Page images

April, a day sacred in the annals of the law, steal, pocket, hide, and crib, divers, that is to say, five hundred hogs, sows, boars, pigs, and porkers, with curly tails; and did secrete the said five hundred hogs, sows, boars, pigs, and porkers, with curly tails, in the said Lapstone's bed, against the peace of our Lady the Queen, her crown, and dignity.”

Mordecai was examined by Counsellor Puzzle.
Puzzle. Well, sir, what are you?
Mordecai. I sells old clo' and sealing-vax and puckles.

P. I did not ask you what you sold; I ask you what you are?

M. I am about five and forty.
P. I did not ask your age; I ask what you are?
M. I am a Jew.

P. Why couldn't you tell me that at first? Well, then, sir, if you are a Jew, tell me what you know of this affair.

M. As I vas a valking along

P. Man- I didn't want to know where you were walking.

M. Vell, vell, vell! As I vas a valking along-
P. So you will walk along in spite of all that can be said.

M. Plesh ma heart, you frighten me out of ma vits—As I vas a valking along, I seed de unclean animal coming tovards me—and so, says I–Oh! Father Abraham, says I

P. Father Abraham, sir, is no evidence.

M. You must let me tell ma story ma own vay, or I cannot tell it at all. As I vas a valking along, I seed de unclean animal coming tovards me—and so, says I–Oh, Father Abraham, says I, here comes de unclean animal tovards me; and he runned between ma legs, and upshet me in de mut.

P. Now, do you mean to say, upon your oath, that that little animal had the power to upset you in the mud ?

M. I vill tak ma oash dat he upshet me in de mut.
P. And pray, sir, on what side did you

fall ?
M. On de mutty side.
P. I mean on which of your own sides did you fall ?
M. I fell on ma left side.
P. Now, on your oath, was it your left side ?
M. I vill tak ma oash it vas ma left side.

P. And, pray, what did you do when you fell down?
M. I got up again as fast as I could.

P. Perhaps you could tell me whether the pig had a curly tail ?

M. I vill tak ma oash his tail vas so curly as ma peerd.

P. And, pray, where were you going when this happened?

M. I vas going to de sign of de Goose and Gridiron.

P. Now, on your oath, what has a goose to do with a gridiron ?

M. I don't know, only it vas de sign of de house. And all more vat I know vas, dat I lose an ivory tee-totum out of ma pocket.

P. Oh, you lost a tee-totum, did you? I thought we should bring you to something at last. My Lord, I beg leave to take an exception to this man's evidence! he does not come into court with clean hands.

M. How de mischief should I, ven I have been polishing ma goods all morning?

P. Now, my Lord, your Lordship is aware that the word tee-totum is derived from the Latin terms of te and tutum, which mean, “ keep yourself safe.” And this man, but for my sagacity, observation, and so forth, would have kept himself safe; but now he has, as the learned Lord Verulam expresses it, “let the cat out of the bag.”

M. I vill tak ma oash I had no cat in ma bag.

P. My Lord, by his own confession, he was about to vend a tee-totum. Now, my Lord, and gentlemen of the jury, it is my duty to point out to you, that a tee-totum is an unlawful machine, made of ivory, with letters printed upon it, for the purpose of gambling! Now your Lordship knows that the Act, commonly known by the name of the “Littlego Act," expressly forbids all games of chance whatever; whether put, or whist, or marbles, or swabs, or dumps, or chuckfarthing, or tee-totum, or what not. And, therefore, I do contend that this man's evidence is contra bonos mores, and he is, consequently, non compos testimoniæ.

Counsellor Botherem then rose up,—“My Lord, and gentlemen of the jury, my learned friend, Puzzle, has, in a most facetious manner, endeavoured to cast a slur on the highly

[ocr errors]

honourable evidence of the Jew merchant. And I do contend, that he who buys and sells, is, bona fide, inducted into all the mysteries of merchandise; ergo, he who merchandizes, is, to all intents and purposes, a merchant. My learned friend, in the twistings and turnings of his argument, in handling the tee-totum, can only be called obiter dictum; he is playing, my Lord, a losing game. Gentlemen! he has told you the origin, use, and abuse of the tee-totum ; but gentlemen! he has forgot to tell you what that great luminary of the law, the late learned Coke, has said on the subject, in a case exactly similar to this, in the 234th folio volume of the Abridgment of the Statutes, page 1349, where he thus lays down the law, in the case of Hazard versus Blacklegs—'Gamblendum consistet, enactum gamblendi, sed non evendum macheni placendi.' My Lord, I beg leave to say, that, if I prove my client was in the act of vending, and not playing with the said instrument—the tee-totumI humbly presume that all my learned friend has said will come to the ground.”

Judge. Certainly, brother Botherem, there's no doubt the learned sergeant is incorrect! The law does not put a man extra legium for merely spinning a tee-totum.

Botherem. My Lord, one of the witnesses has owned that the pig had a curly tail. Now, my Lord, I presume if I prove the pig had a straight tail, the objection must be fatal.

Judge. Certainly; order the pig into court.

Here the pig was produced; and, upon examination, it was found to have a straight tail, which finished the trial. The learned judge, in summing up the evidence, addressed the jury :-“Gentlemen of the jury, it is wholly unnecessary to recapitulate the evidence; for the removal of this objection removes all ground of action. And notwithstanding the ancient statute, which says, “Serium pigum, et boreum pigum, et vendi curlum tailum, there is an irrefragable proof, by ocular demonstration, that Goody Grim's grunter had a straight tail; and, therefore, the prisoner must be acquitted.”

This affair is thrown into Chancery, and it is expected it will be settled about the end of the year 1950.

[ocr errors]


(SHERIDAN.) Sir Peter. Lady Teazle, Lady Teazle, I won't bear it.

Lady Teazle. Very well, Sir Peter, you may bear it or not, just as you please; but I know I ought to have my own way in everything; and, what's more, I will.

Sir Pet. What, madam! is there nu respect due to the authority of a husband?

L. Teaz. Why, don't I know that no woman of fashion does as she's bid after her marriage? Though I was bred in

I the country, I'm no stranger to that. If you wanted me to be obedient, you should have adopted me, and not married me-I'm sure you were old enough.

Sir Pet. Ay, there it is--madam, what right have you to run into all this extravagance ?

L. Teaz. I'm sure I'm not more extravagant than a woman of quality ought to be.

Sir Pet. Madam, I'll have no more sums squandered away upon such unmeaning luxuries; you have as many flowers in your dressing-rooms as would turn the Pantheon into a green-house.

L. Teaz. La, Sir Peter, am I to blame that flowers don't blow in cold weather? You must blame the climate, and

I'm sure, for my part, I wish it were spring all the year round, and that roses grew under our feet.

Sir Pet. Madam, I should not wonder at your extravagance if you had been bred to it. Had you any of these things before you married me?

L. T'eaz. Dear Sir Peter, how can you be angry at those little elegant expenses?

Sir Pet. Had you any of those little elegant expenses when you married me?

L. T'eaz. Very true, indeed; and after having married you, I should never pretend to taste again.

Sir Pet. Very well, very well, madam ; you have entirely forgot what your situation was when I first saw you.

not me.


[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

L. T'eaz. No, no, I have not; a very disagreeable situation it was, or I'm sure I never would have married you.

Sir Pet. You forget the humble state I took you fromthe daughter of a poor country 'squire. When I came to your father's, I found you sitting at your tambour, in a linen gown, a bunch of keys at your side, and your hair combed smoothly over a roll.

L. Tcaz. Yes, I remember very well: my daily occupations were, to overlook the dairy, superintend the poultry, make extracts from the family receipt-book, and comb my aunt Deborah's lap-dog.

Sir Pet. Oh, I am glad to find you have so good a recollection.

L. Teaz. My evening's employments were, to draw patterns for ruffles, which I had not materials to make up; play at Pope Joan with the curate; read a sermon to my aunt Deborah ; or perhaps be stuck up at an old spinnet, to thrum my father to sleep after a fox-chase.

Sir Pet. Then you were glad to take a ride out behind the butler, upon the old docked coach-horse. L. T'eaz. No, no; I deny the butler and the coach-horse.

I Sir Pet. I say you did. This was your situation. Now, madam, you must have your coach, vis-à-vis, and three powdered footmen to walk before your chair; and in summer two white cats to draw you to Kensington Gardens; and, instead of your living in that hole in the country, I have brought you home here, made a woman of fortune of you, a woman of quality-in short, I have made you my wife.

L. Teaz. Well, and there is but one thing more you can now add to the obligation, and that isŞir Pet. To make you my widow, I

suppose. L. Teaz. Hem !

Sir Pet. Very well, madam, very well; I am much obliged to you for the hint.

L. Teaz. Why, then, will you force me to say shocking hings to you? But now we have finished our morning conversation, I presume I may go to my engagements at Lady Sneerwell's.

Sir Pet. Lady Sneerwell - a precious acquaintance you

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »