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X CURIA BY ROBERT W. CHAMBERS
(Copyright 1907 by Robt. W. Chambers.)
They decided to run 'through the
documents in the case once more, re
viewing everything from the begin
ning. So young Courtlandt, the at
torney, unwrapped the pink tape
from the bundle of papers.
Wall and ceiling still bore the faded
-Jmprint of the red winter sunset. Ed
gerton sat before the fire, his well
shaped head buried in his hands;
Courtlandt lounging by the window,
presently began to read:
Paris, December 24, 1902.
John Edgerton, Esq.:
Sir-J-My client, Michael Innis, is se
riously ill, and I am writing you at
his urgent solicitation.
It would appear that, during the
panic of 1884, my client came to your
father's assistance, at a time when
your father's financial ruin was ap
parently only a question of hours.
It would also appear that, upon
your father's death, you wrote Mr.
Innis, voluntarily assuming your
father's unpaid obligations.
It further appears that Mr. Innis
generously offered to wait for the
sums due him, permitting you to pay
at.your own convenience.
In the conclusion of this last let
ter Mr. Innis mentions his lifelong re
spect for your father and his family,
humorously drawing the Social dis
tinction between the late Winthrop
Edgerton, Esq., and Michael Innis,
the Tammany contractor; and rather
wistfully contrasting the future pros
pects of Mr. Edgerton's son, yourself,
and the chances of the child of Mich
To this letter you replied (copy
heiewith), repeating in a manly fash
ion your1 assurance of gratitude, hold
ing yourself at the service of Mr.
Innis. " , ,
No w,,- sir, if your assurance meant
more than mere civility, you have an
opportunity to erase the deep obliga
tions that your father assumed.
Mr. Innis is a man broken in mind
and body. His fortune was invested,
against my advice, in Madagascar
Railways. Today he could not realize
a thousand dollars from the invest
ment. For twenty years his one absorb
ing passion has been the education
and fitting of his only child for a posi
tion in the world Avhich he himself
could never hope to attain. And his
daughter has had the best that Eu
rope can afford.
Within a month all is changed. Sir,'
it is sad to see the stricken man lying
here, watching his daughter.
And now terror of the future for
her has wrung an appeal from him
to you a strange appeal, Mr. Edger
ton. Money alone is little; he asks
more; he -asks your protection for
her not the perfunctory protection
of a guardian for a ward, but the
guidance of a father, the companion
ship of a brother, the loyalty of a hus
band. The man is blinded by worship of
his own child; your father's son rep
resents to him all that is noblest,
most honorable", most desirable in the
Sir, this is an overdrawn draft
upon your gratitude, I fear. Yet I
write you as I am bidden. An answer
should be returned by cable with as
little delay as possible. He will live
until he receives it. Marriage by
proxy is legal. Special dispensation
I am, sir, with great respect, your
very humble servant,
Att'y and Counselor at Law
1 rue d'Issy.
When Cortlandt finished reading
he folded the letter, glancing across
at'Edgerton: "That was written 'two