* * * * *
After all, hadn't his mistake been a natural one? Hadn't he done his
best for the paper? Wasn't it his duty to run down a lead like that?
He'd made errors of judgment, perhaps, but he'd like to see the man who
wouldn't have under the circumstances. Of course, mistakes would creep
in occasionally and give innocent people the worst of it, but look at
the good he'd done in his life by exposing scoundrels. How could he, how
could any man, have acted differently who was loyal to his paper, whose
first interests were the public good? If Naylor didn't appreciate a star
man when he had him, he thought he knew an editor or two who did. Simp.,
old boy, wasn't going to starve.... Starve? It had been hungry work, so
he'd just step across to the Manhattan, get a bite of breakfast, and
look up the trains to Boston.
Naylor did know a good man when he had him, and likewise--quite as
valuable a bit of knowledge--he knew when a man had had enough. So when
Simpkins sat down that afternoon to tell him his experiences, he only
smiled quizzically as the reporter wound up by asking, "Now, what do
_you_ think?" and answered:
"Well, for one thing, I think it did you a power of good to look behind
that veil, because I reckon that for once in your life you've told me
the truth as near as you know how.