Page:My Life and Loves.djvu/302

This page has been validated.
264
MY LIFE AND LOVES.

me to test my capacity, he proposed to call me within the Bar. To my astonishment Judge Stevens rose:

"With the permission of the Court", he said, "I'd like to put some questions to this candidate who comes to us with high University commendation." (No one had heard of my expulsion though he knew of it.) He then began a series of questions which soon plumbed the depths of my abyssmal ignorance. I didn't know what an action of account was at old English common law: I don't know now, nor do I want to. I had read Blackstone carefully and a book on Koman law; Chitty on Evidence, too, and someone on Contracts—half a dozen books and that was all. For the first two hours Judge Stevens just exposed my ignorances: it was a very warm morning and my conceit was rubbed raw when Judge Bassett proposed an adjournment for dinner. Stevens consented and we all rose. To my surprise Barker and Hutchings and half a dozen other lawyers came round to encourage me: "Stevens is just showing off", said Hutchings, "I myself couldn't have answered half his questions!" Even Judge Bassett sent for me to his room and practically told me I had nothing to fear, so I returned at two o'clock, resolved to do my best and at all costs to keep smiling.

The examination continued in a crowded court till four o'clock and then Judge Stevens sat down, I had done better in this session; but my examiner had caught me in a trap on a moot point in the law of evidence and I could have kicked myself. But Hutchings rose as the senior of.my two examiners who had been appointed by the Court, and said simply that now he repeated the opinion he had already had the honor to convey to Judge Bassett, that I was a fit and proper person to practice law in the State of Kansas.