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Yes Ma’am, But Wait ’Til You See the Judge


My Grandfather Symington served as a judge on the Baltimore City Supreme Court in the 1920s and liked to top off his day with a drink—the caveats of Prohibition notwithstanding. As president of Baltimore’s white-shoe Maryland Club, he would indulge this penchant in the company of the club steward, William Marshall.


On one occasion Grandpa imbibed enough to diminish his motor skills and accepted his drinking partner’s offer to drive him home. On arrival the steward, himself somewhat the worse for wear, mounted the front steps and rang the bell. My Grandma opened the door, and taking in the caller’s appearance, declared, “Why Mr. Marshall, you’re a disgrace.” “Yes Ma’am,” replied Mr. Marshall with his unfailing dignity. “But wait till you see the judge.” 


These events were related to me half a century after the fact in a hearty account by Mr. Marshall’s son, Thurgood, in his chambers at the United States Supreme Court.

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