Select Story

James Hargrave, the Barrister

by Thomas Waters


James Hargrave and I were lads at school together, and fast friends. He was very intelligent—full, brimful of spirit—and far superior to me as a scholar. When I left school to commence my novitiate in Bow Street, our severance was for many years complete. We occasionally passed each other in the streets, but the recognition, when it took place, was, on both sides, cold and distant. The family had received a considerable lift in life, which enabled his parents, although they had seven or eight other children, to complete his education in the London University. That accomplished—very successfully, as I saw by a newspaper report—James Hargrave “ate his terms” at Lincoln’s Inn, was in due time called to the bar, and—knowing, as I did, his mounting ambition, I was sure he had from that moment the great seal in his imaginary clutch. It was almost the duty of such a man to tacitly disclaim any personal acquaintance with a mere police officer. He obtained, however, so far as I could judge by the law reports, very few briefs during five or six years; and when engaged, his part was a very subordinate, trifling one. Gall, wormwood, hell-fire that, I was quite sure, to James Hargrave; in whom, assuming the boy to be father of the man, the quality of patience would be strikingly deficient.

The melodramatic mind of London, and, I have no doubt, of the country generally, was strongly excited by the death, with its attendant circumstances, of Caroline Denby, who was found drowned in the Regent’s canal. I mean by the “melodramatic mind,” that which revels in—gloats over—details of mystery and crime. Caroline Denby had been nursemaid in the family of Mr. George Watson—a gentleman of fortune, residing in Regent’s Park, and having the reputation of being a great admirer of youthful beauty. Caroline Denby, whom I myself had observed with interest, was a… Read More