And lastly, there was Langmaid, whose feelings almost defy analysis. He chose to walk through the still night the four miles—that separated him from his home. And he went back over the years of his life until he found, in the rubbish of the past, a forgotten and tarnished jewel. The discovery pained him. For that jewel was the ideal he had carried away, as a youth, from the old law school at the bottom of Hamilton Place, —a gift from no less a man than the great lawyer and public-spirited citizen, Judge Henry Goodrich—Philip Goodrich’s grandfather, whose seated statue marked the entrance of the library. He, Nelson Langmaid, —had gone forth from that school resolved to follow in the footsteps of that man,—but somehow he missed the path. Somehow the jewel had lost its fire. There had come a tempting offer, and a struggle—just one: a readjustment on the plea that the world had changed since the days of Judge Goodrich, whose uncompromising figure had begun to fade: an exciting discovery that he, Nelson Langmaid, possessed the gift of drawing up agreements which had the faculty of passing magically through the meshes of the Statutes. Affluence had followed, and fame, and even that high office which the Judge himself had held, the Presidency of the State Bar Association. In all that time, one remark, which he had tried to forget, had cut him to the quick. Bedloe Hubbell had said on the political platform that Langmaid got one hundred thousand dollars a year for keeping Eldon Parr out of jail.
Once he stopped in the street, his mind suddenly going back to the action of the financier at the vestry meeting.
“Confound him!” he said aloud, “he has been a fool for once. I told him not to do it.”
He stood at last in the ample vestibule of his house, singling out his latch-key, when suddenly the door opened, and his daughter Helen appeared.
“Oh, dad,” she cried, “why are you so-late? I’ve been watching for you. I know you’ve let Mr. Hodder stay.”
She gazed at him with widened eyes.
“Don’t tell me that you’ve made him resign. I can’t—I won’t believe it.”
“He isn’t going to resign, Helen,” Langmaid replied, in an odd voice.
“He—he refused to.”
“Rise, crowned with light!”
The Church of St. John’s, after a peaceful existence of so many years, had suddenly become the stage on which rapid and bewildering dramas were played: the storm-centre of chaotic forces, hitherto unperceived, drawn from the atmosphere around her. For there had been more publicity, more advertising. “The Rector of St. John’s will not talk”—such had been one headline: neither would the vestry talk. And yet, despite all this secrecy, the whole story of the suspension of Hodder’s salary was in print, and an editorial (which was sent to him) from a popular and sensational journal, on “tainted money,” in which Hodder was held up to the public as a martyr because he refused any longer to accept for the Church ill-gotten gains from Consolidated Tractions and the like.