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wealthy client of noble rank is a prize to any man, but to a beginner at the age of four-andtwenty, the loss of him is a serious affair; so I complained to my friends of my bad fortune, wondered how anybody, noble or plebeian, could be so unreasonable as to expect to find a man of business always at home without making an appointment, and a few days after was solaced by a call from a gentleman that I had long known, who wished for my advice on a case where he clearly had not a leg to stand on; and so I told him,
“But must I lose the money, Sharpe?”
“I won't go so far as that, but I think you are wrong.”
“Umph! a pretty joke to let this villain rob me in this way! I thought you would get me out of it; but you say you are not certain. I should like to ask Mr. Scarlett.”
Lord Abinger at that time ruled the day. I suggested the opinion of a junior counsel, as more easily attainable, and the opinion was taken. It confirmed mine, but my client was still dissatisfied; he went to another attorney, who brought the action, and succeeding by Scarlett's aid, against law and reason, swamped my credit; for though the plaintiff has been my friend, and a kind one too, for more than twenty years, he has never again been my client from that day to this. I met him a few days after the trial, and our conversation was rather amusing.
“Well, Wright, you have gained the day!” “Yes, to be sure: but little thanks to you."
“I admit it; for I still think you were all wrong.”
“ Ay; but wiser folks thought me all right."
“Scarlett never thought so, whatever the jury might.”
“But Scarlett did think so, and said so.”
“Oh yes ! he told the jury so of course, and they were fools enough to believe him; but did he tell you so, at your consultation ?”
“He said nothing at the consultation! he never once asked me to sit down; but he cocked his eye at the attorney, nodded to the other counsel, poked the fire, and I saw at once it was all right. I paid two guineas or more for that cock of the eye; but it don't matter for that, so long as that rascal can't rob me and
laugh at me to boot; and he would have done both, had I followed your advice.”
“Well, don't cry till you are out of the wood; he'll move for a new trial, and will get it, take my word for it; and then Scarlett him. solf will tell you who is right.”'
My friend made a wry face at this prediction, and had his opponent then chanced to meet with him, and taken him between wind and water, he would gladly have drawn stakes; but as my ill-luck would have it, I was again out, for a new trial was not moved for, my friend recovered damages and costs, and has ever since voted me a fool, and himself the very cleverest biped in creation: yet the case was as clear as the daylight. I earned, by this matter, £2. 14s. Cd., and lost my client and my legal repute into the bargain
Weeks and even months rolled on, and my ncat new floorcloth was still scarcely soiled by a trace of rich city mud, my desk was yet unslained by ink, my red tape retained its virgin bloom, my papers had not gathered an ounce of “ blacks,” my clerk had acquired an habitual deze, and even my hand-bell seemed to have lost its power of disturbing his siesta! Matters
looked desperate, and some extraordinary effort must be made to maintain appearances ? Things were in this state when I received a call from a Venerable old gentleman, for whom I had been actively employed in my clerkship. Though I had almost jumped up in ecstacy at the unwonted sound of voices in the outer room, I felt bitter disappointment when my visitor was ushered in; for I inferred that his object could only be to discuss old business of which I thought I had taken leave for ever, or to bother me with the yet more provoking inquiry after papers or documents long since sent to the tomb of the Capulets. I was mistaken.
“Mr. Sharpe, I have been at a stand-still ever since I lost you: nobody understands my case: nobody will read my papers: I have to begin again, and go over all the old ground.—what can I do?”
“ Tell me how I can help you, and I will with all my heart.”
“You must take the business into your own. hands."
“ That would be unfair to my late masters." “ They wish it themselves.” I inquired into the fact, and found it was so.
I cannot consistently, with the mask that I am obliged to assume, mention their names; and if I could, my testimony to their liberal and generous behaviour could add but little to the very distinguished station which they have long and deservedly occupied in the profession. This old gentleman was the claimant of property exceeding half a million sterling. I believe that it was nearly double that amount, but I never accurately learnt the sum. He was a man of first-rate abilities and wonderful resolution; he had been engaged for a quarter of a century in prosecuting this claim, and had accumulated papers upon it sufficient to load a coal-wagon. Disappointment, however, had attended all his efforts: he had three times memorialized the special tribunal which parliament had appointed for the investigation of his and similar cases, and he had three times been turned back. In this dilemma, he was recommended to apply to the eminent house to which I have alluded; his papers were in a foreign language which I alone in the office understood; and hence he was handed over to my care. When I left the office, I had, by dint of immense exertion, reduced his voluminous