I recall an experience with that same Mr. Nathan. Weill, the wholesale grocer of whose commerce with the City Hall my Cousin Robert Breck had so bitterly complained. Late one afternoon Mr. Weill’s carriage ran over a child on its way up-town through one of the poorer districts. The parents, naturally, were frantic, and the coachman was arrested. This was late in the afternoon, and I was alone in the office when the telephone rang. Hurrying to the police station, I found Mr. Weill in a state of excitement and abject fear, for an ugly crowd had gathered outside.
“Could not Mr. Watling or Mr. Fowndes come?” demanded the grocer.
With an inner contempt for the layman’s state of mind on such occasions I assured him of my competency to handle the case. He was impressed, I think, by the sergeant’s deference, who knew what it meant to have such an office as ours interfere with the affair. I called up the prosecuting attorney, who sent to Monahan’s saloon, close by, and procured a release for the coachman on his own recognizance, one of many signed in blank and left there by the justice for privileged cases. The coachman was hustled out by a back door, and the crowd dispersed.
The next morning, while a score or more of delinquents sat in the anxious seats, Justice Garry recognized me and gave me precedence. And Mr. Weill, with a sigh of relief, paid his fine.
“Mr. Paret, is it?” he asked, as we stood together for a moment on the sidewalk outside the court. “You have managed this well. I will remember.”
He was sued, of course. When he came to the office he insisted on discussing the case with Mr. Watling, who sent for me.
“That is a bright young man,” Mr. Weill declared, shaking my hand. “He will get on.”
“Some day,” said Mr. Watling, “he may save you a lot of money, Weill.”
“When my friend Mr. Watling is United States Senator,—eh?”
Mr. Watling laughed. “Before that, I hope. I advise you to compromise this suit, Weill,” he added. “How would a thousand dollars strike you? I’ve had Paret look up the case, and he tells me the little girl has had to have an operation.”