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THE VISION SPLENDID (chapter11,part1)

2006-08-28 23:39

    CHAPTER 11

    "Faustina hath the fairest face, And Phillida the better grace; Both have mine eye enriched: This sings full sweetly with her voice; Her fingers make so sweet a noise; Both have mine ear bewitched. Ah me! sith Fates have so provided, My heart, alas! must be divided."

    THE HERO, ASSISTED BY THE MONA LISA SMILE, DEPLORES THE DEBILITATING EFFECTS OF MODERN CIVILIZATION

    PART 1

    With the adjournment of the legislature politics became a less absorbing topic of interest. James at least was frankly glad of this, for his position had begun to be embarrassing. He could not always stand with a foot in either camp. As yet he had made no break with the progressives. Joe Powers had given him a hint that he might be more useful where he was. But as much as possible he was avoiding the little luncheons at which Jeff and his political friends were wont to foregather. He gave as an excuse the rush of business that was swamping him. His excuse at least had the justification of truth. His speeches had brought him a good many clients and Frome was quietly throwing cases his way.

    It was at one of these informal little noonday gatherings that Rawson gave his opinion of the legal ability of James.

    "He isn't any great lawyer, but he never gives it away. He knows how to wear an air of profound learning with a large and impressive silence. Roll up the whole Supreme Court into one and it can't look any wiser than James K. Farnum."

    Miller laughed. "Reminds me of what I heard last week. Jeff was walking down Powers Avenue with James and an old fellow stopped me to point them out. There go the best citizen and the worst citizen in this town, he said. I told him that was rather hard on James. You ought to have heard him. For him James is the hero of the piece and Jeff the villain."

    "Half the people in this town have got that damn fool notion," Captain

    Chunn interrupted violently.

    "More than half, I should say."

    "Every day or two I hear about how dissipated Jeff used to be and how if it were not for his good and noble cousin he would have gone to the deuce long ago," Rawson contributed. Chunn pounded on the table with his fist. "Jeff's own fault. Talk about durn fools! That boy's got them all beat clear off the map. And I'm dashed if I don't like him better for it."

    "Move we change the subject," suggested Rawson. "Here comes Verden's worst citizen."

    With a casual nod of greeting round the table Jeff sat down.

    "Any of you hear James' speech before the Chamber of Commerce yesterday? It was bully. One of his best," he said as he reached for the menu card.

    Captain Chunn groaned. The rest laughed. Jeff looked round in surprise. "What's the joke?"

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