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got up my nose, and so affected the olfactory and other nerves of that noble organ as to produce an indispensable necessity to take some measures to stifle the storm of sneeze, with which I seemed to be threatened; unfortunately 1 had not time to go to my pocket, so that I was obliged to let all depend upon the weak resistance to be produced by the interposition of my five fingers; which having, as every body knows, as many interstices as there are fingers, had no other effect but that of ramifying and dividing the noise into as many parts as there were fingers, so that out it all came, five-fold louder than there was any natural necessity for; the sounds, besides, being severally of a description by no means fit for the refined ears of a courtly company; the effect was such as might be expected, the two strangers were nearly thrown from their seats by the shock and alarm of so unexpected a salute, while my father and mother were little less surprised, and at the same time much more consused. I was of course obliged to come out, and an attempt was made to laugh the matter off; but one of the ladies was really so alarmed as to be near fainting, and though she made every effort to seem to forgive me, yet I was sure, by her looks, that she wished me dead, or worse, if possible; they took the earliest opportunity afterwards of ordering their carriage to the door, and as they quitted the house, I secretly gave them my blessing; it then first came to my knowledge that, instead of being any of the so and so's that had a fair claim to be admitted, my poor father and mother would as willingly have seen the witch of Endor, and that the whole visit had been the effect of accident and blunder.
LXXXIV. CASE OF LORD MANSFIELD's wig, COURT OF REQUESTS,
LONDON. This was a case which by the parties concerned was considered of no small importance; and which, to the
auditors, in the course of its discussion, excited no small merriment. Mr. Williams, who is what is vulgarly called a barber, but in more refined language is termed a perruquier, appeared in this court a few days back, and obtained a summons against the defendant, who is clerk to Reeves, an attorney in Tottenham-court-road, calling upon him to attend on a given day, to shew cause why he should not pay a debt of thirty-nine shillings and elevenpence, three farthings.
Mr. Williams, who spoke with a sort of lisping squeak, garrulously addressed the commissioner :-"He had (he said) been a bair-dresser, man and boy, for sixty-eight years. He had served his time in the Temple, where he had the honor of making wigs for some of the greatest men as ever lived-of all professions and of all ranksjudges, barristers, and commoners-churchmen as well as laymen-illiterate men as well as literate men, and among the latter he had to rank the immortal Dr. Johnson; but of all the wigs he had ever set comb to, there was none on which he so prided himself as a full state wig which he had made for Lord Mansfield : it was one of the earliest proofs of his genius; it had excited the warm commendations of his master, and the envy of his shop-mates; but above all, it had pleased, nay even delighted, the noble and learned judge himself.” “Oh, gemmen !” exclaimed Mr. Williams, " if you had known what joy I felt when I first saw his noble lordship on the bench with that wig on his head !”—(In an undertonetone but rubbing his hands with ecstacy) —“Upon my say-so I was fuddled for three days after !"
The Commissioner. What has the wig to do with the defendant's debt?
Mr. Williams. A great deal; that's the very bone of contention.
Com. Doubtless; but you must come to the marrow, if
you can, as soon as possible.
Mr. W. I will. Well as I was saying—where did I leave off ?-Oh! when I was fuddled
Com. I hope you have left off that habit now, my good
Mr. W. Upon my say-so, I have, trust me; but as I was saying, to make a long story short, in course of time I left my master in the temple, set up for myself, and did a great stroke of business. Ay, I could tell you such a list of customers! There wasCom. Never mind ; we don't want your list :
: go on. Mr. W. Well, then, at last I set up in Boswell-court, Queen-square. Lawk me! what alterations I have seen in that square, surely, in my time! I remember when I used to go to shave old Lord,
Com. Come, come to the end of your story.
Mr. W. Well, I will. Where was 1? Oh ! in BoswellcourtCom. [.Aside.) – I wish you were there now.
. Mr. W. Well
, then you must know, when Lord Mansfield died, his wig—the very, very wig I madegot back to my old master's shop; and he kept it as a pattern for other judges' wigs; and at last who should die but my master himself—aye, it's what we must all
Com. Go on, go on, man and come to the end of
Mr. W. I will, I will. Well, where was I? Oh! in my poor master's shop. Well, so when he died, my mistress gave me—for she knew, poor soul! how I loved it-this identical wig; and I carried it home with as much delight as it had been one of my children. Ah, poor little things ! they are all gone before me. Com. Come if
don't cut this matter short, I must, and send
after. Mr. W. Dearee me ! you put me out. Well, as I was saying, I kept this here wig as the apple of my eye ; when, as ill luck would have it, that 'ere Mr. Lawrence came to my shop, and often asked me to lend it him to act with in a play: I think he called it Shycock or Shylock, for he said he was to play the Judge. I long refu
sed; but he over-persuaded me, and on an unlucky day I let him have it, and have never (weeping and wiping his little eyes with his white apron) seen it since.
Com. And so you have summoned him for the price of the wig?
Mr. W. You have just hit the nail on the haed.
Com. Well, Mr. Lawrence, what have you to say to this?
Mr L. (With great pomposity.) Why, sir, I have a great deal to say.
Com. Well then, sir, I desire you will say as little as you can, for there are a great many persons waiting here whose time is very precious.
Mr. L. Not more precious than mine, I presume, sir. I submit that this case is in the nature of an action of trover, to recover the possession of this wig; and, this admitted, sir, I have humbly to contend, that the plantiff must be nonsuited; for, sir, you will not find one word of or concerning a wig in his declaration. The plantiff must not travel out of his record.
Com. What record ?
Mr. L. You have a summons on which I attend to defend myself; and that is, to all intents and purposes, de facto as well as de jure, a record similar to, and the essence of, a record in the court above.
Com. Sir; we are not guided by the precedents of courts above here. Our jurisdiction and our powers are defined by particular acts of parliament.
Mr. L. Sir, I contend, according to the common law of these realms, that I am right.
Com. I say, according to the rules of common sense, you are wrong.
Mr. L. I have cases-
Mr. L. What says Kitty upon the nature of these pleadings?
Com. And pray who is Kitty ?
Com. I never heard of a woman being a special pleader.
Mr. L. He is not a woman, sir,he is a man, sirand a great man, sir—and a man, sir
Com. Do you mean Mr. Chitty ? Mr. L. I mean the gentleman you call Chitty, and most erroneously so call him; for you ought to know that the Ch in Italian sounds like an English K; and Mr. Kitty, by lineal descent, is an Italian. It is a vulgar error to spell his name with a y final, it ought to be i, and then it would properly sound Kittee.
Com. I should rather take Mr. Chitty's authority for this than your's.
Mr. L. (In anger.) Sir, do you contradict me?
Com. Sir, I will bring this case to a short issue. Did you borrow this man's wig ?
Mr. L. I did.
Mr. L. I did, in performing the part of the Judge, in Shakspeare's inimitable play of the Merchant of Venice. While too intent on the pleadings of Portia, the candle caught the curls, and I with difficulty escaped having my eyes burned out.
[The plaintiff here uttered an ejaculation of mental suffering, something between a groan and a curse.]
Com. Well then, sir, I have only to tell you, you are responsible for the property thus intrusted to your care; and, without further comment, I order and adjudge that you pay to the plantiff the sum of 39s. 118d. which is the fum he is prepared to swear it is worth.
Mr. Williams. Swear! Lord love you, I'd swear it's