"Hold on. Don't go twistin' around that way--you make me dizzy." He lowered his voice confidentially, although there was no one within five walls of them. "I know the difference between a gold brick and a government bond, anyhow. I believe bucking the railroad's going to pay in a year or so. I got on to it as soon as you did, I guess, but when a feller's worn the collar as long as I have and has to live, it ain't easy to cut loose--you understand."
"I understand," answered Austen, gravely.
"I thought I'd let you know I didn't take any too much trouble with Meader last summer to get the old bird to accept a compromise."
"I knew what you was up to," said Mr. Tooting, giving Austen a friendly poke with his cigar.
"You showed your usual acumen, Mr. Tooting," said Austen, as he rose to put on his coat. Mr. Tooting regarded him uneasily.
"You're a deep one, Aust," he declared; "some day you and, me must get together."
Mr. Billings' desire for ultimate justice not being any stronger than Austen suspected, in due time Mr. Meader got his money. His counsel would have none of it,--a decision not at all practical, and on the whole disappointing. There was, to be sure, an influx into Austen's office of people who had been run over in the past, and it was Austen's unhappy duty to point out to these that they had signed (at the request of various Mr. Tootings) little slips of paper which are technically known as releases. But the first hint of a really material advantage to be derived from his case against the railroad came from a wholly unexpected source, in the shape of a letter in the mail one August morning.
"DEAR SIR: Having remarked with some interest the verdict for a client of yours against the United Northeastern Railroads, I wish you would call and see me at your earliest convenience.