He did finally, though dimly, call to mind having served with Dr. Stone in such a matter as I had described. But later I was made independent of his powers of recollection, when the original documents of the court were laid before me. There was the certificate of the two physicians. And there, over their signatures, “Mercier d.m.p.” standing first, in a bold heavy hand underscored by a single broad quill-stroke, was this “Conclusion”:
“1. These marks ought to be considered as noevi materni.
“2. They are congenital; or, in other words, the person was born with them.
“3. There is no process by means of which artificial spots bearing all the character of the marks can be produced.”
[Illustration: Handwritten conclusion number 3 and signatures of Mercier dmp and Dr. Stone.]
On the 11th of June the case of Sally Miller versus Louis Belmonti was called up again and the report of the medical experts received. Could anything be offered by Mr. Grymes and his associates to offset that? Yes; they had one last strong card, and now they played it.
It was, first, a certificate of baptism of a certain Mary’s child John, offered in evidence to prove that this child was born at a time when Salome Mueller, according to the testimony of her own kindred, was too young by a year or two to become a mother; and secondly, the testimony of a free woman of color, that to her knowledge that Mary was this Bridget or Sally, and the child John this woman’s eldest son Lafayette. And hereupon the court announced that on the morrow it would hear the argument of counsel.
Salome’s counsel besought the court for a temporary postponement on two accounts: first, that her age might be known beyond a peradventure by procuring a copy of her own birth record from the official register of her native Langensoultz, and also to procure in New Orleans the testimony of one who was professionally present at the birth of her son, and who would swear that it occurred some years later than the date of the baptismal record just accepted as evidence.
“We are taken by surprise,” exclaimed in effect Roselius and his coadjutors, “in the production of testimony by the opposing counsel openly at variance with earlier evidence accepted from them and on record. The act of the sale of this woman and her children from Sarah Canby to John Fitz Miller in 1835, her son Lafayette being therein described as but five years of age, fixes his birth by irresistible inference in 1830, in which year by the recorded testimony of her kindred Salome Mueller was fifteen years old.”
But the combined efforts of Roselius, Upton, and others were unavailing, and the newspapers of the following day reported: “This cause, continued from yesterday, came on again to-day, when, after hearing arguments of counsel, the court took the same under consideration.”