Preserving the Past, Informing the Future
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It is impossible to accurately reflect in language the personality of one, intimacy with whom became affection long years ago. This vignette of Allan Brosmith, therefore, confess its failure, in limine, since it does not appraise a man but recalls a friend.
There is a nostalgia associated with the Allan Brosmith of another day - the friend we knew before they moved the county building from the dust and drabness of the city to the more refined atmosphere of Columbus Circle and the Supreme Court. I see him now hurrying to the old courthouse, meticulously groomed, derby-hatted, gray-spatted, pince-nezed, some pleadings thrust into the pocket of a velveted chesterfield, John Nagle, his social confidant and professional nemesis striding beside, and myself, custodian of the file in the case, completing a Travelers' triumvirate that assured of its ability to convince a waiting jury that every plaintiff's case was suspect, and that the particular plaintiff's case which was about to be heard was an abomination in the face of the Lord.
And not infrequently, however importuning the specter of a waiting judge, would he pause to greet Ed Daly, a Mayor Buckley or an Alex Creedon, or slow his step to offer a friend a congratulation, or condolence or one of those small but intimate well-wishings that constituted the imperishable aves in the rosary of his life.
Born in New York City on July 21, 1880, Allan Brosmith, unlike his beloved father, inherited the handicap of affluence. Unlike his father, his way was pointed, but it was never paved. He was educated - the earlier years - in New York, but at the College of the Holy Cross he came under the influence of the sound, exacting discipline of the Jesuits, whose simple teaching informed and fixed the conscience that never tolerated an injury to any man, nor yet refused to forgive one.
He was not a lawyer as one thinks of certain lawyers, trained, alert, an academician, impeccable of thought, with unerring finger upon the pulse of social rectitude. To him, the law, whether inscrutable as the Sphinx (as it sometimes was) or inevitable as the alarm clock (as it always was), was neither a puzzle to be probed nor intrusion to be tolerated, but an ethic to be lived, and he did his best to live it. Measured in terms of verdicts, his success was high today, low yesterday, and it might be high or low tomorrow. Measured in terms of effort and good will, he never lost a case.
It is difficult to sum him up. Intensely human, no man had higher spiritual values. His journeyings across the nation, his presence anywhere and everywhere convivial insurance or law men met, were inseparable from - indeed were part of - a nature that yet idolized with reverence the sanctity of home and family.
Like Falstaff, he could trade the latest quip. Like Dionysus, he could utter the liveliest toast. Like only himself could he sit beside a stricken friend or kneel before a silent casket.
Allan Brosmith is gone. He achieved prestige, enjoyed eminence, loved friends, lived strongly and closed his eyes in Time only to open them, I am sure, with the buoyant confidence of youth upon the newness of Eternity. Who could wish for more?[footer.htm]