“I dare say. What kind of an establishment did he keep?”
“A small cottage, with books everywhere, right by the campus. A young girl let me in; she spoke of the professor as her grandfather. She went off to find him for me in the college library.”
“A young person. What did she look like?”
“A dark young miss, with black hair tied with a red ribbon.”
“You are sure of the color, are you? This man lives there with his granddaughter, and the place was simple—comfortable, no luxuries. You had no conversation with him.”
“I think we exchanged a word about the weather, which was warm.”
Fitch smiled again. His was a rare smile, but it was worth waiting for.
“What did the trip cost you?”
Harwood named the amount and the lawyer drew a check book from his impeccable desk and wrote.
“I have added one hundred dollars for your services. This is a personal matter between you and me, and does not go on the office books. By the way, Mr. Harwood, what are you doing out there?” he asked, moving his head slightly toward the outer office.
“I’m reading law.”
“Is it possible! The other youngsters in the office seem to be talking politics or reading newspapers most of the time. How do you manage to live?”
“I do some work for the ‘Courier’ from time to time.”
“Ah! You are careful not to let your legal studies get mixed with the newspaper work?”
“Yes, sir. They put me on meetings, and other night assignments. As to the confidences of this office, you need have no fear of my—”
“I haven’t, Mr. Harwood. Let me see. It was of you Professor Sumner wrote me last year; he’s an old friend of mine. He said he thought you had a sinewy mind—a strong phrase for Sumner.”
“He never told me that,” said Dan, laughing. “He several times implied quite the reverse.”
“He’s a great man—Sumner. I suppose you absorbed a good many of his ideas at New Haven.”
“I hope I did, sir: I believe in most of them anyhow.”
“So do I, Mr. Harwood.”
Fitch pointed to a huge pile of manuscript on a table by the window. It was a stenographic transcript of testimony in a case which had been lost in the trial court and was now going up on appeal.
“Digest that evidence and give me the gist of it in not more than five hundred words. That’s all.”
Harwood’s hand was on the door when Fitch arrested him with a word.
“To recur to this private transaction between us, you have not the remotest idea what was in that letter, and nothing was said in the interview that gave you any hint—is that entirely correct?”
“Very well. I know nothing of the matter myself; I am merely accommodating a friend. We need not refer to this again.”