W. Knox (William Knox) Wigram.

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V. 1



One clay, during Easter Term, not a great
many years ago, two barristers sat clown to

( breakfast in chambers, at No. 8, Stone

} Buildings, Lincoln's Inn.

Jobn Worslev was bbe name of tbe one :
Paul Petersfeld the name of the other.

^^ Worsley, of whom I shall hereafter

^^ speak in the first person, being no other
than myself, was the actual proprietor of
the rooms in c_[uestion. There I lived and
VOL. I. 1



worked and slept ; making tlie most of
tliem, both in their professional and do-
mestic capacity.

Paul, an old college friend, and some
three years my junior, owned fashionable
quarters in the Albany ; and beyond placing
his name upon my door, and dropping in
pretty regularly once a day, to ascertain
that he wasn't in the least wanted, took
his briefiessness as a matter of course, as if
it had been one of those unimportant ail-
ments which naturally cure themselves as
people grow older.

"Energy, Worsley !" he exclaimed sud-
denly, in answer to some observation of
mine, the tone of which seemed to strike
him as objectionably paternal, " I like that !
To charge me, of all men in the world, with
want of energy, is too good. AYhat on
earth do you suppose I am in Lincoln's


Inn for at half-past nine this blessed
May morning ? Is there anything so aston-
ishing about your chops and coffee — both
capital by the bye — as to induce a fellow
who wasn't a perfect miracle of energy
to pound all this way from Piccadilly be-
fore most people are quite awake ? Wrong
for once in your life, old fellow. Think
again 1"

"Kot I. You are here simply because,
as I truly told you, dawdling down some
time between eleven and twelve in a Han-
som, with a cigar in your mouth, looked
preciously unlike work in a three-months'
barrister, and would infallibly damage your
professional prospects, whatever these may
be. I quite admit that you have put on
a famous spurt this morning, and I advise
you to stick to the plan."

" All right," returned Petersfeld, pro-

i .V


ceeding leisurely with Ms breakfast. " But,
do you know, Worsley, I begin to suspect
that what you are pleased to call pro-
fessional energy, is a confounded delusion
in my case, and nothing else. What's
the good of energy to a man who never
has anytliing to do ? "Where's its use to
a man bound hand and foot to a profession
where he can't get a chance to show it ?
Isn't it like a good appetite to a man who
hasn't got a chop like this before him —
like Eobiuson Crusoe's tarnishino^ doub-
loons in a land with no tailors and nobody
to take a bet ? But, to say that I haven't
got energy ! Give me the chance to show
it— that's all ! Grive me what Archimedes
wanted when he offered to shunt the world !

Grive me "

"Give me the coffee. What's the good
of blowing off steam at this rate ? AVho


said you were not energetic r Of course
you are, in your own way, — in any ready-
made pursuit which happens to take your
fancy. I have no doubt, for instance, but
that you are, at this moment, about the
most energetic volunteer in the 'DeviFs
Own.' Only there are two sorts of energy,
Petersfeld — male and female — as an old
writer rather happily distinguishes them.'*

"Interesting couple, I should say.
Which is the lady?"

" Female energy," I replied, " is the
energy which waits for its work. It works
well enough with what actually comes to
it ; but its work must come, do you un-
derstand? Female energy waits for its

" Like the spider. Were you aware that
spiders are all females ? They are though.
What's the other ?"


"Male energy doesn't wait for its work
— it finds it — makes it — does it."

"Like the policeman. By the bye,
policemen are supposed to be all males.
Curious coincidence. What next?"

" I simply advise you not to wait for
your work. You look too far ahead. You
always, in chambers at least, talk and
dream of what you will do some time or
another — not of what you are going to do

" To-day, my dear fellow," replied Paul,
with a slight yawn, "my numerous en-
gagements may be summed up approxi-
mately as follows : — I shall devote the
next hour or so to the consumption of a
pipe of cavendish and tLe perusal of the
Times. Prom eleven till one, I shall hold
quiet communion with some standard
author upon the principles of equity. At


one, or thereabouts, I shall take my seat
in the luncheon-room of Lincoln's Inn.
Immediately afterwards, I shall array my-
self in complete canonicals, and proceed to
inhale 'the atmosphere of the Courts,' until
four o'clock. I shall endeavour to look,
as much as possible, as if I had been called
six years, instead of half as many months,
and as if I were 'waiting for the next
cause,' instead of a cause in which the
plaintiff is probably at this moment em-
ployed with his coral. At four precisely
my presence, as the most valuable serjeant
in No, 9 company, is imperatively required
in the Temple- Glardens. That's about what
I'm going to do to-day. After five, a
lawyer's time, you know, is entirely his
own. What do you say to that, for a
day's work?"

It so happened that I was at the moment


adjusting my wig and bands before tlie
glass over the chimney-piece, with my chin
rathei" in the air, preparator}^ to going in-
to court for the. day. Otherwise my reply
— " Do you call that work ?" would hardly
have been resented as implying, what it
certainly was never intended to imply, a
disagreeable comparison.

" Call it work, indeed ! It's about all
the work I'm likely to get if I stick to
this confounded profession till I'm as old
as Adam. It's all very well for you, my
bo\% who've or-ot soHcitors for friends, and
go into court every day of your life, with
three briefs in your bag, like a little Daniel,
to ask me if I call that work. If you'd
got a plate of chops and I'd got a plate of
saAvdust, you'd ask me, I suppose, why I
didn't peg away like you, and whether I
called that eating. What next ?"


"Male energy," replied I, arranging my
papers. ''Don't wait for the chops. Peg
away at the saw-dust now. That's vour
work, if you only choose to make it so.
But by your own admission you don't.
You are not half in earnest about it. Grive
it up, if it doesn't suit you ; but don't
dawdle away the best years of your life
under false j)retences. There's a bit of ni}'
mind for you."

"A nice large ]Aqqq too. However,
there's sense in what you say, old fellow.
If I don't see the result pretty near, I
never do work with more than half a will.
That's about it, I expect."

" Exactly. You wait for work which
is to show a result at once, and in the
meantime do nothing worth doing at all.
You don't find your work — your real work
— either in the profession or anything else.'*


** Which is a state of things to be im-
mediately rectified," observed Paul. " Just
so. Now let's see what I'll do — I'll —
what 1 going already ? Why, it's hardly
half-past nine."

" I've a consultation with Buttermere at
the quarter to. We're in the first cause in
to-day's paper."

"Au re voir, then. I perfectly agree in
all you've said. I can take advice like a
child, provided I get the article genuine.
Hand me the Times, will you ? I must
have a smoke over all this. And, when I
once do make up my mind, why then
Foig-a-baUagh ! as the Irish say at Donny-


" By the way, Worsley," encjuired Mr.
Buttermere, as. consultation over, we walked
from his chambers towards the Court,
" youVe a man of the name of Peters feld
with you in Stone Buildings, have you not ?"

'' Yes ; we have shared chambers since
his call last January."

"Nice, amusing, gentlemanly fellow,"
pursued Buttermere, in his peculiar soft,
soup-eating tone. " Met him at dinner the
other night. One of the Westmoreland
Petersfelds, I believe. Isn't he an eldest
son, and on his ^vay to some sort of jDroperty


there? I fancy I liave heard something
about his family."

" Some day or other he comes, I believe,
into a very considerable estate, with a baron-
etcy into the bargain. The present baronet
is an unmarried uncle. In the mean time his
father gives him no option but to follow the

" Ha ! well, he couldn't do better. Does
he seem to take to it, Worsley ?"

" yes ; fairl}- enough. He is a man
who may do a great deal if he chooses ; and
I have a strong idea that he will come out
in due time. Petersfeld is one of those
dashing reckless fellows to whom our worl:
is rather a grind at starting."

"Ha ! yes. M}^ son, who was with him
at Trinity, tells me that he was first-rate on
the river — a sort of recognised leader in
everything in the way of a lark. That 1


take to be about the best sign after all in a
young man. I want to ask him to dine
with us some day. Will you come and
meet him ?"

" I shall be delighted, I am sure."
" That's well. You shall hear from Mrs.
Buttermere in the course of a week. But
here we are — and just in time.''

I could not help secretly smiling as I
followed my leader into court. Eeport said
that three blooming olive-branches in muslin
sate round the prosperous table of Mr.
Buttermere. Moreover, that that learned
gentleman was bound, under high connubial
pains and penalties, to ' bring home '
every eligible or promising young man
whom he could pick up in Court or else-
where, to be looked at by Mrs. Buttermere,
and, if found eligible, appropriated, if pos-
sible, for the benefit of one or other of the


three sedate vestals aforesaid. It was a
beautiful instance of male and female
energy, combining towards a virtuous

My own position, I may at once say,
was scarcely such as to warrant Buttermere
in bringing me home. I was getting on
well enough for a comparative beginner,
and that was all. But Paul was handsome,
dashing and attractive ; and moreover blessed
with ultimate prospects which were of infi-
nitely greater merit and importance in the
eyes of all sensible people. 80 I felt that
I was onl}^ to be asked for the sake of
making the thing rather less palpable ; and,
giving Paul credit for being very well able
to take care of himself, gave myself no
further concern about the matter.

Our case came to an end rather sooner
than we expected, and, having no other


court business on hand, I leisurely returned
to chambers. Ours were on the top stoiy
of Stone Buildings, a fearful and wonderful
height for human habitation. You ascend
by exactly one hundred steps from the
pavement outside to a suite of rooms nice
enough ^^dth one rather serious exception.
A long, narrow aperture, some seven feet
from the ground, extending across the room
just below the ceiling, is the sole substitute
for a window. Through this slice of glazing,
when you can reach it, you may look be-
tween the interstices of a massive stone
balustrade upon the fair breadth of Lincoln's
Inn Fields. To a coujole of acrobats such a
window would probably be the source of
unmixed enjoyment, as they might regale
each other with alternate peeps the whole
day long. But, practically, the necessity of
arranging and climbing upon furniture


every time you wish to look abroad, be-
comes irksome and irritating sooner than
one would easily believe.

I found Petersfeld striding backwards and
forwards under this exasperating casement —
his fine bronzed face on fire with excite-

His arm-chair had been sent sprawling
upon its back — his pipe lay extinct upon
the table — while he crumpled and flourished
a sheet of the Times as he walked, like
a sort of preposterous pocket handkerchief.

" Found it, Jack ! Found it ! Told you
I should ! Never knew such luck in my
life !"

" What's up now ?"

'' Up ? Why look here ! Not in a
hurry, are you? Sit down and read that 1"
continued he, thrusting into my hands the
page containing that mysterious 'second


column/ at whicli most of us glance every

"There, Jack— that's the place: — 'Five
hundred pounds reward/ it begins. Eead
it out, will you, old fellow? I want to
hear how the thing runs. Come, fire away !"

So with Petersfeld stalking backwards
and forwards before me, looking so defiantly
resolute, that it was all I could do to avoid
laughing outright, I took my seat upon
the edge of the table, and read as follows : —


-T WARD! Disappeared lately, a TOUNa
LADY, aged eighteen, of very distiDguished appear-
ance. She is slender and of middle height — dark hair
and eyes — pale clear complexion, and is in manner
peculiarly graceful and self-possessed. She had with
her a very considerable sum of money ; but, it is
believed, no personal luggage whatever. She vt^as
dressed, on leaving home, in a brown silk dress, purple
cloth jacket, white straw hat, trimmed with black
velvet, and grebe feather. "Wore a curious oriental
gold bracelet, plain gold guard-chain, and watch by
Rosenthal, Paris. AVhoever will bring her to Mr.
Bloss, solicit«)r, No. 11-, Kew Square, Lincoln's Inn,
or give information leading to her recovery, shall
receive the above reward. Thursday, May 1."

VOL. I. 2


" Now then, Worsley, what do you think
of that ?" exclaimed Petersfeld, as I threw
down the paper. "Did you ever hear ot
such a chance ? Give you my honour, I
never did !"

" What on earth do you mean ? Are
you going to find her?"

'* Find her ! Certainly I am. My good
fellow, don't laugh. This is exactly what
I wanted ! Now you shall see something
like energy ! I take my oath I'll find her,
that's to say, if "

" If you can," suggested I, quietly.

" If she's above ground, Worsley ! Of
course, if I can't, I can't ; but I tell you I will.
I'll make it my business to find her. I
give you my honour I never felt as I do
at this moment. JSIoid, I've a direct object
in life. Just you watch me whilst I pursue
it ; and then tell me I've no energy, if you


dare," concluded Paul, picking up his arm-
chair, and arranging his neck-tie furiously
at the glass.

" You don't mean to say that you are
going to begin this moment ?"

*•' Don't I. Why should I lose one hour's
start? I'm going at once to Bloss. I
shall pumj) him ; get all the information
I can, and probably leave London in one
direction or another, by an afternoon

" Petersfeld. ! unless you have really
gone barking mad, stand still for one
minute. Will you listen to reason, or will
you not? If not, say so, and I have

" Eeason !" retorted. Paul, looking
slightly piqued ; " are you going to ad-
vise me not to try ? You needn't do



" Nothing of the kind/'

"Then can't you see that there is no
time to be lost. In a case of this sort
every minute may tell. What's the good
of conversation?"

"I really gave you credit for more
sense, Petersfeld ! You are just now in a
mood to make a mess of the whole
thing. You'll ruin your chance at first

" Talk away, then," returned Paul.
" Perhaps I was a little too hot, after all,
but then I had considered more than you
think, before you came in. Eeally, I ought
to be very much obliged to you for taking
so much trouble. So I am : that's the

I am ashamed to acknowledge that the
extravagant absurdity, the utter wanton-
ness of the whole proceeding, did not strike


me as distinctly as it ouglit to have done
at the first blush. I so thoroughly entered
into Petersfeld's overwhelming desire to
engage in an adventurous, exciting chase,
in which every energy of mind and body
might be strained to the uttermost, and in
which success would afford such a glorious
omen of future victories, that I simply
wished to prevent his rushing into imme-
diate and vexatious failure through sheer
impetuosity in the first instance. But, in
fact, any attempt at dissuasion would have
been perfectly idle.

The hot spirit of pursuit was upon him
— that strange indehble brand of the forest
imprinted upon every human heart. Jaques
was quite wrong when he piped over the
stag, whose

" Big round tears
Coursed one another down bis innocent nose."


Who that ever hunted, considered the stag's
dislikings ? Who has pitied the wise and
wonderful fox, or the hare — so docile and
original, so glad to be an affectionate di-
verting fire-side companion, instead of that
changed and ghastly fugitive which nobody
who has ever seen flying, can ever forget ?
Who ever suggested that a woodcock
minded being winged ? What sailor ever
gave a thought to the feelings of his chase,
while' overhauling her hand over hand to
the glorious banging of his big bow gun ?
And if a young lady of eighteen objected
to being dogged about the country by an
exuberant young barrister ot three-and-
twenty, for no earthly reason except that he
wanted occupation, and had made up his mind
to catch her, had she any special ground of
complaint, after having advisedly placed her-
self in the catalogue of fercB natures ?


" All tliis will cost money, Paul," I ob-
served. " No use going into an affair of
this kind unless you mean to spend. Hast
thou ' put money in thy purse ?' "

" Grood lago, be easy upon that score.
I had an odd twenty guineas or so, which I
was keeping for Switzerland in the Long.
They will shortly be in my cigar-case for
this especial purpose."

" It will also cost time," pursued I.
" Our courts won't be up this week."

" All the worse for them. What can a
few days, more or less, matter to me ? Our
Easter vacation begins almost directly, and
I shall have the whole of that quite free.
Anyhow, I go to-night; that is, if I see

" One more question : do you know
Eloss ?"

" Not I. I shall call upon him in conse-


quence of liis advertisement. Isn't that
regular enough?"

" Suppose you take my card. Bloss and
I come from the same part of the world,
and we always nod when we meet. Scratch
out my name, in pencil, and write your
own. It may serve as a sort of introduc-
tion ; at least, I think he'll consider it as

" Thank you very much. What sort of
fellow is he ? By the way, how had I
better begin ? That's a point I hadn't
quite considered."

" Bloss is a great, fat, good-natured fel-
low, who will talk and laugh with you for
half-an-hour together, without letting you
be one bit wiser than he chooses. I should
say that the more frankly you go to work
the better. Don't let him, at any rate,
fancy that you are laying traps for him.


If you do, he'll shut up at once. Go in
and win. Shall we meet in Hall?"

'•'Haven't an idea. All I know is, that
I'm down upon Bloss within the next two


At five o'clock on every evening during
Term time, we Chancery lawyers hold
pleasant festival in the great dining-hall of
Lincoln's Inn.

At the tables, running lengthways, to-
wards the lower end of the hall, sit the
students, divided into messes of four.
Above, at the cross-tables, distributed in
the same manner, dine the barristers ; whilst
higher still, entrenched behind a sort ol
oaken rampart, and raised upon a dais, the
benchers of the Inn regale themselves — it


is believed — upon the fare of tlie rich man's

That the assisting at a certain number of
these dinners should be an indispensable
preliminary to a call to the bar has always
been a fruitful subject of pleasantry among
people of the ' funny ' class, who are per-
haps unnecessarily numerous. Of course I
am not going to explain, in these casual
pages, any of our esoteric doctrines — our
calm, professional mysteries, which jjropter
simplicitatejii laicorum, we habitually keep to
ourselves. That w^ould never do. But I
can safely declare that I have enjoyed few
dinners more than those at which I ' ate
my terms,' while for plain fare and good
company, I ask nothing better than the bar-
table at Lincoln's Inn.

Petersfeld and I entered the hall almost
at the same moment.


"Just seen old Bloss," lie whispered.
" Got a mess ? Tell you all about it after-

And so the dinner began.

Our two comrades at the board were
Brocklebank and Millworth : one a large,
red, lusty, noisy man ; the other singu-
larly composed and quiet, with an olive
complexion and a soft voice. So re-
markable an advertisement as that which
had just roused the curiosity of half Lon-
don in the morning papers, was not likely
to pass without comment at the bar-

" I say," exclaimed Brocklebank, who
was lecturer in some branch of jurisprudence
at Lincoln's Inn, " seen that queer adver-
tisement to-day, Worsley, about the beauty
in brown silk? Eichest thing I've known
this long time ! By George, I expect to


find mj class empty to-morrow. All our
students will be after her."

" You must have a very mild opinion of
all our students," observed Millw^orth.

" Lord bless you, why ?" retorted Brockle-
bank, with his strong, loud laugh. " You'll
be after her yourself, Millworth, I shouldn't
wonder. I can fancy the sly, innocent way
you'll go purring and peeping about, and
how you'll come back with your eyes half
shut and a perpetual smile, asking us all,
confidentially, if we know of a nice snug
investment for £500 or so !"

" I assure you," said the other, with un-
changeable suavity, " you do me far too
much credit. Besides, if I were really such
an egregious rascal as to undertake the ex-
periment, I ought to have made my fortune
long ago."

" WeU done, Millworth !" said I, while


Petersfelcl flushed perplexedly, embarrassed
with the weight of his own secret. " How
do you know that I'm not on the track

" If you are, I wish you joy of it," re-
turned my neighbour with his easy smile.
"You have had the benefit of a candid
opinion, at all events. But, seriousl}',
Worsley, what a hideous state of mind
must that man be in who could undertake
such an adventure for the sake of the paltry

" Not so paltry, after all. Besides, one
offers — the other earns. Is there any harm
in that ?"

" Worsley, you are a gentleman. If you
wish to test the utter baseness of such a
pursuit, just consider what the youDg lady
herself would think of the man who could
be vile enough to follow and molest her


without any conceivable inducement or
excuse, beyond the miserable hope of
pocketing some few hundred pounds. Of
course vre are all now speaking in joke,
but I should really like to tell that man
my opinion of him. I should indeed."

" Isn't that Millworth all over r" shouted
Brocklebank. "What a virtuous man he
is ! Now, I've no doubt whatever but that
this young woman is as thorough-going
franchc aventurierc as ever met monsieur
Gil Bias. Where did she get the ' very
considerable sum of money' she seems to
have sidled away with in her dainty pocket ?
She's a naughty little fashionable thief in
my opinion. She has robbed somebody
who was fool enough to trust her ; and, I'll
bet you what 3'ou like, ought not only to
be caught, but whipped into the bargain,

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