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time. Nothing would have stopped him. We offered to keep the firm together for him, but he said he'd rather resign and be foot-free. So he just chucked the whole thing up and now it's 'Ludlow & Fowler.'"
"Of course I'd have heard, only I've been away," said I in explanation of my ignorance. "I suppose I'll find a lot of my other friends gone."
"Rather!" he returned. "I tell you there's a big hule in this town below Fulton Street. The last men in the world you would have thought of! Gone across or down to Washington or on some mission-left their jobs and just hiked right out. Take the bar— there are so many of 'em gone that we've had to form a big committee of lawyers to hold their practice together for them."
"How is the law business?" I inquired politely.
"Rotten!" he grinned. "But what do you expect? There isn't any other business except war businessto be any law business about."
"I know that the surgeons are pretty well cleaned out," said I, thinking of Ken Adams and his appendicitis case.
"Oh, there aren't any surgeons!" he agreed. "You'd be lucky to get anybody to treat you for mumps. If the general health wasn't so much better than usual-from cutting out rich grub and rum-I don't know what we'd do. Glad to have seen you.
If you should have any law business, don't forget us!"
"I shan't have any law business," I answered grimly, "or any other kind around here, I guess, from the looks of things."
The Petroleum National Bank was on the next block on my way to the office and I paused at the cashier's desk to inquire the amount of my balance. Behind a glass partition I could see Rumsey Prall, the president, sitting in state at his mahogany desk, and after getting my information I pushed my way through the brass rail and went in to speak to him.
"Hello, Stanton!" he said, drawing me into a chair. "Haven't seen you for a dog's age. Where you been-Paris?"
I shook my head.
"Not much!" I retorted. "I've been dreaming away nearly a year in the Pacific."
He looked at me with open incredulity.
"That's a funny safe place to have been!" he ejaculated.
"So I've just discovered," I replied. "It seems that quite a little has happened since I left here. By the way, where's Jim Rogers, your vice-president?" "Rogers is running the Red Cross over on the other side," he answered. "They needed a big man, so we had to let him go. Phillips, our third vice, has gone,
too. He's in Washington, though. Seen our serviceflag? Forty-seven stars on it!" he added proudly.
On the corner of Wall Street I ran into Allston Hopkins dressed as a captain, walking with his son Sam, who was in the uniform of an ensign in the navy. Hopkins is a civil engineer with an international reputation, who earns, it is said, two or three hundred thousand dollars a year. He nodded to me, evidently not aware that I had been away.
"Going across?" I asked over my shoulder as I passed.
"I've been over and back five times already," he said. "Just got my boy a job!"
"Good luck to you!" I called after them.
Already I had an unpleasant feeling of being a sort of outsider as if all about me there was some mystic circle to which I did not have the password—a brotherhood of which I was not a member.
There were all kinds of uniforms on Wall Street, and several French and Canadian officers were strolling along watching the crowds and looking at the Stock Exchange. Suddenly an old woman carrying a string-bag full of bundles pushed her way through the crowd to where a French captain in an army cape was standing before a show-window. She was shabbily dressed and her gray hair was far from tidy, but her eyes were shining and there was an almost reverential expression on her wrinkled face as she timidly touched
him upon the arm. He turned and, seeing her eager look, raised his cap, as she held out her hand:
"I just can't help shaking hands with you!" she cried tremulously, and with little tears of excitement in her eyes. "Do you mind? We can't ever thank you enough."
"C'est avec plaisir, madame, que je vous remercie pour l'honneur fait à mes compatriotes-au nom de la France," and he bent over the little hand with a bow that would have done credit to a nobleman of the ancien régime, while the little old woman, quite flustered, looked up and then down and, as if abashed at her own temerity, hurried on lest some one should see her. The Frenchman stood gazing after her with his cap still raised in air for several seconds while the crowd swept round him-a gentle smile about his eyes. I couldn't help it-I, too, stepped up and laid my hand on his arm:
"Je veux vous remercier aussi !" I said, smiling. "Nous voulons tous vous remercier!"
Like a flash he gave me the salute.
"Mes compliments, m'sieur!" he responded; then glancing tenderly in the direction of the little figure almost lost in the crowd: "Ah, cette petite dame agée me fait penser à ma chère grand'mère à Falaise!”
The recollection of that brief scene stayed with me all day. I think of it occasionally even now. I am glad that old lady did not restrain her impulse to show
her appreciation in the only way she could of what France has done for us and for the world.
At the office I found that my partner Lord had already been in for a few moments, looked over his mail, and hurried out again. Miss Peterson said that he had just made an unexpected sale of some bonds and had gone over to the vaults personally to superintend delivery. This was news no less grateful than it was surprising. Perhaps business was looking up again!
Not having anything in particular to do, I started in making a short list of the men I thought I should like to see and chat with during the course of the day, for under my doctor's orders I had done no letterwriting while on my vacation and looked forward with a good deal of pleasurable anticipation to renewing the old intimacies and hearing what my former cronies had to say for themselves. I jotted down some twenty names and told Miss Peterson to call up their offices and see whether they were in town. Half an hour later she laid the slip on my desk with the notes which she had made. I will give no names, but merely the occupation and whereabouts of twelve out of the twenty of my former down-town associates:
Bank President: Acting as assistant to Secretary of the
Manufacturer: Member of National Council of Defense