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In the early hours of Thursday, 7 December 1911, an old man lay dying in his house in Portland Place. He had been ill for some months but no one had expected the end to come as soon as this.
The old man was Sir George Lewis and he was the most famous lawyer in England: Not only in England: throughout America and the whole English-speaking world his name was known, embodying the fascination and danger of the law.
For years the Press had created a public stereotype for George Lewis. 'His eyeglass and fur-coat were as 'famous as Mr Gladstone's collar or Mr Chamberlain's orchid.' 'He seemed to go through life with a footfall almost as soft as his voice or his manners.' 'He looked like a Jewish Voltaire.' 'Over a quarter of a century he has had a monopoly of those cases where the seamy side of society is unveiled and where the sins and follies of the wealthy classes threaten exposure and disaster.'
As his friend King Edward VII said; 'George Lewis is the one man in England who should write his memoirs - and of course he never can.' Lewis had endorsed that when he burned all his papers on his retirement in 1909.