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COUAVTR Y SESSIONS.
I ‘Go' Stoneyshire and Greenpool sessions. I have ‘gone’ them regularly for the last fifteen years, and, to all appearance, I seem likely to continue to ‘go’ them for the next fifteen. I wish I could say that my professional success at sessions had been at all commensurate with the perseverance with which I have ‘gone' them, but unhappily I can't. Of course every barrister who “goes' sessions steadily is sure sometimes to get an odd brief or two, and hence it comes to pass that my voice is not absolutely unknown at Stoneyshire Quarter Sessions. On the last occasion on which I had the honour of addressing a Stoneyshire jury, I replied upon the whole case for the prosecution at such length that I have since been credibly assured—for in the excitement of making my speech I did not, somehow, observe the fact myself—that I succeeded in sending no fewer than five of the jurymen to sleep. My old friend, Rusticus (who is a J.P. for Stoneyshire, and as such was seated upon the magisterial bench whilst I was addressing the jury upon this memorable occasion), was afterwards kind enough to inform me, when I met him outside of the court, that the address which I had just delivered was the dullest and the most confused oration to which he had ever listened. He was also good enough to observe to me that I appeared to him towards the close of my speech to have so completely lost myself in its labyrinths, that he (Rusticus) whispered to the chairman at Quarter Sessions to beg him to begin to sum up the case to the jury—so as to induce me to think that I had brought my speech to an end
‘My dear Rusticus,' I responded, keeping my temper under this stupid joke at my expense in the most admirable way, “my dear Rusticus, seeing that at no period of your life could you ever manage to utter three consecutive sentences in public, without floundering about in them in the most helpless way, and that upon the solitary occasion on which you contested Stoneyshire, and were not returned ' (Rusticus winced), ‘you were obliged to bring down a man from London to make your speeches for you’ (Rusticus winced again), “you are no doubt admirably qualified to express an opinion upon the speech which I have just had the honour of delivering in court. The
jury,' I went on, “to whom it was addressed certainly seemed to me to pay every att——’ “There were five of them asleep!' interrupted Rusticus. “Call them the seven sleepers at once l’ I rejoined. “No thank you,' responded Rusticus, ‘I prefer to be exact. Five was the number. But come,' he continued in a more amiable tone, “like a good fellow and dine with me (for I am half starved after sitting in that court all day), and don't let us talk any more about that stu speech of yours!' ‘Confess now, Rusticus,' I replied, as I passed my arm through his, ‘that you felt my speech long because you were very hungry.' “Well,’ admitted Rusticus, “perhaps that might be so '' Rusticus having confessed thus much, I very willingly went home with him to dinner. The fact, indeed, is that Rusticus is about the last person in the world with whom I should wish to quarrel. When I mention that his claret is undeniable, that his cigars are the best I have ever smoked, that his daughters are two of the prettiest girls in Stoneyshire (I ought to have mentioned the young ladies before the claret and cigars, but let that pass), the
ahem, very able
reader will readily understand that I was by no means wishful to lose my accustomed quarterly dinner with Rusticus at Stoneyshire Hall. I say my accustomed quarterly dinner, for Stoneyshire sessions are held quarterly, and it has for years past been a settled custom that whenever I came to Stoneyshire sessions I should dine with Rusticus at Stoneyshire Hall. Once a year, too, there is a sessions' ball held in Hillboro' (which, as all the world knows, is the county town of Stoneyshire), and ever since Miss Rusticus and Miss Laura Rusticus ‘came out, I have had the honour of making one of a party, (headed of course by Mr. and Mrs. Rusticus,) from Stoneyshire Hall to attend the sessions' ball. I may safely say that the sessions' ball is the event of the year to all the Hillboro' young ladies. It is always held in the month of October, and as at that time of the year most of the county families are residing in Stoneyshire, the company gathered together at it is more fashionable than might at first be supposed. Last year one duke, two earls, one lord, one baronet and several M.P.'s, ‘attended by the ladies of their families’ (to use the words of the Stoneyshire Sentinel in recording the event), ‘graced the ball room with their presence.’ * Dancing began '—I am still quoting from the account of last year's ball given in the Stoneyshire Sentinel—‘ at nine o'clock, and was kept up with unflagging spirit till an advanced hour of the morning. Supper (which was served at one A.M.), was supplied by Mrs. Thompson of the “White Hart,” and we need scarcely say that the resources of the cuisine of that celebrated establishment were taxed to the utmost to produce comestibles worthy of the attention of the distinguished company assembled in the supper room. After ample justice had been done by the guests to the recherché repast set before them, dancing was resumed by the ardent votaries of Terpsichore, to the sweet strains discoursed to them by the admirable band of Messrs. Jubal and Son, which was stationed in the gallery at the north end of the town hall. The decorations of the ball room (which were of the most exquisite character) were carried out under the management of Messrs. Buffins and Stuffins (the celebrated upholsterers of Hillboro'), and they certainly reflected the utmost credit upon both of those gentlemen. The company assembled on Tuesday night comprised the élite of Stoneyshire society, and amongst them we observed the Duke of Stoneyshire (the Duchess of Stoneyshire, to the great grief of every one, was unable, from indisposition, to accompany her noble husband to the