The Book of Anecdotes and Budget of Fun Part 70

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A COMMON ERROR CORRECTED.

A SAILOR being in a company where the shape of the earth was disputed, said, "Why look ye, gentlemen, they pretend to say the earth is _round_; now I have been all _round_ it, and I, Jack Oak.u.m, a.s.sure you it is _as flat as a pancake_."

A YANKEE JUDGE AND A KENTUCKY LAWYER.

FEW persons in this part of the country are aware of the difference that exists between our manners and customs, and those of the people of the Western States. Their elections, their courts of justice, present scenes that would strike one with astonishment and alarm. If the jurors are not, as has been a.s.serted, run down with dogs and guns, color is given to charges like this, by the repeated successful defiances of law and judges that occur, by the want of dignity and self-respect evinced by the judges themselves, and by the squabbles and brawls that take place between members of the bar. There is to be found occasionally there, however, a judge of decision and firmness, to compel decorum even among the most turbulent spirits, or at least to punish summarily all violations of law and propriety. The following circ.u.mstances which occurred in Kentucky were related to us by a gentleman who was an eye witness of the whole transaction.

Several years since, Judge R., a native of Connecticut, was holding a court at Danville. A cause of considerable importance came on, and a Mr.

D., then a lawyer of considerable eminence, and afterwards a member of Congress, who resided in a distant part of the State, was present to give it his personal supervision. In the course of Mr. D.'s argument, he let fall some profane language, for which he was promptly checked and reprimanded by the Judge. Mr. D., accustomed to unrestrained license of tongue, retorted with great asperity, and much harshness of language.

"Mr. Clerk," said the Judge coolly, "put down twenty dollars fine to Mr.

D."

"By ----," said Mr. D.; "I'll never pay a cent of it under heaven, and I'll swear as much as I ----please."

"Put down another fine of twenty dollars, Mr. Clerk."

"I'll see the devil have your whole generation," rejoined Mr. D., "before my pockets shall be picked by a cursed Yankee interloper."

"Another twenty dollar fine, Mr. Clerk."

"You may put on as many fines as you please, Mr. Judge, but by ---- there's a difference between imposing and collecting, I reckon."

"Twenty dollars more, Mr. Clerk."

"Ha, ha!" laughed Mr. D. with some bitterness, "you are trifling with me, I see, Sir; but I can tell you I understand no such joking; and by ----, Sir, you will do well to make an end of it."

"Mr. Clerk," said the Judge with great composure, "add twenty dollars more to the fine, and hand the account to the Sheriff. Mr. D., the money must be paid immediately, or I shall commit you to prison."

The violence of the lawyer compelled the Judge to add another fine; and before night, the obstreperous barrister was swearing with all his might to the bare walls of the county jail. The session of the court was terminated, and the lawyer, seeing no prospect of escape through the mercy of the Judge, after a fortnight's residence in prison, paid his fine of a hundred and twenty dollars, and was released.

He now breathed nothing but vengeance.

"I'll teach the Yankee scoundrel," said he, "that a member of the Kentucky bar is not to be treated in this manner with impunity."

The Judge held his next court at Frankfort, and thither Mr. D. repaired to take revenge for the personal indignity he had suffered. Judge R. is as remarkable for resolute fearlessness as for talents, firmness, and integrity; and after having provided himself with defensive weapons, entered upon the discharge of his duties with the most philosophic indifference. On pa.s.sing from his hotel to the court-house, the Judge noticed that a man of great size, and evidently of tremendous muscular strength, followed him so closely as to allow no one to step between. He observed also that Mr. D., supported by three or four friends, followed hard upon the heels of the stranger, and on entering the court room, posted himself as near the seat of the Judge as possible--the stranger meantime taking care to interpose his huge body between the lawyer and the Judge. For two or three days, matters went on this way; the stranger sticking like a burr to the Judge, and the lawyer and his a.s.sistants keeping as near as possible, but refraining from violence. At length, the curiosity of Judge R. to learn something respecting the purposes of the modern Hercules became irrepressible, and he invited him to his room, and inquired who he was, and what object he had in view in watching his movements thus pertinaciously.

"Why, you see," said the stranger, ejecting a quid of tobacco that might have freighted a small skiff, "I'm a ringtailed roarer from Big Sandy River; I can outrun, outjump, and outfight any man in Kentucky. They telled me in Danville, that this 'ere lawyer was comin down to give you a lickin. Now I hadn't nothin agin that, only he wan't a goin to give you fair play, so I came here to see you out, and now if you'll only say the word, we can flog him and his mates, in the twinkling of a quart pot."

Mr. D. soon learned the feeling in which the champion regarded him, and withdrew without attempting to execute his threats of vengeance upon the Judge.

JUDGE PETERS.

ON his entrance into Philadelphia, General Lafayette was accompanied in the barouche by the venerable Judge Peters. The dust was somewhat troublesome, and from his advanced age, &c., the General felt and expressed some solicitude lest his companion should experience inconvenience from it. To which he replied: General you do not recollect that I am a JUDGE--I do not regard the DUST, I am accustomed to it. The lawyers throw dust in my eyes almost every day in the court-house."

WITTY APOLOGY.

A PHYSICIAN calling one day on a gentleman who had been severely afflicted with the gout, found, to his surprise, the disease gone, and the patient rejoicing in his recovery over a bottle of wine. "Come along, doctor," exclaimed the valetudinarian, "you are just in time to taste this bottle of Madeira; it is the first of a pipe that has just been broached." "Ah!" replied the doctor, "these pipes of Madeira will never do; they are the cause of all your suffering." "Well, then,"

rejoined the gay incurable, "fill up your gla.s.s, for now that we have found out the cause, the sooner we get rid of it the better."

BENEVOLENCE.

"TAKE a ticket, Sir, for the Widow and Orphans Fund of the Spike Society?" "Well, y-e-a-s!--don't care much though for the orphans, but _I goes in strong for the widows_!"

MRS. PARTINGTON ON EDUCATION.

MRS. PARTINGTON, after listening to the reading of an advertis.e.m.e.nt for a young ladies' boarding school, said:

"For my part, I can't deceive what on airth eddication is coming to.

When I was young, if a girl only understood the rules of distraction, provision, multiplying, replenis.h.i.+ng, and the common dominator, and knew all about the rivers and their obituaries, the covenants and domitories, the provinces and the umpires, they had eddication enough. But now they are to study bottomy, algierbay, and have to demonstrate supposition of sycophants of circuses, tangents and Diogenes and parallelogramy, to say nothing about the oxhides, corostics, and abstruse triangles!" Thus saying, the old lady leaned back in her chair, her knitting work fell in her lap, and for some minutes she seemed in meditation.

OBEYING ORDERS.

A CERTAIN General of the United States Army, supposing his favorite horse dead, ordered an Irishman to go and skin him.

"What! is Silver Tail dead?" asked Pat.

"What is that to you?" said the officer, "do as I bid you, and ask me no questions."

Pat went about his business, and in about two hours returned.

"Well, Pat, where have you been all this time?" asked the general.

"Skinning your horse, your honor."

The Book of Anecdotes and Budget of Fun Part 70

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