned the editor, putting on his coat and hat."Kennedy says something big has just broken loose. Sounds queer.Wonder what the dickens it can be." And he started out.

  "But how about your celebration story?" queried Billy. "Want it to godown?"

  Bruce looked at his watch.

  "Two hours till press time; I guess it can wait." And taking the storyback from the boy he tossed it
upon his desk.

  He stepped out into the local room, which showed the same kindlytolerance of dirt as did his private office. At a long table two youngmen sat before typewriters, and in a corner a third young man wastaking the clicking dictation of a telegraph sounder.

  "Remember, boys, keep everything but the celebration down to bones!"Bruce called out. And with that he passed out of the office and downthe stairway to the street.