"Well," said the Honourable Hilary, "we must have Ham Tooting hurry 'round and fix it up with him as soon as he can talk, before one of these cormorant lawyers gets his claw in him."
Austen said nothing, and after some desultory conversation, in which he knew how to indulge when he wished to conceal the fact that he was baffled, the Honourable Hilary departed. That student of human nature, Mr. Hamilton Tooting, a young man of a sporting appearance and a free vocabulary, made the next attempt. It is a characteristic of Mr. Tooting's kind that, in their efforts to be genial, they often use an awkward diminutive of their friends' names.
"Hello, Aust," said Mr. Tooting, "I dropped in to get those witnesses in that Meagre accident, before I forget it."
"I think I'll keep 'em," said Austen, making a note out of the Revised Statutes.
"Oh, all right, all right," said Mr. Tooting, biting off a piece of his cigar. "Going to handle the case yourself, are you?"
"I'm just as glad to have some of 'em off my hands, and this looks to me like a nasty one. I don't like those Mercer people. The last farmer they ran over there raised hell."
"I shouldn't blame this one if he did, if he ever gets well enough," said Austen. Young Mr. Tooting paused with a lighted match halfway to his cigar and looked at Austen shrewdly, and then sat down on the desk very close to him.
"Say, Aust, it sometimes sickens a man to have to buy these fellows off. What? Poor devils, they don't get anything like what they ought to get, do they? Wait till you see how the Railroad Commission'll whitewash that case. It makes a man want to be independent. What?"