Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/284

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Southern Historical Society Papers.

After supper, I retired to my room, to complete my preparations for the morrow. The opponent whom I had to encounter was the late Mr. John Howard, of Richmond. I was in bed, with a table, lamp, law-books, and manuscript notes by its side, putting system into what was to be presented to the court, when in rushed the three young soldiers, merrier than crickets, and I soon learned what a good time they had been enjoying. They quickly disrobed, and all three got into the large bed nearest my own, neither of them being willing to be off by himself. Then they kept up the liveliest sort of chat, recounting, among other things, the adventures of that evening, for in order to get as much as possible out of their opportunity, they had made several visits. Having been a student of William and Mary, and being acquainted with the society of the city, more of that part of their conversation was understood than they supposed. There was, however, nothing vulgar or improper in it. It was only very jolly, and at times rather uproarious. Still, it was not particularly favorable to the logical sequence of a legal argument. After they had "carried on" for some time, one of them spoke up very pleasantly: "See here, fellows, we have had our fun long enough; we are disturbing that gentleman over there; let us hush up and go to sleep." I immediately thanked him for his politeness and told them to go on with their sport, as I had nearly finished my work and could easily do the rest before the session of the court. Moreover, I put out my lamp "and pitched in" with them, and it was past midnight when quiet came to that "omnibus."

The next morning they left the room in good time for me to make my toilet alone. After breakfast, seeing one of them in front of the hotel, I engaged him in a chat, in which I learned that he had been over to Gloucester county to visit an army friend, who had brought him to Williamsburg that he might proceed to Richmond. My impression is that this friend was with him at West Point, though he may not have been in the same class. Who the two companions were cannot be recalled. I wish I could call upon my friend, General William B. Taliaferro, to aid me, and am sorry I did not think of doing so before he was taken from us.