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creditors - he had no doubt of success in some other calling; but what would become of his character and fair fame?” and to that extent did he carry this morbid sensibility, that when at length I prevailed on all the bona fide creditors to come into the proposed arrangement, he defeated it entirely by peremptorily refusing to execute any deed that might empower the trustees to litigate the doubtful claims! There was a mystery about this pusillanimity that I could not penetrate, but it was soon explained; he had a very sufficient reason for deprecating publicity! Bona fide creditors, however, are not men to be trifled with; when Harris peremptorily refused to ratify the arrangement which I had promised on his behalf, a commission was soon sued out; the appearance of his name in the gazette brought to light, at the same time that it for ever terminated an engagement which he had made with the daughter of an eminent merchant--a worthless, though amiable woman (for, alas! I have not liver forty years in the world, without learning that amiability may consist with utter baseness), and Harris became bankrupt and brokenhearted the same day. Had he possessed more firmness, I still could have brouglit him through: for a time he was quite docile, from mere despondency. As the truth became known, hostility gave place to commiseration, and his certificate would have been sigued with alacrity; but a circumstance happened which threatened yet deeper disgrace. His villainous partner was the trustee of funds that he had appropriated; it became necessary, for the protection of the estate, to try the question at law, whether these funds had been applied to the use of the partnership; the bare suspicion of such a fraud was too much for my poor friend, and he died before the trial took place. The lady to whom he was betrothed, soon found a wealthier husband, and not long after her marriage, found also a more agreeable lover ! but whether she too has buried her more merited sorrow in the grave, I know not. I saw her years afterwards, caressing with fondness a child that did not bear its mother's name; she looked at me with an expression of eager, yet retreating anxiety, and tears were in her eyes; but I dreaded retrospect not less than she could do, and we passed in silence. I have never seen or heard of her since.
Clients of this character require something more than professional aid. My poor friend's case was not one of the ordinary description, certainly; but this morbid sensibility is not of such rare occurrence as may be supposed, though it is very rarely that the accidents of life wound it thus deeply. It is not easy, perhaps, to estimate the true value of early and total disappointment in worldly prospects; Set on the other hand, it is certain that very early disappointment is by no means fatal to ultimate, and even brilliant success. That there is “a tide in the affairs of men” is true enough; but the hour of its ebb or flood is fortunately too capricious to allow of the maxim being of much practical use. When we are introduced to a client disposed to surrender himself to the hopeless feelings of Ilarris, we are bound to sympathize in them, even with fraternal tenderness; but not to share them. In proportion as he is cast down, we must maintain a cheerful, yet tranquil attitude.
Cases of the class which I have been describ ing are, perhaps, the only cases in which an attorney can scarcely go too far in taking a personal interest in his client's affairs; yet even
here, that interest must stop short of identity of feeling; a calm self-possession must be maintained, or he will fail in encouraging his client, for encouragement to hope is imparted more by example than by precept. To undervalue difficulties, to laugh at obstacles which can only be surmounted by patient ingenuity, is inexpedient and dangerous : when their real magnitude becomes apparent, the client will distrust your professional knowledge, and his despondency becomes deeper by the failure of his confidence. All should be clearly and honestly explained to him; but the explanation should be given with the manner of one who knows what he has to encounter, and is conscious that there is nothing in it so formidable, but perseverance and good sense may insure success. All this is obvious and commonplace, yet it is a most difficult doctrine to reduce to practice; for it is much opposed to that policy which guides the younger members of the profession. Some, I fear too many, think it wise to exaggerate difficulties, that they may secure proportionate credit for surmounting them : others from natural diffidence if not timidity, rate them too highly, to pave the way for ex
pected defeat: there is yet a third class who apprehend their client's displeasure, if they appear to entertain less anxiety and alarm than himself, at the critical position in which he stands. All these motives are personal and selfish, when traced to their source; and selfishness so surely predominates, that the chances are always in favor of an inexperienced attorney acting upon them, in preference to more generous principles. I am convinced, however, that this selfish policy is short-sighted. I have known more than one instance of counsel acquiring an extent of business for which their learning little qualified them, by the consolatory spirit in which they always predicate success. I know many in which counsel of profound knowledge and high attainments have pursued a long career of yearly disappointment, because the nervous apprehension of being turned round on some point which few but themselves would have the acuteness to discover, dismisses the attorney from his conference with gloomy forebodings of the issue. If, notwithstanding. he succeeds, he doubts the soundness of the advice, and at all events retains no pleasing recollection of his adviser. The same rule