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were regaled at two long tables, set down the hall; and the gentlemen of the inn condescending to act as menial The reader himself, dropping on his knee when he performed the servile office, proffered the towel with which the king prepared himself for the repast; and barristers of ancient lineage and professional eminence contended for the honor of serving His Majesty with surloin and cheesecake upon the knee, and hastened with the alacrity of well-trained lacqueys to do the bidding of "the lords att their table." Having eaten and drunk to his lively satisfaction, Charles called for the Admittance Book of the Inn, and placed his name on the roll of members, thereby conferring on the society an honor for which no previous king of England had furnished a precedent. Following their chief's example, the Duke of York and Prince Rupert and other nobles forthwith joined the fraternity of lawyers; and hastily donning students' gowns, they mingled with the troop of gowned servitors, and humbly waited on their liege lord.

In like manner, twenty-one years since (July 29, 1845) when Queen Victoria and her lamented consort visited Lincoln's Inn, on the opening of the new hall, they condescended to enter their names in the Admission Book of the Inn, thereby making themselves students of the society. Her Majesty has not been called to the bar; but Prince Albert in due course became a barrister and bencher. Repeating the action of Charles II.'s courtiers, the great Duke of Wellington and the bevy of great nobles present at the celebration became fellow-students with the queen; and on leaving the table the prince walked down the hall, wearing a student's stuff gown (by no means the most picturesque of academic robes), over his field-marshal's uniform. Her Majesty forbore to disarrange her toilet-which consisted of a blue bonnet wita

blue feathers, a dress of Limerick lace, and a scarlet shawl, with a deep gold edging-by putting her arms through the sleeveless arm-holes of a bombazine frock.

Grateful to the lawyers for the cordiality with which they welcomed him to the country, William III. accepted an invitation to the Middle Temple, and was entertained by that society with a banquet and a masque, of which notice has been taken in another chapter of this work; and in 1697-8 Peter the Great was a guest at the Christmas revels of the Templars. On that occasion the Czar enjoyed a favorable opportunity for gratifying his love of strong drink, and for witnessing the ease with which our ancestors drank wine by the magnum and punch by the gallon, when they were bent on enjoyment.

In the greater refinement and increasing delicacy of the eighteenth century, the Inns of Court revels, which had for so many generations been conspicuous amongst the gaieties of the town, became less and less magnificent; and they altogether died out under the second of those Georges who are thought by some persons to have corrupted public morals and lowered the tastes of society. In 1733–4, when Lord Chancellor Talbot's elevation to the woolsack was celebrated by a revel in the Inner Temple Hall, the dulness and disorder of the celebration convinced the lawyers that they had not acted wisely in attempting to revive usages that had fallen into desuetude because they were inconvenient to new arrangements or repugnant to modern taste. No attempt was made to prolong the festivity over a succession of days. It was a revel of one day; and no one wished to add another to the period of riot. At two o'clock on Feb. 2, 1733–4, the new Chancellor, the master of the revels, the benchers of the inns, and the guests (who were for the most part lawyers), sat down to dinner in the hall. The barristers and students had their ordinary fare, with the addition

of a flask of claret to each mess; but a superior repast was served at the High Table where fourteen students (of whom the Chancellor's eldest son was one), served as waiters. Whilst the banquet was in progress, musicians stationed in the gallery at the upper end of the hall filled the room with deafening noise, and ladies looked down upon the feasters from a large gallery which had been fitted up for their reception over the screen. After dinner, as soon as the hall could be cleared of dishes and decanters, the company were entertained with 'Love for Love,' and 'The Devil to Pay,' performed by professional actors who "all came from the Haymarket in chairs, ready dressed, and (as it was said), refused any gratuity for their trouble, looking upon the honor of distinguishing themselves on this occasion as sufficient." The players having withdrawn, the judges, sergeants, benchers, and other dignitaries, danced 'round about the coal fire;' that is to say, they danced round about a stove in which there was not a single spark of fire. The congregation of many hundreds of persons, in a hall which had not comfortable room for half the number, rendered the air so oppressively hot that the master of the revels wisely resolved to lead his troop of revellers round an empty grate. The chronicler of this ridiculous mummery observes: "And all the time of the dance the ancient song, accompanied by music, was sung by one Toby Aston, dressed in a bar-gown, whose father had formerly been Master of the Plea Office in the King's Bench. When this was over, the ladies came down from the gallery, went into the parliament chamber, and stayed about a quarter of an hour, while the hall was being put in order. They then went into the hall and danced a few minuets. Country dances began at ten, and at twelve a very fine cold collation was provided for the whole company, from which they returned to dancing, which they

continued as long as they pleased, and the whole day's entertainment was generally thought to be very genteelly and liberally conducted. The Prince of Wales honored the performance with his company part of the time; he came into the music incog. about the middle of the play, and went away as soon as the farce of 'walking round the coal fire' was over.

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With this notable dance of lawyers round an empty grate, the old revels disappeared. In their Grand Days, equivalent to the gaudy days, or feast days, or audit days of the colleges at Oxford and Cambridge, the Inns of Court still retain the last vestiges of their ancient jollifications, but the uproarious riot of the obsolete festivities is but faintly echoed by the songs and laughter of the junior barristers and students who in these degenerate times gladden their hearts and loosen their tongues with an extra glass of wine after grand dinners, and then hasten back to chambers for tobacco and tea.

On the discontinuance of the revels the Inns of Court lost their chief attractions for the courtly pleasure-seekers of the town, and many a day passed before another royal visit was paid to any one of the societies. In 1734 George III.'s father stood amongst the musicians in the Inner Temple Hall; and after the lapse of one century and eleven years the present queen accepted the hospitality of Lincoln's Inn. No record exists of a royal visit made to an Inn of Court between those events. Only the other day, however, the Prince of Wales went eastwards and partook of a banquet in the hall of Middle Temple, of which society he is a barrister and a bencher.





CHOOLS for the study of the Common Law, existed


within the bounds of the city of London, at the commencement of the thirteenth century. No sooner had a permanent home been assigned to the Court of Common Pleas, than legal practitioners fixed themselves in the neighborhood of Westminster, or within the walls of London. A legal society speedily grew up in the city; and some of the older and more learned professors of the Common Law, devoting a portion of their time and energies to the labors of instruction, opened academies for the reception of students. Dugdale notices a tradition that in ancient times a law-school, called Johnson's Inn, stood in Dowgate, that another existed in Pewter Lane, and that Paternoster Row contained a third; and it is generally thought that these three inns were amongst the academies which sprung up as soon as the Common Pleas obtained a permanent abode.

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