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AN INQUIRING JUDGE. It was Mr Justice Darling's turn on October- 28 to impart amusement to a case by his observations. The action which, prompted the Judge';, humour -was one brought by Mr Stanley Spencer, the well-known aeronaut, to Tecorer from Mellin's Food, Limited, a sum of £500, tie balance of an account allegeu to bo due for advertising the food. When the caso was galled on Mr Justice Darling observed- to Mr Dodd, Mr Spencer's counsel : " I see that your client, appears to be the proprietor of a navigable balloon. Is he coming in that!:" Counsel -was equal to the occasion. " No," he replied ; "if ihe weie I should not be so positive that he would 'be here at twelve o'clock." In this opening statement Mr Dodd said that at the time Mr Spencer entered into a contract with Mellin's everyone was talking about M. Santos Dumont, who was endeavouring to go round the Eiffel Tower. Sometimes M. Dumont knocked down parts of houses, and on one occasion nearly killed himself. Nevertheless,^ the defendants, moved by patriotism, and a desire to sell theiri food, arranged with Mr Spencer for the construction of a navigable balloon to advertise their wares. They were to pay £1500, but they declined to pay the last £500 on the ground that the minimum number of return journeys stipulated had not taken, place. The minimum- number of journeys to be performed, said counsel, was twenty-five ; as a matter of fact, it did thirty-three. The Judge: What is the meaning of a return journey? Mr Dodd : It means that the 'balloon goes round the polo . grounds at Uhe Crystal Palace and back to its shed. 'One journey was to be made over London. Mr Bankes (for the defendants) : It never left the grounds but once, and- then it came home on a cart. In cross-examination, Mr Spencer said he was building a navigable balloon at 1 the time M. Santos Dumont was making his experiments. He believed that he had " out-Santosed " Santos Dumont, but 'had never stated that -within a short while afterApril 25 be would be, able to make a return journey over London. He never told any one that he intended to go round St Paul's. The Judge : Did not somebody do . it a little time ago! v ' . , , Mr Spencer: That was me. The Judge: Off! A Mr Percival Spencer, the plaintiffs brother, said that the trail rope was always 4 attached to the airship. His Lordship : Have you observed what becomes of people's chimney-pots? : = A verdict -was given for the defendants.

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Bibliographic details

WAYS OF AIRSHIPS., Star, Issue 7898, 31 December 1903

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WAYS OF AIRSHIPS. Star, Issue 7898, 31 December 1903