Page:O Henry Prize Stories of 1924.djvu/156

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“If your other clients——”

“I’m not helping you as a client; I’m helping you as a brother. I’m scared, Ed. That’s the truth. If anything I can say can get you away——”

"It can’t."

“I knew it,” Charlie acknowledged, regretfully. ‘I hand it to you as far as that goes. That French-Revolution-Charles-the-First stunt is the one you first citizens always pull when you get into trouble. All right, that’s ended—though [ still hope you change your mind before morning. What about the widow? Young? Pretty? Well, I don’t know which is worse —that, or old and feeble, prop of her declining years removed. You needn’t laugh. If you’d had as much experience as I have——”

“You’ve had entirely too much, Charlie,”’ Boynton agreed. This time his laughter was sincere. ‘You're trying the case down on Kearney Street. What you overlook is that, even if there should be some preliminary unpleasantness—I don’t believe there will be—still, I have a safe resort. Nothing can go very far without being passed on by a jury. I know enough law for that.”

“It’s the jury you’re depending on?”

"It’s precisely that.”

“You think if the widow took the stand and swore to what she’d heard you say, and cried and had hysterics——”

“I think it wouldn’t make the slightest difference. I’ve lived here twelve years; any jury you could get, any dozen men picked at random——”

His brother repeated the words thoughtfully after him. “‘Any jury picked at random?’ All right —we'll pick ’em; enough to show what I mean. Got a telephone book? It won’t be a perfectly fair sample, but it’ll give us an idea. Here, I’ll read the names off.”

He turned to the A’s under West Brookins. ‘‘Abrams, Adams, Adamson———”

“There’s a good place to stop,”’ Boynton interrupted the reading. He spoke good-naturedly with an obvious desire not to insist on his triumph. “Any one of those three or all of them. Adams and I have played chess together for years. And Abrams——”

‘‘Abrams the one that ‘writes the law textbooks?”