to the office “to have a long talk with me,” as he expressed it. We ran over the books and arranged for the completion of all unsettled and unfinished matters.
In some cases he had certain requests to make — certain lines of procedure he wished me to observe.
After these things were all disposed of he crossed to the opposite side of the room and threw himself down on the old office sofa, which, after many years of service, had been moved against the wall for support.
He lay for some moments, his face towards the ceiling, without either of us speaking.
Presently he inquired, “Billy,” --he always called me by that name,--“how long have we been together?”
“Over sixteen years,” I answered.
“We've never had a cross word during all that time, have we?”
to which I returned a vehement, “No, indeed we have not.”
He then recalled some incidents of his early practice and took great pleasure in delineating the ludicrous features of many a lawsuit on the circuit.
It was at this last interview in Springfield
that he told me of the efforts that had been made by other lawyers to supplant me in the partnership with him. He insisted that such men were weak creatures, who, to use his own language, “hoped to secure a law practice by hanging to his coat-tail.”
I never saw him in a more cheerful mood.
He gathered a bundle of books and papers he wished to take with him and started to go; but before leaving he made the strange request that the sign-board which swung on its rusty hinges at the foot of the stairway should remain.
“Let it hang ”