11 SEPTEMBER 1920, Page 23

Laughter in Court, collected by Richard Knight (Jarrolds' 2s. net),

is a very badly clothed little book which nevertheless contains some very funny legal stories, for the most part well told. " An Irishman saw a gravestone which bore the legend ' Here lies a lawyer and an honest man:" What the divel,' exclaimed the Irishman, ' made them put the two of them in the one grave ? ' " The following stories are for those who, in common with the present writer, enjoy the thoroughly foolish type of humour :-

" What brought you to prison ? " Two constables, sir.' Yes, but I mean had intemperance anything to do with it ? ' ' Yes, sir, they were both drunk.' "

" A solicitor, presenting a copy of a writ to an auctioneer, apologized, saying he hoped the other would pot be offended, as he was merely performing an unpleasant duty of his pro.

fession. Certainly not,' said the auctioneer ; ' you must attend to the duties of your profession, and so must I to mine,' and, so saying, he knocked him down."

There are a number of stories of Lord Erskine, of which this is perhaps the happiest :—

" Jekyll, a Bencher of the Inner Temple, and a Barrister, remarked to Erskine, who had been dining with the b fish- mongers' Company, and had made a somewhat poor and hesitating speech, I suppose it was in compliment to your hosts that you floundered so.' "

The judge in the following story was surely the perfect fellow- traveller :-

" Two Judges once happened to be travelling by the same steamer. Judge D. was taken violently with a sea sickness. As he was moaning over the side of the vessel Chief Justice R. stepped gently to his side, and asked whether he could do anything for him. I wish,' said the sick Judge, your lord- ship would over-rule this motion.' "

The admirable versification of " The Moan in Church " (reprinted from the Spectator of 1885), slight as is its legal connexion, was well worth inclusion. There are, of course, a number of chestnuts, but one man's chestnut is another man's joke.