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closures to Titmouse. Their prudence laid before a younger conveyan. in the latter step, however, was very cer; who, having much less busiquestionable to themselves, even ; and ness than Mr Mortmain, would, it was they immediately afterwards deplored thought, “ look into the case fully," together the precipitation with which though receiving only one-third of the Mr Quirk had communicated to Tit- fee which had been paid to Mr Mortmouse the nature and extent of his main. And Mr Fussy Frankpledgepossiblo good fortune. It was Mr that was his name did look into the Quirk's own doing, however, and after case fully," and in doing so, turned as much expostulation as the cautious over two-thirds of his little library, Gammon could venture to use. He, and by note, and verbally, gleaned the however, had his ' motive, as well as opinions upon the subject of some doMr Gammon. I say they had not zen or so of his “ learned friends ; " lightly taken up the affair; they had to say nothing of the magnificent air not " acted unadvisedly." They were with which he indoctrinated his eager fortified, first, by the opinions of Mr and confiding pupils upon the subMortmain, an able and experienced ject. At length his imp of a clerk bore conveyancer; who thus wound up an the precious result of his master's laabstrusely learned opinion on the vo- bours to Saffron Hill, in the shape of luminous “ case" which had been sub- an “ opinion," three times as long as, mitted to him :
and indescribably more difficult to un
derstand, than the opinion of Mr «** Under all these circumstances, Mortmain, and which, if it demonI am decidedly of opinion that the well- strated any thing beyond the prodigiestablished rule of law above adverted ous cram which had been undergone to, viz., &c., &c. &c., is clearly appli- by its writer for the purpose of procable to the present case; from which ducing it, demonstrated this namely, it follows, that the title to the estates that neither the party indicated by Mr in question is at this moment not in Mortmain, nor the one then actually their present possessor, but in 1789 in possession, had any more right to passed through Dame Dorothy Dredd. the estate than the aforesaid Mr lington into the female line, and ulti- Frankpledge; but that the happy indimately vested in Gabriel Tittlebat vidualso entitled was somethird person, Titmouse-who, however, seems not Messrs Quirk and Gammon hummed to have been at all aware of the exist- and hawed a good deal on perusing ence of his rights, or he could hardly these contradictory opinions of counhave been concerned in the pecuniary sel learned in the law; and the proarrangements sanctioned at fol. 33 of per result followed - i. e. a CONthe case-and his heirs. Probably SULTATION," which was to solder up something may be heard of them by all the differences between Mr Mortmaking careful enquiry in the neigh main and Mr Frankpledge, or at all bourhood where he was last heard of, events strike out some light which and issuing advertisements for his might guide their clients on their adheir-at-law; care of course being taventurous way. ken not to be so specific in the terms Now, Mr Mortmain had been Mr of such advertisements as to attract Quirk’s conveyancer for about thrce the notice of A B, (the party, I pre- years ; and Quirk was ready to suffer
I sume, now in possession.) If such death in defence of any opinion of Mr person should, by the means above Mortmain. Mr Gammon swore by suggested, be discovered, I advise pro- Frankpledge, who was his brother-inceedings to be commenced forth with, law, and of course a rising man. under the advice of some gentleman Mortmain belonged to the old school of experience at the common law bar. Frankpledge steered by the new lights.
" MOULDY MORTMAIN. The former could point to huvdreds “ Linc. Inn, January 19, 182–," of cases in the Law Reports which had
been ruled according to his opinion, This was sufficiently gratifying to and some fifty which had been overthe 6 House; but, to make assu- ruled thereby ; the latter, although lie rance doubly sure, before embarking had been only five years in practice, in so harassing and expensive an en- had written an opinion which had led terprise, the same case (of course to a suit which had ended in a differwithout Mr Mortmain's opinion) was ence, of opinion between the
of King's-Bench and the Common. it to observe the conscious condescen. Pleas, the credit of having done which sion of Mortmain, the anxious energy was really not a bit tarnished by the and volubility of Frankpledge. When
decision of a Court of Error, without Mr Mortmain said any thing that N hearing the other side against the opi- seemed weighty or pointed, Quirk inion of Mr Frankpledge. But looked with an elated air, a quick
Mr Frankpledge quoted so many triumphant glance, at Gammon; who, cases, and went to the bottom of every in his turn, whenever Mr Frankpledge thing--and was so civil.
quoted an “old case" from Bendloe, Well, the consultation came off, at Godsbolt, or the Year Books, (which, length, at Mr Mortmain's chambers, ' having always piqued himself in his at eight o'clock in the evening. A almost exclusive acquaintance with few minutes before that hour, Messrs the modern cases, he made a point of Quirk and Gammon were to be seen in doing,) gazed at Quirk with a smile of the clerk's room, in civil conversation placid superiority. Mr Frankpledge with that prim functionary, who ex- talked almost the whole time; Mr plained to them that he did all Mr Mortmain, immovable in the view of Mortmain's drafting ; pupils were so the case which he had taken in his idle that Mr Mortmain did not score s opinion,” listened with an attentive, out much of what he (the aforesaid good-natured air, ruminating pleaclerk) had drawn; that he noted up santly the while upon the quality of Mr Mortmain's new cases for him in the port he had been drinking, (the the reports, Mr M. having so little first of the Bin which he had tasted,) time; and that the other day the Vice and the decision which the Chancel Chancellor called on Mr Mortmain, lor might come to on a case brought with several other matters of that sort, into court, on his advice, and which calculated to enhance the importance had been argued that afternoon. At of Mr Mortmain, who, as the clerk was last Frankpledge unwittingly fell foul asking Mr Gammon, in a good-na- of a favourite crotchet of Mortmain's tured way, how long Mr Frankpledge and at it they went, hammer and tongs, had been in practice, and where his for nearly twenty minutes, (it had nochambers were, made his appearance, thing whatever to do with the case with a cheerful look and a bustling they were commenting upon.) In the gait, having just walked down from end, Mortmain of course adhered to his house in Queen's Square, (some. his points, and Frankpledge entrenchwhere in the wilds of Bedford Square, ed himself in his books ; each slightly as Mrs Gore delights to call them, in yielded to the views of the other on her West-End pleasantry,) with a com- immaterial points, (or what could have fortable bottle of old port on board. appeared the use of the consultation ?) Shortly afterwards, Mr Frank pledge but did that which both had resolved arrived, followed by his little clerk, upon doing from the first, i.e. sticking bending beneath two bags of books, to his original opinion. Both had talked (unconscious bearer of as much law as an amazing deal of deep law, which had wellnigh split thousands of learn- had at least one effect, viz.,
it fairly ed heads, broken tens of thousands of drowned both Quirk and Gammon, hearts, in the making of, being des- who as they went home, with not (it tined to have a similar but far greater must be owned) the clearest percepeffect in the applying of,) and the tions in the world of what had been consultation began.
going on, (though, before going to the As Frankpledge entered, he could consultation, each had really known not help casting a sheep's eye towards a good deal about the case,) stood a table that glistened with such an ar- each stoutly by his conveyancer's opinray of “papers,” (a tasteful arrange- ion, each protesting that he had ment of Mr Mortmain's clerk before never been once misled- Quirk by every consultation ;) and down sate the Mortmain, or Gammon by Frankpledge two conveyancers and the two attor- .—and each resolved to give his man neys. I devoutly wish I had time to de- more of the business of the House scribe the scene at length ; but greater than he had before. 1
I grieve to add events are pressing upon me. The that they parted that night with a two conveyancers fenced with one triile less of cordiality than had been another for some time very guardedly their wont. In the morning, however, and good-humouredly; pleasant was
this little irritation and competition
had passed away; and they agreed, morning, prepared to explain the opin. before giving up the case, to take the ion to them; having just had it read final opinion of Mr TresayLE—the over to him by Mr Tresayle, for it great Mr Tresayle. He was, in proved to be in No. II. The opinion deed, a wonderiul conveyancer-a occupied about two pages ; and the perfect miracle of real-property law- handwriting bore a strong resem. learning. He had had such an enor. blance to Chinese, or Arabic, with a mous practice for forty-five years, quaint intermixture of the Uncial Greek that for the last ten he had never character-it was impossible to conput his nose out of chambers for template it without a certain feeling pure want of time, and at last of of awe! In vain did old Quirk squint inclination; and had been so conver- at it, from all corners, for nearly a sant with Norman French and law couple of hours, (having first called in Latin, in the old English letter, that the assistance of a friend of his, an old he had almost entirely forgotten how attorney of upwards of fifty years' to write the modern English charac. standing ;) nay—even Mr Gammon, ter. His opinions made their appear. foiled at length, could not for the life ance in three different kinds of hand. of him refrain from a soft curse or writing. First, one that none but he two. Neither of them could make and his old clerk could make out; se. any thing of it-(as for Snap, they condly, one that none but he himself never showed it to him; it was not could read; and thirdly, one that neis within his province-i, e. the Insolvent ther he, nor his clerk, nor any one on Debtors' Court, the Old Bailey, the earth could decipher. The use of any Clerkenwell Sessions, the inferior one of these styles depended on the business of the Common Law Courts, difficulty of the case to be answered. and the worrying of the clerks of the If it were an easy one, the answer was office- -a department in which he was very judiciously put into No. I. ; if perfection itself.) rather difficult, it, of course, went into To their great delight, Mr Tre. No. II. ; and if exceedingly difficult, sayle's opinion completely corrobo(and also important,) it was very pro- rated that of Mr Mortmain, (neither perly thrown into No. III; being a whose nor Mr Frankpledge's had question that really ought not to have been laid before him.) Nothing could been asked, and did not deserve an be more terse, perspicuous, and con
The fruit within these un- clusive than the great man's opinion. couth shells, however, was precious. Mr Quirk was in raptures, and immeMr Tresayle's law was supreme over diately sent out for an engraving of every body's else. It was currently Mr Tresayle, which had lately come reported that Lord Eldon even (who out, for which he paid 5s., and orderwas himnself slightly acquainted with ed it to be framed and hung up in his such subjects) reverently deferred to own room, where already grinned a the authority of Mr Tresayle ; and quaint resemblance, in black profile, would lie winking and knitting his of Mr Mortmain. In special good. shaggy eyebrows half the night, if he humour he assured Mr Gammon, (who thought that Mr_Tresayle's opinion on was plainly somewhat crestfallen a case and his own differed. This was about Mr Frankpledge,) that every the great authority to whom, as in the body must have a beginning; and he last resort, Messrs Quirk, Gammon, (Quirk) had been once only a beand Snap, resolved to appeal. To his ginner. chambers they, within a day or two Once fairly on the scent, Messrs after their consultation at Mr Mort. Quirk and Gammon soon began, semain's, dispatched their case, with a cretly but energetically, to push their highly respectable fee, and a special enquiries in all directions. They discompliment to his clerk, hoping to covered that Gabriel Tittlebat Tithear from that awful quarter within mouse, having spent the chief portion two months which was the earliest of his blissful days as a cobbler at average period within which Mr Tre- Whitehaven, had died in London, sayle's opinions found their way to his somewhere about the year 1792 or patient but anxious clients. It came, 1793. At this point they stood for a at length, with a note from Mr Faith. long while, in spite of two adver. ful, his clerk, intimating that they tisements, to which they had been would find him at chambers the next driven with the greatest reluctance,
for fear of attracting the attention of plain and compact they looked on those most interested in thwarting paper, could not be properly substan
them. Even that part of the affair tiated, if keenly sifted, and deter. I had been managed somewhat skilful- minedly resisted. All this, toomall
ly. It was a stroke of Gammon's to their time, labour, and money, to go advertise not for « Heir-at-Law," for nothing-on behalf of a vulgar, but “ Next of King" as the reader has selfish, ignorant, presumptuous, un
seen. The former might have chale grateful puppy, like Titmouse. Well elenged a notice of unfriendly curiosi. indeed, therefore, might Mr Gam
ty, which the latter was hardly cal.' mon, as we have seen he did, give cla culated to attract. At length at the himself and partners a forty-eight ster " third time of asking"-up turned hours' interval between his interview
Tittlebat Titmouse, in the way which with Titmouse and formal introducwe have seen. His relationship with tion of him to the firm, in which to
Mr Gabriel Tittlebat Titmouse was consider their position and mode of ali indisputable; in fact, he was that procedure. The taste of his quality in "deceased person's" heir-at-law. The which that first interview afforded a reader may guess the chagrin of Mr them all—so far surpassing all that
Gammon at the appearance, manner, the bitter description of him given to irls and character of the person whom he them by Mr Gammon had prepared
fully believed, on first seeing him at them for-filled them with inexpresMessrs Dowlas's, to be the rightful sible disgust, and would have induced owner of the fine estates held by one them to throw up the whole affair_.SO who, as against Titmouse, had no getting rid both of it and him together. more real title to them than had Mr
But then, on the other hand, there Tag-rag ; and for whom their house were certain very great advantages, was to undertake the very grave re- both of a professional and even di. sponsibility of instituting such pro- rectly pecuniary kind, which it would ceedings as would be requisite to have been madness indeed for any place Mr Titmouse in the position office lightly to throw away. It was which they believed him entitled to really, after all, an unequal struggle occupy-having to encounter a hot between feeling and interest. If they and desperate opposition at every should succeed in unseating the prepoint, from those who had nine-tenths sent wrongful possessor of a very of the law-to wit, possession on splendid property, and putting in his their side, on which they stood as place the rightful owner, by means upon a rock ; and with immense alone of their own professional ability, means for carrying on the war defen- perseverance, and heavy pecuniary sive. That Messrs Quirk, Gammon, outlay, (a fearful consideration, truly!) and Snap, did not contemplate under what recompense could be too great taking all this, without having calcu- for such resplendent services ? To lated upon its proving well worthy say nothing of the eclât which it would their while, was only reasonable gain for their office, in the profession They were going voluntarily to be and in the world at large, and the subcome the means of conferring im- stantial and permanent advantages, if, mense benefits upon one who was a as they ought to be, they were intruste total stranger to them-who had not ed with the general management of a penny to expend upon the prosecu- the property by the new and inexpetion of his own rights. Setting aside rienced and confiding owner-ay, certain difficulties which collected but there was the rub! What a dis. themselves into two awkward words, heartening and disgusting specimen MAINTENANCE and CHAMPERTY, and of such new owner had disclosed it. stared them in the face whenever they self to their anxiously expecting but contemplated any obvious method of soon recoiling eyes--always, however, securing the just reward of their en- making due allowances for one or two terprise and toils-setting aside all cheering indications, on MrTitmouse's this, I say, it might turn out, only part, of a certain rapacious and litiafter a ruinous expenditure, that the gious humour, which might pleasanthigh authorities which had sanctioned ly and profitably occupy their enertheir proceedings, in point of law, had gies for some time to come! Their expressed their favourable opinions position and interests had long made on a state of facts, which, however them sharp observers; but when did
ever before low and disgusting quali reverent gratitude-looking at us, ties force themselves into revolting moreover, as three gods, who at our prominence, as his had done, in the will can shut him out of heaven. very moment of an expected display That's the way, said Mr Quirk; and of the better feelings of human nature Mr Quirk had been forty years in —such as enthusiastic gratitude ? practice—had made the business what They had in their time had to deal it was still held half of it in his own with some pleasant specimens of hu- hands, (two-thirds of the remaining manity, to be sure—but where any half being Gammon's, and the residue more odious and impracticable than Snap's ;) and Gammon, moreover, had Tittlebat Titmouse threatened to a very distinct perception that the prove himself? What hold could they funds for carrying on the war would get upon such a character as his? come out of the tolerably well-stored Beneath all his coarseness and weak pockets of their senior partner. So, ness, there was a glimmer of low cun. after a long discussion, he openly ning which might, cæteris paribus, yielded his opinion to that of Mr keep their superior and practised Quirk-cherishing, however, a very astuteness in full play. These were warm respect for it in his own bosom. difficulties, cheerless enough in the As for Snap, that distinguished memcontemplation, truly; but, neverthe. ber of the firm was very little consult. less, the partners could not bear the ed in the matter; which had not yet idea of escaping from them by throw. been brought into that stage where ing up the affair altogether. Then his powerful energies could come into came the question-How were they to play. He had of course, however, manage Titmouse ?--how acquire an heard a good deal of what was going early and firm hold of him, so as to on; and knew that erelong there convert him into a capital client? His would be the copying out and serving fears and his interests were obviously of the lord knows how many copies of the engines with which their expe- declarations in ejectment, motions rienced hands were to work; and against the casual ejector, and so several long and most anxious consul- forth-he was quite up to all those tations had Messrs Quirk, Gammon, quaint and anomalous proceedings. and Snap had on this important mat- Well, it was agreed that the commuter. The first great question with nication to Titmouse, on his first inthem was-- To what extent, and when, terview, of the full extent of his splenthey should acquaint him with the did expectations, should depend upon nature of his expectations ?
the discretion of Mr Quirk. The Gammon was for keeping him com- reader has seen the unexpected turn paratively in the dark, till success was which matters took upon that important within reach ; during that interval, occasion; and if it proved Quirk's (which might be a long one,) by alter- policy to be somewhat inferior in point nately stimulating his hopes and fears; of discretion and long-sightedness to by habituating him to an entire de- that of Gammon, still it must be owned pendence in them; by persuading that the latter had cause to admire the him of the extent of their exertions rapid generalship with which the conand sacrifices on his behalf-they sequences of Quirk's false move had might do something; mould him a been retrieved by him-not ill secondlittle into shape fit for their purposes; ed by Snap. What could have been and persuade him that his affairs must more judicious than his reception of needs go to ruin but in their hands. Titmouse, on the occasion of his being Something like this was the scheme of led in again by the subtle Gammon? the cautious, acute, and placid Gam- The next and greatest matter was,
Mr Quirk thought thus:--tell how to obtain any hold upon such a the fellow at once the whole extent person as Titmouse, so as to secure to of what we can do for him, viz., turn themselves, in the event of success, a half-starving linen-draper's shopman the remuneration to which they coninto the owner of L.10,000 a-year, sidered themselves entitled, Was it and a great store of ready money. so perfectly clear that, if he felt disThis will, in a manner, stun him into posed to resist it, they could compel submission, and make him at once and him to pay the mere amount of their for all what we want him to be. He bill of costs? will immediately fall prostrate with Suppose he should turn round upon