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A Hoosier Chronicle by Meredith Nicholson

His personal peculiarities had greatly Interested Harwood


We

need not trace the devious course by which, after much burning of oil during half a dozen winters, Dan Harwood attained to a freshman's dignity at New Haven, where, arriving with his effects in a canvas telescope, he had found a scholarship awaiting him; nor need we do more than record the fact that he had cared for furnaces, taken the night shift on a trolley car, and otherwise earned money until, in his junior year, his income from newspaper correspondence and tutoring made further manual labor unnecessary. It is with profound regret that we cannot point to Harwood as a football hero or the mainstay of the crew. Having ploughed the mortgaged acres, and tossed hay and broken colts, college athletics struck him as rather puerile diversion. He would have been the least conspicuous man in college if he had not shone in debate and gathered up such prizes and honors as were accessible in that field. His big booming voice, recognizable above the din in all 'varsity demonstrations, earned for him the sobriquet of "Foghorn" Harwood. For the rest he studied early and late, and experienced the doubtful glory, and accepted meekly the reproach, of being a grind.

History and the dismal science had interested him immensely. His assiduous attention to the classes of Professor Sumner had not gone unnoticed by that eminent instructor, who once called him by name in Chapel Street, much to Dan's edification. He thought well of belles-lettres and for a time toyed

with an ambition to enrich English literature with contributions of his own. During this period he contributed to the "Lit" a sonnet called "The Clam-Digger" which began:--

At rosy dawn I see thine argosy;

and which closed with the invocation:--

Fair tides reward thy long, laborious days.

The sonnet was neatly parodied in the "Record," and that journal printed a gratuitous defense of the fisherman at whom, presumably, the poem had been directed. "The sonnet discloses nothing," said the "Record," "as to the race, color, or previous condition of servitude of the unfortunate clammer to justify a son of Eli in attacking a poor man laudably engaged in a perfectly honorable calling. The sonneteer, coming, we believe, from the unsalt waters of the Wabash, seems to be unaware that the fisherman at whom he has leveled his tuneful lyre is not seeking fair tides but clams. We therefore suggest that the closing line of the sextette be amended to read--

Fair clams reward thy long, laborious days."

Harwood was liked by his fellow students in the law office. Two Yalensians, already established there, made his lot easier, and they combined against a lone Harvardian, who bitterly resented Harwood's habit of smoking a cob pipe in the library at night. The bouquet of Dan's pipe was pretty well dispelled by morning save to the discerning nostril of the harvard man, who protested against it, and said the offense was indictable at common law. Harwood stood stoutly for his rights and privileges, and for Yale democracy, which he declared his pipe exemplified. There was much good-natured banter of this sort in the office.

Harwood was busy filing papers when Mr. Fitch summoned him to his private room on the day indicated. Fitch was short, thin, and bald, with a clipped reddish beard, brown eyes, and a turn-up nose. He was considered a better lawyer than Wright, who was the orator of the firm, and its reliance in dealing with juries. In the preparation of briefs and in oral arguments before the Supreme Court, Fitch was the superior. His personal peculiarities had greatly Interested Harwood; as, for example, Fitch's manner of locking himself in his room for days at a time while he was preparing to write a brief, denying himself to all visitors, and only occasionally calling for books from the library. Then, when he had formulated his ideas, he summoned the stenographer and dictated at one sitting a brief that generally proved to be the reviewing court's own judgment of the case in hand. Some of Fitch's fellow practitioners intimated at times that he was tricky. In conferences with opposing counsel, one heard, he required watching, as he was wary of committing himself and it was difficult to discover what line of reasoning he elected to oppose or defend. In such conferences it was his fashion to begin any statement that might seem even remotely to bind him with the remark, "I'm just thinking aloud on that proposition and don't want to be bound by what I say." The students in the office, to whom he was unfailingly courteous, apostrophized him as "the fox." He called them all "Mister," and occasionally flattered them by presenting a hypothetical case for their consideration.


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