“With costs, my Lord?” asked James, rising.
“No, I am not inclined to go that length. This litigation has arisen through the testator’s own act, and the estate must bear the burden.”
“If your Lordship pleases,” said James, and sat down.
“Mr. Short,” said the Judge, clearing his throat, “I do not often speak in such a sense, but I do feel called upon to compliment you upon the way in which you have, single-handed, conducted this case—in some ways one of the strangest and most important that has ever come before me—having for your opponents so formidable an array of learned gentlemen. The performance would have been creditable to anybody of greater experience and longer years; as it is, I believe it to be unprecedented.”
James turned colour, bowed, and sat down, knowing that he was a made man, and that it would be his own fault if his future career at the Bar was not now one of almost unexampled prosperity.
ST. GEORGE’S, HANOVER-SQUARE.
The Court broke up in confusion, and Augusta, now that the strain was over, noticed with amusement that the dark array of learned counsel who had been fighting with all their strength to win the case of their clients did not seem to be particularly distressed at the reverse that they had suffered, but chatted away gaily as they tied up their papers with scraps of red tape. She did not, perhaps, quite realize that, having done their best and earned their little fees, they did not feel called on to be heart-broken because the Court declined to take the view they were paid to support. But it was a very different matter with Messrs. Addison and Roscoe, who had just seen two millions of money slip from their avaricious grasp. They were rich men already; but that fact did not gild the pill, for the possession of money does not detract from the desire for the acquisition of more. Mr. Addison was purple with fury, and Mr. Roscoe hid his saturnine face in his hands and groaned. Just then the Attorney-General rose, and seeing James Short coming forward to speak to his clients, stopped him, and shook hands with him warmly.
“Let me congratulate you, my dear fellow,” he said. “I never saw a case better done. It was a perfect pleasure to me, and I am very glad that the Judge thought fit to compliment you—a most unusual thing, by-the-way. I can only say that I hope that I may have the pleasure of having you as my junior sometimes in the future. By-the-way, if you have no other engagement I wish that you would call round at my chambers to-morrow about twelve.”
Mr. Addison, who was close by, overheard this little speech, and a new light broke upon him. With a bound he plunged between James and the Attorney-General.
“I see what it is now,” he said, in a voice shaking with wrath, “I’ve been sold! I am a victim to collusion. You’ve had five hundred of my money, confound you!” he shouted, almost shaking his fist in the face of his learned and dignified adviser; “and now you are congratulating this man!” and he pointed his finger at James. “You’ve been bribed to betray me, Sir. You are a rascal! yes, a rascal!”