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74

Manhattan Transfer

of lawbooks and the Gibson girl calendar over the telephone and the dusty square of sunlight by the window. He looked at his watch. Lunchtime. He drew the palm of a hand over his forehead and went to the telephone.

“Rector 1237. . . . Mr. Sandbourne there? . . . Say Phil suppose I come by for you for lunch? Do you want to go out right now? . . . Sure. . . . Say Phil I clinched it, I got the milkman his damages. I’m pleased as the dickens. I’ll set you up to a regular lunch on the strength of it. . . So long. . . ."

He came away from the telephone smiling, took his hat off its hook, fitted it carefully on his head in front of the little mirror over the hatrack, and hurried down the stairs.

On the last flight he met Mr. Emery of Emery & Emery who had their offices on the first floor.

“Well Mr. Baldwin how’s things?” Mr. Emery of Emery & Emery was a flatfaced man with gray hair and eyebrows and a protruding wedgeshaped jaw. “Pretty well sir, pretty well.”

“They tell me you are doing mighty well. . . . Something about the New York Central Railroad.”

“Oh Simsbury and I settled it out of court.”

“Humph,” said Mr. Emery of Emery & Emery.

As they were about to part in the street Mr. Emery said suddenly “Would you care to dine with me and my wife some time?”

“Why . . . er . . . I’d be delighted.”

“T like to see something of the younger fellows in the profession you understand. . . . Well I'll drop you a line. . . . Some evening next week. It would give us a chance to have a chat.”

Baldwin shook a blueveined hand in a shinystarched cuff and went off down Maiden Lane hustling with a springy step through the noon crowd. On Pearl Street he climbed a steep flight of black stairs that smelt of roasting coffee and knocked on a groundglass door.

“Come in,” shouted a bass voice. A swarthy man lanky in his shirtsleeves strode forward to meet him. “Hello