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but I confess myself under particular obligation to you for the very remarkable countenance you have shown me on this occasion.” There is no doubt that Charles Yorke could make himself unendurably offensive ; it is just credible that without a thought of their double meaning he uttered the words attributed to him ; but it is not to be believed that he—an English gentlemanthus intentionally insulted a man who had rendered him a service.
A story far less offensive than the preceding anecdote, but in one point similar to it, is told of Judge FortescueAland (subsequently Lord Fortescue), and a counsel. Sir John Fortescue-Aland was disfigured by a nose which was purple, and hideously misshapen by morbid growth. Having checked a ready counsel with the needlessly harsh observation, “Brother, brother, you are handling the case in a very lame manner,” the angry advocate gave vent to his annoyance by saying, with a perfect appear-' ance of sang-froid, "Pardon me, my lord; have patience
“ with me, and I will do my best to make the case as plain as—as—the nose on your lordship’s face.” In this case the personality was uttered in hot blood, by a man who deemed himself to be striking the enemy of his professional reputation.
If they were not supported by incontrovertible testimony, the admirers of the great Sir Edward Coke would reject as spurious many of the overbearing rejoinders which escaped his lips in courts of justice. His tone in his memorable altercation with Bacon at the bar of the Court of Exchequer speaks ill for the courtesy of English advocates in Elizabeth's reign ; and to any student who can appreciate the dignified formality and punctilious politeness that characterized English gentlemen in the old time, it is matter of perplexity how a man of Coke's learning, capacity, and standing, could have marked his
contempt for ‘Cowell's Interpreter,' by designating the author in open court Dr. Cowheel. Scarcely in better taste were the coarse personalities with which, as Attorney General, he deluged Garnet the Jesuit, whom he described as “a Doctor of Jesuits ; that is, a Doctor of six D’sas Dissimulation, Deposing of princes, Disposing of kingdoms, Daunting and Deterring of Subjects, and Destruction.”
In comparatively recent times few judges surpassed Thurlow in overbearing insolence to the bar. To a few favorites, such as John Scott and Kenyon, he could be consistently indulgent, although even to them his patronage was often disagreeably contemptuous; but to those who provoked his displeasure by a perfectly independent and fearless bearing he was a malignant persecutor. For instance, in his animosity to Richard Pepper Arden (Lord Alvanley), he often forgot his duty as a judge and his manners as a gentleman. John Scott, on one occasion, rising in the Court of Chancery to address the court after Arden, who was his leader in the cause, and had made an unusually able speech, Lord Thurlow had the indecency
“Mr. Scott, I am glad to find that you are engaged in the cause, for I now stand some chance of knowing something about the matter.” To the Chancellor's habitual incivility and insolence it is allowed that Arden always responded with dignity and self-command, humiliating his powerful and ungenerous adversary by invariable good-breeding. Once, through inadvertence, he showed disrespect to the surly Chancellor, and then he instantly gave utterance to a cordial apology, which Thurlow was not generous enough to accept with appropriate courtesy. In the excitement of professional altercation with counsel respecting the ages of certain persons concerned in a suit, he committed the indecorum of saying aloud, “I'll lay you a bottle of wine.” Ever on the alert to catch his enemy tripping, Thurlow's eye brightened as his ear caught the careless words; and in another instant he assumed a look of indignant disgust. But before the irate judge could speak, Arden exclaimed, “My lord, I beg your lordship's pardon ; I really forgot where I was.”
Ι Had Thurlow bowed a grave acceptance of the apology, Arden would have suffered somewhat from the 'misadventure ; but unable to keep his abusive tongue quiet, the 'Great Bear' growled out, in allusion to the offender's Welsh judgeship, “You thought you were in your own court, I presume."
More laughable, but not more courteous, was the same Chancellor's speech to a solicitor who had made a series of statements in a vain endeavor to convince his lordship of a certain person's death. “Really, my lord,” at last the solicitor exclaimed, goaded into a fury by Thurlow's repeated ejaculations of “That's no proof of the man's death;" “Really, my lord, it is very hard, and it is not right that you won't believe me. I saw the man dead in his coffin. My lord, I tell you he was my client, and he is dead.” “No wonder,"retorted Thurlow, with a grunt and a sneer, “since he was your client. Why did you not tell me that sooner? It would kill me to have such a fellow as you for my attorney.” That this great lawyer could thus address a respectable gentleman is less astonishing when it is remembered, that he once horrified a party of aristocratic visitors at a country house by replying to a lady who pressed him to take some grapes, "Grapes, madam, grapes! Did not I say a minute ago that I had the gripes !" Once this ungentle lawyer was fairly worsted in a verbal conflict by an Irish pavior. On crossing the threshold of his Ormond Street house one morning, the Chancellor was incensed at seeing a load of paving-stones placed before his door. Singling out the tallest of a score of Irish workmen who were
repairing the thoroughfare, he poured upon him one of those torrents of curses with which his most insolent speeches were usually preluded, and then told the man to move the stones away instantly. “Where shall I take them to, your honor ?” the pavior inquired. From the Chancellor another volley of blasphemous abuse, ending with, “ You lousy scoundrel, take them to hell!—do you hear me ?" “Have a care, your honor,” answered the workman, with quiet drollery, “don't you think now that if I took ’em to the other place your honor would be less likely to fall over them ?”
Thurlow's incivility to the solicitor reminds us of the cruel answer given by another great lawyer to a country attorney, who, through fussy anxiety for a client's interests, committed a grave breach of professional etiquette. Let this attorney be called Mr. Smith, and let it be known that Mr. Smith, having come up to London from a secluded district of a remote country, was present at a consultation of counsellors learned in the law upon his client's cause. At this interview, the leading counsel in the cause, the Attorney General of the time, was present and delivered his final opinion with characteristic clearness and precision. The consultation over, the country attorney retreated to the Hummums Hotel, Covent Garden, and, instead of sleeping over the statements made at the conference, passed a wretched and wakeful night, harassed by distressing fears, and agitated by a conviction that the Attorney General had overlooked the most important point of the case. Early next day, Mr. Smith, without appointment, was at the great counsellor's chambers, and by vehement importunity, as well as a liberal donation to the clerk, succeeded in forcing his way to the advocate's presence.
“Well, Mister Smith," observed the Attorney General to his visitor, turning away from one of his devilling juniors, who chanced to be closeted
with him at the moment of the intrusion, “what may you want to say? Be quick, for I am pressed for time.” Notwithstanding the urgency of his engagements, he spoke with a slowness which, no less than the suspicious rattle of his voice, indicated the fervor of displeasure. “Sir Causticus Witherett, I trust you will excuse my troubling you; but, sir, after our yesterday's interview, I went to my hotel, the Hummums, in Covent Garden, and have spent the evening and all night turning over my client's case in my mind, and the more I turn the matter over in my mind, the more reason I see to fear that you have not given one point due consideration." A pause, during which Sir Causticus steadily eyed his visitor, whò began to feel strangely embarrassed under
he searching scrutiny: and then—“State the point, Mis-ter Smith, but be brief.". Having heard the point stated, Sir Causticus Witherett inquired, “Is that all you wish to say ?” “All, sir-all," replied Mr. Smith; adding nervously, “And I trust you will excuse me for troubling you about the matter; but, sir, I could not sleep a wink last night; all through the night I was turning this matter over in my mind." A glimpse of
. silence. Sir Causticus rose and standing over his victim made his final speech—“Mis-ter Smith, if you
my advice, given with sincere commiseration for
your state, you will without delay return to the tranquil village in which you habitually reside. In the quietude of your accustomed scenes you will have leisure to turn this matter over in what you are pleased to call your mind. And I am willing to hope that your mind will recover its usual serenity. Mr. Smith, I wish you a very good morning."
Legal biography abounds with ghastly stories that illustrate the insensibility with which the hanging judges in past generations used to don the black cap jauntily,