**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!


The Hypotheses Of Failure
by [?]

Lawyer Gooch delivered the cautious opinion that there was not.

“This man she has gone to join,” resumed the visitor, “is not the man to make her happy. It is a wild and foolish self-deception that makes her think he will. Her husband, in spite of their many disagreements, is the only one capable of dealing with her sensitive and peculiar nature. But this she does not realize now.”

“Would you consider a divorce the logical cure in the case you present?” asked Lawyer Gooch, who felt that the conversation was wandering too far from the field of business.

“A divorce!” exclaimed the client, feelingly–almost tearfully. “No, no–not that. I have read, Mr. Gooch, of many instances where your sympathy and kindly interest led you to act as a mediator between estranged husband and wife, and brought them together again. Let us drop the hypothetical case–I need conceal no longer that it is I who am the sufferer in this sad affair–the names you shall have–Thomas R. Billings and wife–and Henry K. Jessup, the man with whom she is infatuated.”

Client number three laid his hand upon Mr. Gooch’s arm. Deep emotion was written upon his careworn face. “For Heaven’s sake”, he said fervently, “help me in this hour of trouble. Seek out Mrs. Billings, and persuade her to abandon this distressing pursuit of her lamentable folly. Tell her, Mr. Gooch, that her husband is willing to receive her back to his heart and home–promise her anything that will induce her to return. I have heard of your success in these matters. Mrs. Billings cannot be very far away. I am worn out with travel and weariness. Twice during the pursuit I saw her, but various circumstances prevented our having an interview. Will you undertake this mission for me, Mr. Gooch, and earn my everlasting gratitude?”

“It is true,” said Lawyer Gooch, frowning slightly at the other’s last words, but immediately calling up an expression of virtuous benevolence, “that on a number of occasions I have been successful in persuading couples who sought the severing of their matrimonial bonds to think better of their rash intentions and return to their homes reconciled. But I assure you that the work is often exceedingly difficult. The amount of argument, perseverance, and, if I may be allowed to say it, eloquence that it requires would astonish you. But this is a case in which my sympathies would be wholly enlisted. I feel deeply for you sir, and I would be most happy to see husband and wife reunited. But my time,” concluded the lawyer, looking at his watch as if suddenly reminded of the fact, “is valuable.”

“I am aware of that,” said the client, “and if you will take the case and persuade Mrs. Billings to return home and leave the man alone that she is following–on that day I will pay you the sum of one thousand dollars. I have made a little money in real estate during the recent boom in Susanville, and I will not begrudge that amount.”

“Retain your seat for a few moments, please,” said Lawyer Gooch, arising, and again consulting his watch. “I have another client waiting in an adjoining room whom I had very nearly forgotten. I will return in the briefest possible space.”

The situation was now one that fully satisfied Lawyer Gooch’s love of intricacy and complication. He revelled in cases that presented such subtle problems and possibilities. It pleased him to think that he was master of the happiness and fate of the three individuals who sat, unconscious of one another’s presence, within his reach. His old figure of the ship glided into his mind. But now the figure failed, for to have filled every compartment of an actual vessel would have been to endanger her safety; with his compartments full, his ship of affairs could but sail on to the advantageous port of a fine, fat fee. The thing for him to do, of course, was to wring the best bargain he could from some one of his anxious cargo.