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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


394 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. of parties married in England, was some years since handed about amongst the gentlemen of the long robe. It is a fair travesty of his style :- ‘I I am decidedly omhe opinion of Lord Meadowbank,’ and that the Commissaries were egregiously wrong. Will any man tell me that a stranger, without a domicile here, is to be refused justice for any guilt or crime done by him 0 Is a man who marries in England, and commits adultery in Scotland, to be out of the reach of the Scots law against adultery ? Such a man may turn his wife out of doors too-may even go farther against her and her children-and all with impunity, upon the feigned supremacy of the Zex loci contractus. In short, if a man comes to Scotland sine animo remanendi, and cum animo peccandi steals my horse, are we first to inquire into his domicile, and the laws of his country respecting theft ? Now, I am clearly of opinion that he ought to be hanged upon our own law ; and a decree of divorce, a vinculo matrimonii, ought equally to follow the commission of adultery here. “ But, secondly, should any of the English divorced parties be averse to our consistorial decree, he may, on his return to England, apply to a court of law, by recapitulating M ~ dTec ision, and get it altered to one a mensa et thoro; but when no such application has been made, the parties may truly marry without the risk of bigamy, or the insecurity of a new family, unless the English courts, of which I dinna know much, are senseless and absurd. Indeed, their decision a mensa et thoro is, like our Jack and the Bean, an absurd nothing, till Parliament, and 8 huge expense, commissary it (I may say) into our form, We must follow our own laws ; and should our southerns deem them improper, and have no remedy, let them procure an Act of Parliament, declaring that any person feeling hurt by the Scots decree may, within six weeks after his arrival in England, apply to a court of law there, and get the Scottish decree altered into an English one ; and should no application during that time be made, the party or parties may marry at pleasure, and their offspring be protected by law. If England requires much time and money to procure a parliamentary divorce, why should not our Scottish ‘good cheer and good cheap ca’ mony customers,’ as our proverb says ?” Of Lord Hermand‘s rather eccentric warmth on the bench, there are many anecdotes. The well-known but highly characteristic one of “ Keep him out,” and which has been retailed to the public in a variety of shapes, occurred in the Justiciary Court of Glasgow. The Court had been interrupted by a noise which annoyed him very much. “What is that noise 1” cried his lordship to one of the officers of the Court. “It’s a man, my lord.” “What does he want I” “ He wants in, my lord.” “Keep hirn out.’’ The man, it would appear, however, had got in: for in a short time the noise was renewed, when his lordship again demanded--“ What’s that noise there 2’’ ‘‘ It’s the same man, my lord.” “ What does he want now 2” “ Then keep hirn in- I say, keep him in!’” I‘ He wants out, my lord.” His lordship did not usually agree with his brother judge ; and many curious stories of his dislike to Lord Meadowbank used to be cumnt in the Parliament House. On another occasion, when presiding in a criminal court in the north, and the business of the trial, in which life and death were at stake, was proceeding with that solemnity which distinguishes our Justiciary Courts, a wag (for there are some characten who must have their joke, however solemn the occasion) entered the Court, and set a musical snuff-box a-playing Jack’s Alive upon one of the benches. In the silence of conducting the inquiry, the music struck the earn of the audience, and particularly the venerable judge, whose auricular organ was to the last most admirably acute ; and a pause to the business ww the immediate consequence. He stared for an instant on hearing a sound so unusual in a Court of Justice, and, with a frantic demeanour exclaimed, “Macer, what, in in the name of God, is that P” The officer looked around him in vain to answer the inquiry, when the wag exclaimed, “ It’s Jack’s Alive, my lord.” “Dead or alive, put him out this moment.” “We canna gmp him, my lord.” “If he has the art of hell, let every man assist to arraign him before me, that I may commit him for this outrage and contempt.” Every one endeavoured to discover the author of the annoyance, but he had put the check upon the box, when the sound for a
Volume 8 Page 549
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