Pebbles on the shore [by] Alpha of the plough eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 223 pages of information about Pebbles on the shore [by] Alpha of the plough.
out; if your opponent bought him he blew yours out.  His weapon is the law, but his object is not justice.  As often as not he aims at defeating justice, and the more skilful a lawyer he is the more injustice he succeeds in doing.  It is this detachment from the merits of a case, this deliberate repudiation of conscience in his business relations that makes him so suspect.  Of course he has a very sound reply.  “It is my business to put my client’s case, and my opponent’s business to put his client’s case.  And it is the business of the judge and jury to see that justice is done as between us.”  That is true, but it does not get rid of the suspicion that attaches to a man who fights for the guilty or the innocent with equal fervour.

And then he deals in such a tricky article.  When Sancho Panza was Governor of the Island of Barataria he administered justice.  If he had been the Governor of the Island of Britain he would have administered the law, and his decisions would have been very different.  Law has about the same relation to justice that grammar has to Shakespeare.  If Shakespeare were put in the dock and tried by the grammarians he would be condemned as a rogue and vagabond, and, similarly, justice is not infrequently hanged by the lawyers.  We must have law just as we must have grammar, but we have no love for either of them.  They are dry, bloodless sciences, and we look askance at those who practice them.  You may be the greatest rascal of your time, but if you study the law and keep within its letter the strong lance of justice cannot reach you.  No, law which is the servant of justice often betrays his master.

But do not let us be unjust.  If law to-day is more nearly the instrument of justice than it has ever been, it is the great lawyers to whom we chiefly owe the fact.  There are Dodsons and Foggs in the law, but there are also Pyms and Pratts who have upheld the liberties of this country in the teeth of tyrant kings and servile Parliaments.


I was coming off a Tube train last evening when some one said to me:  “Will you please give this gentleman an arm to the lift?  He is blind.”  I did so, and found, as I usually find in the case of the blind, that my companion was uncommonly talkative and cheerful.  This gaiety of the blind is a perpetual wonder to me.  It is as though the outer light being quenched an inner light of the spirit illuminates the darkness.  Outside the night is black and dread, but inside there is warmth and brightness.  The world is narrowed to the circle of one’s own mind, but the very limitation feeds the flame of the spirit, and makes it leap higher.  It was the most famous of blind Englishmen who in the days of his darkness made the blind Samson say:—­

    He that hath light within his own clear breast
    May sit i’ th’ centre and enjoy bright day.

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Pebbles on the shore [by] Alpha of the plough from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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