Fictional Attorney of the Month: Mr. Briggs

Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre may not be remembered as a legal thriller, but an attorney does seem to intervene at some of the most crucial moments of the novel. Mr. Briggs is John Eyre's attorney, and John Eyre is Jane's aunt.

He ably handles the estate when Mr. Eyre passes and leaves much to Jane. But it also means he has a curious ability to find out all of the important details of the goings-on surrounding Jane, especially concerning Mr. Rochester.

When Jane prepares to wed Mr. Rochester midway through the novel, Mr. Briggs swiftly arrives to inform her of Mr. Rochester's living wife. In "a sort of official, nasal voice," he read out the details of the wedding. When pressed that it did not prove she was alive (told to produce or go to hell, Mr. Briggs dryly opts for the former option), Mr. Briggs, ever prepared, called forward a witness who, encouraged by Mr. Briggs to have courage and "speak out," described the living wife.

Leave it to the lawyer to arrive well-armed with the facts and law to thwart an otherwise happy marriage.