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ON CIRCUIT.

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 my cosy 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 outa 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 servitude for seven years. The wicked old wretch, however, instead of acquiescing in her just punishment, stooped down as she was leaving the dock, pulled off both her shoes, sent one of them whizzing at the judge's head, and the other (I presume in grateful acknowledgment of my services on her behalf) at mine. The shoe aimed at his lordship's head missed its mark; but the heel of the one which she threw at my head struck me just below the right eye ; and the mark of that blow I shall carry with me to my grave. From that day to this, I have never received another brief on circuit.

• Then I wonder you keep on going circuit !' exclaims some impatient reader. Well, I have often wondered myself at my doing so (to tell the truth); and I can only account for it by attributing it to the operation of that curious law of habit, which seems to compel people, when they have once got into the way of doing certain things, to keep on doing them. For this reason, I suppose, was it, that when, one day last week, my clerk informed me that Mr. Justice Bounceaway and Mr. Baron Bounderby had fixed the following Saturday for the commission-day at Dullboro' (which is the first town on my circuit), I commanded him to at once proceed to my friend Luckaby's chambers in Lamb Court, and acquaint him with the abovenamed fact. I further enjoined my clerk to inform Mr. Luckaby that I should go down to Dullboro' by the 2.30 train from Queen's Cross on the day on which the Dullboro' commission was to be opened, and to request Mr. Luckaby to bring two packs of cards with him, in order that he and I might be able to get up a rubber with some men on our circuit upon our road down to Dullboro.'

Dullboro' is situated as I know by the cost of my railway ticket-fully two hundred miles from London. It is a sleepy little cathedral town, and is reputed to possess no fewer than thirteen distinct social grades of society, running from the dean to the beadle. No one, it is needless to say, who may chance to be born in one of the lower social grades in Dullboro', is ever so far lost to decency as to attempt to know any one who moves in a grade superior to his own. At Dullboro,' Her Majesty's judges, when they arrive there on circuit, are received with every mark of distinction by the local authorities. As soon as their lordships descend from the carriage which has conveyed them from London, they are escorted by the High-sheriff of Dullboro’shire to a handsome carriage, emblazoned with purple and gold, and drawn by four prancing horses ; in which equipage they proceed-heralded by trumpeters, who give

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