His First Client

When Curran was called to the bar, he was without friends, without

connections, without fortune, conscious of talents far above the mob by

which he was elbowed, and cursed with sensibility, which rendered him

painfully alive to the mortifications he was fated to experience. Those

who have risen to professional eminence, and recollect the impediments

of such a commencement--the neglect abroad--the poverty, perhaps, at

home--the frowns of rivalry--the fears of friendship--the sneer at the

first essay--the prophecy that it will be the last--discouragement as

to the present--forebodings as to the future--some who are established

endeavoring to crush the chance of competition, and some who have failed

anxious for the wretched consolation of companionship--those who

recollect the comforts of such an apprenticeship may duly appreciate

poor Curran's situation. After toiling for a very inadequate recompense

at the Sessions of Cork, and wearing, as he said himself, his teeth

almost to their stumps, he proceeded to the metropolis, taking for his

wife and young children a miserable lodging on Hog-hill. Term after

term, without either profit or professional reputation, he paced the

hall of the Four Courts. Yet even thus he was not altogether

undistinguished. If his pocket was not heavy, his heart was light--he

was young and ardent, buoyed up not less by the consciousness of what he

felt within, than by the encouraging comparison with those who were

successful around him, and his station among the crowd of idlers, whom

he amused with his wit or amused by his eloquence. Many even who had

emerged from that crowd, did not disdain occasionally to glean from his

conversation the rich and varied treasures which he did not fail to

squander with the most unsparing prodigality; and some there were who

observed the brightness of the infant luminary struggling through the

obscurity that clouded its commencement. Among those who had the

discrimination to appreciate, and the heart to feel for him, luckily for

Curran, was Mr. Arthur Wolfe, afterwards the unfortunate, but respected

Lord Kilwarden. The first fee of any consequence that he received was

through his recommendation; and his recital of the incident cannot be

without its interest to the young professional aspirant whom a temporary

neglect may have sunk into dejection. I then lived, said he, upon

Hog-hill; my wife and children were the chief furniture of my

apartments; and as to my rent, it stood much the same chance of its

liquidation with the national debt. Mrs. Curran, however, was a

barrister's lady, and what was wanting in wealth, she was well

determined should be supplied by dignity. The landlady, on the other

hand, had no idea of any other gradation except that of pounds,

shillings, and pence. I walked out one morning in order to avoid the

perpetual altercations on the subject, with my mind, you may imagine, in

no very enviable temperament. I fell into gloom, to which from my

infancy I had been occasionally subject. I had a family for whom I had

no dinner, and a landlady for whom I had no rent. I had gone abroad in

despondence--I returned home almost in desperation. When I opened the

door of my study, where Lavater alone could have found a library, the

first object that presented itself was an immense folio of a brief,

twenty golden guineas wrapped up beside it, and the name of Old Bob

Lyons marked on the back of it. I paid my landlady--bought a good

dinner--gave Bob Lyons a share of it; and that dinner was the date of my


His Encounter With Biddy Moriarty His Habits Of Study--his Influence facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail