« ПредишнаНапред »
. If things be so situated,” said I, “ I don't care if I attend you to the court, and partake in the pleasure of your success.”_" But prithee," continued I, as we set forward, “ what reasons have you to think an affair at
last concluded, which has given you so many former dis· appointments ?” My lawyer tells me, returned he, that
I have Salkeld and Ventris strong in my favour, and that there are no less than fifteen cases in point. “ I understand,” said I, “ those are two of your judges who have already declared their opinion.” Pardon me, replied my friend, Salkeld and Ventris are lawyers, who, some hundred years ago gave their opinions on cases similar to mine; these opinions which make for me, my lawyer is to cite, and those opinions which look another way, are cited by the lawyer employed by my antagonist; as I observed, I have Salkeld and Ventris for me, he has Coke and Hales for him, and he that has moft opinions is most likely to carry his cause. “ But where is the necessity,” cried I, “ of prolonging a suit by citing the opinions and reports of others, since the same good sense which determined lawyers in former ages, may serve to guide your judges at this day. They at that time gave their opinions only from the light of reason, your judges have the same light at present to direct them, let me even add a greater, as in former ages there were many preju, dices from which the present is happily free. If arguing from authorities be exploded from every other branch of learning, why should it be particularly adhered to in this? I plainly foresee, how such a method of investi. gation must embarrass every suit, and even perplex the student; ceremonies will be multiplied, formalities must increase, and more time will thus be spent in learning the arts of litigation, than in the discovery of right.”
I see, cries my friend, that you are for a speedy ad. ministration of justice, but all the world will grant, that the more time that is taken up in considering any subject, the better it will be understood. Besides, it is the boast of an Englishman that his property is secure, and all the world will grant, that a deliberate administration of justice is the best way to fecure his property. Why have we so many lawyers, but to secure our property ? why so many formalities, but to secure our property ? Not less than one hundred thousand families live in opu. lence, elegance, and ease, merely by securing our property.
To embarrass justice, returned I, by a multiplicity of laws, or to hazard it by a confidence in our judges, are, I grant, the opposite rocks on which legislative wis. dom has ever split; in one case, the client resembles that emperor who is said to have been suffocated with the bed-clothes, which were only designed to keep him warm; in the other, to that town which let the enemy take possession of its walls, in order to shew the world how little they depended upon aught but courage for safe. ty:-But bless me, what numbers do I see here--all in black-how is it possible that half this multitude find em. ployment ? Nothing so easily conceived, returned my companion, they live by watching each other. For instance, the catchpole watches the man in debt, the attorney, watches the catchpole, the counsellor watches the attorney, the solicitor the councellor, and all find fufficient employment. I conceive you, interrupted I, they watch each other, but it is the client that pays them
all for watching; it puts me in mind of a Chinese fable, which is entitled, “ Five animals at a meal."
A grasshopper filled with dew was merrily singing under a shade; a whangam that eats grasshoppers had mark. ed it for its prey, and was just stretching forth to devour it; a serpent that had for a long time fed only on whangams, was coiled up to fasten on the whangam; a yellow bird was just upon the wing to dart upon the sepent; a hawk had just stooped from above to seize the yellow bird; all were intent on their prey, and unmindful of their danger: so the whangam eat the grasshopper, the serpent eat the whangam, the yellow bird the serpent, and the hawk the yellow bird; when sousing from on high, a vulture gobbled up the hawk, grasshopper, whangam, and all in a moment.
I had scarce finished my fable, when the lawyer came. to inform my friend, that his cause was put off till.a. nother term, that money was wanting to retain, and that all the world was of opinion, that the very next hearing would bring him.off victorious. If so, then, cries my friend, I believe it will be my wisest way to continue the cause for another term; and in the mean time, my friend here and I will go and see Bedlam, Adieu.
| LATELY received a visit from the little beau,who I found had assumed a new flow of spirits with a new
suit of clothes. Our discourse happened to turn upon the different treatment of the fair sex here and in Asia, with the influence of beauty in refining our manners, and improving our conversation.
I soon perceived he was strongly prejudiced in fa. vour of the Asiatic method of treating the sex, and that it was impossible to persuade him, but that a man was happier who had four wives at his command, than he who had only one. “ It is true, cries he, your men of fashion in the East are slaves, and under some ter. rors of having their throats squeezed by a bow-ftring; but what then, they can find ample consolation in a seraglio; they make indeed an indifferent figure in conversation abroad, but then they have a seraglio to con. sole them at home. I am told they have no balls, drums, nor operas, but then they have got a seraglio; they may be deprived of wine and French cookery, but then they have a seraglio; a seraglio! a seraglio, my dear creature, wipes off every inconvenience in the world.
“Besides, I am told, your Afiatic beauties are the most convenient women alive; for they have no souls, pofi. tively there is nothing in nature I should like so much as ladies without souls; soul, here, is the utter ruin of half the sex. A girl of eighteen shall have soul enough to spend an hundred pounds in the turning of a trump. Her mother shall have foul enough to ride a sweep-stake match at an horse-race; her maiden aunt shall have foul enough to purchase the furniture of a whole toy-shop, and others shall have foul enough to behave as if they had no souls at all.”
With respect to the soul, interrupted I, the Asiatics are much kinder to the fair sex than you imagine; in. ftead of one foul, Fohi, the idol of China, gives every woman three, the Bramins give them fifteen; and even Mahomet himself no were excludes the sex from Para. dise. Abulfeda reports, that an old woman one day im. portuning him to know what she ought to do in order to gain Paradise ? “ My good lady," answered the pro. phet, “ old women never get there.” What never get to Paradise, returned the matron in a fury!“ Never,” says he, "for they always grow young by the way.”
No, Sir, continued I, the men of Asia behave with more deference to the sex than you seem to imagine. As you of Europe say grace upon sitting down to dinner, so it is the custom in China to say grace when a man goes to bed to his wife. “ And may I die," re. turned my companion," but a very pretty ceremony; for, seriously, Sir, I see no reason why a man should not be as grateful in one situation as in the other. Upon honour, I always find myself much more disposed to gratitude on the couch of a fine woman, than upon site ting down to a sirloin of beef.”
Another ceremony, said I, resuming the conversation. in favour of the sex amongst us, is the bride's being allowed after marriage her three days of freedom. During this interval, a thousand extravagancies are practised by either sex. The lady is placed upon the nuptial bed, and numberless monkey tricks are played round to divert her. One gentlemen smells her perfumed handkerchief, angther attempts to untie her garters, a third pulls off her shoe to play hunt the slipper, another pretends to be an ideot, and endeavours to raise a laugh by grixacing; in the mean time the glass goes briskly about;