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ing a down pour; and all the signs of the earth testified to the foregone deluge that had already confined us to the house until our patience was worn to a thread. Heavy drops fell from the eaves, the trees in the park were dripping from every bough, the fallen leaves under the trees dank with moisture, the grass as wet as if it grew in a ford, the gravel walks soft and plashy, the carriage drives no better than mud.

In short it was the very dismallest weather that ever answered to the name of " a fine open day;" and our sportsmen accordingly had all sallied forth to enjoy it, some to join Sir John's hounds, some to a great coursing meeting at Streatley.

As we stood at the windows bemoaning our imprisonment, we saw that the drizzle was fast settling into steady rain, and that there was no more chance of a ride on horseback, or a drive in an open carriage, than of the exhilarating walk which is the proper exercise of Christmas. All the pets about the park sympathised in our afflictions. The deer dropped off to their closest covert ; the pied peacock, usually so stately and so dignified as he trailed his spotted train after him, when he came to the terrace to tap at the window for his dole of cake, actually sneaked away, when summoned, in pure shame at his draggled tail; the swans looked wet through. The whole party seemed chilled and dismal, and I was secretly

meditating a retreat to my mother's dressing-room, to enjoy in quiet a certain volume of “Causes Célèbres,” which I had abstracted from the library for my own private solace, when everybody was startled by a proposal of the only gentleman left at home; a young barrister, who had had sufficient courage to confess his indifference to field sports, and who now, observing on the ennui that seemed to have seized upon the party, offered to use his best efforts to enliven us by reading aloud-by reading a law-book. Fancy the exclamations at a medicine so singularly ill-adapted to the disease ! For my own part, I was not so much astonished. I suspected that the young gentleman had got hold of another volume of my dearly beloved “Causes Célèbres,” and was about to minister to our discontent by reading a French Trial. But the rest of the party laughed and exclaimed, and were already so much aroused by the proposal, that the cure might be said to be more than half accomplished, before our learned teacher opened the pages of “ The Pleader's Guide."

I wish I could communicate to my extracts the zest that his selections derived from his admirable reading, and from the humorous manner in which he expounded the mystery of the legal phrases, which I shall do my best to avoid, not to overtask my reader's ingenuity.

It is an old lawyer instructing a young one :

"But chiefly thou, dear Job, my friend,
My kinsman, to my verse attend;
By education formed to shine
Conspicuous in the pleading line;
from five


old to twenty,
Were crammed with Latin words in plenty;
Were bound apprentice to the Muses,
And forced with hard words, blows, and bruises
To labour on poetic ground,
Dactyls and spondees to confound;
And when become in fictions wise,
In Pagan histories and lies,
Were sent to dive at Granta's cells,
For truth in dialectic wells;
There duly bound for four years more,
To ply the philosophic oar,
Points metaphysical to moot,
Chop logic, wrangle, and dispute ;
And now, by far the most ambitious
Of all the sons of Bergersdicius,
Present the law with all the knowledge
You gathered both at school and college,
Still bent on adding to your store

of a Pleader's lore,
And, better to improve your taste,
Are by your parents' fondness placed
Among the blest, the chosen few,
(Blest if their happiness they knew),
Who, for three hundred guineas paid
To some great master of the trade,

Have, at his rooms, by special favour,
His leave to use their best endeavour,
By drawing pleas from nine till four,
To earn him twice three hundred more;
And after dinner may repair
To 'foresaid rooms, and then and there
Have 'foresaid leave from five till ten,

To draw the aforesaid pleas again.” Then he favours his pupil with a bit of his own history, which seems to me capital :

“Whoe'er has drawn a special plea,

Has heard of old Tom Tewksbury;
Deaf as a post and thick as mustard,
He aimed at wit, and bawled and blustered,
And died a Nisi prius leader-
That genius was my special pleader.
That great man's office I attended,
By Hawk and Buzzard recommended;
Attorneys both of wondrous skill
To pluck the goose and drive the quill.
Three years I sat his smoky room in,
Pens, paper, pounce and ink consuming ;
The fourth, when Essoign day begun,
Joyful I hailed the auspicious sun,
Bade Tewksbury and clerk adieu ;
*Purification Eighty-two,
Of both I washed my hands; and though
With nothing for my cash to show
But precedents, so scrawled and blurred
I scarce could read one single word,

* The Purification of the Virgin Mary is one of the return days of Hilary Term.

Nor in my book of common-place
One feature of the law could trace,
Save Buzzard's nose and visage thin,
And Hawk's deficiency of chin,
Which I, while lolling at my ease,
Was wont to draw instead of pleas;
Yet chambers I equipt complete,
Hired books, made friends, and gave to eat.
If, haply, to regale my friends on,
My mother sent a haunch of ven’son,
I most respectfully entreated
The choicest company to eat it;
To wit, old Buzzard, Hawk, and Crow,
Item Tom Thornback, Shark, and Co.,
Attorneys all, as keen and staunch
As e'er devoured a client's haunch;
Nor did I not their clerks invite
To taste said venison hashed at night;
For well I knew that hopeful fry
My rising merit would descry,
The same litigious course pursue,
And, when to fish of prey they grew,
By love of food and contest led,
Would haunt the spot where once they fed.
Thus having with due circumspection
Formed my professional connexion,
My desk with precedents I strewed,
Turned critic, danced, or penned an ode,
Studied the ton, became a free
And easy man of gallantry;
But if, while capering at my glass,
Or toying with some favourite lass,
I heard the aforesaid Hawk a-coming,
Or Buzzard on the staircase humming,

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