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bill shall yet be thrown out by the House of Lords —for, be it known to you, my reader, that before the Little Pudlington Water-works Bill can become law, it must undergo, before a committee of the House of Lords, a similar ordeal to that through which it has just passed at the hands of the House of Commons. The inhabitants of Great Swabbington accordingly depart by the night-train from Paddington to that town, and, as they journey homewards, they piously thank God that “they 'ave a 'ouse of Lords !’ One of the most amusing incidents which can occur in a committee-room is when a division is called in the House of Commons during a sitting of the committee. Bells are at once set ringing by electricity in each committee-room, to announce the fact of the division being called, and as only two minutes are allowed for members to reach the House of Commons from the committee-rooms, not a moment is to be lost. The instant, therefore, that the division-bell begins to ring in the committee-room, the counsel who is examining a witness drops into his seat as though shot, and each member of the committee, clutching his hat, runs for his life from the room. Of course the young and active members arrive in time to vote, but the old and corpulent usually come up only to see the door of the house banged in their faces—the result of which is that the inhabitants of Stoke Pogis observe with displeasure that “the name of their old and esteemed member’ (to quote the words of the “Stoke Pogis Observer' in recording the fact) “does not appear in the division-list of last Tuesday, as we hoped it would have done, amongst those who supported the cause of the constitution in these present troublous times;’ &c. Such are some of the scenes which are at present daily occurring in Westminster Hall. Before long, however, as the reader probably knows, the courts of law will be removed to the new Palace of Justice, which is to be reared upon the Carey Street site; and when this is accomplished, the legal glories of centuries will have departed from Westminster Hall.
WHY I go circuit I am at a loss to explain. I never get any briefs; going circuit costs me a great deal of money; it takes me out of London (which I love), and necessitates my remaining in various provincial towns (which I hate) for several weeks in each spring and summer; it compels me to leave mycosy chambers in the Temple, and to locate myself in stuffy lodgings in stupid country towns, for which, moreover, I am charged by the proprietors prices which would be deemed extortionate in a Doncaster innkeeper on the eve of the St. Leger. Yielding to bar etiquette (to which I am a martyr), I am not allowed, whilst on circuit, to dine at a public restaurant, or in the coffee-room of an inn. I am therefore compelled either to sit down to a melancholy dinner of (of course) chops in my own lodgings, or else to dine with the rest of my professional brethren at the bar mess. If I adopt the last-named course, I become a victim to
the stories of old Jawkins as to how he once heard Quirk, Q.C., bully the Lord Chief-Justice, and how the Lord Chief-Justice told Quirk that he ought to pay more respect to the office which he (the L. C. J.) held; whereupon Quirk responded that he had every respect for the office—leaving it, of course, to be gracefully implied that he had none for the then occupant of it; &c. During dinner, I am compelled to drink either sour claret, which I am sure never saw the shores of France, or fruity port, which it is equally certain never passed the custom-house of Portugal. As I drink these beverages, a melancholy conviction steals over me that I am slowly sowing the ineradicable seeds of gout in my constitution, and that, could the comptrollers of my circuit mess be but induced to devote the contents of the circuit casks of wine towards laying the dust in the streets of Hammerham (which is the dustiest town upon my circuit), my children and my children's children would have reason to rise up and call them blessed. During the day, moreover, whilst on circuit, it is my melancholy lot to sit in courts which seem to have been constructed upon the principle of keeping all the bad air in, and all the good air out—a circumstance which will, I have no doubt, develop Sooner or later any incipient germs of consumption which there may be lurking in my constitution. As I sit daily in this horrible atmosphere, I am compelled also to wear a wig, which tickles my head, and which has already led to my becoming prematurely bald; a pair of bands, which choke me round the throat; and a stuff gown, which, during warm weather, makes me feel as if I were sitting in a vapour-bath. I am doomed, moreover, to submit hourly to the mortification of beholding Tompkins (who was a freshman when I was in my third year at college, and whose Greek prose, I have the authority of the Rev. Dr. Dryasdust, the head of our college, for stating, was “nauseous stuff') coming into court with a bagful of briefs, whilst I am compelled to sit in the back benches poring over ‘Roscoe's Nisi Prius,’ in the vain hope of inducing some attorney to believe that I am looking up a knotty point of law upon which my “opinion' has been sought. Although I have never had any briefs of my own on circuit, I once “held ' a defence brief for old Jawkins. Upon that occasion, I defended, with all the eloquence of which I was master, an old woman who was charged with pocket-picking. Facts, however, were too strong for me; the jury found a verdict of guilty, and, as it was the old harridan's seventeenth conviction, the judge—very properly, as I thought—sentenced her to penal