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Jeanie opened her book and began:
"One day as a little old woman was sweeping her house she found a crooked sixpence. 'What shall I do with this sixpence?' she thought as she polished it. I know, I will go to the market and buy a pig.' So she did. But as she was coming home from market, she came to a stile, and the pig refused to go over the stile. The little old woman went on until she met a spotted dog. She said to the dog, 'Dog, dog, bite pig, piggy won't get over the stile and I shan't get home tonight.' "
Jeanie looked up. "This is one of my absolute favorites."
"Mine, too," I said.
As she read on, I closed my eyes and thought about MacPhail and Rickey. It seemed to me that there was perhaps a good deal to be said on both sides. Allowances had to be made. Rickey's friends make allowances for his sometimes high-sounding declarations of his motives for doing what he does; MacPhail's friends are similarly generous in excusing his outbursts of temper. "Under certain circumstances," a MacPhail admirer had told me, "Larry is likely to take a poke at his best friend. But he'll be sorry and do everything he can to make it up. He doesn't hold a grudge, he's generous, he's honest as the day is long. For all his huffing and puffing, he's soft-hearted. He wouldn't tell a lie. He wouldn't do a cruel thing deliberately."
I heard Jeanie say, "Are you listening?"
"Oh, yes," I said, sitting up straight in my chair. "It's getting exciting."
"Ox, ox," continued Jeanie, "drink water, water won't quench fire, fire won't burn stick, stick won't beat dog, dog won't bite pig, piggy won't get over the stile, and I shan't get home tonight."
I drifted off again. Mr. Rickey, I thought, could not be the hypocritical person his worst enemies have held him to be; he couldn't and live with himself. He must believe—or believe he believes—in what he professes to believe. Even if he (like MacPhail) could be proved wrong about some things, he must have been completely convinced that he was right. No man could live a whole lifetime of pretense. If Rickey and MacPhail were pitted against each other in a courtroom (an appropriate setting since both are lawyers), each could summon a long list of character witnesses. The more I thought about the courtroom scene, the more fitting it seemed. I had a vague feeling that there had been such a scene—and there had been. It was the famous monkey trial in Tennessee when an irreverent MacPhaillike Clarence Darrow was matched against a Bible-quoting Rickeylike William Jennings Bryan.
MacPhail is something like Dar-row, but his irreverence does not mean that he is irreligious. Like Darrow, he is brilliant, but principally because he makes certain he knows what he is talking about.