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Again I would steal unnoticed into her room, and listen as she recited strange events of history, which made my young blood run cold, and my heart beat so violently that I was glad to discover myself, and ask some favor at her hands. At last I came to spend a great deal of time in her apartment; and Aunt Alice would relate to me, in the same passionless style, long-forgotten stories of our house; marked passages of history relating to it; and a minute and almost tedious narrative of historical events, relative to any subject I chose to start. These were always entirely free from the ordinary gossip with which lovers of the marvellous are apt to lard their stories, and therefore produced the stronger impression. Of course Aunt Alice was familiar with the prophecy to which I have alluded; but she only spoke of it as a historical fact, and by no persuasion or artifice could she be induced to give an opinion of its application ; neither would she listen to any from another person ; so that my morbid fears found no relief from her. Treated with marked respect by my father and all the family; allowed to have her will in every thing ; this very remarkable woman lived among us like a spirit of another world. She came and went unquestioned; continued year after year, pursuing the same round of strange employments; solitary and soulless; having no sympathy with her sex, no feeling with her kind.
Of youth's deep fearless trust, that light the scroll
Give back — for thou hast more -
But tenderness to pour:
Give back! - who shall explore
Or Science dared to soar?
Not till the stars shall fall,
Beneath thy mystic pall:
As the bright flowers wake from their wintry tomb,
Yet start not, nor shrink from the race i must run,
Unsullied and pure is the future's broad scroll,
Skelter - Island.
There are many excellent stories of the Bench and Bar of Vermont, very current among the good people of the State, which however I do not remember to have seen in print, and which I dare say are little known abroad. Some of these I shall here set down precisely as I heard them from the mouth of an old lawyer, who is well known as the Nestor of the gown and wig in Vermont. If it should turn out, as it often happens in matters of this sort, that any of the incidents here related shall be claimed to have occurred somewhere else, to the honor of some other of our sovereign States, I beg leave to declare, according to established usage, that any such pretension is wholly unfounded, and that any versions different from my own are altogether apocryphal.
It was formerly a custom in Vermont, although now little practised, for a lawyer, when promoted to the dignity of the bench, to follow up his old retainers;' and accordingly whenever a case came on in which
his Honor' was concerned as counsel, he immediately doffed the ermine, resumed the gown, and battled away among the attornies, in the old style. Apropos of the metamorphose in question ; a story is told of Judge Chase, now many years deceased. The judge was a man of very ardent temperament, and in debate was exceedingly vehement and vociferous. In an important cause he was making the closing argument to the jury, and with much warmth and earnestness of manner, insisting on a “verdict for the plaintiff.' A friend of the defendant, who had been listening to the concluding part of the attorney's address, and who supposed that he was acting in his judicial capacity, ran out of the house, declaring that he never saw such abominable partiality in his life.' Meeting the defendant in the street, he told him he might as well go home at once, for the judge had charged his case to the devil, and the plaintiff was sure to recover !
Judge Chase was a man of excellent sense, and withal a great stickler for the dignity of courts. A case of very trifling importance, having well nigh run the gauntlet of legal adjudication, came up at length to the highest court in the state. The counsel for the plaintiff was open. ing with the usual apologies for a frivolous suit, when the subject-matter, “to wit, one turkey, of great value,' etc., catching the ear of the judge, he called out: • Mr. Clerk, strike that case from the docket; the Supreme Court of the State of Vermont does not sit here to determine the ownership of a turkey!
There lives in the northern part of the State a lawyer and exjudge, who is very famous for his wit. He has kept a respectable law school at his chambers, on and off,' for the last forty years; and is still teaching the elements of his profession to a “knot of legal limbs,'having
survived several suits begun within his remembrance in the English chancery, and arrived, through an honorable career, to the advanced age of eighty-six. Many instances of repartee are related of the old judge,' which for genuine epigrammatism are scarcely inferior to some of the best of Piron and Talleyrand.
When a practising attorney, many years ago, he happened, while arguing a question of some difficulty, to illustrate a point in his case by a pretty free use of the vocabulary of the card-lable. The presiding judge abruptly inquired what he meant by addressing such language to the court ?
· I meant, your Honor, to be understood,' was the reply.
On another occasion, a judge, vexed with the difficulty, or irritated by the insignificance, of a cause which T — was conducting, cried out : “Sir, why do you bring such a case as this into court ? Why not leave it out to some of your honest neighbors ? “Because, your Honor,' replied the barrister, we do n't choose that honest men should have any thing to do with it.'
In the early days of Vermont jurisprudence, the strict decorum which now very generally distinguishes the New-England bar was comparatively unknown. Nothing was more common than sharp altercations between the Bench and the Bar; such wranglings indeed as would now be deemed "contempt of court,' were they to occur only between the lawyers themselves. On one occasion Judge T-, who was then plain · Esquire,' had addressed a sound argument to the court, and sat down. The judge, who chose to argue the question rather than decide it at once, replied in a feeble argument, which the lawyer in his turn demolished. The judge rejoined by repeating, without any material variation, his first reply; and then closed the pleadings' by an adverse decision. • Your Honor's two arguments,' said T-, addressing himself partly to the court and partly to the bar,“ remind me of a story. A foolish old woman in Connecticut, being one evening at a party, was greatly at a loss for something to say. At length she ventured to in. quire of a gentleman who sat next her, whether his mother had
any children ?' The gentleman politely pointed out the absurdity of her inquiry. I beg pardon,' exclaimed the old lady, perceiving her mistake; you do n't understand me; I meant to inquire whether your grand-mother had any children ?'
I remember an anecdote of Judge 0 —, father of the distinguished president of the Wesleyan University, which is very characteristic of the man, and is, I have no doubt, authentic. At a session of the court in Addison county, Judge 0 was violently attacked by a young and very impudent attorney. To the manifest surprise of every body present, the judge heard him quite through, as though unconscious of what was said, and made no reply. After the adjournment for the day, and when all had assembled at the inn where the judge and many of the court-folk had their lodgings, one of the company, referring to the scene at court, asked the judge • why he did not rebuke the impertinent fellow?Permit me,' said the judge, loud enough to call the attention of all the company, among whom was “the fellow' in question ; ‘per.
mit me to tell you a story. My father, when we lived down country, had a dog; a mere puppy, I may say. Well, this puppy would go out every moonlight night and bark at the moon for hours together.' Here the Judge paused, as if he had done with the story.
Well, well, what of it ?' exclaimed half a dozen of the audience at once.
O! nothing, nothing whatever; the moon kept right on, just as if nothing had happened!
St. Albans, Vermont.
J. G, 8.