Wilson; it is not run on any plan but its own. It has a plan of its own; and that plan is, to find justice for both State and accused, no matter what happens to be practice and custom in Europe or anywhere else." (Great applause.) "Silence! It has not been the custom of this court to imitate other courts; it has not been the custom of this court to take shelter behind the decisions of other courts, and we will not begin now. We will do the best we can by the light that God has given us, and while this 'court continues to have His approval, it will remain indifferent to what other organizations may think of it." (Applause.) "Gentlemen, I must have order!--quiet yourselves! Mr. Allen, you will now proceed against the prisoners one at a time. Go on with the case."
Allen was not at his ease. However, after whispering a moment with his client and with one or two other people, he rose and said:
"Your honor, I find it to be reported and believed that the accused are able to act independently in many ways, but that this independence does not extend to their legs, authority over their legs being vested exclusively in the one brother during a specific term of days, and then passing to the other brother for a like term, and so on, by regular alternation. I could call witnesses who would prove that the accused had revealed to them the existence of this extraordinary fact, and had also made known which of them was in possession of the legs yesterday--and this would, of course, indicate where the guilt of the assault belongs-- but as this would be mere hearsay evidence, these revelations not having been made under oath"
"Never mind about that, Mr. Allen. It may not all be hearsay. We shall see. It may at least help to put us on the right track. Call the witnesses."
"Then I will call Mr. John Buckstone, who is now present, and I beg that Mrs. Patsy Cooper may be sent for. Take the stand, Mr. Buckstone."
Buckstone took the oath, and then testified that on the previous evening the Count Angelo Capello had protested against going to the hall, and had called all present to witness that he was going by compulsion and would not go if he could help himself. Also, that the Count Luigi had replied sharply that he would go, just the same, and that he, Count Luigi, would see to that himself. Also, that upon Count Angelo's complaining about being kept on his legs so long, Count Luigi retorted with apparent surprise, "Your legs!--I like your impudence!"
"Now we are getting at the kernel of the thing," observed the judge, with grave and earnest satisfaction. "It looks as if the Count Luigi was in possession of the battery at the time of the assault."
Nothing further was elicited from Mr. Buckstone on direct examination. Mr. Wilson took the witness.
"Mr. Buckstone, about what time was it that that conversation took place?"
"Toward nine yesterday evening, sir."
"Did you then proceed directly to the hall?"
"How long did it take you to go there?"
"Well, we walked; and as it was from the extreme edge of the town, and there was no hurry, I judge it took us about twenty minutes, maybe a trifle more."
"About what hour was the kick delivered?"
"About thirteen minutes and a half to ten."
"Admirable! You are a pattern witness, Mr. Buckstone. How did you happen to look at your watch at that particular moment?"
"I always do it when I see an assault. It's likely I shall be called as a witness, and it's a good point to have."
"It would be well if others were as thoughtful. Was anything said, between the conversation at my house and the assault, upon the detail which we are now examining into?"
"If power over the mutual legs was in the possession of one brother at nine, and passed into the possession of the other one during the next thirty or forty minutes, do you think you could have detected the change?"
"By no means!"
"That is all, Mr. Buckstone."
Mrs. Patsy Cooper was called. The crowd made way for her, and she came smiling and bowing through the narrow human lane, with Betsy Hale, as escort and support, smiling and bowing in her wake, the audience breaking into welcoming cheers as the old favorites filed along.