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called on, unshaved, undressed, but elated with the thought of his activity; produced his pocket-book, and saved the cause, though at an accidental cost of some five-and-twenty pounds. The fault, however, was not mine; for I had cautioned him by letter, as I always do on such occasions, to bring with him every scrap of paper that he possessed, and he told me that he had done so.
These accidental “ aggravations of expense,” (it is the best term I can invent for them,) are not uncommon, after bestowing the utmost care that foresight can suggest. A very similar instance has occurred to my recollection while writing the preceding one. It happened to me during my clerkship, and is the more instructive, because it shows that even the discretion of a clerk must sometimes be largely exercised on the necessity of incurring extra costs. I had been entrusted with the management of a very important case, involving the interests of a great commercial body, as well as the personal character of some of its members holding high rank in the city. In this, as in many cases, I dare not be more particular. It was deemed of such consequence to obtain a verdict, that the
witness on whose testimony we principally relied, had been maintained in seclusion at a country place two hundred miles from London, for nearly two years, at an expense of £150 per annum, till the case was ripe for trial. All this time he was vigilantly watched, unknown to himself. I dared not bring him to town till the day but one before the trial; but that was time enough for mischief; he threw himself in the way of one of the defendants, and the next morning he was on his road to Calais. As soon as I found that he was missing, I reported the matter to Mr. Gurney, who on this occasion also, was the leading counsel. It was one of the many qualities of this distinguished advocate, that he was not only in utrumque, but in quodcunque paratus. I was almost desperate with disappointment; but while he felt the embarrassment, he at once suggested the remedy. The fellow-clerk of the rascal that had absconded was almost equally familiar with the facts we wished to prove, but, as we feared, still less trustworthy.
“It's bad enough, Mr. Sharpe, bad enough, certainly; but it can't be helped; subpena White."
Away I started to subpæna Mr. White; it was still early in the day. This youug man was engaged in the counting-house of some merchants in the city; people in large business. I rang the bell, and was answered by one of the clerks. “Is Mr. White within ?” “I will inquire, Sir.” I waited nearly five minutes ; and thinking that so simple a question might have received a more speedy answer, I de- . termined to follow into the counting-house. It. was divided by railing into compounds. I walked up to the railing of the nearest desk. 6 Is Mr. White within ?”
During this parley I kept my eyes about me, and observed that several of the clerks bent their heads over their desks, while two or three were obviously retaining laughter with some difficulty. I affected to be considering what I should do, while in reality I was counting the
clerks, and comparing their number with the hats which I saw hung up against the wall. There was a hat too many, and a vacant desk.
“So ho!” thought I to myself, “ the seat is still warm;" for I was an old sportsman, while yet a very young man; “the game can't be very far off," and then without more ceremony, I opened the door of the compound, and seating myself on the vacant stool, said I would leave a note for him. I found the keys in the lock, -an additional proof that my suspicions were correct. Under pretense of looking for some paper, on which to write my note, I opened the desk; found in it, after tumbling over some loose papers, a letter with his address at Walworth; and then, saying that I had changed my mind as to writing, and would call again in the evening, I quitted the house. I lost no time in sending off a messenger express to Dover, with a copy of the subpæna, and a description of his person, while I started myself for Walworth, and arrived just ten minutes after he had left it in a chaise for Dartford ! His servant or his wife, whichever it might be, thinking him safely off, honestly confessed that he had absconded to avoid service of the sub
pæna, having long expected it; he was actually in the counting-house, when I had called there: the clerk, who opened the door to me, detected my business by a piece of red tape hanging out of my pocket; and whilst I was catechising the others as to his residence, he had escaped by another door, run home to get another hat and bolted. But I was prepared: I had post-horses waiting for me a hundred yards off; got first to Dartford; subpænaed him as he drove into the yard; brought him back in the same chaise; and by his evidence, obtained a verdict the next day, but certainly at no slight additional costs, in the shape of traveling expenses !
The casualties of litigation are so numerous and diversified, that it is utterly impossible, unless in the simplest matter, to foretell the expenses. The recent reforms in pleading, by compelling a disclosure of the real defense, have reduced, but not superseded the speculative giresses of the attorney: indeed, in one respect, they have added to the difficulty; because, by success on one issue, and failure on another, a debtor and creditor account of costs is established, the balance of which may, by possibility, be against a plaintiff, though he has been suc