_Colt._ (satirically).--Of course he might. (Laughter.) But did he?
_Deft._ (plucking up a little spirit).--No. He called me SOFT TOMMY.
This revelation, and the singular appropriateness of the nickname, were so highly relished by an intelligent audience, that it was a long time before the trial could go on for roars. The plaintiff's ringing laugh was heard among the rest.
The cross-examination proceeded in this style till the defendant began to drivel at the mouth a little. At last, after a struggle, he said, with a piteous whine, that he could not help it: he hated signing his name; some mischief always came of it; but this time he had no option.
"No option?" said Colt. "What do you mean?"
And with one or two more turns of the screw, out came this astounding revelation:
"Richard said if I didn't put Taff in one, _he_ would put _me_ in one."
_Deft._ (weeping).--In one madhouse, my lord.