Imágenes de páginas

Page was called to the Bar his first case was sent to him by his father's firm.

Page and I were at Greenpool Grammar-school together, and there, as I can personally testify, he was facile princeps. At eighteen he won a scholarship at Trinity College, Cambridge ; at twenty-two he came out fourth wrangler of his year; and at four-and-twenty he won a fellowship at his own college. Before Mr. Page, however, had won his Trinity fellowship he had entered at the Temple. During the whole of his time as a law student, it is not too much to say of him that he 'scorned delights and lived laborious days.' He worked early and late at the dingy chambers of the special pleader with whom he read ; he marked and annotated cases in the law reports till far on into the night, and till the midnight oil in his student's lamp burned low ; yet, notwithstanding all the hard work of the preceding day, he was early next morning at Westminster Hall to hear the arguments in cases in which he (as a pupil) had been engaged ; in short, he fagged unceasingly to master all the technicalities of English law. When therefore he was called to the Bar he was qualified by study and training, as very few of his contemporaries were, to attain that success in his profession which he so ardently desired.

On the very first occasion of his attending Greenpool assizes, three briefs were, through his father's interest, given to him. Now it is undoubtedly true that there are many able men at the Bar who, from lack of interest, have never been able to get a fair start in their profession, and who are therefore, through no fault of their own, briefless barristers ; but it is also true that no matter how good a 'backing'a man may have at the Bar, , nothing but merit can enable him to attain a really high position in his profession. No solicitorhowever anxious he may be to push a young barrister-can continue to give him briefs unless the young Hopeful in question shows some power of successfully dealing with them. Mr. Page, however, assuredly had plenty of ability to enable him to make the best use of the chances which his father's position as a leading solicitor in Greenpool gave him.

Mr. Page, as I have already said, received at the first assizes at Greenpool which he attended three briefs, and year by year since then the number of his clients has been gradually extending, until he now receives more briefs at Greenpool assizes than any other junior counsel; and these briefs, be it observed, do not come to him merely from his father's friends, but from clients who have been attracted to him by his growing reputation at the

Bar. Probably very few junior counsel are now making a larger income than Mr. Page is doing, for he has got into the very best class of practice at the Common Law Bar, viz., into the heavy commercial and shipping cases which are tried at Guildhall, in the city of London, and at Greenpool assizes.

In addition to the income which Mr. Page derives from his professional fees he has another source of profit in the persons of some seven pupils, who read with him in his chambers in London. Each of these pupils has paid to Mr. Page a fee of one hundred guineas for the privilege of being allowed for one year to read all the cases which come into Mr. Page's chambers.

Mr. Page's 'business chambers' are in Parchment Buildings, Temple, but his residence chambers' are in Lamb Court, Temple. In his residence chambers' (which are on the third floor of Lamb Court) Mr. Page has lived for the last twelve years. I have been often in them, and I do not think that, during the whole of that space of time, their aspect has altered in the slightest degree. They are very handsomely furnished, and it is a whim of Mr. Page—for like all bachelors he is full of megrims -to replace every article which may chance to be worn out in his chambers by another of precisely


the same shape, pattern, and colour. Accordingly in Mr. Page's residence chambers' nothing ever seems to change. The carpet upon the floor, the paper upon the walls, the rug before the fire, the very tablecloths upon the tables, seem always to be the same. In the book-cases there stand--for Mr. Page has a fine taste in literature-a splendid collection of books all sumptuously bound. You will not, however, find a single law book in Mr. Page's 'residence chambers,' for another whim of his is that he cannot endure the sight of a law book in Lamb Court.

But stay; in the far corner of that book-case near the fire do I not discern a very stumpy volume labelled Blackstone's Commentaries'? Mr. Page, then, it appears, makes an exception in the case of the famous work which Mr. Lowel is so anxious that every Englishman should read ? Not so, my reader. Were you to open that stumpy volume you would find inside it-about fifty of the most lovely Havannah cigars upon which your eye ever rested! What whim induces Mr. Page to label his cigar-box, Blackstone's Commentaries' I know not, but his invariable practice is when a friend visits him for the first time to place the volume in question in his hands and ask him whether he

1 Vide Mr. Lowe's Speech at Huddersfield, Nov. 1871.

told you.

admires its binding ? The guest takes it into his hands, opens it, and lo! he beholds what I have

In a cunningly-contrived wine-bin in Mr. Page's chambers, too, there lie divers bottles of Steinberg Cabinet and Perrier Jouet and Lafitte —which upon a hot summer's evening in London do your eyes good to see.

Upon the walls of Mr. Page's sitting-room there hang several fine paintings, one of which, by Hook, of a wonderful sea scene, cost its possessor 1,000l. Another represents a scene in the Scotch highlands, with the mist swirling down the hill sides, both mist and hills being painted as, I believe, only one man—and he the painter of the picture—can paint them.

Another water-colour painting represents a scene in the 'sunny South,' which Mr. Page visited a few years ago. All of the pictures represent outdoor scenes; ‘for,' Mr. Page will tell you, ‘it does my eyes good to turn from the brick walls of Lamb Court to these pictures which bring sea and mountain before me. It rests me, and does me good in a quite indescribable way.'

I daresay some of my readers have by this time come to the conclusion that Mr. Page heartless Sybarite, studying only his own ease and comfort. Ah! my hasty reader, judge not, and thou shalt not be judged. Were I writing the

is a

« AnteriorContinuar »