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—"For it is not absolutely necessary in law
to have all the formal parts that are usually
drawn out in deeds, so as there be sufficient
words to declare clearly and legally the
parties' meaning."

"Then, do you mean to tell me, Mr. Tapes,"
I ask, "that you found it absolutely necessary
to introduce that long story about the
trees, and the underwoods, and all that, to
say nothing of the supplementary explanation
about the house being ' free and clear, and
freely and clearly, and absolutely acquitted,
exonerated, released, and for ever discharged,
or otherwise by &c. well and sufficiently
saved, defended, kept harmless, and indemnified
against all estates, titles, troubles,
charges, debts, and incumbrances, to be
made, executed, occasioned, or suffered, &c.,
&c., &c.'? Do you mean to say that you found
all this necessary before you could
conscientiously tell me that Jones's house was no
longer Jones's, but mine?"

I waited in considerable wrath for Tapes's
reply. It came, as I expected, out of the
Commentaries of the great Blackstone:
"But," so it ran, "as these formal and
orderly parts are calculated to convey the
meaning in the clearest, distinctest, and most
effectual manner, and have been well
considered and settled by the wisdom of
successive ages, it is prudent not to depart from
them without good reason or urgent necessity,
and therefore" (Mr. Tapes reads this
with considerable unction) " such of them
as are appropriate to deeds containing a
conveyance of land, shall be mentioned in the
usual order."

Clearly, the great Blackstone, the wisdom
of successive ages, and Mr. Tapes, must be

There is one thing more, however, which
I should wish to mention. Mr. Justice
Blackstone informs me in his Commentaries
upon the laws of England, that a deed is the
most solemn and authentic act that a man
can possibly perform with relation to the
disposal of his property; and, therefore, a
man, he says, shall always be estopped by
his own deed, or not permitted to aver or
prove anything in contradiction to what
he has once so solemnly and deliberately
avowed. Now, I would put it candidly to
any unprofessional reader who has performed
this solemn and authentic act, whether he
has been quite clearly in possession of all the
involved bearings of the deed at the time of
its execution? I would go further even,
and ask whether any professional reader
could undertake to master the design of a
deed of sixty or seventy folios without
considerable exertion and within a reasonable
time ? I am resigned to leave the matter
for the present under the shadow of the
great upas-tree " Precedent:" praying only
that some great legal giant may arise to hew
down the pernicious tree, and bare the
subject more freely to the light of day.

If any one thinks that such a proceeding
would diminish the business profits of Mr.
Tapes, I beg to demur to that. I am
rather certain that if the expenses of
conveyance were lessened, and the intricacies
which clog the proof of title were modified, a
much brisker conveyancing business would
fall to the lot of that gentleman, than he at
present enjoys.



AT the window of that Grey-headed Nobleman,
where I lodge, may be found excellent
entertainment. There the contemplative man
may have his recreation, perhaps about as
well as by walking after Mr. Walton. For
every figure that goes by, sets astir a train of
thoughts and images concerning the ways of
this most curious people. They go by
underneath with such noise and clattermen,
women, and children. Nay, for that matter,
there are those polished reflectors and bits of
looking-glass beside me, to the right and left,
which report faithfully all things below, without
giving the beholder the trouble of stretching
forth his neck. You may see there the
figures coming on dioramically; and by-
and-by there comes along dioramically,
a strange figure, of the undertaker order
in bearing and garb, plainly suggestive of

This gentleman, so connected with the sad
profession, is arrayed in a decent suit of
black. Beautiful in fit and smooth in texture
is his funereal raiment. But what is strange,
he hath on his head a tri-cornered cocked
hat, from an angle of which floats a long
black veil, trained in a festoon down to
his heels nearly. The veil floats after him
dismally wheresoever he goes. He has,
besides, trappings of black silk disposed in
plaits, much like an ancient bagwig, hanging
about him rearwards. Black stockings, shoes
and buckles, finish the man of mourning
below. He bears in his hand large sheets of
paper unfolded.

The undertaking interest must be petted
and encouraged exceedingly. For I meet
these gentlemen at every turn and corner,
tripping along with light step and unspotted
pumps, wrapped up contemplatively in their
mortuary business. It must thrive, the
mortuary business, the professional portion,
that is.

I see him every day tripping up with
neckcloth most beautiful and fair to look at,
ringing the bell softly, and handing in his
document to the maid-servant, who takes it
silently. Who looks at it curiously, too, and
with an eager interest: for, in this fashion, is
first made known the death of friend or
immediate neighbour. I remark that, on such
occasions, the usual familiar relations of
ladies and gentlemen in the lower ranks of