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MY FIRST CIRCUIT: LAW AND FACTS FROM THE NORTH.
IN A LETTER TO CHRISTOPHER NORTH, ESQ. FROM AN OLD CONTRIBUTOR,
Most EXCELLENT Sır, - I, who fair, but, on the contrary, a matter of erewhile recounted to you, and some interest and anxiety, as you through your favour-to the whole may see in due time. Permit me, civilized world, divers matters which then, to take you along with me-even happened in the course of an adven- from my own door-telling you the turous day's trip to Calais,* do now truth, and nothing but the truth, but sit down, in a humour of the like not the whole truth : for, first, I shall communicativeness, to tell you, 'atomit all mention of the wealth and your special instance and request - distinction which I earned ; secondly, as we lawyers have it—what chanced I shall not presume to take in vain to me on a late excursion of a some- the names of the Most Reverend what different description. Since Judges, or describe the characters then, and since you and I met in the and doings of my dear brethrenflesh, I have become the proprietor of whatever I may at any time think fit a wig and gown, cum pertinentiis : to write on that subject I shall deal lo, I am even an UTTER BARRISTERf with à la Talleyrand-keep it secret
* * So you may till thirty years after my decease! now write to me, if you think fit, and Then be ye on the look out, ghosts of direct thus :
my brethren ! If so—what is left X. Y. Z., Esq.,
me to describe ? Why, to a man
with his eyes open, even a common gc. c. g'c. g'c.,
Law. journey to and from, and a few days' Barrister at Law :
sojourn at Liverpool, cannot be des. that is, if you wish my clerk-a stick titute of interest! But listen, on ler for etiquette-to take the letter this point, to the gay and gifted in, or my sublime self to read and Sterne :answer it!
"- What a large volume of adHaving attained this exalted rank ventures may be grasped within this of Counsel Learned in the Law, little span of life, by him who inteHeaven save the mark !--and belong. rests his heart in every thing ; and ing to the Common Law Bar,—which who, having eyes to see what time is the Bar Itinerant, going the circuit and chance are perpetually holding seemed to follow as a thing of course; out to him, as he journeyeth on his and when I came to exercise the dif- way, misses nothing he can fairly lay ficult choice of a circuit, and found his hands on! I pity the man who that one of them—the NORTHERN can travel from Dan to Beersheba, CIRCUIT—would bring me twice an- and cry, 'Tis all barren ;-and so it nually three degrees nearer to your- is :-and so is all the world--to him self, dear and venerable sir !--can who will not cultivate the fruits it you wonder that I at once attached offers." Allons ! myself to it? From the which circumstance having been thus brought to your knowledge, it would seem to Circumstances which it is not nefollow as a thing of course, that my cessary to mention prevented me from patent will soon be made out as going the whole circuit; so, by way Christopher's Counsel ; or, Standing of making a beginning, I determined to Counsel to Maga !-But, in sooth, join at Liverpool—the last stage of why jest thus at starting ? Going a the circuit- where the commission-day first circuit is not a very trilling af- was fixed for the 22d of March. As
* See No. CCLXV., vol. XLII., p. 621.
† i. e. Pleaders -ouster' the Bar, to distinguish them from Benchers, or those who have been Readers, who are sometimes admitted to plead within the Bar, as the Queen's Counsel are.-Jacob.
soon as I had formed this resolution strapped it up. About nine 1 sat I persuaded a friend, who will flou down to breakfast ; my good wife rish under the designation of Q. in giving me sundry earnest cautions this letter, to accompany me, it be concerning damp beds, unaired linen, ing also his first circuit. Then and the like, and hinting grievous came the doubts as to stage-coach, misgivings about " that odious railmail-or railroad and mail—to Bir- way, on which we were always hearing mingham. After due deliberation, of accidents happening ;" moreover, we resolved to go by coach to Bir. enjoining me to go to church regumingham, and thence on to Liverpool larly on the Sunday, and extracting by railroad. I sent, therefore, imme- many solemn promises from me that diately by a trusty friend, and took I would write to her, at least every three outside places-(whether out other day, a very long letter, whatside or inside had been a matter of ever my other engagements might be dire debate between us) – Q. carrying and that she should be quite miserhis servant with him. The coach able if I did not: adding something was the “ Estafette," and it started, we indistinctly about the wretchedness of were told, at ten o'clock-mind that being a barrister's wife—as bad as a -on the 20th of March, from the soldier's, &c. &c. &c. Breakfast was Swan with Two Necks, Lad Lane, soon over ; and the hackney-coach Cheapside ; by which means, wise drew up to the door. The time had men as we were, we purposed reach arrived when I was to start upon my ing Liverpool on the 21st ; little first circuit. “ Won't you see the dreaming, till a chance encounter children, Mr — , before you go ?" with an experienced circuiteer, of the said my wife; and presently two little fixed rule of the circuit that no bar things-my son and daughter, the rister shall make his appearance in an one a year or two, and the other a Assize Town before the commission- few months old, were brought down. day ; a salutary rule, aimed at the My heart yearned towards them as I prevention of divers obliquities — felt their little fingers playing over What was to be done? We had paid my face: but time pressed." Fareour fare ; so we resolved to let it well--God bless you all !" said I, stand-start as we had proposed on kissing them fervently. the Tuesday, and spend the Wednes. " Think of us !" said my wife, as day at Birmingham, a town I had we parted; and the next moment I never seen, save once for a few hours was enclosed in the hackney-coach, some seventeen years before, when opposite the large portmanteau which being whirled through it on my way contained my little all. 'Twas a truly home from school. We obtained a miserable vehicle, and the sight of letter of introduction to a banker the skinny feeble horses made one's there, who, it was hoped, would en- heart ache. “ Where shall I drive to, able us to amuse ourselves during our sir?" enquired a husky voice, out of stay, by seeing what Q. called the a heap of old clothes from the coachsmutty Lions of Birmingham. Then box. The Jarvey was a small spare I had my portmanteau packed up, fellow, with a thin face, and sharp containing, in addition to my clothes, watery eyes, and keen red nose-he some eight or ten practical books— looked as if he had been drinking gin Roscoe's Civil Evidence, Selwyn's all night. " Where to, sir ?” he reNisi Prius, Burton's Real Property, peated. « Oh-Plowden Buildings, Harrison's Digest, Byles on Bills of in the Temple, to take up a gentleExchange, and Roscoe's Criminal man and his servant : and heark'eeEvidence--wherewith I might be en- make haste, for Heaven's sake!-'tis abled to despatch the great business a quarter past nine already, and we which doubtless awaited my coming ; must be at the Swan with Two Necks while my gown and bands I saw by ten o'clock exactly. D'ye think neatly spread along the surface of the we can do it easily " " Oh yes, ingesta. “ Have we forgotten any sir_but ye see, we han't a hap'orth thing?" said my poor wife, who was o'time to lose. Go it, ye cripplesplainly not quite calm that morning; go it !" he added, addressing his 16 Are you surethat everything is in?" I horses, at the same time tenderly réwas quite certain of it ; and in a commending his suggestions to their twinkling the servant had closed and attention by sundry blows upon their bony flanks and off we rumbled from mously-laden carts, "standing one on the door. Ah me, how curious I be- each side and how to get on we knew came! for we could not be going at not. In vain our little Jarvey squeaka less rate than half a mile an hour; ed out curses against the lubberly car, and it was only to imagine a stoppage ters, who listened with a contemptuin some of those infernal sinuosities ously indifferent air, and deigned no leading from Cheapside to the coach. reply. In an agony I opened the office; or even a break down! with coach door, jumped out, and ran down an eye to the avoidance of which lat to the coach-office to tell the people ter mishap doubtless it was that Jarthere where we were. It was much vey went the gingerly pace he did farther down than I had suspected; I and which kept me in a fever of ap- rushed breathless into the yard. prehension. Then there were my “ Does not the Estafette Birmingfriend Q. and his servant, with Hea- ham coach start from this place ?" I ven knows how much luggage, to be enquired eagerly of a man slashing got into and upon the rickety fabric! water over the mud-bespattered wheels Q., however, was ready and waiting of a mail-coach. for us-and in a very short time we « Yes, it does ; but it's off this ten drove off, having exactly nineteen minutes and more." minutes in which to go from almost • Off!" the extremity of the Temple to Lad - Yes, sir." Lane by ten o'clock. Oh! Christo « What !—GONE!" pher, why will mortals push off every Yes—starts werry punctual inthing to the eleventh hour? Why do deed-at a quarter to ten, and doesn't they take so little care to set out on a stop no time for nobody, never, sir !" journey calmly and comfortably- Obstupui! loving rather to pass the precedent “ Do you really mean that the hour in a stew and perspiration - coach is gone?" curses rising momentarily to their “ Yes"-slap went another pail-full lips from a soul boiling over with irri. over the wheels of the mail-coach. tability ? Ah me! Up Fleet Street “ Why, the people told me, when and Ludgate Hill we positively crawl. the places were taken, that the time ed. When we reached St Paul's it was ten o'clock exactly." wanted ten minutes to ten o'clock. “ Did they, indeed, sir? Then they Good; but we had to go round St was quite wrong, sir, and no mistake," Paul's Churchyard_and I did not he replied, phlegmatically. know in what part of Cheapside Lad “ Good God! what shall we do? Lane was; and our horses seemed, We've paid our fares."through mere exhaustion, to be slacken. “ Never returns no money, ing even the sorrowful pace at which b'lieve." they had hitherto gone. The line of “ Have we a chance of catching the somebody on the death of somebody coach, any where?".
“ Why not much," said he, taking “ The weary wheels of life at length stood
off his cap to scratch his head " but
if you like you may try, sir; if you was present to my mind every mo. goes uncommon quick you may have ment. Q. and I made many good re- a chance of catching the coach at the solutions—as we kept our eyes on our Angel, at Islington." watches, and popped our heads out of A hopeful beginning this of my first the windows every half minute to see circuit. I came back to the coach, whether the road was clear--that we which I found had just got past the would never run so near the wind two carts above spoken of, and comagain. We got into Cheapside, how- municated the dismaying intelligence ever, duly ;-there we were only once to Q. and the coachman. I looked interrupted for about half a minute; at the horses, and my heart smote me, and just as our watches showed four as I said, “ Come, off!-off for the minutes to ten, we turned down a very Angel as fast as ever you can go! narrow street on the left hand-side, -our only chance :" In a trice we leading down directly to the coach were on our way, and soon got into a office. When we had got about three long broad straight street or road that quarters down this street we were led directly towards the Angel. We stopped by two large and most enor really galloped all the way. How
the poor beasts contrived to go such ing over that which has been forgotten a pace I know not, though I could in London !” The sky wore a bleak, hear the grievous thwacks incessantly mottled appearance, and the weather “ raining influence" on their lean was very squally. Gusts of a keen hides. My heart ached for the wretch. north-easterly wind swept searchingly ed beasts ; and I thought, thank God! past us, accompanied with occasional we shall, at all events, have nothing hail and rain, and made us' very soon of this sort upon the railroad-the en- regret having taken outside places. I gine can't draw on one's sympathy! had a large blue cloak-two, in fact,
But at length, as we dashed round made into one with an ample cape, to the Angel, there stood a coach- which, hood-like, I threw over my the coach-ready to start, the coach. head when the weather was sharpest, man with his foot on the wheel, and and so in a considerable measure the whip and reins in his hand, and sheltered myself from the sleet and the guard evidently looking out for rain and cutting wind. R. had an some one. “ Come, come, gentlemen, old greatcoat, and an immense " comreally but this an't the correct thing; fortable" round his neck. He and I I'm a quarter of an hour behind my sat with our backs to the horses. time with waiting for you! Come, Next to him sat a man having the jump up, gentlemen-jump up—the appearance of an elderly commercial porter will put your luggage on; traveller. Opposite to me sat the quick, Jarvey, quick!" The offended guard on a pile of coats and MackinJehu was obeyed ; we paid the Jarvey toshes ; next to him sat two men of seven shillings, the scamp demanding humble appearance, who were going, ten (!)-the servant got up on the it seemed, only half way. As the front, Q. and I behind-crack went weather became more and more disthe whip, off were whisked the cloths agreeable, the guard gave us all a couple from the horses, cheerily blew the of thick greatcoats to spread over our guard his horn-and away we went at laps ; but they were insufficient to a rattling pace!
keep my legs warm, for the wind Hurried as had been our latter rushed through below wretchedly. movements, I had contrived to pur. Our umbrellas were next to useless, chase a Times newspaper before the the wind was so high, but my cape coach set off, but, on attempting to did me good service on the occasion read it, found that the wind was too of one or two violent hail-storms. By high; so I was obliged to put it into the time that we had got about twenty my pocket for a more convenient sea- miles we were quite benumbed with son. « Ah!" thought I, as we rattled the cold; and whenever the coach rapidly along, “ every step carries us stopped to change horses Q. and I further away from the centre of action jumped down and ran on as fast as we and influence-glorious London! To. could to warm ourselves again. The morrow morning, and for the next other passengers had, as frequently, three weeks or so, I shall be a day be- recourse to brandy, and brandy and hind the world; I shall get every water.* On one of these occasions thing at secondhand I shall be gloat we were joined by a fellow who coolly
* A recollection of the following sensible observations it was that prevented me from ever resorting to the use of spirits on such occasions :
“ I may here allude to the common practice of taking a dram' of some kind of spirits before exposure to cold, a practice both foolish and dangerous ; the stimulating effect of the spirit soon goes off, and is followed by a degree of languor proportioned to the amount of stimulation. This is the state in which the body is most easily chilled ; the secretion of the skin most easily checked; in which the person is most liable to take cold,' and, if he is exposed to the influence of cold after the stimulating effects have subsided, the chances are very strongly in favour of his suffering from it. Spirits ought not to be taken before such exposure, unless the person is to be exposed but for a very short time, or unless the dose is to be repeated as often as the effects of the previous dose begin to subside. Coffee does not seem liable to this objection; its stimulating effects are much more lasting; and its warming effects seem to me to bə even greater, and the subsequent languor is certainly less. Its cordial effects-the duration of the stimulus it affords – was, I believe, first noticed by Dr Rush, in his squeezed himself between Q. and his DIGRESSION CONCERNING RINGS, left-hand-side companion, though there which, for my part, I do not like to was hardly room for him, and whose see on a man's hand, except in the appearance and demeanour afforded single case of a plain mourning ring ; scope for rather amusing observation. yet, nowadays, how general is the use He seemed about thirty or thirty-two; of them becoming! I lately stood for was rather good-looking; wore large some time close beside the Right Hon. and well-trimmed whiskers; his hat Mr Rice, the Chancellor of the Exwas stuck on one side with a devil- chequer, for instance, while he was me-care kind of air; he had a rich speaking, and observed that he had a green silk comfortable round his couple of thick rings on the little neck—and was, in short, very showily finger of his left hand, and also, undressed, as he sometimes enabled us less I am mistaken, two similar ones to see by very unnecessarily opening upon one of the fingers of his right his crack topcoat. He possessed a band. Now, why might he not as most impudent volubility and sang. well have a hole drilled in his nose, froid. He gave out his - damme's !” and a ring hung there? I protest that, and “ God damme's !" with infinite not long ago, a common cab-driver frequency, fluency, and zest in his opened the door of his vehicle for me, conversation with the guard, and there with a hand, on the little finger of was that in his manner which satisfied which was what seemed a gold ring! me that he believed himself exciting Really this is too bad, going beyond a most favourable impression among even his plebeian pals in ancient us. Not so, however, with Q. and Rome, who, as you know, dear Chris. me, who received all his overtures and topher, wore only iron rings [Stat. sallies in frigid silence, with an air Silv. ii. 2, 144]; to distinguish themthat soon disconcerted him. The selves from whom, the patricians were guard, a steady matter-of-fact fellow, led to wear golden and gemmed rings,* at length seemed influenced by our and at length carried their coxcombry demeanour, and talked less and less to such a pitch as to have their rings with the intruder, who eventually had for summer and their rings for winter! to smoke his cigar in silence. Dis- as you recollect in Juvenal : gusting fellow! he never once thought of asking any of us whether his doing “ Crispinus Tyrias humero revocanti laso might be disagreeable, though he cernas, must have seen that the smoke often Ventilet æstivum digitis sudantibus aurum, came in our faces. I was a long while Nec sufferre queat majoris pondera gembalancing in my mind whether or not mæ.”—(I. 28.) I should request him to desist, but at length thought it prudent not to incur
Again-then ancient dandies origithe risk of an insolent answer; for
nally wore only one ring, and that what good could come of quarrelling
on the last finger but one (digitus anwith such a being ? He held his cigar
nularis) of the left hand ; then they in his right hand a huge coarse red
wore several rings; and at length, hand-on the thick little finger of which
precious prigs ! several rings on the glittered a massive gold ring, while
same finger ; as testify Horace and another sparkled on the little finger of
Martial. The barristers, it seems, his left hand, which, that we might
were particularly partial to them. observe, he kindly took, several times,
Quoth the stern satirist already quoted, out of the double-glove in which it Ut redeant veteres, Ciceroni nemo ducenwas enveloped. This gives me occa- tos sion for a brief, and pleasant, and Nunc dederit nummos-nisi fulserit annuvery learned
lus ingens.”—(VII. 138, 9).
* Enquiry into the effect of ardent spirits.' He says that he once knew a country physician who made a practice of drinking a pint of strong coffee previous to long-continued exposure to cold, and found it more cordial to him than spirits in any form.”_RobertSON on Diet and Regimen, pp. 44, 45.
* Often of immense value. Poor Nonius was proscribed by Antony for the sake of a gem in bis ring, said to be worth 40,000 sesterces. A full account of rings is to be found in Facciolati's Lexicon, sub voce.