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tinences pass muster; no indiscriminate praise or censure of men, books, or things, no loud assertion of egotistical opinion, or egregious self-esteem will here meet with sympathy or support. Scandals past, present, or to come, form no part of the conversation: vulgar retaliation upon French prejudices are abstained from; provincialisms or solecisms offend not. The conversation is, perhaps, never deep, but it is seldom dull; it may affect, perhaps, the last fashion of phrases yet unvulgarized by use, but still its essence is the maintenance of that happy medium between sustained argumentation (which monopolizes attention and induces dyspepsia) and that raw violence of manner which, in addressing you, forces unqualified dissent, or compels to silence and reserve. As dinner proceeds, it flows with more and more facility and fewer interruptions; each has fair play; the whole is a piece of concerted music, a diapason of harmony, and a Solo would scarcely be commenced ere it was quietly put down. It is not conceded to any large dealer in anecdote, at Mr parties, to inflict his tiresome memory on reluctant audiences. Even the célébrités do not engross attention. The profound thinker, from whose prolific wisdom society abroad may have drawn her largest supplies, here imitates those mighty rivers, which impart only the overflowings of their full urns, and as they pass along, discover not in the serenity of their sur face the depth of their resources. All waters are equally deep to the eye, and like them, the mind's depths must be fathomed to be known. To perfect the whole, a condiment to the intellectual banquet is supplied in the freemasonry of a liberal education, and all rise with improved conversational powers to join the ladies and contribute to their amusement. A few musical friends drop in, and the rest of the evening is passed in listening to what is perfect in its kind, and new in its quality. May many such dinners be in store for us (inasmuch as toutes les grandes pensées viennent de l'estomac), and may many such soirées follow them!
clined, let him keep his own counsel; and if he have already been indiscreet enough to speak out to a lady confidante, let him hold, suspect her offer of introducing him to the "charming young friend" with whom she may have been at school. A man disposed to matrimony, as an expedient state, will go through any thing to arrive at it! On one of those fatal occasions, when introductions to all that is enchanting are generously promised and gratefully accepted, did we find our way up three pair of stairs of corkscrew architecture, and land upon two or three square feet of neutral territory, between two exactly similar doors exposed to equal assault in the exploratory uncertainty of the guest. Here did we take our last draught of respirable air for that night! we hit upon the right bell, and were again admonished on the threshold, that we must be very sentimental if we would prosper in our undertaking; the door of the exterior oven presently opened, and in we went. There were three rooms, at least there were three times four walls defining the limits of three compartments of contracted space, the whole of which would have made a respectable aviary, but would have been scarcely a zoological allowance for monkeys. These boxes, of course, opened and steamed into each other, wafting reciprocal gales of musk and music to the equal annoyance of the victims who were being black-holed with surprising resignation!
The innermost room had been rendered entirely insupportable by a stiff fire, which it maintained till it came to a natural death for want of air, on which desirable event the guests, who had been equally ready to expire, began to show tokens of revival. This furnace, or engine-room, was moreover papered of a fiery-red, with butterflies and passion-flower devices for border; an equally glaring carpet, covered every inch of the twelve by fourteen feet of surface on which it was extended; and a voluminous rug almost smoked in front of the fire-place. The rest of the furniture was all dwarfish, to correspond to the room, except a huge piano-an immense old broken-kneed Vauxhall-song affair-which quite occupied one side of the small parallelogram, compelling the guests who were to applaud its achievements to the other, and, played on or silent, was the
lion of the evening. Such large instruments, we found, were always objects of respect; some opined" it must have cost a deal of money:" some stated that it was particularly adapted to sacred music-and we wished it in St Peter's accordingly. Some celebrated finger had pronounced upon its tones before it had been purchased; loud to be sure it was, but then it was so easy to open the window (bien entendu when the wind was not easterly) and disperse a portion of its vibrations. The chimney-piece was ornamented with flowers, cut out by some of the family, and paper pinks and muslin roses, on silk-twisted wire-stalks, and under glass bells, flanked a clock in alabaster. But what could our Louisa be thinking of, to hang up those horrible daubs, by her fair hand, in oils? one was accordingly compelled, on this confession, to say 66 very pretty," to a certainly original sketch of Love sleeping on a green bank-green, indeed, but not exactly the right sort of green; and as for the Cupid thus served up on chopped spinnach, he looked as if he were not likely ever to wake again. That Warrior's head, we have surely seen before in some foreign collection-and now that we recollect, it was from the top of a coach on Snowhill, where such a Saracenic head has glared on us since we were five years old. We believe he gets rouged every three or four years, but Louisa's warrior will not require it.
A calmer sea than that, never showed smooth surface of a deeper blue; nor did the same element ever exhibit more froth below, or blacker sky above, than the pendant, on another piece of canvass covered by the same indefatigable young lady, at whose bidding quicksilver rivulets run out of lead-coloured lakes, snowcapt mountains are provided with green hills for footstools, inextricable forests of black trees, are bisected by a gash or wound over which a bridge is thrown to intimate that some geological feature is designed, or a most peculiar sky is studded with birds, stuck immovably between heaven and earth-and so much for paysage, the fine arts, and Louisa.
Did our sufferings, pulmonary, cutaneous, or moral, terminate here? Oh, that Canaan of ass's milk, a lady's album with its lunatic addresses to
the moon, its moral exhortations to Lord Byron, its mawkish valedictions of young friends going to Cambridge, its lines written at sea, (and signed M. E. which must mean maris expers) or stanzas from abroad, which only show the writer not to have been at home in any thing but his Spellingbook!-or to crown all, its charades, its epigrams, its profane micrographical curiosities-the stone tables of the law, or the prayer of the Redeemer within the circlet of a ten sous piece.
The Album penalty exacted to the letter, and our civility and patience having outdone themselves, we thankfully look up, and are prepared to resign the interesting volume into the hands of the fair proprietor, when two tall gentlemen, who had been obtaining but a bird's eye view, are already competitors! Two long right arms are suddenly extended towards the relinquished prize: two long right arms are as suddenly retracted, with galvanised politeness on perceiving each other's intentions. These were the active of the party, but many a silent guest was sitting there in mute submission to the inscrutable decrees of fate, and leaden-eyed expectation of eleven o'clock, which was still far distant! Tea came, and a third cup per man had been proffered and refused. The ill-made card-table had opened its sybilline leaves, and displayed to eager eyes its wax-bespattered thread-bare baize: premonitory of long whist, five sous points, captious trick-takers, women partners, and thin French cards. The young people, we hear, are expected to dance! Dance? what! in that cupboard, where a score of mice would interfere with each other's tails? Dance? to that horrible Megatherion, the grand piano? No, by St Vitus! No, by our innate selfesteem, and our instinct of self preservation. Leap, like Curtius, into that gulf of un-to-be-rewarded immolation, we neither can nor will! besides, could two indifferent arms do all the dancing duty of this preposterous evening? The limbs of Briareus and Antæus, moved by the gallantry of a modern colonel of militia would be left at fault, and we must look for the lucky moment when the necessity of our departure can be confidentially whispered, together with our immense regret.
"Sir Andrew. Do not our lives consist of the four elements ?
IN regarding the learned professions, and observing the influence they exercise respectively over the minds of men, we may reasonably come to the conclusion, that the religious profession exercises what we may call a future influence, the medical profession a domestic influence, and the legal profession a public and political influence. It is a popular supposition, as vulgar as it is erroneous, that to the intimate connexion that must ever necessarily subsist between the law maker and the expounder of the law, to the great public and personal interests frequently confided to gentlemen of the long robe, as well as to the prominent position in which their avocations place them before the eyes of men, this great public and political influence of the legal profession must be fairly attributable. While the medical profession boasts only one solitary representative in the Commons' House of Parliament, the members of the bar are represented by no less than fifty-six learned friends, be-wigged and be-gowned, ready to scramble from the bar to the bench, to fill offices simply political, and to take care that no law shall ever be passed in that House, detrimental to the inte rests of the profession to which they have the honour to belong. In the Upper House, too, it is a well authenticated fact, that rather more than onethird of the Peerage springs from the successful talent of the bar; and that the descendants of former Chancellors and Lord Chief-Justices of the Court of King's Bench now control, in their senatorial capacities, the march of revolutionary destruction; and stand between the throne, whose legitimate counsellors they are, and the ragamuffin levellers who would reduce throne and constitution to one chaotic mass of hopeless anarchy and confusion.
Our present purpose is to correct the vulgar errors, that, by assigning causes for the influence of the profession of the law with which the profession of the law has nothing to do, tend materially to lower the character
and dignity of the members of the bar; and by assigning the true and only sources of its high and deserved distinction, to raise it still more, if that were possible, in the consideration and estimation of mankind.
It is to the education of gentlemen for the profession of the advocate, and to nothing else, that we are to attribute the influence he must command, and the eminence he must attainit is to the pains taken by the venerable seniors of the several Inns of Court to adapt to their uninformed disciples that sort of food most nutritious in quality, most abundant in quantity, and most easy of digestion—as well as to the appetite of the disciples themselves, that the world is permitted to admire in so eminent a degree the overwhelming erudition, and inexhaustible elocution, of the men who are fated in future times to browbeat witnesses, bully the bench, and badger their "learned friend" on the opposite side.
Before I enter, however, upon an exact detail of the system of national education provided for gentlemen of the law from time immemorial, it is necessary that I should briefly describe the seminaries in which that education is conveyed; and therefore I must for a few moments entreat the patience of the non-professional reader, while I notice with as much brevity as the importance of the subject will admit, the several Inns of Court, or Colleges, as I may properly style them, of legal education.
The stranger in London passing through Temple Bar, would hardly suspect that to the right and left of Fleet Street, lie hid, in perpetual murkiness, towns (for towns they are) exclusively appropriated to various grades of the legal profession, from the ministerial officers of the several courts of law down to the scriveners, law stationers, and professional applewomen; through the several gradations of benchers, barristers, practitioners under the bar, conveyancers, special pleaders, solicitors, articled clerks, bed-women, laundresses, law.
yers' clerks, porters, gate-keepers and so forth. On entering one of these manufactories of discord, the stranger feels his heart grow sad within himhe looks around, thinking that he has straggled into a barrack, but the universal cobweb, muck, and dirt of the inhabitations speedily undeceive him. He wanders from court to court, from lane to lane, and from alley to alleyhe sees lights at noon-day in every window-the windows here not being intended to let in day-light-and he may haply observe one of the briefless amusing himself, by writing the word "fee" on the two-year-old dust of his chamber window, with several notes of admiration at the end of that rare and curious monosyllable. observes that the several sets of apartments are approached by a common nuisance called a common stair, from which he is diverted by his olfactory organ, and on either side of the entrance to this stair, he observes catalogues of the occupants of the several chambers from the cellar upwards, names of gentlemen for whose individual occupation the present excellent Lord Chancellor is merely airing the woolsack, and who intend to occupy it in the order of their seniority! The attics he will discover to be occupied, if he chooses to go high enough, by that class of society for whose exclusive residence Grub Street was formerly appropriated, but who reside here at present in consequence of Grub Street having been pulled down, as well as for the benefit of quiet, and a purer, not to say a cheaper, air-in short, for reasons precisely similar to those which influence my own choice in residing in a garret.
As he wanders up and down, his eye cannot fail to be attracted by a building having some external resemblance to a church, but which is in fact the lecture-room or academy of its respective society-the windows being decorated with escutcheons, very much resembling in size and shape transparent trenchers, of illustrious individuals who have greatly distinguished themselves in the professional exercises herein studiously observed.
Nor, when we consider the uses to which the several Halls of the Inns of Court are applied, can we wonder that they have been erected with a due regard to splendour of decoration, and
convenience of space: to-day, the Lord High Chancellor presides here in his elevated chair, dispensing the equity of his court to the several sui tors; to-morrow, a waiter, for greater convenience deposits therein a halfempty soup tureen, or a bundle of dirty knives and forks—or it may happen that a party of half-cocked law students range themselves round the sacred seat with their bottles of wine, while some unholy wag is graciously pleased to assume the Seals for the nonce, and proceeds with great gravity to mimic the tone and manner of the keeper of the Royal conscienceawful profanation! misprision of treason at the very least, if not legal sacrilege itself!
It was my fate to hear no less than three solemn arguments in the great case of Small and Attwood thus burlesqued, the parts of the eminent advocates engaged therein being sustained by the requisite number of loquacious scamps, and judgment delivered by a rakish young barrister of six weeks'standing, amidst cries of "order, order"-" hear him out"-" another glass of wine," while one extra-facetious young lawyer gravely interrupted the judgment of the Chancellor, amid shrieks of laughter, to request that His Lordship would have the goodness to cut his judgment as short as possible, because a gentleman within the bar was anxious to favour the company with a song!!
It is not my intention to dilate upon the judicial functions exercised in the several halls of the several Inns of Court, they being merely occasional, and subordinate to the great gastrono mic purposes of professional educacation for which these hospitable seminaries were first erected, and which they still continue faithfully to fulfil.
The profession of the law is eminently a gastronomic profession: it is not, therefore, surprising that it should have become the profession that it is, and have expanded into a plethoric and almost apoplectic robustness. The judges are feasted by the mayors of cities and boroughs, particular banquet being peculiarly appropriated to them by the Lord Mayor of London, in the Egyptian Hall; they are banqueted as well by the nobility on their several circuits the members of the bar have general invitations to the
assizes, balls, and suppers; and mess on circuit very socially together,— while in town the terms are worthily opened by a breakfast to the judges and Queen's Counsel-legal as well as military battles being contested more hotly upon a full than on an empty stomach.
But this is a small portion, very small indeed, of the gastronomic powers of the law.
In his respective hall, the youthful aspirant for barristerial honours eats, year after year, his impatient way to the bar, exactly as an active rat fixes his persevering tusks in one side of an old cheshire, and never leaves off until he goes right through it, poking his proboscis through the rind on the other side. In their respective halls, barristers, in like manner, eat their tedious way to a colonial judgeship, or attorney-generalship of the Cannibal Islands, a revising barristership, a commissionership of any thing-or secretaryship, or under secretaryship of any thing else, or in short, whatever they can by any possibility lay their hands on.
In their respective halls, too, of which they may be considered the licensed victuallers, and whose treasurer for the time being is a sort of principal waiter, the venerable benchers, defended by a screen from the intrusive gaze of the inferior cormorants, devour their rations of victuals and wine in all the dignity of learned leisure and professional elevation. While the students eat heartily, and the barristers hopefully, the benchers, more experienced in the vanity of human wishes, handle their napkins with the gravity that becomes their years and station; while through the body of the hall resounds the professional badinage, the execrable pun, or the fifty times told joke, from the table of the benchers not a sound more articulate is heard than a low and pleasing murmur of conflicting glasses, and a silver sound of forks harmoniously jingling in the plate basket.
The profession of the law is, more strictly than any other, a profession of etiquette.
Not only are the several grades of devourers, or unproductive consumers, as Ricardo calls them, strictly severed by position in the hall, the students occupying the body of the apartment, the barristers the cross tables at the
top, and the benchers the elevated platform, or dais, at the upper extremity of the hall; but the good things to be devoured are apportioned to the different classes of dignitaries, with an attention to professional precedence and standing, hardly less rigorous than that observable on board a seventyfour, where the midshipmen dine in the cock-pit, the lieutenants in the ward-room, the captain in the gunroom, and the boatswain and other petty officers the Lord knows where. Like every thing else in this laborious and difficult world, the law is up-hill work; and it is lucky for the students that they commence their education in the flower of their youth, with the appetite of cormorants and the digestion of an ostrich; otherwise they never could eat their way for four or five tedious years through interminably recurring legs of tough mutton (roasted) and bottles of liquid fire, by courtesy called wine, and consumed under the name of port.
By degrees, however, a good digestion, sharp teeth, and indefatigable perseverance, will effect wonders: in ten or twelve years' time, the student, now a barrister-at-law, attains to the dignity of a silver fork and a morsel of cheese, subscribed for by the members of the bar, who lay their learned heads together for that purpose, and from which the unhappy students are still, being considered merely infants in law, precluded from the privilege to subscribe. Twenty years' standing, by which time the learned gentleman, if he has discharged his duty to his stomach and his profession, will have lost all his teeth, and wear a head as grey as a badger, entitles him to a full pint of the execrable port, and a morsel of cheese, at the benchers' expense, as also a cucumber in the summer season, so that he may now be said to have arrived at the highest dignities, short of the attorney and solicitorgeneralships, of the bar; and is regarded, as he slices his cucumber, with longing, lingering eyes and watering mouths, by the mob of students in the hall, who have a quarter of a century before them ere they are fated to arrive at the dignity of the coif and
The benchers, as may be supposed, taking their dinners within the bar, like the landlords of other inns, are by no means so restricted in the quality