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Page:Memoirs of Henry Villard, volume 1.djvu/62

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CHAPTER III


Legal Experiments.—1855-6


THOSE happy days could not last forever. On the contrary, I felt it to be my duty all the time to keep looking about for a suitable position. I consulted with my uncle and my other relatives regularly in regard to my hopes and wishes in that respect, and they were likewise on the lookout. As I could hardly expect anything but ordinary manual employment, I was anxious to find it out side and away from Belleville, as the social position of my relatives would have made it embarrassing to all. Week after week elapsed, however, without my obtaining any thing to do. One Saturday, in the latter part of March, 1855, my cousin Scheel informed me that an American acquaintance of his, a Mr. Case, who held in Clinton County, Illinois, the same official position that Theodor Engelmann had — that is, Circuit Court Clerk and Recorder of Deeds — had requested him to find him a clerk to copy deeds in the records. He thought that I might serve the purpose. I had doubts as to my qualifications, inasmuch as, firstly, I had made but little progress in English, owing to my wholly German surroundings, and, secondly, because my handwriting was very bad. But he felt sure that I knew enough to enable me to copy instruments in writing. So we agreed that he should write and inquire about terms. Mr. Case replied that the copying would be paid for at the rate of twenty-five cents a page. I at once made a trial in Theodor Engelmann's office as to the time it would take me to write a page of one of the ponderous record-books, and found that I could write one in less than an hour. After further deliberation, it was decided that

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