Longs and Shorts





There were two barristers at the Irish bar who formed a
singular contrast in their statures. Ninian Mahaffy, Esq., was as much

above the middle size as Mr. Collis was below it. When Lord Redesdale was

Lord Chancellor of Ireland, these two gentlemen chanced to be retained in

the same cause, a short time after his lordship's elevation, and before he

was personally acquainted with the Irish bar. Mr. Collis was opening the

motion, when the lord chancellor observed, "Mr. Collis, when a barrister

addresses the court, he must stand." "I am standing on the bench, my lord,"

said Collis. "I beg a thousand pardons," said his lordship, somewhat

confused. "Sit down, Mr. Mahaffy." "I am sitting, my lord," was the reply

to the confounded chancellor.





The Scotch bar had once to boast in Mr. Erskine, of Cardross, of a pleader

quite as diminutive as Mr. Collis. He had usually a stool brought to him to

stand upon when addressing the court, which gave occasion for a witty

rival once to observe, that "that was one way of rising at the bar."





Lord Kaimes used to relate a story of a man who claimed the honour of his

acquaintance on rather singular grounds. His lordship, when one of the

justiciary judges, returning from the north circuit to Perth, happened one

night to sleep at Dunkeld. The next morning, walking towards the ferry, but

apprehending he had missed his way, he asked a man whom he met to conduct

him. The other answered, with much cordiality, "That I will do with all my

heart, my lord. Does not your lordship remember me? My name's John ----, I

have had the _honour_ to be before your lordship for stealing sheep!" "Oh,

John! I remember you well; and how is your wife? She had the honour to be

before me too, for receiving them, knowing them to be stolen." "At your

lordship's service. We were very lucky; we got off for want of evidence;

and I am still going on in the butcher trade." "Then," replied his

lordship, "we may have the _honour_ of meeting again."





Sergeant Hill, who was much celebrated as a lawyer, and eminently qualified

to find out a case in point on any disputed question, was somewhat

remarkable for absence of mind, the result of that earnestness with which

he devoted himself to his professional duties. On the very day when he was

married, he had an intricate case in his mind, and forgot his engagement,

until reminded of his waiting bride, and that the legal time of performing

the ceremony had nearly elapsed. Being once on circuit, and having occasion

to refer to a law authority, he had recourse as usual to his bag; but, to

the astonishment of the court, instead of a volume of Viner's abridgment,

he took out a specimen candlestick, the property of a Birmingham traveller,

whose bag the learned sergeant had brought into court by mistake.





During the long vacation, the sergeant usually retired to his country seat

at Rowell in Northamptonshire. It happened, during one autumn, that some of

the neighbouring sportsmen, among whom was the present Earl Spencer, being

in pursuit of a fox, Reynard, who was hard pressed, took refuge in the

court-yard of this venerable sage. At this moment the sergeant was reading

a _case in point_, which decided that in a trespass of this kind the owners

of the ground had a right to inflict the punishment of death. Mr. Hill

accordingly gave orders for punishing the fox, as an original trespasser,

which was done instantly. The hunters now arrived with the hounds in full

cry, and the foremost horseman, who anticipated the glory of possessing the

brush, was the first to behold his victim stretched lifeless on the ground,

pinioned to the earth by plebeian pitchforks. The hunters were very anxious

to discover the daring culprit who had presumed to deprive the field and

the pack of their prey; when the venerable sergeant made his appearance,

with his book in his hand, and offered to convince them that execution had

taken place according to legal authority. The sportsmen got outrageous, but

the learned sergeant was not intimidated; he knew the force of his

authorities, and gravely invited the attention of his auditory to a case

from one of the old reporters, that would have puzzled a whole bar of

modern practitioners to controvert. The effect was ludicrous; the

extraordinary appearance of the worthy sergeant, not in his bargown, but in

what these adventurous mortals called a mere bedgown; the quaintness of his

manner, the singularity of the occurrence, and the novelty of the incident,

threw them completely out.














Budaeus, a very learned man, librarian to Francis the First of France, was

one day engaged in deep study, when his servant came running to him in a

great fright, to tell him that the house was on fire. "Go," said he, with

perfect calmness, and hardly raising his eyes from his book, "and inform

your mistress, 'tis her concern, you know I never interfere in domestic

matters."





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