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A Hoosier Chronicle by Meredith Nicholson

A drollery of the Hoosier constitution still tolerated

style="text-align: justify;"> CHAPTER XIII


The historian may not always wait for the last grain of sand to mark the passing of an hour; he must hasten the flight of time frequently by abrupt reversals of the glass. Much competent evidence (to borrow from the lawyers) we must reject as irrelevant or immaterial to our main issue. Harwood was admitted to practice in the United States courts midway of his third year in Bassett's office. The doors of the state courts swing inward to any Hoosier citizen of good moral character who wants to practice law,--a drollery of the Hoosier constitution still tolerated. The humor of being a mere "constitutional" lawyer did not appeal to Harwood, who revered the traditions and the great names of his chosen profession, and he had first written his name on the rolls of the United States District Court.

His work for Bassett grew more and more congenial. The man from Fraser was concentrating his attention on business; at least he found plenty of non-political work for Dan to do. After the troubled waters in Ranger County had been quieted and Bassett's advanced outpost in the Boordman Building had ceased to attract newspaper reporters, an important receivership to which Bassett had been appointed gave Harwood employment of a semi-legal character. Bassett had been a minor stockholder in a paper-mill which had got into difficulties

through sheer bad management, and as receiver he addressed himself to the task of proving that the business could be made to pay. The work he assigned to Harwood was to the young man's liking, requiring as it did considerable travel, visits to the plant, which was only a few hours' journey from the capital, and negotiations which required the exercise of tact and judgment. However, Harwood found himself ineluctably drawn into the state campaign that fall. Bassett was deeply engaged in all the manoeuvres, and Harwood was dispatched frequently on errands to county chairmen, and his aid was welcomed by the literary bureau of the state committee. He prepared a speech whose quality he tested at small meetings in his own county, and his efforts having been favorably received he acted as a supply to fill appointments where the regular schedule failed. Toward the end of the campaign his assignments increased until all his time was taken. By studying his audiences he caught the trick of holding the attention of large crowds; his old college sobriquet of "Foghorn" Harwood had been revived and the newspapers mentioned his engagements with a casualness that implied fame. He enjoyed his public appearances, and the laughter and applause were sweet to him.

After the election Bassett admonished him not to neglect the law.

"I want you to make your way in the profession," he said, "and not let my affairs eat up all your time. Give me your mornings as far as possible and keep your afternoons for study. If at any time you have to give me a whole day, take the next day for yourself. But this work you're doing will all help you later. Lawyers these days have got to be business men; you understand that; and you want to get to the top."

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