“I interrupted by telling him to go-ahead. ’Squire, if you warn’t so fast, I’d try to get a word in edgewise for Hornblower,’ said I. But, before the Squire had time to retort, Hornblower himself took up the weapon. ‘Great Jehu——e! Squire,’ he ejaculated, ’you know no more about the law than Dobbin Dobson’s donkey—ye hain’t worth two cents!’ Hornblower’s face blazed with red rage, and the Squire got himself all on his pins.
“‘Keep your clapper shut, Hornblower,’ returned the Squire, telling Hornblower, how, if he doubted his capacity for the law business, he would read him Haliburton’s opinions, and convince him that they precisely conformed with his. ’Remember you’re in the presence of a Justice of the Peace!’ he added, as Hornblower replied by informing him that so long as he was before him nothing more was necessary to remind him of the fact. Then he begged the Squire to keep cool, and not get into a fuzzle: and after he had bestowed some sharp retorts, in not very fashionable language, which he hoped the Squire would not take as personal, he made an explanation of the whole thing. ‘Go on,’ rejoined the Squire, getting warmer and warmer.
“‘Well,’ returned Hornblower; ’first I motion to adjourn the Court and go drink all round, at your store; after which I further motion that Jacob and me go down into the cellar of your house—’
“‘Into my cellar!’ interrupted the Squire, suddenly: ’not a step!—I’se settled the case, and there’s no moving judgment.’
“Here Hornblower charged the Squire with having a suspicious quantity of fresh herring in his own cellar. ’I don’t say how they got there this morning afore daylight, Squire,’ said he, ’but there’s a citizen not far off what will.’
“’It’s the ram—d——d’st false ever told against a gentleman of my high standing!’
“‘What is Squire?’ interpolated Hornblower, keeping as cool as the face of a March morning. Why!’ returns the Squire, ’to say I stole ’em myself!’
“‘There can be no mistaking it Squire,’ chimes in Hornblower; ’and the stronger evidence is the fact of your being the only son of a man who has yet preferred the charge of stealing them. Now, Squire, I’ll stake the schooner Virtue, that on proceeding into your cellar the herring will be recovered and injured justice satisfied: just grant us a warrant to search your cellar, Squire.’ Here Hornblower looked thunder and lightning at the Squire whose wrath and misgiving seemed carrying out a sad conflict in his heart. The result was a strange clatter of tongues. Notwithstanding the Squire’s estimate of his own popularity, the good people on the coast well understood his singular process of doing up the law business. ’You’ll get your straight ups to jail, or pay the coin right down, Hornblower!’ demanded the Squire, making a flourish with his law-book, and preparing to adjourn for the purpose of doing a small quantity of drinking.