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institutions of your native land: no matter, though
you regard the Lord High Chancellor of Great
Britain as the most wonderful man upon
earth, and his court as the purest fount of
Justice, where she sits weighing out justice
with a pair of Oertling's balances, you may
yet be pronounced to have been guilty of
"contempt." For this there is no pardon.
You are in the catalogue of the doomed,
and are doomed accordingly.

A popular fallacy spreads a notion that no
one need "go into Chancery" unless he
pleases. Nothing but an utter and happy
innocence of the bitter irony of "Equity"
proceedings keeps such an idea current. Men
have been imprisoned for many years, some
for a lifetime, on account of Chancery
proceedings of the very existence of which they
were almost in ignorance before they "somehow
or other were found in contempt."

See yonder slatternly old man in threadbare
garments, with pinched features telling
of long years of anxiety and privation, and
want. He has a weak starved voice that
sounds as though years of privation have
shrunk it as much as his hollow cheeks. He
always looks cold, and (God help him) feels
so too; for Liebig tells us that no quantity
of clothing will repel cold without the aid of
plenty of foodand little of that passes his
lips. His eye has an unquiet, timid, half-
frightened look, as if he could not look you
straight in the face for lack of energy. His
step is a hurried shuffle, though he seldom
leaves his room; and when he does, he stares
at the racket-players as if they were beings
of a different race from himself. No one
ever sees his hands: they are plunged
desperately into his pockets, which never contain
anything else. He is like a dried fruit,
exhausted, shrunken, and flung aside by the
whole world. He is a man without hopea
Chancery prisoner! He has lived in a gaol for
twenty-eight weary years! His history has
many parallels. It is this:—

It was his misfortune to have an uncle,
who died leaving him his residuary legatee.
The uncle, like most men who make their
own wills, forgot an essential part of ithe
named no executor. Our poor friend
administered, and all parties interested received
their dueshe, last of all, taking but a
small sum. It was his only fortune, and
having received it he looked about for an
investment. There were no railways in
those days, or he might have speculated
in the Diddlesex Junction. But there were
Brazilian Mining Companies, and South
Sea Fishing Companies, and various other
companies, comprehensively termed "Bubble."
Our friend thought these companies were not
safe, and he was quite right in his supposition.
So he determined to intrust his money to no
bubble speculation; but to invest it in Spanish
Bonds. After all, our poor friend had better
have tried the Brazilian Mines; for the Bonds
proved worth very little more than the paper
on which they were written. His most
Catholic Majesty did not repudiate (like
certain transatlantic States) but buttoned up
his pockets and told his creditors he had "no
money."

Some five years after our friend was startled
by being requested to come up to Doctors'
Commons, and tell the worthy Civilians there all
about his uncle's willwhich one of the legatees,
after receiving all he was entitled to
under it and probably spending the money
suddenly took it into his head to dispute the
validity of. Meanwhile the Court of Chancery
also stepped in, and ordered him (pending
the ecclesiastical suit) to pay over into court
"that little trifle " he had received. What
could the poor man do? His Catholic Majesty
had got the moneyhe, the legatee, had not a
farthing of it, nor of any other money
whatsoever. He was in contempt! An officer tapped
him on the shoulder, displayed a little piece of
parchment, and he found that he was the
victim of an unfortunate "attachment." He
was walked to the Fleet Prison, where, and
in the Queen's Prison, he has remained ever
sincea period of twenty-eight years! Yet
no less a personage than a Lord Chancellor
has pronounced his opinion that the will,
after all, was a good and valid will; though
the little family party of Doctors' Commons
thought otherwise.

There is another miserable-looking object
yondergreasy, dirty, and slovenly. He, too,
is a Chancery prisoner. He has been so for
twenty years. Why, he has not the slightest
idea. He can only tell you that he was
found out to be one of the relations of some
one who had left "a good bit of money." The
lawyers "put the will into Chancery; and at
last I was ordered to do something or other.
I can't recollect what, which I was also told I
couldn't do nohow if I would. So they said
I was in contempt, and they took and put
me into the Fleet. It's a matter of twenty
years I have been in prison: of course I 'd
like to get out, but I'm told there's no way
of doing it anyhow." He is an artisan, and
works at his trade in the prison, by which he
gains just enough to keep him, without coming
upon the county rate.

In that room over the chapel is the
infirmary. There was a death lately. The
deceased was an old man of sixty-eight, and
nearly blind: he had not been many years in
prison, but the confinement, and the anxiety,
and the separation from his family, had preyed
upon his mind and body. He was half-starved,
too; for after being used to all the comforts
of life, he had to live in gaol on sixpence
a day. Yet there was one thousand pounds
in the hands of the Accountant-General of
the Court of Chancery, which was justly due
to him. He was in contempt for not paying
some three hundred pounds. But Death
purged his contempt, and a decree was
afterwards made for paying over the one
thousand pounds to his personal representatives;

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