Lawyers in the main were intellectual mercenaries to be bought and sold in any cause. It amused him to hear the ethical and emotional platitudes of lawyers, to see how readily they would lie, steal, prevaricate, misrepresent in almost any cause and for any purpose. Great lawyers were merely great unscrupulous subtleties, like himself, sitting back in dark, close-woven lairs like spiders and awaiting the approach of unwary human flies. Life was at best a dark, inhuman, unkind, unsympathetic struggle built of cruelties and the law, and its lawyers were the most despicable representatives of the whole unsatisfactory mess. Still he used law as he would use any other trap or weapon to rid him of a human ill; and as for lawyers, he picked them up as he would any club or knife wherewith to defend himself. He had no particular respect for any of them—not even Harper Steger, though he liked him. They were tools to be used—knives, keys, clubs, anything you will; but nothing more. When they were through they were paid and dropped—put aside and forgotten. As for judges, they were merely incompetent lawyers, at a rule, who were shelved by some fortunate turn of chance, and who would not, in all likelihood, be as efficient as the lawyers who pleaded before them if they were put in the same position. He had no respect for judges—he knew too much about them. He knew how often they were sycophants, political climbers, political hacks, tools, time-servers, judicial door-mats lying before the financially and politically great and powerful who used them as such. Judges were fools, as were most other people in this dusty, shifty world. Pah! His inscrutable eyes took them all in and gave no sign. His only safety lay, he thought, in the magnificent subtley of his own brain, and nowhere else. You could not convince Cowperwood of any great or inherent virtue in this mortal scheme of things. He knew too much; he knew himself.