Austen Vane, like most men who are really capable of a deep sympathy, was not an adept at expressing it verbally. Moreover, he knew enough of his fellow-men to realize that a Puritan farmer would be suspicious of sympathy. The man had been near to death himself, was compelled to spend part of the summer, his bread-earning season, in a hospital, and yet no appeal or word of complaint had crossed his lips.
"Mr. Meader," said Austen, "I came over here to tell you that in my opinion you are entitled to heavy damages from the railroad, and to advise you not to accept a compromise. They will send some one to you and offer you a sum far below that which you ought in justice to receive, You ought to fight this case."
"How am I going to pay a lawyer, with a mortgage on my farm?" demanded Mr. Meader.
"I'm a lawyer," said Austen, "and if you'll take me, I'll defend you without charge."
"Ain't you the son of Hilary Vane?"
"I've heard of him a good many times," said Mr. Meader, as if to ask what man had not. "You're railroad, ain't ye?"
Mr. Meader gazed long and thoughtfully into the young man's face, and the suspicion gradually faded from the farmer's blue eyes.
"I like your looks," he said at last. "I guess you saved my life. I'm-- I'm much obliged to you."