In that convention, Rufus P. Ranney greatly distinguished himself. Although but thirty-six years of age he commanded the respect and admiration of all its members, and won for himself a high reputation as a sound lawyer and ready debater. No one was more looked to for advice, and none more generally correct in giving it.
"Tom," I said, "why don't you go home?" "Oh, Mr. Ranney," he said, "I wish I could, but I want to go back a little better than I am now." And God knows he was in bad shape; the clothes he had on you couldn't sell to a rag-man; in fact, he had nothing! I pitied the poor fellow from my heart. I was interested.
Ranney," continued Bart, "what is the reason of this universal failure of law students?" "I think the estimate of Giddings is large," said Ranney. "but of all the young men who study law, about one half do it with no settled purpose of ever practising, and, of course, don't. Of those who do intend to practice, one half never really establish themselves in it.
Ranney, don't you know me?" and when I can't place them they will tell me how I was the means of saving their lives by letting them stay in out of the cold, and giving them a cup of coffee and a piece of bread in the morning. I could count them by the hundreds. Praise His name! One night just as the doors opened, there came into the Mission a woman who evidently had seen better days.
Soon afterward he entered into partnership with his preceptor. The firm of Wade & Ranney was a powerful one, and "ruled the circuit" of North Eastern Ohio. For several years it enjoyed an extensive practice. Wade was soon afterward chosen President Judge of the Third Judicial District, from which position he was transferred to the Senate of the United States.
The two guests were in high spirits, and talked gushingly of the young ladies they had met, and they wondered that it did not provoke even a sarcasm from him. "It would compensate you for not going," said Ranney, kindly, "if we were to tell you what was said of you in your absence." "And who said it," added Henry. Not a word, nor a look even.
I was playing poker one night, the 16th of September, 1899, with no more thought of Dave than if he had never lived. It was in the old Hotel on Water Street, a little before eight in the evening. My partner and I were having a pretty easy time stealing the other men's money some call it cheating when my thoughts turned to my old Christian pal Ranney.
In response to the wishes of the members of the legal profession, and the general desire of the public, he was, by the legislature of 1851, chosen one of the judges of the Supreme Court. When the new constitution went into effect, he was elected to the same position by a large majority. Judge Ranney occupied a place upon the Supreme Bench until 1856, when he resigned on account of ill health.
After a most gallant canvass, Judge Ranney failed of an election, though he ran ahead of the other candidates on the ticket in all parts of the State. In 1862, against his personal wishes, he was nominated by the Democracy for Judge of the Supreme Court. He consented to be a candidate only after the convention had positively refused to accept his declination.
"If the young lady was in a condition to know," replied Bart, "I should take her word for it." And passing into the back room he closed the door. "What the devil is there in it?" said Wade. "It is just as I say. Has he ever said a word about it?" "Not a word," said the young men. "I met Miss Markham a year ago, when I was in Newbury, at a sugar party," said Ranney.