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him, and got up their briefs with care: gars had intimated. Mr Quirk read but, alas! although these eminent men it with much satisfaction, for it disexerted all their great powers, they closed a truly penitent feeling, and a succeeded not in either bothering the desire to undo as much mischief as the judge, bamboozling the jury, or brow. writer had done. He (Mr Quirk) was beating the witnesses, (the principal not in the least exasperated by cerone of whom was MrParkinson;) Steg- tain very plain terms in which his own gars was found guilty, and sentenced name was mentioned ; but, making all to be transported for life. Enraged at due allowances, quietly put the letter this issue, he sent a message the next in the fire as soon as he had read it. day to Mr Quirk, requesting a visit In due time Mr Steggars, whose from him. When he arrived, Steg- health had suffered from close confine. gars, in a very violent tone, demanded ment, caught frequent wbiffs of the that his papers should be returned to fresh sea-breeze, having set out, under him. 'Twas in vain that Mr Quirk most favourable auspices, for Botany explained to him again and again his Bay; to which distant but happy interesting position with reference to place, he had been thus fortunate in sehis goods, chattels, and effects-i. e. curing, so early, an appointment for life. that, as a convicted felon, he had no Such, then, were the cruel means by further concern with them, and might which Mr Quirk became acquainted dismiss all anxiety on that score from with the exact state of Mr Aubrey's his mind. Steggars hereat got more title : on first becoming apprised of furious than before, and intimated which Mr Gammon either felt, or plainly the course he should feel it his affected, great repugnance to taking duty to pursue—that, if the papers in any part in the affair. He was at question were not given up to him as length, however, over-persuaded by he desired, he should at once write off Quirk into acquiescence; and, that to his late employer, Mr Parkinson, point gained, worked his materials and acknowledge how much farther he with a caution, skill, energy, and per(Steggars) had wronged him and his severance, which soon led to important clients than he supposed of. Old results. Guided by the suggestions Quirk very feelingly represented to of acute and experienced counsel, after him that he was at liberty to do any much pains and considerable expense, thing that he thought calculated to re- they succeeded in discovering that delieve his excited feelings : and then lectable specimen of humanity, TittleMr Quirk took a final farewell of his bat Titmouse, who hath already figured client, wishing him health and happi- so prominently in this history. When
they came to set down on paper the " I say, Grasp!” said he, in a result of all their researches and en. whisper, to that grim functionary, as quiries, in order to submit it in the soon as he had secured poor Steggars shape of a case for the opinion of Mr in his cell, 6 that bird is a little ruffled Mortmain and Mr Frankpledge, in just now ?”
the manner which has been already “ Lud, sir, the nat'ralist thing in the described, it looked perfect on paper, world, considering
as many a faulty pedigree and abstract “ Well—if he should want a letter of title had looked before, and will yet taken to any one, whatever he may look. It was quite possible for even say to the contrary, you'll send it on Mr Tresayle himself to overlook the to Saffron Hill-eh? Understand ?- defect which had been pointed out by He may be injuring himself, you Mr Subtle. That which is stated to a know; and old Quirk with one conveyancer as a fact-any particular hand clasped the huge arm of Grasp event, for instance, as of a death, a in a familiar way, and with the fore- birth, or a marriage, at a particular finger of the other touched his own time, which the very nature of the nose, and then winked his eye. case renders highly probable-he may
“ All right!" quoth Grasp, and they easily assume to be so. But when the parted. Within a very few hours' same statement comes under the acute time Mr Quirk received, by the hand and experienced eye of a nisi prius of a trusty messenger, from Grasp, a lawyer, who knows that he will have letter written by Steggars to Mr to prove his case, step by step, the Parkinson ; a long and eloquent letter, aspect of things is soon changed. The to the purport and effect which Steg first practitioner at the common law
before whom the case came, in its tient and minute examination, With roughest and earliest form, in order an eye fitted tbat he might "lick it into shape,” and “ advise generally” preparatory to its “ To inspect a mite, pot comprehend the “ being laid before counsel,” was Mr
heaven," Traverse, a young pleader, whom he crawled, as it were, over a case ; Messrs Quirk and Gammon were dis- and thus, like as one can imagine that posed to take by the hand. He wrote a beetle creeping over the floor of St a very showy, but superficial and de- Paul's would detect minute flaws lusive opinion; and put the intended and fissures that would be invisible to protege of his clients, as it were by a the eye of Sir Christopher Wren him. kind of hop, step, and jump, into pos- self, spied out defects that much nobler session of the Yatton estates. Quirk optics would have overlooked. To was quite delighted on reading it; but come to plain matter-of-fact, however, Gammon shook his head with a some. I have beside me the original opinion what sarcastic smile, and said he would written by Mr Lynx ; and shall treat at once prepare a case for the opinion the reader to a taste of it-giving him of Mr Lynx, whom he had pitched sufficient to enable him to appreciate upon as the junior counsel in any pro- the ticklish position of affairs with Mr ceedings which might be instituted in Titmouse. To make it not altogether a court of law. Lynx (of whom I unintelligible, let us suppose the state shall speak hereafter) was an expe- of the pedigree to be something like rienced, hard-headed, vigilant, and ac- this (as far as concerns our present curate lawyer ; the very man for such purpose) :a case, requiring, as it did, most pa.
Be pleased, now, unlearned reader, them defective because," saith a to bear in mind that “ Dreddlington,' very learned sergeant, who hath writ a at the top of the above table, is the text-book upon the Action of Ejectcommon ancestor; having two sons, ment, “ the plaintiff in an action of the elder " Harry D.,” the younger ejectment must recover upon the “ Charles D. ;" which latter has, in strength of his own title, not the weaklike manner, two sons, “ Stephen D." ness of his adversary's. the elder son, and “ Geoffry D.” the Now, things standing thus, behold younger son ; that Mr Aubrey, at the astute Lynx advising (inter alia) present in possession, claims under in manner following ; that is tó “ Geoffry D.” Now it will be in- saycumbent on Titmouse, in the first in- “ It appears clear that the lessor of stance, to establish in himself a clear the plaintiff (i. e. Tittlebat Titmouse) independent title to the estates; it will be able to prove that Dreddlingbeing sufficient for Mr Aubrey, (pos. ton (the common ancestor was seised session being nine-tenths of the law,) of the estate at Yatton in the year to falsify Titmouse's proofs, or show 1740; that he had two sons, Harry
and Charles, the former of whom, after possession of some better evidence on a life of dissipation, appears to have this point than is possessed by the lesdied without issue ; and that from the sor of the plaintiff. The natural prelatter (Charles) are descended Ste- sumption certainly seems to be, that phen, the ancestor of the lessor of the the son, being the younger and stronger plaintiff, and Geoffry, the ancestor of man, was the survivor.” the defendant. Assuming, therefore, The above-mentioned opinion of that the descent of the lessor of the Mr Lynx, together with that of Mr plaintiff from Stephen, can be made Subtle entirely corroborating it, (and out, as there appears every reason to which was alluded to in the last part expect [on this point he had written four of this history,) and a pedigree, was brief pages], a clear primâ facie case lying on the table, one day, at the will be established on the part of the office at Saffron Hill, before the anlessor of the plaintiff. As, however, xious and perplexed parties, Messrs it is suspected that Harry D., during Quirk and Gammon. his lifetime, executed a conveyance in Gammon was looking attentively, fee of the property, in order to secure and with a very chagrined air, at the the loan contracted by him from Aaron pedigree; and Quirk was looking at Moses, it will be extremely important Gammon. to ascertain, and, if possible, procure “ Now, Gammon," said the former, satisfactory evidence, that his decease “just let me see again where the exoccurred before the period at which, act hitch is—eh? Curse me if I can by his father's death, that conveyance - see it.” could have become operative upon the “ See it, my dear sir ? Here, here !" property : since it is obvious that, replied Gammon with sudden impashould he have survived his father, that tience, putting his finger two or three instrument, being outstanding, may times on the words “ Harry D.” form a complete answer to the case of “ Don't be so sharp with one, Gam. the lessor of the plaintiff. The danger mon! I know as well as you that will be obviously increased, should that's about where the crack is; but the debt to Aaron Moses prove to have what is the precise thing we're in want been paid off, as is stated to be ru- of, eh ?" moured, by Geoffry D., the younger “ Proof, my dear sir, of the death son of Charles D. : for, should that of Harry Dreddlington some time-no turn out to be the case, he would pro- matter when-previous to the 7th Aubably have taken a conveyance to him- gust 1742 ; and in default thereof, self, or to trustees for his benefit, from Mr Quirk, we are all flat on our backs, Aaron Moses—which being in the and had better never have stirred in power of the defendant, Mr Aubrey, the business." would enable him to make out a title “ You know, Gammon, you're a deto the property, paramount to that cided deal better up in these matters now attempted to be set up on behalf than I-(only because I've not been of Mr Titmouse. Every possible exer- able to turn my attention to 'em latetion, therefore, should be made to as- ly)—so just tell me, in a word, what certain the precise period of the death good's to be got by showing that fellow of Harry D. The registries of the to have died in his father's lifetime ?" various parishes in which the family 6. You don't show your usual acutemay have at any time resided, should ness, Mr Quirk,” replied Gammon, be carefully searched ; and an exami. blandly.
6. It is to make waste paper nation made in the churches and of that conveyance which he executed, churchyards, of all tombstones, escut- and which Mr Aubrey has, and with cheons, &c., belonging, or supposed which he may, at a stroke, cut the to belong, to the Dreddlington family, ground from under our feet.” and by which any light can be thrown “ The very thought makes one feel upon this most important point. It quite funny don't it, Gammon?” appears clear that Dreddlington (the quoth Quirk, with a flustered air. common ancestor) died on the 7th “ It may well do so, Mr Quirk. August 1742 :--the question, there. Now we are fairly embarked in a fore, simply is, whether the death of cause where success will be attended his eldest son (Harry) took place prior with so many splendid results, Mr or subsequent to that period. It is to Quirk—though I'm sure you'll always be feared that the defendant may be in bear me out in saying how very unwilling I was to take advantage of the with a sound of partly a sigh, and villany-hem
partly a whistle, (the former being the “Gammon, Gammon, you're always exponent of the true state of his feelings, harking back to that I'm tired of i. e. anxiety-the latter of what he hearing on't.”
wished to appear the state of his feel. “ Well, now we're in it, I don't see ings, i. e. indifference.) why we should allow ourselves to be " Yes, Mr Quirk ?" batiled by trities. The plain question “ You're a deep devil, Gammon-I is, undoubtedly, whether we are to will say that for you!" replied Quirk, stand still, or go on.” Mr Quirk glancing towards each door, and, as it gazed at Mr Gammon with an anxious were, unconsciously drawing his chair and puzzled look.
a little closer to that of Gammon. “ How d'ye make out-in a legal “ Nay, my dear sir!” said Gamway, you know, Gammon—when a mon, with a deferential and deprecaman died- I mean, of a natural death?" ting smile, “ you give me credit for an enquired Quirk, who was familiar acuteness I feel I do not deserve! If, enough with the means of proving the indeed, I had not bad your sagacity to exact hour of certain violent deaths at rely upon, ever since I have had the Debtor's Door.
honour of being connected with you “ Oh! there are various methods of -ah, Mr Quirk, you know you doing so, my dear sir," replied Gam- lead-I follow". mon, carelessly. “ Entries in family “ Gammon, Gammon !
Comebibles and prayer-books, registers, your name's Oily":tombstones — ay, by the way, an “ In moments like these, Mr Quirk, old tombstone," continued Gammon, I say nothing that I do not feel," inmusingly, “ that would settle the terrupted Gammon, gravely, putting business!"
to his nose the least modicum of snuff “ An old tombstone!" echoed which he could take with the tip of Quirk, briskly. “ Lord, Gammon, his finger out of the huge box of Mr so it would ! That's an idea-I call Quirk, who, just then, was thrusting that a decided idea, Gammon. 'Twould immense pinches every half minute be the very thing !"
up bis nostrils. “ The very thing!” repeated Gam. “ It will cost a great deal of money mon, pointedly. They remained silent to find that same tombstone, Gamfor some moments.
mon!” said Quirk, in almost a whis, “ Snap could not have looked about per, and paused, looking intently at him sharply enough, when he was Gammon. down at Yatton!” at length observed " I think this is a different kind of Quirk, in a low tone, flushing all over spuff from that which you usually as he uttered the last words, and felt take, Mr Quirk, isn't it?” enquired Gammon's cold grey eye settled on Gammon, as he inserted the tips of him like that of a snake.
his fingers into the box. “ He could not, indeed, my dear • The same—the same," replied sir," replied Gammon, while Quirk Quirk, mechanically. continued gazing earnestly at him, “ You are a man better equal to now and then wriggling about in his serious emergencies than any man I chair, rubbing his chin, and drum. ever came near,” said Gammon; “ I ming with his fingers on the table. perceive that you have hit the nail on “ And now that you've suggested the the head, as indeed you always do." thing, it's not to be wondered at- “ Tut! Stuff, Gammon; you're you know, it would have been an old every bit as good a hand as I am.” tombstone-a sort of fragment of a Gammon smiled, shook his head, and tombstone, perhaps-so deeply sunk shrugged his shoulders. in the ground, probably, as easily to • "Tis that practical sagacity of have escaped observation, eh? Does yours," said Gammon—"you know it not it strike you so, Mr Quirk ?” All as well as I can tell you that has this was said by Gammon in a musing raised you to your present professional manner, and in a very low tone of eminence.” He paused, and looked voice ; and he was delighted to find very sincerely at his senior partner. his words sinking into the eager mind 6 Well, I must own I think I do of his companion.
know a trick or two." " Ah, Gammon!" exclaimed Quirk, " Ay, and further, there are some
elever men that can never keep their 66 No-it shall never be said that I own counsel ; but like a hen that has attempted to take the credit of ". just laid an egg, and then goes fool- said Gammon; when a clerk, enterishly cackling about every where, and ing, put an end to the colloquy bethen her egg is taken away."
tween the partners, each of whom, “ Ha, ha !” laughed Quirk ; “that's presently, was sitting alone in his own devilish good, Gammon !—Capital! room-for Gammon found that he was Gad, I think I see the hen! Ha, ha!” too late to think of keeping his en
“ Ha, ha!" echoed Gammon, gen- gagement with Messrs Gregson ; if tly. “ But to be serious, Mr. Quirk; indeed he had ever made any, which what I was going to say was, that I he had not. Mr Quirk sate in a thoroughly appreciate your admirable musing posture for nearly half an hour caution in not confiding to any one
after he and Gammon had separated. even to me—the exact means by which “ Gammon is a deep one! I'll be shot you intend to extricate us from our if ever there was his equal,” said present dilemma.” Here Quirk got Quirk to himself, at length; and very fidgety.
starting off his chair, with his hands 66 Hem! But-hem ! Ay-ama,” crossed behind him, he walked softly he grunted, looking with an uneasy to and fro. " I know what he's air at his calm astute companion; “I driving at—though he thought I diddidn't mean so much as all that, either, n't! He'd let me scratch my hands in Gammon; for two heads, in my opin- getting the blackberries, and then he'd ion, are better than one. You must
come smiling in to eat 'em! But own that, Gammon!” said he, not at share and share alike-share profit, all relishing the heavy burden of re- share danger, master Gammon; sponsibility which he felt that Gam- you may find that Caleb Quirk is a mon was about to devolve upon his match for Oily Gammon-I'll have (Quirk's) shoulders, exclusively. you in for it, one way or another!"
"r 'Tis undoubtedly rather a serious Here occurred a long pause in his business on which we are now en- thoughts. “ Really I doubt the thing's tering," said Gammon; “ and I have growing unmanageable - the prize always admired a saying which you can't be worth the risk !-Risk, inyears ago told me of that great man deed—'fore Gad,—its neither more Machiavel”.
nor less than ”_ Here a certain [Oh, Gammon! Gammon! You picture hanging, covered with black well knew that poor old Mr Quirk crape, in the drawing-room at Alibi never heard of the name of that same House, seemed to have glided down Machiavel till this moment!)- from its station, and to stand before
" That “when great affairs are stir. his eyes with the crape drawn asidering, a master-move should be confined a ghastly object-eugh! He shudderto the master-mind that projects it.' ed, and involuntarily closed his eyes. I understand! I see! I will not,
« Devilish odd that I should just now therefore, enquire into the precise have happened to think of it !” he inmeans by which you will make it ap- wardly exclaimed, sinking into his pear, in due time, (while I am engaged chair in a sort of cold sweat. getting up the subordinate, but very “ D-n the picture!” at length he harassing details of the general case,) exclaimed, almost aloud, getting more that Henry Dreddlington died before the and more flustered—“ I'll burn it! It 7th of August 1742." Here, taking out sha'n't disgrace my drawing-room any his watch," Bless me-two o'clock! longer!” Here Quirk almost fancied I ought to have been at Messrs Greg- that some busy little fiend sate squatson's a quarter of an hour ago.” ting before the grisly picture, writing
“ Stop-a moment or two can't the words “ CALEB QUIRK” at the signify ! It-it," said Quirk hesi. bottom of it; and a sort of sickness tatingly, “it was you, wasn't it, that came over him for a moment. Prethought of the tombstone."
sently he started up, and took down ~ I!-My dear Mr Quirk"-in- one of several well-worn dingy-lookterrupted Gammon, with a look of ing books that stood on the shelves astonishment.
a volume of Burns' Justice. Resum66 Come, come honour among ing his seat, he put on his glasses, and thieves, you know, Gammon!" said with a little trepidation turned to the Quirk, trying to laugh.
head “ Forgery," and glanced over it.