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pretty fully, and I'll cut my argument down?' Of course Mr. Brown acquiesces, for he sees clearly that if he doesn't come to the rescue their client's case will go to the wall altogether. He therefore intimates to Sir Longrobe Bigwig that he will argue the case fully in his speech, whereupon that eminent leader (much relieved) very speedily brings his argument to a close, remarking with great suavity, as he does so, 'M' luds, I shall be followed by m' learned friend Mr. Brown, who is with me in this case, and he will, I have pleasure in assuring your ludships, do full justice to any arguments which I may have failed to bring before you.'
The judges who have for some time past observed Sir Longrobe Bigwig's increasing difficulties, cannot help grinning to each other at the cool way in which he has now got out of them. Sir Longrobe Bigwig himself straightway rushes off to the library of the House of Commons, there to conclude the preparation of the speech, with which at five o'clock this afternoon he is to resume the debate in the House of Commons upon the Cuban question. After he has delivered this speech-it is certain to be a success, for Sir Longrobe Bigwig is an excellent debater, and one of the very few lawyers who have ever succeeded in winning the ear of the House of Commons-he will return to the library
of the House, and will there read up his briefs for to-morrow until about 2 A.M.; at which hour he will be summoned to take part in the division upon the Cuban question. If the ministry be defeated, then will Lord Precedent and his party return to power, and ere many days are over, Sir Longrobe Bigwig will find himself appointed Her Majesty's AttorneyGeneral. From. that post he will, in due course, be promoted to the Chiefship of one of the superior Courts of Common Law.
It was said of the late Lord Brougham by his enemies that he knew a little of everything-except law. I have heard the same remark applied to Sir Longrobe Bigwig. Perhaps there is some truth in it. Sir Longrobe Bigwig is a good classic (he was a fellow of his college in Oxbridge); he is an excellent linguist; a capital judge of pictures; he has read much, and travelled much; he knows good wine; he gives pleasant dinner parties; finally, mirabile dictu, he never talks legal 'shop.' Upon the whole, perhaps the highest compliment which I can bestow upon him is to say this—that if you were to meet him in general society, you would never dream that he was 'an eminent leader.'
MOST readers will remember the graphic description of Lincoln's Inn and its surroundings which was given to the world by Mr. Dickens in the opening chapters of 'Bleak House.' Although twenty years have now elapsed since the publication of that work of fiction, the external appearance of Lincoln's Inn remains unchanged. The courts in which the Lord Chancellor, the Lords Justices of Appeals, and the three Vice-Chancellors sit, resemble externally—more than anything else which I can remember-the sheds which one sees erected at steamboat wharves for the temporary reception of the goods which are landed there. Internally the courts at Lincoln's Inn present the appearance of a third-rate Dissenting Chapel in a fourth-rate provincial town. The advantage, however, in this last comparison lies, I am well aware, with the Dissenting Chapel, for the chances are that the ecclesiastical edifice in question would be clean and comfortable, whereas the buildings which are occu
pied by Her Majesty's High Court of Chancery, are filthy and uncomfortable to a degree which it is impossible for me to describe in words. The atmosphere in them, moreover, is invariably humid with the moisture arising from the mass of sweltering humanity which daily throngs them. Their acoustic properties are so bad that if you are twenty feet from the counsel who is speaking you cannot hear a word he is saying, whilst as for the judge's remarks, they are generally (as the reporters so frequently state in the newspapers) 'nearly inaudible in court.' It is, however, possible that some part of the general 'inaudibility' which prevails in the courts at Lincoln's Inn may be accounted for by the fact that both Chancery judges and Chancery barristers are, as a rule, wretchedly bad speakers. In argumentative power and skill there are, without doubt, many men at the Chancery Bar who are fully equal, if indeed they are not superior to, their Common Law Brethren of Westminster Hall. But, as a general rule, nearly every Chancery barrister mumbles when he is addressing a judge in Lincoln's Inn, whereas at Westminster Hall the leading counsel utter their words ore rotundo.
The chief cause of the difference which exists between the style of speaking which prevails in
Westminster Hall and that which is in vogue at Lincoln's Inn, is, it seems to me, to be found in the fact that the barristers who practise at Westminster Hall are in the constant habit of addressing juries, whereas most of the counsel who practise at the Chancery Bar have never found themselves face to face with a jury in their lives. In the Chancery Courts the counsel simply state the facts of the cases to the judge, and then proceed to argue them by reference to previously decided cases. The constant practice which Chancery barristers thus have in addressing judges (and not juries) naturally tends to produce in them a quiet, gentlemanly, and withal argumentative style of speaking, though, as I have already said, it also leads to their adopting a low, monotonous, and mumbling tone of voice. Perhaps, however, another cause of the low tone of voice generally adopted by Chancery barristers is that they are not as a rule-though of course there are exceptions-men of powerful physique. At the Chancery Bar a man with a weak body and a piping voice may (providing that he has brains and friends) rise to eminence, whereas I do not remember a single instance of a man who has attained to a large practice in addressing juries who has not possessed a good pair of lungs encased in a powerful body.