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The Green Bag

Moreover, she commenced her career early and has followed it with a jewel like consistency to a ripe old age. And, in view of these facts, it is only reason able to suppose that the defendant finds consolation during her present incar ceration in the reflection that her record is probably without a parallel in the history of criminal law. RECOLLECTIONS OF AUSTIN IN HER exceedingly readable remin iscences entitled "The Fourth Gen eration," Mrs. Janet Ross gives some interesting recollections of her grand father, John Austin. She was deeply impressed in girlhood with the force of his intellect, and speaks of his having instructed her in the importance of clear thinking and precise language. She repro duces letters received by her grand mother from men of distinction at the time of his death, which show in what high regard his gifts were held, and how eagerly his opinions on all questions were sought by leading men of the time. John Austin was the son of a miller, who married the daughter of a small gentleman farmer or yeoman. The father's education had been neglected, but under the influence of his wife, who was well educated, he tried to over come its defects, and was fond of read ing books on history and political economy. From him the son seems to have inherited a very exact mind, though the exceptional abilities of the mother perhaps played a more important role in his heredity. Carlyle's description of Austin as "a lean, grey-headed, painful-looking man with large earnest eyes and a clanging, metallic voice — a very worthy sort of limited man," tallies with the grand daughter's recollections in some points but not in all. She recalls his voice as

rich and musical, and while she speaks of the strain of melancholy inherited from Austin's mother, she says that it was relieved by the Austin love of fun, re calling, how as a boy, he would so deeply engage his father with his own conversation at table that the father did not notice that John had drunk up his glass of beer. Carlyle's phrase, "a very limited man," conjures up an impression of something the opposite of brilliancy, but we are assured by Mrs. Ross that Austin was most eloquent, and that once he was launched in a discussion it was almost impossible to stop him. Un doubtedly, however, much of the atten tion which Austin received from bril liant men of his time was due to the remarkable gifts of his wife, whose salon in Paris was said by a writer in the Athenceum to rival that of Mme. de Stael in distinction. Austin is also recalled as "remark ably handsome, with splendid eyes and a very erect carriage." His eyes must have been inherited from his grand mother, who had gypsy blood in her veins. The Austins were not wealthy, and Mrs. Austin could only offer her distin guished guests a cup of tea. After the revolution drove the family from France to reside at Weybridge, it seems to have been Sarah Austin's literary labors which partly at least served to maintain them during the remaining twelve years of Austin's life, during which his health was greatly impaired. Mrs. Austin lived for eight years after her husband's death, long enough to complete the great task of editing his lectures, on which she labored hard for six years. "The work was a difficult one for a woman already old and suffer ing from disease of the heart to under take, and only what St. Hilaire aptly termed her intelligence virile enabled her