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´╗┐Title: The Law and Lawyers of Pickwick - A Lecture
Author: Lockwood, Frank, Sir, 1846-1897
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Law and Lawyers of Pickwick - A Lecture" ***

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Transcribed from the 1894 Roxburghe Press edition by David Price, email

The Law
Lawyers of Pickwick.


With an Original Drawing of "Mr. Serjeant Buzfuz."

Q.C. M.P.

_3_, _Victoria Street_, _Westminster_,

Uniform with this Edition.


Some Thoughts Concerning Them.


_With an original Drawing of Edith Dombey_.

{Mr. Serjeant Buzfuz: p0.jpg}


At the request of my friend Lord Russell of Killowen, then
Attorney-General, I delivered this lecture at the Morley Hall, Hackney,
on December 13th, 1893.  I had previously delivered it in the city of
York at the request of some of my constituents.  I feel that some apology
is required for its reproduction in a more permanent form, which apology
I most respectfully tender to all who may read this little book.

F. L.


Sir CHARLES RUSSELL: I stand but for a single instant between you and our
friend, Mr. Lockwood.  He needs no introduction here; but I am sure I may
in your name bid him a hearty welcome.

Mr. FRANK LOCKWOOD: Mr. Attorney-General, Ladies and Gentlemen--It is
some little time ago that I was first asked whether I was prepared to
deliver a lecture.  Now I am bound at the outset to confess to you that
lecturing has been and is very little in my way.  I spent some three
years of my life at the University in avoiding lectures.  But it came
about that in the constituency which I have the honour to represent, it
was suggested to me that it was necessary for me to give a lecture, and
it was further explained to me that it did not really very much matter as
to what I lectured about.  I am bound to say there was a very great charm
to me in the idea of lecturing my constituents.  I know it does sometimes
occur that constituents lecture their representatives, especially in
Scotland, and I was anxious, if I might, to have an opportunity of
lecturing those who had so many opportunities of reading, no doubt very
useful lectures to me.  But the difficulty was to find a subject.  My own
profession suggested itself to me as a fit topic for a lecture, but
unfortunately my profession is not a popular one.  I do not know how it
is, but you never find a lawyer introduced either into a play or into a
three-volume novel except for the purpose of exposing him as a scoundrel
in the one, and having him kicked in the third act in the other.  I do
not know how it is, but so it is.  All the heroes of fiction either in
the drama or in the novel are found in the ranks--no, not in the ranks of
the army, but in the officers of the army, or in the clergy.  It is so in
novels, it is so in dramas; Mr. Attorney-General, I believe it is so in
real life.

And so, looking about for a subject, being reminded, as I was, that the
subject of the law was unpopular, I turned--as I have often done in the
hour of trouble--I turned to my Dickens, and there I found that at any
rate in Dickens we have a great literary man who has been impartial in
his treatment of lawyers.  He has seen both the good and the bad in them,
and it occurred to me that my lecture might take the form of dealing with
the lawyers of Dickens.  I soon found that was too great a subject to be
dealt with within the short space which could be accorded to any
reasonable lecturer by any reasonable audience.  I found that the novels
of Dickens abounded with lawyers, to use a perhaps apt expression.  Having
regard to my profession, they fairly bristled with them, and so I
determined to take the lawyers of one of his books; and I chose as that
book "Pickwick"; and I chose as my title "The Law and the Lawyers of

Ladies and gentlemen, it is an extraordinary thing when we look at this
book, when we reflect that it contains within its pages no less than
three hundred and sixty characters, all drawn vividly and sharply, all
expressing different phases of human thought, and of human life, and
every one of them original; when we reflect that that book was written by
a young man of twenty-three years of age.  In that book I found that he
portrayed with life-like fidelity constables, sheriffs' officers,
beadles, ushers, clerks, solicitors, barristers, and last, but by no
means least, a judge.  Every incident of the early life of this great
author bore fruit in his writings.  No portion of his struggles and
experiences seemed to have made a deeper impress on him than did those
early days, as he said himself in the character of David Copperfield:--

   If it should appear from anything I may set down in this narrative
   that I was a child of close observation, or that as a man I have a
   strong memory of my childhood, I undoubtedly lay claim to both of
   these characteristics.

His first introduction to the terrors of the law was an unspeakably sad
one--sad, indeed, to his affectionate and imaginative nature.  "I know,"
he writes, "that we got on very badly with the butcher and baker, that
very often we had not too much for dinner, and that at last my father was
arrested."  He never forgot--how could he, knowing what we know the lad
to have been?--often carrying messages to the dismal Marshalsea.  "I
really believed," he wrote, "that they had broken my heart."  His first
visit to his father he thus describes:--

   My father was waiting for me in the lodge, and we went up to his room
   (on the top story but one), and cried very much.  And he told me, I
   remember, to take warning by the Marshalsea, and to observe that if a
   man had twenty pounds a year and spent nineteen pounds nineteen
   shillings and sixpence, he would be happy, but that a shilling spent
   the other way would make him wretched.  I see the fire we sat before
   now, with two bricks inside the rusted grate, one on each side, to
   prevent its burning too many coals.  Some other debtor shared the room
   with him, who came in by-and-by; and as the dinner was a joint stock
   repast I was sent up to "Captain Porter" in the room overhead, with
   Mr. Dickens's compliments, and I was his son, and could he, Captain
   P., lend me a knife and fork?

   Captain Porter lent the knife and fork, with his compliments in
   return.  There was a very dirty lady in his room, and two wan girls,
   his daughters, with shock heads of hair.  I thought I should not have
   liked to borrow Captain Porter's comb.  The Captain himself was in the
   last extremity of shabbiness; and if I could draw at all, I would draw
   an accurate portrait of the old, old, brown great-coat he wore, with
   no other coat below it.  His whiskers were large.  I saw his bed
   rolled up in a corner; and what plates, and dishes, and pots he had on
   a shelf; and I knew (God knows how!) that the two girls with the shock
   heads were Captain Porter's natural children, and that the dirty lady
   was not married to Captain P.  My timid, wondering station on his
   threshold was not occupied more than a couple of minutes, I daresay;
   but I came down to the room below with all this as surely in my
   knowledge as the knife and fork were in my hand.

When the stern necessities of the situation required the detention of Mr.
Pickwick in the old Fleet Prison, we have produced a lifelike
representation of the debtors' gaol; and I believe that the reforms which
have made such an institution a thing of the past are in a great part
owing to the vivid recollection which enabled him to point to the horrors
and injustice which were practised in the sacred name of law.

At the age of fifteen we find Dickens a bright, clever-looking youth in
the office of Mr. Edward Blackmore, attorney-at-law in Gray's Inn,
earning at first 13_s_. 6_d_. a week, afterwards advanced to 15_s_.
Eighteen months' experience of this sort enabled him in the pages of
Pickwick thus to describe lawyers' clerks:--

   There are several grades of lawyers' clerks.  There is the articled
   clerk, who has paid a premium, and is an attorney in perspective, who
   runs a tailor's bill, receives invitations to parties, knows a family
   in Gower Street, and another in Tavistock Square; who goes out of town
   every Long Vacation to see his father, who keeps live horses
   innumerable; and who is, in short, the very aristocrat of clerks.
   There is the salaried clerk--out of door, or in door, as the case may
   be--who devotes the major part of his thirty shillings a week to his
   personal pleasure and adornment, repairs half-price to the Adelphi
   Theatre at least three times a week, dissipates majestically at the
   cider cellars afterwards, and is a dirty caricature of the fashion
   which expired six months ago.  There is the middle-aged copying clerk,
   with a large family, who is always shabby, and often drunk.  And there
   are the office lads in their first surtouts, who feel a befitting
   contempt for boys at day-schools; club as they go home at night for
   saveloys and porter: and think there's nothing like "life."

I fancy Dickens never rose above the status of office boy, and probably
as such wore his first surtout.  We hear of him reporting later in the
Lord Chancellor's Court, probably for some daily paper; but beyond the
exception which I shall mention presently, we have no record of his
taking an active and direct part in any of those mysterious rites that go
to make up our legal procedure.

Upon this question of the opportunities he had for knowing in what way a
lawyer is trained, I must here acknowledge the debt of gratitude that I
am under to my very good friend Mr. Henry Fielding Dickens, one of her
Majesty's Counsel; and how rejoiced, Mr. Attorney-General, would that
father have been had he been able to see the position which his son has
won for himself.  He wrote to me a long and kind letter, in which he gave
me further information as to his father's opportunity for observing
lawyers and their mode of living, and he told me that which I did not
know before, and which I think but few people knew before, namely, that
his father had kept a term or two at one of the Inns of Court.  He had
eaten the five or six dinners which is part of the necessary legal
education for a barrister; and he had suffered in consequence the usual
pangs of indigestion.  But it is not to that that I wish to allude to-
night.  Dickens did that which I venture to think but few have done; for,
giving up all idea of pursuing a legal education, and finding that the
dinners did not agree with him, he got back from the Inns of Court some
of the money which he had deposited at that Inn.  You are all familiar
with the process which is known as getting butter out of a dog's mouth; I
venture to think that that is an easy thing compared with getting money
back from an Inn of Court.

But that is not all that Mr. Dickens told me.  He wrote down for me an
experience his father once had with the family solicitor, which, I think,
is worth your hearing.  "My father's solicitor, Mr. Ouvry," he says, "was
a very well-known man, a thorough man of the world, and one in whose
breast reposed many of the secrets of the principal families of England.
On one occasion my father was in treaty for a piece of land at the back
of Gad's Hill, and it was proposed that there should be an interview with
the owner, a farmer, a very acute man of business, and a very hard nut to
crack.  It was arranged that the interview with him should be at Gad's
Hill, and the solicitor came down for the purpose.  My father and Ouvry
were sitting over their wine when the old man was announced.  'We had
better go in to him,' said my father.  'No, no,' said the astute lawyer.
'John,' said he, turning to the butler, 'show him into the study, and
take him a bottle of the old port.'  Then turning to my father, 'A glass
of port will do him good; it will soften him.'  After waiting about
twenty minutes they went into the study; the farmer was sitting bolt
upright in an arm-chair, stern and uncompromising; the bottle of port had
not been touched.  Negotiations then proceeded very much in favour of the
farmer, and a bargain was struck.  The old man then proceeded to turn his
attention to the port, and in a very few minutes he had finished the

Mr. Dickens also told me of his father's knowledge of the legal
profession, and of the distinguished members of it.  Though not himself,
he writes, of the legal profession, my father was very fond of lawyers.
He numbered among his intimate friends Lord Denman, Lord Campbell, Mr.
Justice Talfourd, Chief Justice Crockford; in fact, it is difficult to
name any eminent lawyer who could not claim acquaintance, at any rate,
with our great author.  And he tells me, too, an anecdote relating to a
distinguished lawyer of the present day--Sir Henry Hawkins.  We nearly
lost that great man, I think about the year 1851, on the occasion of some
theatricals at Knebworth.  The play was _Every Man in his Humour_, and
Frank Stone, the artist, father of Mr. Marcus Stone, R.A., was allowed to
play a part with a sword.  (Those of you who have had any experience of
theatrical matters know how dangerous it is to trust a sword to an
amateur.)  He came up flourishing the sword, and if Mr. Hawkins had not
ducked we should have lost that eminent man; but he did it just in time.

Before I introduce you to the types of the judge, the counsel, the
solicitors, let me say something to you of the district in which lawyers
live, or rather in Dickens's time lived, and still do congregate.  From
Gray's Inn in the north to the Temple in the south, from New Inn and
Clement's Inn in the west to Barnard's Inn in the east.  I once lived
myself in Clement's Inn, and heard the chimes go, too; and I remember one
day I sat in my little room very near the sky (I do not know why it is
that poverty always gets as near the sky as possible; but I should think
it is because the general idea is that there is more sympathy in heaven
than elsewhere), and as I sat there a knock came at the door, and the
head of the porter of Clement's Inn presented itself to me.  It was the
first of January, and he gravely gave me an orange and a lemon.  He had a
basketful on his arm.  I asked for some explanation.  The only
information forthcoming was that from time immemorial every tenant on New
Year's Day was presented with an orange and a lemon, and that I was
expected, and that every tenant was expected, to give half-a-crown to the
porter.  Further inquiries from the steward gave me this explanation,
that in old days when the river was not used merely as a sewer, the fruit
was brought up in barges and boats to the steps from below the bridge and
carried by porters through the Inn to Clare Market.  Toll was at first
charged, and this toll was divided among the tenants whose convenience
was interfered with; hence the old lines beginning "Oranges and lemons
said the bells of St. Clement's."  I have often wondered whether the rest
of the old catch had reason as well as rhyme.

Dickens loved the old Inns and squares.  Traddles lived in Gray's Inn:
Traddles who was in love with "the dearest girl in the world"; Tom Pinch
and his sister used to meet near the fountain in the Middle Temple; Sir
John Chester had rooms in Paper Buildings; Pip lived in Garden Court at
the time of the collapse of Great Expectations; Mortimer Lightwood and
Eugene Wrayburn had their queer domestic partnership in the Temple.  The
scene of the murderous plot in "Hunted Down" is also laid in the Temple,
"at the top of a lonely corner house overlooking the river," probably the
end house of King's Bench Walk.  Mr. Grewgious, Herbert Pocket, and Joe
Gargery are associated with Staple Inn and Barnard's Inn.

Lincoln's Inn has not been forgotten; for though Mr. Tulkinghorn lived in
the Fields, yet Serjeant Snubbin was to be found in Lincoln's Inn Old

I never could understand why Dickens located the Serjeant in the realms
of Equity; but what should interest us more to-night is the fact that the
greater part of "Pickwick" was written in Furnival's Inn, which, as
Dickens describes it, was "a shady, quiet place echoing to the footsteps
of the stragglers there, and rather monotonous and gloomy on summer

But to know the Inns as Dickens knew them, let us accompany Mr. Pickwick
to the Magpie and Stump in search of Mr. Lowten, Mr. Perker's clerk.

   "Is Mr. Lowten here, ma'am?" inquired Mr. Pickwick.

   "Yes, he is, sir," replied the landlady.  "Here, Charley, show the
   gentleman in to Mr. Lowten."

   "The gen'lm'n can't go in just now," said a shambling pot-boy, with a
   red head, "'cos Mr. Lowten's singin' a comic song, and he'll put him
   out.  He'll be done d'rectly, sir."

Well, you know, respectable solicitors (clerks) don't sing comic songs at
public houses nowadays, but that is how Mr. Pickwick found Mr. Lowten.

   "Would you like to join us?" said Mr. Lowten, when at length he had
   finished his comic song and been introduced to Mr. Pickwick.  And I am
   very glad that Mr. Pickwick did join them, as he heard something of
   the old Inns from old Jack Bamber.

   "I have been to-night, gentlemen," said Mr. Pickwick, hoping to start
   a subject which all the company could take a part in discussing--"I
   have been to-night in a place which you all know very well, doubtless,
   but which I have not been in for some years, and know very little of;
   I mean Gray's Inn, gentlemen.  Curious little nooks in a great place,
   like London, these old Inns are."

   "By Jove!" said the chairman, whispering across the table to Mr.
   Pickwick, "you have hit upon something that one of us, at least, would
   talk upon for ever.  You'll draw old Jack Bamber out; he was never
   heard to talk about anything else but the Inns, and he has lived alone
   in them till he's half crazy."

   "Aha!" said the old man, a brief description of whose manner and
   appearance concluded the last chapter, "aha! who was talking about the

   "I was, sir," replied Mr. Pickwick; "I was observing what singular old
   places they are."

   "_You_!" said the old man, contemptuously.  "What do _you_ know of the
   time when young men shut themselves up in those lonely rooms, and read
   and read, hour after hour, and night after night, till their reason
   wandered beneath their midnight studies; till their mental powers were
   exhausted: till morning's light brought no freshness or health to
   them; and they sank beneath the unnatural devotion of their youthful
   energies to their dry old books?  Coming down to a later time, and a
   very different day, what do _you_ know of the gradual sinking beneath
   consumption, or the quick wasting of fever--the grand results of
   'life' and dissipation--which men have undergone in these same rooms?
   How many vain pleaders for mercy, do you think, have turned away heart-
   sick from the lawyer's office, to find a resting-place in the Thames,
   or a refuge in the gaol?  They are no ordinary houses, those.  There
   is not a panel in the old wainscoting but what, if it were endowed
   with the powers of speech and memory, could start from the wall and
   tell its tale of horror--the romance of life, sir, the romance of
   life!  Commonplace as they may seem now, I tell you they are strange
   old places, and I would rather hear many a legend with a
   terrific-sounding name than the true history of one old set of

   There was something so odd in the old man's sudden energy, and the
   subject which had called it forth, that Mr. Pickwick was prepared with
   no observation in reply; and the old man checking his impetuosity, and
   resuming the leer, which had disappeared during his previous
   excitement, said,--

   "Look at them in another light; their most common-place and least
   romantic.  What fine places of slow torture they are!  Think of the
   needy man who has spent his all, beggared himself and pinched his
   friends to enter the profession, which will never yield him a morsel
   of bread.  The waiting--the hope--the disappointment--the fear--the
   misery--the poverty--the blight on his hopes and end to his career--the
   suicide, perhaps, or the shabby, slipshod drunkard.  Am I not right
   about them?"  And the old man rubbed his hands, and leered as if in
   delight at having found another point of view in which to place his
   favourite subject.

   Mr. Pickwick eyed the old man with great curiosity, and the remainder
   of the company smiled, and looked on in silence.

   "Talk of your German universities," said the little old man.  "Pooh!
   pooh! there's romance enough at home without going half a mile for it;
   only people never think of it.'"

   "I never thought of the romance of this particular subject before,
   certainly," said Mr. Pickwick, laughing.

   "To be sure you didn't," said the little old man, "of course not.  As
   a friend of mine used to say to me, 'What is there in chambers in
   particular?'  'Queer old places,' said I.  'Not at all,' said he.
   'Lonely,' said I.  'Not a bit of it,' said he.  He died one morning of
   apoplexy, as he was going to open his outer door.  Fell with his head
   in his own letter-box, and there he lay for eighteen months.  Everybody
   thought he'd gone out of town.

   "And how was he found out at last?" inquired Mr. Pickwick.

   "The benchers determined to have his door broken open, as he hadn't
   paid any rent for two years.  So they did.  Forced the lock; and a
   very dusty skeleton in a blue coat, black knee-shorts, and silks, fell
   forward in the arms of the porter who opened the door.  Queer, that.
   Rather, perhaps?"  The little old man put his head more on one side,
   and rubbed his hands with unspeakable glee.

   "I know another case," said the little old man, when his chuckles had
   in some degree subsided.  "It occurred in Clifford's Inn.  Tenant of a
   top set--bad character--shut himself up in his bedroom closet, and
   took a dose of arsenic.  The steward thought he had run away; opened
   the door and put a bill up.  Another man came, took the chambers,
   furnished them, and went to live there.  Somehow or other he couldn't
   sleep--always restless and uncomfortable.  'Odd,' says he.  'I'll make
   the other room my bedchamber, and this my sitting-room.'  He made the
   change, and slept very well at night, but suddenly found that,
   somehow, he couldn't read in the evening; he got nervous and
   uncomfortable, and used to be always snuffing his candles and staring
   about him.  'I can't make this out,' said he, when he came home from
   the play one night, and was drinking a glass of cold grog, with his
   back to the wall, in order that he mightn't be able to fancy there was
   any one behind him--'I can't make it out,' said he; and just then his
   eyes rested on the little closet that had been always locked up, and a
   shudder ran through his whole frame from top to toe.  'I have felt
   this strange feeling before,' said he.  'I can't help thinking there's
   something wrong about that closet.'  He made a strong effort, plucked
   up his courage, shivered the lock with a blow or two of the poker,
   opened the door, and there, sure enough, standing bolt upright in the
   corner, was the last tenant, with a little bottle clasped firmly in
   his hand, and his face--well!"  As the little old man concluded he
   looked round on the attentive faces of his wondering auditory with a
   smile of grim delight.

   "What strange things these are you tell us of, sir," said Mr.
   Pickwick, minutely scanning the old man's countenance by the aid of
   his glasses.

   "Strange!" said the little old man.  "Nonsense; you think them strange
   because you know nothing about it.  They are funny, but not uncommon."

   "Funny!" exclaimed Mr. Pickwick, involuntarily.

   "Yes, funny, are they not?" replied the little old man, with a
   diabolical leer; and then, without pausing for an answer, he

   "I knew another man--let me see--forty years ago now--who took an old,
   damp, rotten set of chambers in one of the most ancient Inns, that had
   been shut up and empty for years and years before.  There were lots of
   old women's stories about the place, and it certainly was very far
   from being a cheerful one; but he was poor, and the rooms were cheap,
   and that would have been quite a sufficient reason for him, if they
   had been ten times worse than they really were.  He was obliged to
   take some mouldering fixtures that were on the place, and, among the
   rest, was a great lumbering wooden press for papers, with large glass
   doors, and a green curtain inside; a pretty useless thing for him, for
   he had no papers to put in it; and as to his clothes, he carried them
   about with him, and that wasn't very hard work either.  Well, he had
   moved in all his furniture--it wasn't quite a truck-full--and had
   sprinkled it about the room, so as to make the four chairs look as
   much like a dozen as possible, and was sitting down before the fire at
   night, drinking the first glass of two gallons of whisky he had
   ordered on credit, wondering whether it would ever be paid for, and if
   so, in how many years' time, when his eyes encountered the glass doors
   of the wooden press.  'Ah,' says he, 'if I hadn't been obliged to take
   that ugly article at the old broker's valuation I might have got
   something comfortable for the money.  I'll tell you what it is, old
   fellow,' he said, speaking aloud to the press, having nothing else to
   speak to, 'if it wouldn't cost more to break up your old carcase than
   it would ever be worth afterwards, I'd have a fire out of you in less
   than no time.'  He had hardly spoken the words when a sound,
   resembling a faint groan, appeared to issue from the interior of the
   case.  It startled him at first, but thinking, on a moment's
   reflection, that it must be some young fellow in the next chamber, who
   had been dining out, he put his feet on the fender, and raised the
   poker to stir the fire.  At that moment the sound was repeated, and
   one of the glass doors slowly opening disclosed a pale and emaciated
   figure in soiled and worn apparel standing erect in the press.  The
   figure was tall and thin, and the countenance expressive of care and
   anxiety; but there was something in the hue of the skin, and gaunt and
   unearthly appearance of the whole form, which no being of this world
   was ever seen to wear.  'Who are you?' said the new tenant, turning
   very pale, poising the poker in his hand, however, and taking a very
   decent aim at the countenance of the figure.  'Who are you?'  'Don't
   throw that poker at me,' replied the form.  'If you hurled it with
   ever so sure an aim, it would pass through me without resistance, and
   expend its force on the wood behind.  I am a spirit.'  'And, pray,
   what do you want here?' faltered the tenant.  'In this room,' replied
   the apparition, 'my worldly ruin was worked, and I and my children
   beggared.  In this press the papers in a long, long suit, which
   accumulated for years, were deposited.  In this room, when I had died
   of grief and long-deferred hope, two wily harpies divided the wealth
   for which I had contested during a wretched existence, and of which,
   at last, not one farthing was left for my unhappy descendants.  I
   terrified them from the spot, and since that day have prowled by
   night--the only period at which I can re-visit the earth--about the
   scenes of my long-protracted misery.  This apartment is mine; leave it
   to me.'  'If you insist on making your appearance here,' said the
   tenant, who had time to collect his presence of mind during this prosy
   statement of the ghost's, 'I shall give up possession with the
   greatest pleasure; but I should like to ask you one question, if you
   will allow me.'  'Say on,' said the apparition, sternly.  'Well,' said
   the tenant, 'I don't apply the observation personally to you, because
   it is equally applicable to most of the ghosts I ever heard of; but it
   does appear to me somewhat inconsistent that when you have an
   opportunity of visiting the fairest spots of earth--for I suppose
   space is nothing to you--you should always return exactly to the very
   places where you have been most miserable.'  'Egad, that's very true;
   I never thought of that before,' said the ghost.  'You see, sir,'
   pursued the tenant, 'this is a very uncomfortable room.  From the
   appearance of that press I should be disposed to say that it is not
   wholly free from bugs; and I really think you might find much more
   comfortable quarters, to say nothing of the climate of London, which
   is extremely disagreeable.'  'You are very right, sir,' said the
   ghost, politely; 'it never struck me till now; I'll try a change of
   air directly.'  In fact, he began to vanish as he spoke--his legs,
   indeed, had quite disappeared.  'And if, sir,' said the tenant,
   calling after him, 'if you _would_ have the goodness to suggest to the
   other ladies and gentlemen who are now engaged in haunting old empty
   houses, that they might be much more comfortable elsewhere, you will
   confer a very great benefit on society.'  'I will,' replied the ghost;
   'we must be dull fellows, very dull fellows indeed; I can't imagine
   how we can have been so stupid.'  With these words the spirit
   disappeared; and what is rather remarkable," added the old man, with a
   shrewd look round the table, "he never came back again."

But I must not delay longer over where the lawyers live.  The lawyers of
Dickens furnish me with three types of the practising solicitor or
attorney, each admirable in its way.  First, Mr. Perker, whose aid Mr.
Wardle seeks to release Miss Rachel Wardle from that scoundrel Jingle.  He
is described as a little high-dried man, with a dark squeezed-up face,
and small restless black eyes, that kept winking and twinkling on each
side of his little inquisitive nose, as if they were playing a perpetual
game of peep-bo with that feature.  He was dressed all in black, with
boots as shiny as his eyes, a low white neckcloth, and a clean shirt with
a frill to it.  A gold watch-chain and seals depended from his fob.  He
carried his black kid gloves _in_ his hands, and not _on_ them; and as he
spoke, thrust his wrists beneath his coat-tails, with the air of a man
who was in the habit of propounding some regular posers.

He lived at Montague Place, Russell Square, and had offices in Gray's
Inn, and appears to have had a large and very respectable business, into
the details of which we have not time to travel; but perhaps the
cleverest piece of business he ever did was when, as Agent to the
Honourable Samuel Slumkey, of Slumkey Hall, he brought about the return
of that honourable gentleman as Member of Parliament.  I suppose we have
all read the account of that memorable election, which is a pretty
accurate record of what went on at Eatanswill, and I am credibly informed
at many other places.

Mr. Pickwick and his companions, in their quest for experience, set out
for the excitement of a contested election, and found their way to the
agent's room.

   "Ah--ah, my dear sir," said the little man, advancing to meet him;
   "very happy to see you, my dear sir, very.  Pray sit down.  So you
   have carried your intention into effect.  You have come down here to
   see an election--eh?"

   Mr. Pickwick replied in the affirmative.

   "Spirited contest, my dear sir," said the little man.

   "I'm delighted to hear it," said Mr. Pickwick, rubbing his hands.  "I
   like to see sturdy patriotism, on whatever side it is called
   forth;--and so it's a spirited contest?"

   "Oh, yes," said the little man, "very much so indeed.  We have opened
   all the public-houses in the place, and left our adversary nothing but
   the beer-shops--masterly stroke of policy that, my dear sir, eh?"

   The little man smiled complacently, and took a large pinch of snuff.

   "And what are the probabilities as to the result of the contest?"
   inquired Mr. Pickwick.

   "Why, doubtful, my dear sir; rather doubtful as yet," replied the
   little man.  "Fizkin's people have got three-and-thirty voters in the
   lock-up coach-house at the White Hart."

   "In the coach-house!" said Mr. Pickwick, considerably astonished by
   this second stroke of policy.

   "They keep 'em locked up there till they want 'em," resumed the little
   man.  "The effect of that is, you see, to prevent our getting at them;
   and even if we could, it would be of no use, for they keep them very
   drunk on purpose.  Smart fellow Fizkin's agent--very smart fellow

   Mr. Pickwick stared, but said nothing.

   "We are pretty confident, though," said Mr. Perker, sinking his voice
   almost to a whisper.  "We had a little tea-party here last night--five-
   and-forty women, my dear sir--and gave every one of 'em a green
   parasol when she went away."

   "A parasol?" said Mr. Pickwick.

   "Fact, my dear sir, fact.  Five-and-forty green parasols at seven and
   sixpence a-piece.  All women like finery--extraordinary the effect of
   those parasols.  Secured all their husbands, and half their
   brothers--beat stockings, and flannel, and all that sort of thing
   hollow.  My idea, my dear sir, entirely.  Hail, rain, or sunshine, you
   can't walk half-a-dozen yards up the street without encountering half-
   a-dozen green parasols."

   On the day of the election the stable yard exhibited unequivocal
   symptoms of the glory and strength of the Eatanswill Blues.  There was
   a regular army of blue flags, some with one handle, and some with two,
   exhibiting appropriate devices, in golden characters four feet high,
   and stout in proportion.  There was a grand band of trumpets,
   bassoons, and drums, marshalled four abreast, and earning their money,
   if ever men did, especially the drum beaters, who were very muscular.
   There were bodies of constables with blue staves, twenty committee men
   with blue scarves, and a mob of voters with blue cockades.  There were
   electors on horseback and electors on foot.  There was an open
   carriage and four, for the Honourable Samuel Slumkey; and there were
   four carriages and pair, for his friends and supporters; and the flags
   were rustling, and the band was playing, and the constables were
   swearing, and the twenty committee men were squabbling, and the mob
   were shouting, and the horses were backing, and the post-boys were
   perspiring; and everybody, and everything, then and there assembled,
   was for the special use, behoof, honour, and renown, of the Honourable
   Samuel Slumkey, of Slumkey Hall, one of the candidates for the
   representation of the Borough of Eatanswill, in the Commons House of
   Parliament of the United Kingdom.

   Loud and long were the cheers, and mighty was the rustling of one of
   the blue flags, with "Liberty of the Press" inscribed thereon, when
   the sandy head of Mr. Pott was discerned in one of the windows by the
   mob beneath; and tremendous was the enthusiasm when the Honourable
   Samuel Slumkey himself, in top boots, and a blue neckerchief, advanced
   and seized the hand of the said Pott, and melodramatically testified
   by gestures to the crowd his ineffaceable obligations to the
   _Eatanswill Gazette_.

   "Is everything ready?" said the Honourable Samuel Slumkey to Mr.

   "Everything, my dear sir," was the little man's reply.

   "Nothing has been omitted, I hope?" said the Honourable Samuel

   "Nothing has been left undone, my dear sir--nothing whatever.  There
   are twenty washed men at the street door for you to shake hands with;
   and six children in arms that you're to pat on the head, and inquire
   the age of; be particular about the children, my dear sir,--it has
   always a great effect, that sort of thing."

   "I'll take care," said the Honourable Samuel Slumkey.

   "And perhaps, my dear sir," said the cautious little man, "perhaps if
   you _could_--I don't mean to say it's indispensable--but if you
   _could_ manage to kiss one of 'em it would produce a very great
   impression on the crowd."

   "Wouldn't it have as good an effect if the proposer or seconder did
   that?" said the Honourable Samuel Slumkey.

   "Why, I am afraid it wouldn't," replied the agent; "if it were done by
   yourself, my dear sir, I think it would make you very popular."

   "Very well," said the Honourable Samuel Slumkey, with a resigned air,
   "then it must be done.  That's all."

   "Arrange the procession," cried the twenty committee men.

   Amidst the cheers of the assembled throng, the band, and the
   constables, and the committee men, and the voters, and the horsemen,
   and the carriages took their places--each of the two-horse vehicles
   being closely packed with as many gentlemen as could manage to stand
   upright in it; and that assigned to Mr. Perker containing Mr.
   Pickwick, Mr. Tupman, Mr. Snodgrass, and about half-a-dozen of the
   committee beside.

   There was a moment of awful suspense as the procession waited for the
   Honourable Samuel Slumkey to step into his carriage.  Suddenly the
   crowd set up a great cheering.

   "He has come out," said little Mr. Perker, greatly excited; the more
   so as their position did not enable them to see what was going

   Another cheer, much louder.

   "He has shaken hands with the men," cried the little agent.

   Another cheer, far more vehement.

   "He has patted the babies on the head," said Mr. Perker, trembling
   with anxiety.

   A roar of applause that rent the air.

   "He has kissed one of 'em!" exclaimed the delighted little man.

   A second roar.

   "He has kissed another," gasped the excited manager.

   A third roar.

   "He's kissing 'em all!" screamed the enthusiastic little gentleman.
   And hailed by the deafening shouts of the multitude the procession
   moved on.

Ladies and gentlemen, according to our modern ideas this account does not
do much to raise Mr. Perker in our estimation; but the best testimonial
to his memory is to be found in Mr. Pickwick's observation when, being at
last free from all his legal difficulties, he proposed to settle up with
his lawyer.

   "Well, now," said Mr. Pickwick, "let me have a settlement with you."

   "Of the same kind as the last?" inquired Perker, with another laugh,
   for Mr. Pickwick had just been dismissing Messrs. Dodson and Fogg with
   some strong language indeed.

   "Not exactly," said Mr. Pickwick, drawing out his pocket-book, and
   shaking the little man heartily by the hand; "I only mean a pecuniary
   settlement.  You have done me many acts of kindness that I can never
   repay, and have no wish to repay, for I prefer continuing the

   With this preface the two friends dived into some very complicated
   accounts and vouchers, which, having been duly displayed and gone
   through by Perker, were at once discharged by Mr. Pickwick with many
   professions of esteem and friendship.

Never was bill of costs so pleasantly discharged, though I know many
lawyers who have won the friendship and esteem of their clients.

The next type is that of Messrs. Dodson and Fogg, of Freeman's Court,
Cornhill.  The character of the genial partner is best described by one
of his clerks in a conversation overheard by Mr. Pickwick and Sam Weller
while waiting for an interview with this celebrated firm.

   "There was such a game with Fogg here this morning," said the man in
   the brown coat, "while Jack was upstairs sorting the papers, and you
   two were gone to the stamp-office.  Fogg was down here opening the
   letters when that chap as we issued the writ against at Camberwell,
   you know, came in--what's his name again?"

   "Ramsey," said the clerk who had spoken to Mr. Pickwick.

   "Ah, Ramsey--a precious seedy-looking customer.  'Well, sir,' says old
   Fogg, looking at him very fierce--you know his way--'well, sir, have
   you come to settle?'  'Yes, I have, sir,' said Ramsey, putting his
   hand in his pocket and bringing out the money; 'the debt's two pound
   ten, and the costs three pound five, and here it is, sir,' and he
   sighed like bricks as he lugged out the money, done up in a bit of
   blotting-paper.  Old Fogg looked first at the money, and then at him,
   and then he coughed in his rum way, so that I knew something was
   coming.  'You don't know there's a declaration filed, which increases
   the costs materially, I suppose?' said Fogg.  'You don't say that,
   sir,' said Ramsey, starting back; 'the time was only out last night,
   sir.'  'I do say it, though,' said Fogg; 'my clerk's just gone to file
   it.  Hasn't Mr. Jackson gone to file that declaration in Bullman and
   Ramsey, Mr. Wicks?'  Of course I said yes, and then Fogg coughed
   again, and looked at Ramsey.  'My God!' said Ramsey; 'and here have I
   nearly driven myself mad, scraping this money together, and all to no
   purpose.'  'None at all,' said Fogg, coolly; 'so you had better go
   back and scrape some more together, and bring it here in time.'  'I
   can't get it, by God!' said Ramsey, striking the desk with his fist.
   'Don't bully me, sir,' said Fogg, getting into a passion on purpose.
   'I am not bullying you, sir,' said Ramsey.  'You are,' said Fogg; 'get
   out, sir; get out of this office, sir, and come back, sir, when you
   know how to behave yourself.'  Well, Ramsey tried to speak, but Fogg
   wouldn't let him, so he put the money in his pocket and sneaked out.
   The door was scarcely shut when old Fogg turned round to me, with a
   sweet smile on his face, and drew the declaration out of his coat
   pocket.  'Here, Wicks,' said Fogg, 'take a cab and go down to the
   Temple as quick as you can and file that.  The costs are quite safe,
   for he's a steady man with a large family, at a salary of five-and-
   twenty shillings a week; and if he gives us a warrant of attorney, as
   he must in the end, I know his employers will see it paid, so we may
   as well get all we can out of him, Mr. Wicks; it's a Christian act to
   do it, Mr. Wicks, for with his large family and small income he'll be
   all the better for a good lesson against getting into debt--won't he,
   Mr. Wicks, won't he?' and he smiled so good-naturedly as he went away
   that it was delightful to see him.  'He is a capital man of business,'
   said Wicks, in a tone of the deepest admiration; 'capital, isn't he?'"

Mr. Fogg, we are told, was an elderly, pimply-faced, vegetable diet sort
of man, in a black coat, and dark-mixtured trousers; and Mr. Dodson was a
plump, portly, stern-looking man, with a loud voice.  And it was from
these worthies that Mr. Pickwick had received a letter dated the 28th of
August, 1827.

   _Bardell against Pickwick_.

   SIR,--Having been instructed by Mrs. Martha Bardell to commence an
   action against you for a breach of promise of marriage, for which the
   plaintiff lays her damages at fifteen hundred pounds, we beg to inform
   you that a writ has been issued against you in this suit in the Court
   of Common Pleas, and request to know, by return of post, the name of
   your attorney in London, who will accept service thereof.

   We are, Sir,
   Your obedient servants,

I am bound to say that Mr. Pickwick did not conduct himself with his
usual dignity on the occasion of his interview on the subject of this
letter.  The two sharp practitioners had certainly commenced an action
against him on grounds which, though definite, were wholly inadequate.
But in this alone there was nothing to justify the very violent language
of Mr. Pickwick.

   "Very well, gentlemen, very well," said Mr. Pickwick, rising in person
   and wrath at the same time; "you shall hear from my solicitor,

   "We shall be very happy to do so," said Fogg, rubbing his hands.

   "Very," said Dodson, opening the door.

   "And before I go, gentlemen," said the excited Mr. Pickwick, turning
   round on the landing, "permit me to say, that of all the disgraceful
   and rascally proceedings--"

   "Stay, sir, stay," interposed Dodson, with great politeness.  "Mr.
   Jackson!  Mr. Wicks!"

   "Sir," said the two clerks, appearing at the bottom of the stairs.

   "I merely want you to hear what this gentleman says," replied Dodson.
   "Pray go on, sir--disgraceful and rascally proceedings, I think you

   "I did," said Mr. Pickwick, thoroughly roused.  "I said, sir, that of
   all the disgraceful and rascally proceedings that ever were attempted
   this is the most so.  I repeat it, sir."

   "You hear that, Mr. Wicks?" said Dodson.

   "You won't forget these expressions, Mr. Jackson?" said Fogg.

   "Perhaps you would like to call us swindlers, sir," said Dodson.  "Pray
   do, sir, if you feel disposed; now pray do, sir."

   "I do," said Mr. Pickwick.  "You _are_ swindlers."

   "Very good," said Dodson.  "You can hear down there, I hope, Mr.

   "Oh, yes, sir," said Wicks.

   "You had better come up a step or two higher if you can't," added Mr.
   Fogg.  "Go on, sir; do go on.  You had better call us thieves, sir; or
   perhaps you would like to assault one of us.  Pray do it, sir, if you
   would; we will not make the slightest resistance.  Pray do it, sir."

   As Fogg put himself very temptingly within the reach of Mr. Pickwick's
   clenched fist there is little doubt that gentleman would have complied
   with his earnest entreaty but for the interposition of Sam, who,
   hearing the dispute, emerged from the office, mounted the stairs, and
   seized his master by the arm.

   "You just come avay," said Mr. Weller.  "Battledore and shuttlecock's
   a wery good game, when you ain't the shuttlecock and two lawyers the
   battledores, in which case it gets too excitin' to be pleasant.  Come
   avay, sir.  If you want to ease your mind by blowing up somebody come
   out into the court and blow up me; but it's rayther too expensive work
   to be carried on here."

With that good advice Mr. Weller took Mr. Pickwick away from the lawyers'
office.  But before we say anything about the trial itself let me
introduce to you another solicitor not so well known as either Perker or
Dodson and Fogg, but to my mind the most interesting as he certainly is
the most humorous.

Mr. Pell had the honour of being the legal adviser of Mr. Weller, Senior.
The latter gentleman always stoutly maintained that if Mr. Pickwick had
had the services of Mr. Pell, and had established an _alibi_, the great
case of Bardell against Pickwick would have been decided otherwise.  Mr.
Pell practised in the Insolvency Court.  He "was a fat, flabby, pale man,
in a surtout which looked green one moment, and brown the next, with a
velvet collar of the same chameleon tints.  His forehead was narrow, his
face wide, his head large, and his nose all on one side, as if Nature,
indignant with the propensities she observed in him at his birth, had
given it an angry tweak which it had never recovered.  Being short-necked
and asthmatic, however, he respired principally through this feature; so,
perhaps, what it wanted in ornament, it made up in usefulness."

Mr. Pell had successfully piloted Mr. Weller through the Insolvency
Court, and his services were sought to carry out the process by which Sam
Weller became a voluntary prisoner in the Fleet at the suit of his
obdurate parent.

   "The late Lord Chancellor, gentlemen, was very fond of me," said Mr.

   "And wery creditable in him, too," interposed Mr. Weller.

   "Hear, hear," assented Mr. Pell's client.  "Why shouldn't he be?"

   "Ah, why, indeed!" said a very red-faced man, who had said nothing
   yet, and who looked extremely unlikely to say anything more.  "Why
   shouldn't he?"

   A murmur of assent ran through the company.

   "I remember, gentlemen," said Mr. Pell, "dining with him on one
   occasion.  There was only us two, but everything as splendid as if
   twenty people had been expected--the great seal on a dumb-waiter at
   his right, and a man in a bag-wig and suit of armour guarding the mace
   with a drawn sword and silk stockings--which is perpetually done,
   gentlemen, night and day; when he said, 'Pell,' he said, 'no false
   delicacy, Pell.  You're a man of talent; you can get anybody through
   the Insolvent Court, Pell; and your country should be proud of you.'
   Those were his very words.  'My lord,' I said, 'you flatter me.'
   'Pell,' he said, 'if I do I'm damned.'"

   "Did he say that?" inquired Mr. Weller.

   "He did," replied Pell.

   "Vell, then," said Mr. Weller, "I say Parliament ought to ha' took it
   up; and if he'd been a poor man they _would_ ha' done it."

   "But, my dear friend," argued Mr. Pell, "it was in confidence."

   "In what?" said Mr. Weller.

   "In confidence."

   "Oh! wery good," replied Mr. Weller, after a little reflection.  "If
   he damned hisself in confidence, o' course that was another thing."

   "Of course it was," said Mr. Pell.  "The distinction's obvious, you
   will perceive."

   "Alters the case entirely," said Mr. Weller.  "Go on, sir."

   "No, I will not go on, sir," said Mr. Pell, in a low and serious tone.
   "You have reminded me, sir, that this conversation was private--private
   and confidential, gentlemen.  Gentlemen, I am a professional man.  It
   may be that I am a good deal looked up to in my profession--it may be
   that I am not.  Most people know.  I say nothing.  Observations have
   already been made in this room injurious to the reputation of my noble
   friend.  You will excuse me, gentlemen; I was imprudent.  I feel that
   I have no right to mention this matter without his concurrence.  Thank
   you, sir; thank you."

   Thus delivering himself, Mr. Pell thrust his hands into his pockets,
   and, frowning grimly around, rattled three-halfpence with terrible

We hear also of Mrs. Pell.

   Mrs. Pell was a tall figure, a splendid woman, with a noble shape, and
   a nose, gentlemen, formed to command, gentlemen, and be majestic.  She
   was very much attached to me--very much--highly connected, too.  Her
   mother's brother, gentlemen, failed for eight hundred pounds, as a law

So we have, ladies and gentlemen, these three types of this honourable
profession.  To my mind they have never been quite placed in their proper
order.  Perker has been universally admired and looked up to; Dodson and
Fogg have been universally denounced; Mr. Pell has been suffered to
remain unnoticed.  Well, let us judge fairly the merits of these three

If Mr. Perker had lived to-day instead of in the year 1827, he would
undoubtedly have been tried for the part he took in the Eatanswill
election.  What is the charge, after all, against Messrs. Dodson and
Fogg, except that question with regard to poor Ramsey?--which, after all,
is only a story told by the clerk Wicks, upon whom I do not think we can
place very much reliance.  What else did Dodson and Fogg do that should
make them the object of obloquy and universal execration?  They brought
an action for breach of promise of marriage--some people think such
actions should never be brought at all--they brought the action for
breach of promise of marriage; they made a little arrangement with regard
to costs, unprofessional if you like, but still nothing to bring down
upon them the denouncement to which they have been made subject.  So far
as Mr. Pickwick was concerned, he had absolutely nothing to complain of
in their conduct; and I venture to say it was most reprehensible in him
under the circumstances to use the language which he did upon the
occasion which I have quoted.  But against Mr. Pell there is absolutely
nothing to be said.  He perhaps romanced a little with regard to his
friendship with the Lord Chancellor; but which of us would not like to be
on friendly terms with the Lord Chancellor?  On that trifling
exaggeration there is nothing practically to be urged against him; and
while I claim for Mr. Pell the position of premier in this matter, I am
sorry I have to accord to Mr. Perker the third place.

Well, now, although I would love to linger over Mr. Pell, I must pass on
to say something of the counsel mentioned in this admirable work.  But
before I consider the more eminent and the more conspicuous of these,
there is one member of the Bar who is seldom alluded to, but of whom I
wish to say something to-night.  I refer to Mr. Prosee.  Mr. Prosee very
few of you have ever heard of.  He dined with Mr. Perker at Montague
Place, Russell Square, on one occasion.  It must have been rather a dull
dinner party, for there were present two good country agents, Mr. Snicks,
the Life Office Secretary, Mr. Prosee, the eminent counsel, three
solicitors, one Commissioner of Bankrupts, a special pleader from the
Temple, a small-eyed, peremptory young gentleman, his pupil, who had
written a lively book about the law of demises, with a vast quantity of
marginal notes and references; and several other eminent and
distinguished personages, including the Mr. Prosee just mentioned.

Ladies and gentlemen, I do not know how it is, but I have always
associated Mr. Prosee with the Equity Bar.  It may be that his name
suggests it.

   Well, I come now to the counsel which is better known to you, namely
   Serjeant Snubbin.

   "We've done everything that's necessary," said Mr. Perker.  "I have
   retained Serjeant Snubbin."

   "Is he a good man?" inquired Mr. Pickwick.

   "Good man!" replied Perker.  "Bless your heart and soul, my dear sir,
   Serjeant Snubbin is at the very top of his profession.  Gets treble
   the business of any man in court--engaged in every case.  You needn't
   mention it abroad, but we say--we of the profession--that Serjeant
   Snubbin leads the court by the nose."

   "I should like to see him," said Mr. Pickwick.

   "See Serjeant Snubbin, my dear sir!" rejoined Perker, in utter
   amazement.  "Pooh, pooh! my dear sir, impossible!  See Serjeant
   Snubbin!  Bless you, my dear sir, such a thing was never heard of
   without a consultation fee being previously paid, and a consultation
   fixed.  It couldn't be done, my dear sir--it couldn't be done!"

Thus was Mr. Pickwick brought face to face with the difficulty of seeing
his own counsel.  He could not understand why, having retained the
services of a professional man and paid for them, there should exist any
impediment to prevent access to him.  I won't discuss to-night the
advisability or non-advisability of dividing the profession of the law
into two parts, but I do say that any system which prevents litigants
having the fullest personal communication with those they have paid to
represent them is an anomaly and an absurdity.

But Mr. Pickwick was a person of determination, and he did see Serjeant
Snubbin, and he delivered to that learned gentleman a short address that
was well worthy of his attention, as it is of every member of the Bar,
including your very humble servant.

   "Gentlemen of your profession, sir," continued Mr. Pickwick, "see the
   worst side of human nature.  All its disputes, all its ill-will and
   bad blood, rise up before you.  You know from your experience of
   juries (I mean no disparagement to you, or them) how much depends upon
   _effect_; and you are apt to attribute to others a desire to use, for
   purposes of deception and self-interest, the very instruments which
   you, in pure honesty and honour of purpose, and with a laudable desire
   to do your utmost for your client, know the temper and worth of so
   well, from constantly employing them yourselves.  I really believe
   that to this circumstance may be attributed the vulgar but very
   general notion of your being, as a body, suspicious, distrustful, and
   overcautious.  Conscious as I am, sir, of the disadvantage of making
   such a declaration to you, under such circumstances, I have come here,
   because I wish you distinctly to understand, as my friend Mr. Perker
   has said, that I am innocent of the falsehood laid to my charge; and
   although I am very well aware of the inestimable value of your
   assistance, sir, I must beg to add that, unless you sincerely believe
   this, I would rather be deprived of the aid of your talents than have
   the advantage of them."

   The only effect this had upon Serjeant Snubbin was to cause him to ask
   rather snappishly,--

   "Who is with me in this case?"

   "Mr. Phunky, Serjeant Snubbin," replied the attorney.

   "Phunky, Phunky," said the Serjeant, "I never heard the name before.
   He must be a very young man."

   "Yes, he is a very young man," replied the attorney.  "He was only
   called the other day.  Let me see--he has not been at the Bar eight
   years yet."

   "Ah, I thought not," said the Serjeant, in that sort of pitying tone
   in which ordinary folks would speak of a very helpless little child.
   "Mr. Mallard, send round to Mr.--Mr.--"

   "Phunky's--Holborn Court, Gray's Inn," interposed Perker.  (Holborn
   Court, by-the-bye, is South Square now.)

   "Mr. Phunky, and say I should be glad if he'd step here a moment."

   Mr. Mallard departed to execute his commission, and Serjeant Snubbin
   relapsed into abstraction until Mr. Phunky himself was introduced.

   Although an infant barrister he was a full-grown man.  He had a very
   nervous manner, and a painful hesitation in his speech; it did not
   appear to be a natural defect, but seemed rather the result of
   timidity, arising from the consciousness of being "kept down" by want
   of means, or interest, or connection, or impudence, as the case might
   be.  He was overawed by the Serjeant, and profoundly courteous to the

   "I have not had the pleasure of seeing you before, Mr. Phunky," said
   Serjeant Snubbin, with haughty condescension.

   Mr. Phunky bowed.  He _had_ had the pleasure of seeing the Serjeant,
   and of envying him too, with all a poor man's envy, for eight years
   and a quarter.

   "You are with me in this case, I understand?" said the Serjeant.

   If Mr. Phunky had been a rich man he would have instantly sent for his
   clerk to remind him; if he had been a wise one he would have applied
   his forefinger to his forehead, and endeavoured to recollect whether,
   in the multiplicity of his engagements, he had undertaken this one or
   not; but as he was neither rich nor wise (in this sense, at all
   events) he turned red and bowed.

   "Have you read the papers, Mr. Phunky?" inquired the Serjeant.

   Here again Mr. Phunky should have professed to have forgotten all
   about the merits of the case; but as he had read such papers as had
   been laid before him in the course of the action, and had thought of
   nothing else, waking or sleeping, throughout the two months during
   which he had been retained as Mr. Serjeant Snubbin's junior, he turned
   a deeper red and bowed again.

   "This is Mr. Pickwick," said the Serjeant, waving his pen in the
   direction in which that gentleman was standing.

   Mr. Phunky bowed to Mr. Pickwick with a reverence which a first client
   must ever awaken, and again inclined his head towards his leader.

   "Perhaps you will take Mr. Pickwick away," said the Serjeant,
   "and--and--and--hear anything Mr. Pickwick may wish to communicate.  We
   shall have a consultation, of course."  With this hint that he had
   been interrupted quite long enough, Mr. Serjeant Snubbin, who had been
   gradually growing more and more abstracted, applied his glass to his
   eye for an instant, bowed slightly round, and was once more deeply
   immersed in the case before him, which arose out of an interminable
   law-suit originating in the act of an individual, deceased a century
   or so ago, who had stopped up a pathway leading from some place which
   nobody ever came from to some other place which nobody ever went to.

   Mr. Phunky would not hear of passing through any door until Mr.
   Pickwick and his solicitor had passed through before him, so it was
   some time before they got into the Square; and when they did reach it
   they walked up and down, and held a long conference, the result of
   which was that it was a very difficult matter to say how the verdict
   would go; that nobody could presume to calculate on the issue of an
   action; that it was very lucky they had prevented the other party from
   getting Serjeant Snubbin; and other topics of doubt and consolation
   common in such a position of affairs.

Mr. Pickwick's lawsuit was to be tried in the Court of Common Pleas, a
division in which Serjeants-at-Law had the exclusive right to practise.
At this time, 1827, and indeed up till 1873, every common law judge was
turned into a Serjeant, if he were not one ere he was promoted to the
Bench.  It was a solemn kind of ceremony.  The subject of the operation
was led out of the precincts of the Inns of Court; the church bell tolled
as for one dead.

He was then admitted member of Serjeants' Inn; and the judge would
address the Serjeants who practised before him as Brother So-and-So.
Justice Lindley was the last judge who took the degree, a degree the only
outward visible sign of which is the black patch or coif which is
attached to the top of the wig.  I do not know what kind of counsel
Serjeant Snubbin, retained by Mr. Perker for the defendant, was; but
Dodson and Fogg had retained Serjeant Buzfuz for the plaintiff, and we
all know that Serjeant Snubbin was no match for Serjeant Buzfuz.  It has
been objected by a writer in _Fraser's Magazine_, to the account of this
trial, that it is full of inconsistencies.  Serjeant Buzfuz' case, he
says, was absurd, and that he would not have been able to browbeat any
witness, and that no jury could have given a verdict on such evidence.
This criticism resembles many other criticisms of Pickwick.  Had the
description in Pickwick been intended as a serious picture of the
proceedings in a court of justice, it would have been open to much
serious dissection and examination.

But the writer just quoted did not, it seems, possess a sufficient sense
of humour to enable him to see that this chapter of "Pickwick" was
intended for broad fun amounting to burlesque, and nothing more; and to
examine Mr. Buzfuz' proceedings by the light of the law is to strip them
of their meaning.

I mentioned just now that this trial took place in 1827.  At that time,
as I daresay some of you are aware, the parties to the action could not
be called upon to give evidence; and Lord Denman did not, I think, till
1843 remove the Arcadian fetters which bound the litigants in this
fashion.  But, ladies and gentlemen, what a fortunate thing it was for
Mr. Pickwick that he could not be called upon that occasion.  If Mr.
Pickwick had been called he would have been cross-examined.  Let us
imagine for a moment what that cross-examination would have been.  Suppose
merely for the sake of example that that operation had been performed by
my honourable and learned friend the Attorney-General.  Cannot you
imagine how in the first place he would forcibly but firmly have
interrogated Mr. Pickwick with regard to his conduct after the cricket
match at Muggleton; how he would have asked him whether he was prepared
to admit, or whether he was prepared to deny, that he was drunk upon that
occasion?  Could you not imagine how my honourable and learned friend,
passing on from that topic, would have alluded to what I think he would
have termed the disgraceful incident when, on the 1st of September, Mr.
Pickwick was found in a wheelbarrow on the ground of Captain Boldwig, and
was removed to the public pound, from which he was only extricated by the
violence of his friends and servant?  Passing on from that topic, would
not my honourable and learned friend have reminded him of how he had been
bound over at Ipswich before Mr. Nupkins, together with his friend Mr.
Tupman, and called upon to find bail for good behaviour for six months?
Then in conclusion how my friend would have turned to that incident in
the double-bedded room at Ipswich, at the Great White Horse, and how my
learned friend, with that skill which he possesses, would, bit by bit, by
slow degrees, have extricated from that miserable man the confession that
he had been found in that double-bedded room, a spinster lady being there
at the same time.  Ladies and gentlemen, what would have been left of Mr.
Pickwick after that process had been gone through?  His only relief would
have been to write to the _Times_ newspaper, and to complain of cross-

Indeed, no notice of this case, as indeed no reference to the lawyers of
"Pickwick," would be regarded as in any sense complete that did not
include the remarkable forensic efforts of Serjeant Buzfuz.  Oft read,
oft recited, oft quoted, it stands to-day, perhaps, the best-known speech
ever delivered at the Bar.

We are told that the speech of Serjeant Snubbin was long and emphatic,
but at any rate it was ineffective, and that learned gentleman committed
a grave error in entrusting the cross-examination of Mr. Winkle to Mr.
Phunky.  Now it does sometimes happen, in the course of a case, that
owing to the absence of the leading counsel, which sometimes occurs, the
cross-examination of a witness, perchance an important one, is left to
some junior; but this excuse did not exist in this case.  Serjeant
Snubbin was there in Court, because we hear that he winked at Mr. Phunky
to intimate to him that he had better sit down; and this, as we know,
from what I have told you just now, was the first brief that Mr. Phunky
had ever had.  No, Serjeant Snubbin was over-matched throughout by
Serjeant Buzfuz, and Mr. Phunky was no match even for the scheming junior
on the other side, and Perker was no match for Dodson and Fogg.  The law,
as we are told in one of George Eliot's books, is a kind of cock-fight,
in which it is the business of injured honesty to get a game bird with
the best pluck and the strongest spurs; and I venture to think that the
combined pluck of Buzfuz and Skimpin by far outweighed any of that
commodity possessed by Snubbin and Phunky.  No wonder Mr. Pickwick lost
his case; but his case never recovered the effect of the speech which I
now propose to read to you.

   Serjeant Buzfuz began by saying that never, in the whole course of his
   professional experience--never, from the very first moment of his
   applying himself to the study and practice of the law--had he
   approached a case with feelings of such deep emotion, or with such a
   heavy sense of the responsibility imposed upon him--a responsibility,
   he would say, which he could never have supported, were he not buoyed
   up and sustained by a conviction so strong, that it amounted to
   positive certainty that the cause of truth and justice, or, in other
   words, the cause of his much injured and most oppressed client, must
   prevail with the high-minded and intelligent dozen of men whom he now
   saw in that box before him.

   Counsel usually begin in this way, because it puts the jury on the
   very best terms with themselves, and makes them think what sharp
   fellows they must be.  A visible effect was produced immediately;
   several jurymen beginning to take voluminous notes with the utmost

   "You have heard from my learned friend, gentlemen," continued Serjeant
   Buzfuz--well knowing that, from the learned friend alluded to, the
   gentlemen of the jury had heard just nothing at all--"you have heard
   from my learned friend, gentlemen, that this is an action for breach
   of promise of marriage, in which the damages are laid at 1,500 pounds.
   But you have not heard from my learned friend, inasmuch as it did not
   come within my learned friend's province to tell you, what are the
   facts and circumstances of the case.  Those facts and circumstances,
   gentlemen, you shall hear detailed by me, and proved by the
   unimpeachable female whom I will place in that box before you."

   Here Mr. Serjeant Buzfuz, with a tremendous emphasis on the word
   "box," smote his table with a mighty sound, and glanced at Dodson and
   Fogg, who nodded admiration to the Serjeant, and indignant defiance of
   the defendant.

   "The plaintiff, gentlemen," continued Serjeant Buzfuz, in a soft and
   melancholy voice, "the plaintiff is a widow; yes, gentlemen, a widow.
   The late Mr. Bardell, after enjoying, for many years, the esteem and
   confidence of his sovereign, as one of the guardians of his royal
   revenues, glided almost imperceptibly from the world, to seek
   elsewhere for that repose and peace which a custom house can never

   At this pathetic description of the decease of Mr. Bardell, who had
   been knocked on the head with a quart pot in a public-house cellar,
   the learned Serjeant's voice faltered, and he proceeded with emotion,--

   "Some time before his death he had stamped his likeness upon a little
   boy.  With this little boy, the only pledge of her departed exciseman,
   Mrs. Bardell shrunk from the world, and courted the retirement and
   tranquillity of Goswell Street; and here she placed in her front
   parlour-window a written placard, bearing this inscription--'Apartments
   furnished for a single gentleman.  Inquire within.'"  Here Serjeant
   Buzfuz paused, while several gentlemen of the jury took a note of the

   "There is no date to that, is there?" inquired a juror.

   "There is no date, gentlemen," replied Serjeant Buzfuz; "but I am
   instructed to say that it was put in the plaintiff's parlour-window
   just this time three years.  I entreat the attention of the jury to
   the wording of this document.  'Apartments furnished for a single
   gentleman!'  Mrs. Bardell's opinions of the opposite sex, gentlemen,
   were derived from a long contemplation of the inestimable qualities of
   her lost husband.  She had no fear, she had no distrust, she had no
   suspicion, all was confidence and reliance.  'Mr. Bardell,' said the
   widow, 'Mr. Bardell was a man of honour, Mr. Bardell was a man of his
   word, Mr. Bardell was no deceiver, Mr. Bardell was once a single
   gentleman himself; _to_ single gentlemen I look for protection, for
   assistance, for comfort, and for consolation; _in_ single gentlemen I
   shall perpetually see something to remind me of what Mr. Bardell was
   when he first won my young and untried affections: to a single
   gentleman, then, shall my lodgings be let.'  Actuated by this
   beautiful and touching impulse (among the best impulses of our
   imperfect nature, gentlemen) the lonely and desolate widow dried her
   tears, furnished her first floor, caught the innocent boy to her
   maternal bosom, and put the bill up in her parlour-window.  Did it
   remain there long?  No.  The serpent was on the watch, the train was
   laid, the mine was preparing, the sapper and miner was at work.  Before
   the bill had been in the parlour-window three days--three days,
   gentlemen--a Being, erect upon two legs, and bearing all the outward
   semblance of a man, and not of a monster, knocked at the door of Mrs.
   Bardell's house.  He inquired within--he took the lodgings; and on the
   very next day he entered into possession of them.  The man was
   Pickwick--Pickwick, the defendant."

   Serjeant Buzfuz, who had proceeded with such volubility that his face
   was perfectly crimson, here paused for breath.  The silence awoke Mr.
   Justice Stareleigh, who immediately wrote down something with a pen
   without any ink in it, and looked unusually profound, to impress the
   jury with the belief that he always thought most deeply with his eyes
   shut.  Serjeant Buzfuz proceeded.

   "Of this man Pickwick I will say little; the subject presents but few
   attractions; and I, gentlemen, am not the man, nor are you, gentlemen,
   the men, to delight in the contemplation of revolting heartlessness
   and of systematic villainy."

   Here Mr. Pickwick, who had been writhing in silence for some time,
   gave a violent start, as if some vague idea of assaulting Serjeant
   Buzfuz, in the august presence of justice and law, suggested itself to
   his mind.  An admonitory gesture from Perker restrained him, and he
   listened to the learned gentleman's continuation with a look of
   indignation, which contrasted forcibly with the admiring faces of Mrs.
   Cluppins and Mrs. Sanders.

   "I say systematic villainy, gentlemen," said Serjeant Buzfuz, looking
   through Mr. Pickwick, and talking _at_ him; "and when I say systematic
   villainy, let me tell the defendant Pickwick, if he be in Court--as I
   am informed he is--that it would have been more decent in him, more
   becoming, in better judgment, and in better taste, if he had stopped
   away.  Let me tell him, gentlemen, that any gestures of dissent or
   disapprobation in which he may indulge in this Court will not go down
   with you; that you will know how to value and how to appreciate them;
   and let me tell him further, as my lord will tell you, gentlemen, that
   a counsel, in the discharge of his duty to his client, is neither to
   be intimidated, nor bullied, nor put down; and that any attempt to do
   either the one or the other, or the first, or the last, will recoil on
   the head of the attempter, be he plaintiff or be he defendant, be his
   name Pickwick, or Noakes, or Stoakes, or Stiles, or Brown, or

   This little divergence from the subject in hand had, of course, the
   intended effect of turning all eyes to Mr. Pickwick.  Serjeant Buzfuz,
   having partially recovered from the state of moral elevation into
   which he had lashed himself, resumed,--

   "I shall show you, gentlemen, that for two years Pickwick continued to
   reside constantly, and without interruption or intermission, at Mrs.
   Bardell's house.  I shall show you that Mrs. Bardell, during the whole
   of that time, waited on him, attended to his comforts, cooked his
   meals, looked out his linen for the washerwoman when it went abroad,
   darned, aired, and prepared it for wear, and, in short, enjoyed his
   fullest trust and confidence.  I shall show you that, on many
   occasions, he gave halfpence, and on some occasions even sixpences, to
   her little boy; and I shall prove to you, by a witness whose testimony
   it will be impossible for my learned friend to weaken or controvert,
   that on one occasion he patted the boy on the head, and, after
   inquiring whether he had won any _alley tors_ or _commoneys_ lately
   (both of which I understand to be a particular species of marbles much
   prized by the youth of this town), made use of this remarkable
   expression: 'How should you like to have another father?'  I shall
   prove to you, gentlemen, that about a year ago Pickwick suddenly began
   to absent himself from home during long intervals, as with the
   intention of gradually breaking off from my client; but I shall show
   you also that his resolution was not at that time sufficiently strong,
   or that his better feelings conquered, if better feelings he has, or
   that the charms and accomplishments of my client prevailed against his
   unmanly intentions; by proving to you that on one occasion, when he
   returned from the country, he distinctly and in terms offered her
   marriage; previously, however, taking special care that there should
   be no witnesses to their solemn contract; and I am in a situation to
   prove to you, on the testimony of three of his own friends--most
   unwilling witnesses, gentlemen--most unwilling witnesses--that on that
   morning he was discovered by them holding the plaintiff in his arms,
   and soothing her agitation by his caresses and endearment."

   A visible impression was produced upon the auditors by this part of
   the learned Serjeant's address.  Drawing forth two very small scraps
   of paper, he proceeded,--

   "And now, gentlemen, but one word more.  Two letters have passed
   between these parties, letters which are admitted to be in the
   handwriting of the defendant, and which speak volumes indeed.  These
   letters, too, bespeak the character of the man.  They are not open,
   fervent, eloquent epistles, breathing nothing but the language of
   affectionate attachment.  They are covert, sly, underhanded
   communications; but, fortunately, far more conclusive than if couched
   in the most glowing language and the most poetic imagery--letters that
   must be viewed with a cautious and suspicious eye--letters that were
   evidently intended at the time, by Pickwick, to mislead and delude any
   third parties into whose hands they might fall.  Let me read the
   first:--'Garraway's, twelve o'clock.  Dear Mrs. B.--Chops and Tomato
   sauce; Yours, PICKWICK.'  Gentlemen, what does this mean?  Chops and
   Tomato sauce.  Yours, PICKWICK!  Chops!  Gracious heavens! and Tomato
   sauce!  Gentlemen, is the happiness of a sensitive and confiding
   female to be trifled away by such shallow artifices as these?  The
   next has no date whatever, which is in itself suspicious.  'Dear Mrs.
   B., I shall not be at home till to-morrow.  Slow coach.'  And then
   follows this very remarkable expression: 'Don't trouble yourself about
   the warming-pan.'  The warming-pan!  Why, gentlemen, who _does_
   trouble himself about a warming-pan?  When was the peace of mind of
   man or woman broken or disturbed by a warming-pan, which is in itself
   a harmless, a useful, and I will add, gentlemen, a comfortable article
   of domestic furniture?  Why is Mrs. Bardell so earnestly entreated not
   to agitate herself about this warming-pan, unless (as is no doubt the
   case) it is a mere cover for hidden fire--a mere substitute for some
   endearing word or promise, agreeably to a preconcerted system of
   correspondence, artfully contrived by Pickwick with a view to his
   contemplated desertion, and which I am not in a condition to explain!
   And what does this allusion to the slow coach mean?  For aught I know,
   it may be a reference to Pickwick himself, who has most unquestionably
   been a criminally slow coach during the whole of this transaction, but
   whose speed will now be very unexpectedly accelerated, and whose
   wheels, gentlemen, as he will find to his cost, will very soon be
   greased by you!"

   Mr. Serjeant Buzfuz paused in this place to see whether the jury
   smiled at his joke; but as nobody took it but the greengrocer, whose
   sensitiveness on the subject was very probably occasioned by his
   having subjected a chaise cart to the process in question on that
   identical morning, the learned Serjeant considered it advisable to
   undergo a slight relapse into the dismals before he concluded.

   "But enough of this, gentlemen," said Mr. Serjeant Buzfuz, "it is
   difficult to smile with an aching heart; it is ill jesting when our
   deepest sympathies are awakened.  My client's hopes and prospects are
   ruined, and it is no figure of speech to say that her occupation is
   gone indeed.  The bill is down--but there is no tenant.  Eligible
   single gentlemen pass and repass--but there is no invitation for them
   to inquire within or without.  All is gloom and silence in the house;
   even the voice of the child is hushed--his infant sports are
   disregarded when his mother weeps; his 'alley tors' and his
   'commoneys' are alike neglected; he forgets the long familiar cry of
   'knuckle down,' and at tip-cheese, or odd or even, his hand is out.
   But Pickwick, gentlemen, Pickwick, the ruthless destroyer of this
   domestic oasis in the desert of Goswell Street--Pickwick, who has
   choked up the well and thrown ashes on the sward--Pickwick, who comes
   before you to-day with his heartless tomato sauce and
   warming-pans--Pickwick still rears his head with unblushing
   effrontery, and gazes without a sigh on the ruin he has made.  Damages,
   gentlemen--heavy damages--is the only punishment with which you can
   visit him; the only recompense you can award to my client.  And for
   those damages she now appeals to an enlightened, a high-minded, a
   right-feeling, a conscientious, a dispassionate, a sympathising, a
   contemplative jury of her civilised countrymen."

With this beautiful peroration, Mr. Serjeant Buzfuz sat down, and Mr.
Justice Stareleigh woke up.

Of the judge of this famous case we hear but little.  He went to sleep,
and he woke up again, and he tried to look as though he hadn't been
asleep; in fact, he behaved very much as judges do.

   Mr. Justice Stareleigh summed up in the old-established and most
   approved form.  He read as much of his notes to the jury as he could
   decipher on so short a notice, and made running comments on the
   evidence as he went along.  If Mrs. Bardell were right, it was
   perfectly clear that Mr. Pickwick was wrong; and if they thought the
   evidence of Mrs. Cluppins worthy of credence they would believe it,
   and, if they didn't, why they wouldn't.  If they were satisfied that a
   breach of promise of marriage had been committed, they would find for
   the plaintiff, with such damages as they thought proper; and if, on
   the other hand, it appeared to them that no promise of marriage had
   ever been given, they would find for the defendant, with no damages at

So, ladies and gentlemen, in conclusion, let me point out to you how all
these types and instances of lawyers and lawyer life have received fair
and impartial consideration from Charles Dickens, for which I, at any
rate, am grateful.  The public, however, to my mind, owe a deeper debt of
gratitude to the man who, by his wit, his courage, and his industry, has
brought about reforms in our legal administration for which all litigants
and honourable practitioners should alike be grateful.

Sir CHARLES RUSSELL: Ladies and gentlemen,--We have spent, I am sure you
will all think, a most enjoyable, as well as a most instructive evening,
thanks to the vivid picture of the great novelist of our generation put
before us by my friend Mr. Lockwood, who has pointed out with force and
effect the serious obligation we are under for many reforms which exist
in our day through the influence, sometimes serious, sometimes comic,
which the great Charles Dickens gave to the world.  It is an interesting
occasion, and not the less interesting when you are informed that in this
room to-night is the son of Mr. Charles Dickens--Mr. Henry Fielding
Dickens--referred to by my friend Mr. Lockwood.  Mr. Henry Dickens has
not followed in his father's footsteps; he has chosen for himself the
profession of the bar; and in that profession he has gained for himself a
high and honourable name.  At this hour I cannot permit myself to say
more than to ask you to join in the vote of thanks which I now move to my
friend Mr. Lockwood for the very admirable lecture which he has just

Vote of thanks seconded by MR. HILLIARD.

Mr. HENRY FIELDING DICKENS: Sir Charles Russell, ladies and gentlemen,--I
assure you that when I came into this room to-night I had no more idea
that I was to make any observations than--the man in the moon.  I came
here with the idea of listening to my old friend Mr. Frank Lockwood, with
the sure and certain knowledge that I should derive a great deal of
amusement and interest from his lecture.  In that I need hardly say I
have not been disappointed; but I assure you, ladies and gentlemen, that
I have not only been interested, I have been touched.  I am not alluding
to the very graceful allusions and far too flattering observation upon
myself given by the Attorney-General, but I am alluding to the spirit
pervading this hall this evening--a spirit which proves to me that the
memory of my father is still green among you all.  To us who have the
honour of bearing his name, that memory, I need hardly tell you, is still
sacred; and to find that among his fellow-countrymen, though twenty-three
years have passed since his death, there is still that feeling of
affection felt for him that was felt for him in his lifetime, is most
gratifying to us all.  I assure you with all the warmth in my heart, and
in the name of my sister and other members of the family, that I thank
you most sincerely, not only for your generous reception of myself, but
for the feeling you have demonstrated that you bear for my dear father.

Mr. FRANK LOCKWOOD: Sir Charles Russell, ladies and gentlemen,--I shall
only detain you to say that I thank you for your great kindness to me to-
night; it has been a pleasure to me to come.  I was to have come, if I
remember rightly, in June or July, 1892; I could not come because there
was a General Election.  I am very glad that I was not prevented from
coming to-night by a--General Election.


Hazell, Watson, & Viney, Ld., London and Aylesbury.

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