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Mr. Scranton holds that whatever is constitutional must be right and abidable; that one’s feelings never should joggle our better understanding when these little curiosities come in the way. He admits, however, that they are strange attendants coming up once in a while, like the fluctuations of an occult science. With him, the constitution gives an indisputable right to overlook every outrage upon natural law; and, while it exists in full force, though it may strip one half the human race of rights, he has no right to complain so long as it does not interfere with him. It strikes Mr. Scranton that nike air max 90 sale people who differ with him in opinion must have been educated under the teaching of a bad philosophy. Great governments, he holds, often nurture the greatest errors. It matters not how much they feel cheap air max 90 their magnitude; often, the more they do, the least inclined are they to correct them. Others fear the constitutional structure so much, that they stand trembling lest the slig nike air max 95 htest correction totter it to the ground. Great governments, too, are most likely to stand on small points when these errors are pointed out. Mr. Scranton declares, with great emphasis, that all these things are most legally true, perfectly natural: they follow in man as well as governments.
With all due deference to Mr. Scranton’s opinion, so much demanded among his admiring neighbours, it must be said that he never could bring his mind to understand the difference between natural philosophy and his own constitutional scruples, and was very apt to commit himself in argument, forgetting that the evil was in the fruits of a bad system, bringing disgra cheap nike air max ce upon his countrymen, corrupting the moral foundation of society, spreading vice around the do nike air max 1 mestic fireside, and giving to base-minded men power to speculate in the foulness of their own crimes.
The case is opened by the attorney for the plaintiff, who makes a great many direct and indirect remarks, and then calls witnesses. “Marco Graspum!” the clerk exclaims. That gentleman comes forward, takes his place, calmly, upon the witnesses’ stand. At first he affects to know but little; then suddenly remembers that he has heard Marston call their mothers property. Further, he has heard him, while extolling their qualities, state the purchase to have been made of one Silenus, a trader.
“He stated-be sure now!-to you, that he purchased them of one Silenus, a trader?” cheap nike air max trainers interpolates the judge, raising his glasses, and advancing his ear, with his hand raised at its side.
Yes, yer honour!” “Please observe this testimony,” rejoins the attorney, quickly. He bows; says that is enough. The opposing attorney has no question to put on cross-examination: he knows Graspum too well. Being quite at home with the gentlemen of the legal profession, they know his cool nonchalance never can be shaken upon a point of testimony.
“Any questions to put?” asks the legal opponent, with an air of indi nike air max classic fference.
“No, nothing,” is the reply.
His brother of special pleas smiles, gives a cunning glance at Graspum, and wipes his face with a very white handkerchief. He is conscious of the character of his man; it saves all further trouble. “When we know who we have to deal with, we know how to deal,” he mutters, as he sits down.
Graspum retires from the stand, and takes his seat among the witnesses. “We will now call Anthon airmax 90 y Romescos,” says the attorney. A few minutes’ pause, and that individual rolls out in all his independence, takes his place on the stand. He goes through a long series of questioning and cross-questioning, answers for which he seems to have well studied.
The whole amounts to nothing more than a corroboration of Graspum’s testimony. He has heard Marston call their mothers property: once, he thinks, but would hesitate before pledging his honour, that Marston offered to him the woman Clotilda. Yes; it was her!
Considerable excitement is now apparent; the auditory whisper among themselves, attorneys put their head nike air max 90 s together, turn and turn over the leaves of their statutes. His honour, the Court, looks wiser still. Marston trembles and turns pale; his soul is pinioned between hope and fear. Romescos has told something more than he knows, and continues, at random, recounting a dozen or more irrelevant things. The court, at length, deems it necessary to stop his voluntary testimony, orders that he only answer such questions cheap nike air max as are put to him.
“There’s no harm in a feller tellin’ what he knows, eh! judge?” returns Romescos, dropping a quid of tobacco at his side, bowing sarcastically to the judge, and drawing his face into a comical picture.
Mr. Romescos is told that he can stand aside. At this seemingly acceptable announcement, he bristles his crispy red hair with his fingers, shrugs his shoulders, winks at two or three of the jurymen, pats Graspum on the shoulder as he passes him, and takes his seat.
“We will close the case here, but reserve the right of introducing further testimony, if necessary,” says the learned and very honourable counsel.
The defence here rises, and states the means by which his client intends to prove the freedom of the children; and concludes by calling over the names of the witnesses. Franconia! Franconia! we hear nike air max sale that name called; it sounds high above the others, and falls upon our ear most mournfully. Franconia, that sweet creature of grace and delicacy, brought into a court where the scales of injustice are made to serve iniquity!
Franconia’s reserve and modesty put legal gentlemen’s gallantry to the test. One looks over the pages of his reports, another casts a sly look as she sweeps by to take that place the basest of men has just left. The interested spectators stretch their persons anxiously, to get a look at the two pretty children, honourable and legal gentlemen are straining their ability to reduce to property. There stands the blushing woman, calm and beautiful, a virtuous rebuke to curious spectators, mercenary slave dealers, the very learned gentlemen of the bar, and his enthroned honour, the Court! She will give test nike air max imony that makes nature frown at its own degradation. Not far from Franconia sits the very constitutional Mr. Scranton, casting side glances now and then. Our philosopher certainly thinks, though he will not admit it, the chivalry is overtaxing itself; there was no occasion for compelling so fair a creature to come into court, and hear base testimony before a base crowd,–to aid a base law in securing base ends. And then, just think and blush, ye who have blushes to spare.
“Will the learned gentleman proceed with the examination of this witness?” says his honour, who, pen in hand, has been waiting several minutes to take down her testimony. Court and audience, without knowing why, have come to an unconscious pause.
“Will the witness state to the court in what relation she stands to the gentleman who defends title freedom of the children,–Mr. Hugh Marston?” says the attorney, addressing his bland words to Franconia, somewhat nervously.
“He–he–he–is my–,” she mutters, and stops. Her face turns pale; then suddenly changes to glowing crimson. She rests her left hand on the rail, while the judge, as if suddenly moved by a generous impulse, suggests that the attorney pause a moment, until the deputy provides a chair for the lady. She is quiet again. Calmly and modestly, as her soft, meaning eyes wander over the scene before her, compelled to encounter its piercing gaze, the crystal tears leave their wet courses on her blushing cheeks. Her feelings are too delicate, too sensitive, to withstand the sharp and deadly poison of liberty’s framework of black laws. She sees her uncle, so kind, so fond of her and her absent brother; her eye meets his in kindred sympathy, imagination wings its way through recollections of the past, draws forth its pleasures with touching sensations, and fills the cup too full. That cup is the fountain of the soul, from which trouble draws its draughts. She watches her uncle as he turns toward the children; she knows they are his; she feels how much he loves them.
The attorney–the man of duty–is somewhat affected. “I have a duty to perform,” he says, looking at the court, at the witness, at the children, at the very red-faced clerk, at the opposing counsel, and anything within the precincts of the court-room. We see his lips move; he hesitates, makes slight gesticulations, turns and turns a volume of Blackstone with his hands, and mutters something we cannot understand. The devil is doing battle with his heart-a heart bound with the iron strings of the black law. At length, in broken accents, we catch the following remarks, which the learned gentleman thinks it necessary to make in order to save his gallantry:–“I am sorry–extremely sorry, to see the witness, a lady so touchingly sensitive, somewhat affected; but, nevertheless” (the gentleman bows to the judge, and says the Court will understand his position!) “it is one of those cases which the demands of the profession at times find us engaged in. As such we are bound, morally, let me say, as well as legally, to protect the interests of our clients. In doing so, we are often compelled to encounter those delicate irregularities to which the laws governing our peculiar institutions are liable. I may say that they are so interwoven with our peculiar institution, that to act in accordance with our duty makes it a painful task to our feelings. We–I may appeal to the court for corroboration–can scarcely pursue an analysation of these cases without pain; I may say, remorse of conscience.” Mr. Petterwester, for such is his name, is evidently touched with that sense of shame which the disclosures of the black system bring upon his profession. This is aided by the fascinating appearance of the witness on the stand. It is irresistible because it is at variance with those legal proceedings, those horrors of southern jurisprudence, which he is pressing for the benefit of his clients. Again he attempts to put another question, but is seized with a tremor; he blushes, is nervous and confused, casts a doubting look at the judge. That functionary is indeed very grave–unmoved. The responsibility of the peculiar institution sorely hardened the war of heart against head that was waging among the learned gentlemen; but the institution must be preserved, for its political power works wonders, and its legal power is wondrously curious. “Please tell the court and jury what you know about the relation in which these children stand to the gentleman who asserts their freedom, dear madam? We will not trouble you with questions; make a statement,” says Mr. Petterwester, with great sincerity of manner. Indeed, Mr. Petterwester has been highly spoken of among the very oldest, most respectable, and best kind of female society, for his gallantry.
The brother opposite, a small gentleman, with an exceedingly studious countenance, dressed in shining black, and a profusion of glossy hair falling upon his shoulders, rises with great legal calmness, and objects to the manner of procedure, describing it as contrary to the well-established rules of the bar. The court interpolates a few remarks, and then intimates that it very seriously thinks gentlemen better waive the points,–better come to an understanding to let the lady make her statements! Courtesy entitles her, as a lady, to every respect and consideration. The gentlemen, having whispered a few words together, bow assent to the high functionary’s intimation.
Franconia proceeds. She asserts that Hugh Marston (pointing to him) is her uncle; that she knows little or nothing of his business affairs, cannot tell why her brother left the country so suddenly; she knew Clotilda and Ellen Juvarna, mothers of the children. They never were considered among the property of the plantation. Her short story is told in touching tones. The learned and gallant attorney, esteeming it indispensable, puts a question or two as to whether anything was ever said about selling them in consequence of certain jealousies. Before the brother can object, she answers them evasively, and the testimony amounts to just no testimony at all. The court, bowing respectfully, informs the lady she can get down from the stand.
The next witness called is Mrs. Rosebrook. This good and benevolent lady is more resolute and determined. The gentlemen of the bar find her quite clever enough for them. Approaching the stand with a firm step, she takes her place as if determined upon rescuing the children. Her answers come rather faster than is compatible with the dignity of the learned gentlemen of the bar. She knows Marston, knows Franconia, knows the old plantation, has spent many happy hours upon it, is sorry to see the old proprietor reduced to this state of things. She knows the two children,–dear creatures,–has always had a kindly feeling for them; knew their poor mothers, air max 90 has befriended them since Marston’s troubles began. She always-her large, loving eyes glowing with the kindness of her soul-heard Marston say they were just as free as people could be, and they should be free, too! Some people did’nt look at the moral obligation of the thing. Here, the good lady, blushing, draws the veil over her face. There is something more she would like to disclose if modesty did not forbid. ③

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