He did not rant. He seemed to have rather a remarkable knowledge of the law. In a conversational tone he described the sufferings of the man in the flannel shirt beside him, but there could be no question of the fact that he did produce an effect. The spectators were plainly moved, and it was undeniable that some of the judges wore rather a sheepish look as they toyed with their watch chains or moved the stationery in front of them. They had seen maimed men before, they had heard impassioned, sentimental lawyers talk about wives and families and God and justice. Krebs did none of this. Just how he managed to bring the thing home to those judges, to make them ashamed of their role, just how he managed—in spite of my fortified attitude to revive something of that sense of discomfort I had experienced at the State House is difficult to say. It was because, I think, he contrived through the intensity of his own sympathy to enter into the body of the man whose cause he pleaded, to feel the despair in Galligan’s soul—an impression that was curiously conveyed despite the dignified limits to which he confined his speech. It was strange that I began to be rather sorry for him, that I felt a certain reluctant regret that he should thus squander his powers against overwhelming odds. What was the use of it all!
At the end his voice became more vibrant—though he did not raise it—as he condemned the Railroad for its indifference to human life, for its contention that men were cheaper than rolling-stock.
I encountered him afterward in the corridor. I had made a point of seeking him out, perhaps from some vague determination to prove that our last meeting in the little restaurant at the Capital had left no traces of embarrassment in me: I was, in fact, rather aggressively anxious to reveal myself to him as one who has thriven on the views he condemned, as one in whose unity of mind there is no rift. He was alone, apparently waiting for someone, leaning against a steam radiator in one of his awkward, angular poses, looking out of the court-house window.
“How are you?” I said blithely. “So you’ve left Elkington for a wider field.” I wondered whether my alert cousin-in-law, George Hutchins, had made it too hot for him.
He turned to me unexpectedly a face of profound melancholy; his expression had in it, oddly, a trace of sternness; and I was somewhat taken aback by this evidence that he was still bearing vicariously the troubles of his client. So deep had been the thought I had apparently interrupted that he did not realize my presence at first.
“Oh, it’s you, Paret. Yes, I’ve left Elkington,” he said.
“Something of a surprise to run up against you suddenly, like this.”
“I expected to see you,” he answered gravely, and the slight emphasis he gave the pronoun implied not only a complete knowledge of the situation and of the part I had taken in it, but also a greater rebuke than if his accusation had been direct. But I clung to my affability.