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extraordinarily absurd and offensive observation?" said he, reddening more and more as he looked at Mr Quirk.
"You're a queer hand, Gammon," replied Quirk, with almost an equally surprised and embarrassed air, for he could not resist a sort of conviction that Gammon had fathomed what had been passing in his mind.
"What did you mean, Mr Quirk, by your singular observation just now?" said Gammon calmly, having recovered his presence of mind.
"Mean? Why, that-we're both queer hands, Gammon, ha, ha, ha!" answered Quirk, with an anxious laugh.
"I shall leave Titmouse entirely entirely, Mr Quirk, in your hands; I will have nothing whatever to do with him. I am quite sick of him and his affairs already; I cannot bring myself to undertake such an affair, and that was what I was thinking of, when"
"Eh? indeed! Well, to be sure! Only think!" said Quirk, dropping his voice, looking to see that the two doors were shut, and resuming the chair which he had lately quitted, "What do you think has been occuring to me in my own room, just now? Whether it would suit us better to throw this monkey overboard, put ourselves confidentially in communication with the party in possession, and tell him that hem! hem!-for a-eh? You understand? a con-si-de-ra-tion -a suitable con-si-de-ra tion." "Mr Quirk! Heavens!" Gammon was really amazed.
"Well? You needn't open your eyes so very wide, Mr Gammon-why shouldn't it be done? You know we shouldn't be satisfied with a trifle, of course. But suppose he'd agree to buy our silence with four or five thou sand pounds, really, it's well worth considering! Upon my soul, Gammon, it is a hard thing on him; no fault of his, and it is very hard for him to turn out, and for such a―eugh! -such a wretch as Titmouse; you'd feel it yourself, Gammon, if you were
in his place, and I'm sure you'd think that four or five thous".
"But is not Titmouse our POOR NEIGHBOUR?" said Gammon, with a sly smile.
"Why, that's only one way of looking at it, Gammon! Perhaps the man we are going to eject does a vast deal of good with the property; certainly he bears a very high name in the county and fancy Titmouse with ten thousand a-year!"
"Mr Quirk, Mr Quirk, it's not to be thought of for a moment-not for a moment," interrupted Gammon, seriously, and even somewhat peremptorily-"nothing should persuade me to be any party to such"
At this moment Snap burst into the room with a heated appearance, and a chagrined air
"Pitch v. Grub."
[This was a little pet action of poor Suap's: it was for slander uttered by the defendant, a green-grocer, against the plaintiff, charging the plaintiff with having the mange, on account of which a lady refused to marry him.]
"Pitch v. Grub, just been tried at Guildhall. Witness bang up to the mark-words and damages proved; slapping speech from Sergeant Shout. Verdict for plaintiff, one farthing; and Lord Lumpington said, as the jury had given plaintiff one farthing for damages, he would give him another for costs, and that would make a halfpenny; on which the defendant's attorney tendered me-a halfpenny on the spot. Laughter in court-move for new trial first day of next term, and tip his lordship a rattler in the next Sunday's Flash."
* I suppose myself to be alluding here to a very oppressive statute, passed to clip the wings of such gentlemen as Mr Snap, by which it is enacted that, in actions for slander, if the jury find a verdict under forty shillings, e. g., as in the case in the text, for one farthing, the plaintiff shall be entitled to recover from the defendant only as much costs as damages, i. e., another farthing; a provision which has made many a poor pettifogger sneak out of court with a flea in his ear,
"Let me tell you, Mr Snap," interrupted Gammon, reddening
Pho! Come! Can't be helpedfortune of the war,"-interrupted the head of the firm.-" Is Pitch solvent? -of course we've security for costs out of pocket."
Now, the fact was, that poor Snap had picked up Pitch at one of the police offices, and, in his zeal for business, had undertaken his case on pure speculation, relying on the apparent strength of the plaintiff's case-Pitch being only a waterman attached to a coach-stand. When, therefore, the very ominous question of Mr Quirk met Snap's ear, he suddenly happened (at least, he thought so) to hear himself called for from the clerks' room, and bolted out of Mr Gammon's room rather unceremoniously.
"Snap will be the ruin of the firm, Mr Quirk," said Gammon, with an air of disgust. "But I really must get on with the brief I'm drawing; so, Mr Quirk, we can talk about Titmouse to-morrow!"
The brief he was drawing up was for a defendant who was going to nonsuit the plaintiff, (a man with a large family, who had kindly lent the defendant a considerable sum of money,) solely because of the want of a stamp.
Quirk differed in opinion with Gammon, and, as he resumed his seat at his desk, he could not help writing the words, "Quirk and Snap," and thinking how well such a firm would sound and work-for Snap was verily a chip of the old block !
There will probably never be wanting those who will join in abusing and ridiculing attorneys and solicitors. Why? In almost every action at law, or suit in equity, or proceeding which may, or may not, lead to one, each client conceives a natural dislike for his opponent's attorney or solicitor. If the plaintiff succeeds, he hates the defendant's attorney for putting him (the said plaintiff) to so much expense, and causing him so much vexation and danger; and, when he comes to settle with his own attorney, there is not a little heart-burning in looking at his bill of costs, however reasonable. If the plaintiff fails, of course it is through the ignorance and unskilfulness of his attorney or solicitor; and he hates almost equally his own and his opponent's attorney. Precisely so is it with a successful or unsuccessful de
fendant. In fact, an attorney or solicitor is almost always obliged to be acting adversely to some one of whom he at once makes an enemy, for an attorney's weapons must necessarily be pointed almost invariably at our pockets! He is necessarily, also, called into action in cases when all the worst passions of our nature—our hatred and revenge, and our self-interest are set in motion. Consider the mischief that might be constantly done on a grand scale in society, if the vast majority of attorneys and solicitors were not honourable and able men! Conceive them, for a moment, disposed every where to sirup litigation, by availing themselves of their perfect acquaintance with almost all men's circumstances-artfully inflaming irritable and vindictive clients, kindling, instead of stifling, family dissensions, and fomenting public strifewhy, were they to do only a hundredth part of what it is thus in their power to do, our courts of justice would soon be doubled, together with the number of our judges, counsel, and attorneys.
But not all of this body of honourable and valuable men are entitled to this tribute of praise. There are a few QUIRKS, several GAMMONS, and many SNAPS, in the profession of the law-men whose characters and doings often make fools visit the sins of individuals upon the whole species; nay, there are far worse, as I have heardbut I must return to my narrative.
On Friday night, the 28th July 182-, the state of Mr Titmouse's affairs was this: he owed his landlady £1, 9s. ; his washerwoman, 6s.; his tailor, £1, 8s.-in all, three guineas; besides 10s. to Huckaback, (for Tittlebat's notion was, that on re-payment at any time of 10s., Huckaback would be bound to deliver up to him the document or voucher which he had given him,) and a weekly accruing rent of 7s. to his landlady, besides some very small sums for washing, tea, bread, and butter, &c. To meet these serious liabilities, he had-not one farthing.
On returning to his lodgings that night, he found a line from Thumbscrew, his landlady's broker, informing him that, unless by ten o'clock on the next morning his arrears of rent were paid, he should distrain, and she would also give him notice to quit at the end of the week: that nothing
could induce her to give him further time. He sat down in dismay on reading this threatening document; and, in sitting down, his eye fell on a bit of paper lying on the floor, which must have been thrust under the door. From the marks on it, it was evident that he must have trod upon it in entering. It proved to be a summons from the Court of Requests, for £1, 8s. due to Job Cox, his tailor. He deposited it mechanically on the table; and for a minute he dared hardly breathe.
This seemed something really like
After a silent agony of half an hour's duration, he rose trembling from his chair, blew out his candle, and, in a few minutes' time, might have been seen standing with a pale and troubled face before the window of old Balls, the pawnbroker, peering through the suspended articles-watches, sugartongs, rings, brooches, spoons, pins, bracelets, knives and forks, seals, chains, &c.-to see whether any one else than old Balls were within. Having at length watched out a very pale and wretched-looking woman, Titmouse entered to take her place; and after interchanging a few faltering words with the white-haired and hardhearted old pawnbroker, produced his guard-chain, his breast-pin, and his ring, and obtained three pounds two shillings and sixpence, on the security of them. With this sum he slunk out of the shop, and calling on Cox, his tailor, paid his trembling old creditor the full amount of his claim (£1, 8s.) together with 4s., the expense of the summons-simply asking for a receipt, without uttering another word, for he felt almost choked. In the same way he dealt with Mrs Squallop, his landlady-not uttering one word in reply to her profuse and voluble apologies, but pressing his lips between his teeth till the blood came from them, while his heart seemed bursting within him. Then he walked up stairs, with a desperate air-with eighteenpence in his pocket-all his ornaments gone-his washerwoman yet unpaid his rent going on-several other little matters unsettled; and the 10th of August approaching, when he expected to be dismissed penniless from Mr Tag-rag's, and thrown on his own resources for subsistence. When he had regained his room, and, having shut the door, had re-seated
himself at his table, he felt for a mo. ment as if he could have yelled. Starvation and Despair, two fiends, seemed sitting beside him in shadowy ghastliness, chilling and palsying him -petrifying his heart within him. WHAT WAS HE TO DO? Why had he been born? Why was he so much more persecuted and miserable than any one else? Visions of his ring, his breastpin, his studs, stuck in a bit of card, with their price written above them, and hanging exposed to his view in old Balls' window, almost frenzied him. Thoughts such as these at length began to suggest others of a dreadful nature. The means
were at that instant within his reach. A sharp knock at the door startled him out of the stupor into which he was sinking. He listened for a moment, as if he were not certain that the sound was a real one. There seemed a ton weight upon his heart, which a mighty sigh could lift for an instant, but not remove; and he was in the act of heaving a second such sigh, as he languidly opened the door-expecting to encounter Mr Thumbscrew, or some of his myrmidons, who might not know of his recent settlement with his landlady.
"Is this Mr-Tit-Titmouse's?' enquired a genteel-looking young
"Yes," replied Titmouse, sadly. "Are you Mr Titmouse?" "Yes," he replied, more faintly than before.
"Oh-I have brought you, sir, a letter from Mr Gammon, of the firm of Quirk, Gammon, and Snap, solicitors, Saffron Hill," said the stranger, unconscious that his words shot a flash of light into a little abyss of sorrow before him. "He begged me to give this letter into your own hands, and said he hoped you'd send him an answer by the first morning's post."
"Yes-oh-I see-certainly-to be sure-with pleasure-how is Mr Gammon?-uncommon kind of him—very humble respects to him-take care to answer it"-stammered Titmouse, in a breath, hardly knowing whether he was standing on his head or his heels, and not quite certain where he was.
"Good evening, sir," replied the stranger, evidently a little surprised at Titmouse's manner, and withdrew. Titmouse shut his door. With prodigious trepidation of hand and flutter of spirits, he opened the letter-an
enclosure meeting his eyes in the shape of a bank-note.
"Oh Lord!" he murmured, turning white as the sheet of paper he held. Then the letter dropped from his hand, and he stood as if stupified for some moments; but presently rapture darted through him; a five-pound bank-note was in his hand, and it had been enclosed in the following letter: "35, Thavies' Inn, 29th July 182-.
"My dear Mr Titmouse,
"Your last note, addressed to our firm, has given me the greatest pain, and I hasten, on my return from the country, to forward you the enclosed trifle, which I sincerely hope will be of temporary service to you. May I beg the favour of your company on Sunday evening next, at seven o'clock, to take a glass of wine with me? I shall be quite alone and disengaged; and may have it in my power to make you some important communications, concerning matters in which, I assure you, I feel a very deep interest on your account. Begging the favour of an early answer to-morrow morning, I trust you will believe me, ever, my dear sir, your most faithful humble servant, "OILY GAMMON. "TITTLEBAT TITMOUSE, Esq."
The first balmy drop of the longexpected golden shower had at length fallen upon the panting Titmouse. How polite-nay, how affectionate and respectful was the note of Mr Gammon! and, for the first time in his life,
he saw himself addressed
"TITTLEBAT TITMOUSE, ESQUIRE." If his room had been large enough to admit of it, Titmouse would have skipped round it again and again in his frantic ecstasy. Having at length read over and over again the blessed letter of Mr Gammon, he hastily folded it up, crumpled up the bank-note in his hand, clapped his hat on his head, blew out his candle, rushed down stairs as if a mad dog were at his heels, and in three or four minutes' time was standing breathless before old Balls, whom he almost electrified by asking, with an eager and joyous air, for a return of the articles which he had only an hour before pawned with him; at the same time laying down the duplicates and the bank-note. The latter, old Balls scrutinized with most anxious exactness, and even suspicion-but it seemed perfectly unexceptionable; so he
gave him back his precious ornaments, and the change out of his note, minus a trifling sum for interest. Titmouse then started off at top speed to Huckaback; but it suddenly occurring to him as possible that that gentleman, on hearing of his good fortune, might look for an immediate repayment of the ten shillings he had recently lent to Titmouse, he stopped short-pausedand returned home. There he had hardly been seated a moment, when down he pelted again, to buy a sheet of paper and a wafer or two, to write his letter to Mr Gammon; which having obtained, he returned at the same speed, almost overturning his fat landlady, who looked after him as if he were a mad cat scampering up and down stairs, and fearing that he had gone suddenly crazy. The note he
wrote to Mr Gammon was so exceed
ingly extravagant, that, candid as I have (I trust) hitherto shown myself in the delineation of Mr Titmouse's character, I cannot bring myself to give the said letter to the readermaking all allowances for the extraordinary excitement of its writer.
Sleep that night and morning found and left Mr Titmouse the assured exulting master of TEN THOUSAND AYEAR. Of this fact, the oftener he read Mr Gammon's letter, the stronger became his convictions. 'Twas undoubtedly rather a large inference from small premises; but it secured him unspeakable happiness, for a time, at a possible cost of future disappointment and misery, which he did not pause to consider. The fact is, that logic (according to Dr Watts, the right use of reason) is not a practical art. one regards it in actual life; observe, therefore, folks on all hands constantly acting like Tittlebat Titmouse in the case before us. His conclusion wasthat he had become the certain master of ten thousand a-year; his premises were what the reader has seen. I do not, however, mean to say, that if the reader be a youth hot from the University, he may not be able to prove, by a very refined and ingenious argument, that Titmouse was, in what he did above, a fine natural logician; for I recollect that Aristotle hath demonstrated, by a famous argument, that the moon is made of green cheese; and no one that I have heard of, hath ever been able to prove the contrary.
By six o'clock the next morning, Titmouse had, with his own hand,
dropped his answer into the letter-box upon the door of Mr Gammon's chambers in Thavies' Inn; in which answer he had, with numerous expressions of profound respect and gratitude, accepted Mr Gammon's polite invitation. A very happy man felt he, as he returned to Oxford Street; entering Messrs Dowlas's premises with alacrity, just as they were being opened, and volunteering his assistance in numerous things beyond his usual province, with singular briskness and energy; as if conscious that by doing so he was greatly gratifying Messrs Quirk, Gammon, and Snap, whose wishes upon the subject he knew. He displayed such unwonted cheerfulness and patient good-nature throughout the day, that one of his companions, a serious youth, in a white neckerchief, black clothes, and with a sanctified countenance-the only professing pious person in the establishment-took an occasion to ask him, in a mysterious whisper, "whether he had not got converted ;" and whether he would, at six o'clock in the morning, accompany the speaker to a room in the neighbourhood, where he (the youth aforesaid) was going to conduct an exhortation and prayer meeting! Titmouse refused but not without a few qualms; for luck certainly seemed to be smiling on him, and he felt that he ought to be grateful for it; but then, he at length reflected, the proper place for that sort of thing would be a regular church-to which he resolved to go. This change of manners Tag-rag, however, looked upon as assumed only to affront him; seeing nothing but impertinence and defiance in all that Titmouse did-as if the nearer Titmouse got to the end of his bondage-i. e. the 10th of August-the lighter-hearted he grew. He resolved religiously to keep his counsel; to avoid evenat all events for the present-communicating with Huckaback.
On the ensuing Sunday he rose at an earlier hour than usual, and took nearly twice as long a time to dressoften falling into many delightful reveries. By eleven o'clock he might be seen entering the gallery of St Andrew's Church, Holborn; where he considered that doubtless Mr Gammon, who lived in the neighbourbood, might attend. He asked three or four pew-openers, both below and above, if they knew which was Mr Gammon's pew-Mr Gammon of Thavies' Inn;
not dreaming of presumptuously going to the pew, but of sitting in some place that commanded a view of it. Mr Gammon, I need hardly say, was quite unknown there-no one had ever heard of such a person: nevertheless Titmouse, albeit a little galled at being, in spite of his elegant appearance, slipped into a back pew, remained-but his thoughts wandered grievously the whole time; on then he sauntered in the direction of Hyde Park, to which he seemed now to have a sort of claim. How soon might he become, instead of a mere spectator as heretofore, a partaker in its glories! The dawn of the day of fortune was on his long-benighted soul; and he could hardly subdue his excited feelings. Punctual to his appointment, as the clock struck seven he made his appearance at Mr Gammon's, with a pair of span-new white kid gloves on, and was speedily ushered, a little flurried, by a comfortable-looking elderly female servant, into Mr Gammon's room. was dressed just as when he was first presented to the reader, sallying forth into Oxford Street to enslave the ladyworld. Mr Gammon, who was sitting reading the Sunday Flash at a table on which stood a couple of decanters, several wine-glasses, and two or three dishes of fruit, rose and received his distinguished visiter with the most delightful affability.
"I am most happy, Mr Titmouse, to see you in this friendly way," said he, shaking him by the hand.
"Oh, don't name it, sir," quoth Titmouse, rather indistinctly, and hastily running his hand through his hair.
"I've nothing, you see, to offer you but a little fruit, and a glass of fair port or sherry."
"Particular fond of them, sir," replied Titmouse, endeavouring to clear his throat; for in spite of a strong ef fort to appear at his ease, he was unsuccessful; so that, when Gammon's keen eye glanced at the bedizened figure of his guest, a bitter smile passed over his face, without having been observed. "This," thought he, as his eye passed from the ring glittering on the little finger of the right hand, to the studs and breast-pin in the shirt front, and thence to the guard-chain glaring entirely outside a damson-coloured satin waistcoat, and the spotless white glove which yet glistened on the left hand-"This is the writer of the dis