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24

The Green Bag

is a practical feature. Negligence natu rally comes in for a large share of atten tion. The annotations of the series of reports are also made accessible by a combined index to all seven volumes. A MEDLEY OF LEGAL STORIES A Chance Medley of Legal Points and Legal Stories. Little. Brown & Co., Boston. Pp. 374 (index). ($1.50 net.) AMERICAN ingenuity has in vented a new cause of action. A shipowner, relying on the weather forecast of the United States Meteoro logical Office,, unloaded his rice on a wharf. It got soaked, and he sued the Government for damages. But he found that though the department might lie the action would not." The foregoing fails sufficiently to do justice to the legal acumen of the learned and accomplished paragrapher of the Pall Mall Gazette to be considered a typical example of his observations on legal matters. The writer, whose iden tity is hidden behind the veil of journal istic anonymity, clearly possesses the faculty of dealing lightly with the law, yet he has collected pregnant observa tions on an astonishing variety of legal "points," and the book is not too trivial to deserve the compendious index offered in attestation of a possible utility. But no index is needed for anecdotes like these : — There is a good story about the Lord Chief Justice. It was before his judicial days and while he was yet a stuff gownsman, that he was asked in court one day by a brother barrister what was the extreme penalty for bigamy. "Two mothers-in-law," instantly replied Russell. Again: — "A prisoner was defending himself well to the jury, but the judge, not being able to hear him well, said, 'What was your last sentence?' 'Six months,' was the answer." The author is very happy in his rare gift for extracting witty stories from

books ancient and modern; of Baron Brampton, for example, we read: — Sir Henry Hawkins, as he will be known to posterity, had once to cross-examine an expert in handwriting. In those days judges and juries regarded these experts with more respect than is the case now. When Sir Henry arose he handed to the expert six slips of paper, each of which was written in a different kind of hand writing. Mr. Netherclift, the expert, took his magnifiers and remarked, "I see, Mr. Hawkins, what you are going to try to do. You want to put me in a hole." "I do, Mr. Netherclift, and, if you are ready for the hole tell me, were those six pieces of paper written by one hand and about the same time?" The expert examined the paper carefully, and after a considerable time answered, "No, they were written at different times by different hands." "By differ ent persons, do you say?" "Yes, certainly." "Now, Mr. Netherclift, you are in the hole. I wrote them myself this morning at this desk." Collapse of the case. TRAIN'S

COURTS, CRIMINALS AND CAMORRA

Courts, Criminals and the Camorra. By Ar thur Train. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York. IN THIS book Mr. Train, in his sprightly style, has written a series of untechnical essays comparing criminal practice in New York with the Italian practice as exemplified in the famous trial of the leaders of the Camorra at Viterbo last year. While the essays are not always closely connected, still this thread runs through them all, and if Mr. Train can succeed in convincing his countrymen that there is much to be commended in the Continental crim inal practice in comparison with our own theory and practice, he will have performed a useful service as well as have entertained them pleasantly. Though members of the bar will not need to be told that our constitutional safeguards of life, liberty and property, if they were strictly applied, would give to all the criminal classes too great an