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To Professor Simon Greenleaf, Cambridge.

Holkham House, Nov. 2, 1888.
My dear Greenleaf,—Which is the older of the two,—--you or I? There cannot be much disparity of age, I feel; for you write so freshly as to respond to all the little of youth there is left in me, or I have grown so grave as to be climbing prematurely to the dignity of your years. But time has moved faster with me, since I left your planet. I certainly can hardly make up my mind, or find voice or even pen-strokes, to call you ‘Mr.’ or ‘Professor.’ There is no feature in English social life, particularly in the intercourse of the bar, that has more struck me than the familiarity and brotherly tone in which all acquaintances–I do not say simply friends—address each other. At the bar, as a general rule, all barristers address each other simply by their surnames, without any prefix; and there are many of the English bar, who are old enough to be my father, whom I address with that familiarity. I wish I could talk with you now; there are a thousand things on my mind that I fear I may lose in the Lethean waters of Germany, where I go from England, and which I should like to discuss with you and the Judge, and others of the goodly fellowship.

I am now the guest of the Earl Leicester,—the famous ‘old Coke,’ as he has been called for years,—who was offered a peerage four times before he accepted it. His house is beautiful beyond expression, and is adorned with the choicest antiques and paintings. The rooms are spacious, magnificent, and comfortable. His library of manuscripts is said to be the richest in England; it contains Mss. of most of the classics; also Italian and ancient English ones. They are all beautifully bound, and occupy the shelves which surround a room nearly as large as your study in Dane Hall— how my pulse throbs as I write this word! Lord Leicester is the descendant of no less a person than our Sir Edward Coke, whilom Lord Chief-Justice of the Common Pleas; and to him have come the manuscripts and library of the distinguished lawyer. Little did I think when I moiled in the pages of this writer, and almost felt my eyesight fail before his stern black-letter, that I should ever be the guest of his descendant,—one of the most distinguished peers of England,—in one of the most remarkable private dwellings in the world, and permitted to see and examine the very books —the Registrum Brevium, Statuta Antiqua, &c.—that our great master once used, to study his crabbed handwriting, and to pore over the darksome notes and memoranda which he made on the margin of the volumes he read. Lord Spencer and Lord Ebrington are here; while they are wandering through fields, with their faithful dogs to bear them company, after partridges and pheasants, I have been scanning these gloomy pages. On the title-page of many of these books is written, Edward Coke,—being the autograph of the grim lawyer. In one of the drawing-rooms of the house is an original portrait of Lord Coke, by Janssen. You may imagine that I have felt no common thrill in being thus permitted to look upon these things. Have I not cause for great gratitude in the opportunities of gratifying so many of my fondest desires, in enjoying the society and confidence

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Simon Greenleaf (2)
Edward Coke (2)
Janssen (1)
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William Coke (1)
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