Friday, February 17, 2017

From a posthumously published autobiography

"Then, confound you! Sir, you kept me up till three o'clock this morning. But what are you doing here in a wig and gown--what are you doing here?"

Very soon I found cause to echo the question and to answer it in the words, "No good." The British solicitor, and indeed the British client, cannot be induced to put confidence in anyone who has become well known as an author. If he has confined his attention to the writing of law-books, he may be tolerated, though hardly, but if his efforts have been on the imaginative side of literature, then for that man they have no use. That such a person should combine gifts of imagination with forensic aptitude and sound legal knowledge is to them a thing past all belief.

A page or so back I said that my experience might possibly be of use to others, and already the suggestion seems in the way of proof. If what I write should prevent even one young barrister who hopes to make a mark in his profession, from being beguiled into the fatal paths of authorship, I shall not have laboured in vain.

Did you guess from the style?

There has always been a tradition in my family that we sprang from a certain Sir Andrew Ogard, or Agard, or Haggard (I believe his name is spelt in all three ways in a single contemporaneous document), a Danish gentleman of the famous Guildenstjerne family whose seat was at Aagaard in Jutland.


This Sir Andrew was a very remarkable man. He appears to have come from Denmark with nothing and to have died possessed of manors in eleven English counties, besides much money and the Danish estate which he seems to have inherited. ...

I regret to have to add that there is at present no actual proof of the descent of my family from this Sir Andrew.

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