Strange True Stories of Louisiana eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 268 pages of information about Strange True Stories of Louisiana.

So it happened.  Only two days later the plaintiff, through one of her counsel, the brother of Frank Upton, applied for a new trial.  She stated that important evidence not earlier obtainable had come to light; that she could produce a witness to prove that John F. Miller had repeatedly said she was white; and that one of Miller’s own late witnesses, his own brother-in-law, would make deposition of the fact, recollected only since he gave testimony, that the girl Bridget brought into Miller’s household in 1822 was much darker than the plaintiff and died a few years afterwards.  And this witness did actually make such deposition.  In the six months through which the suit had dragged since Salome had made her first petition to the court and signed it with her mark she had learned to write.  The application for a new trial is signed—­

[Illustration:  signature]

The new trial was refused.  Roselius took an appeal.  The judge “allowed” it, fixing the amount of Salome’s bond at $2000.  Frank Schuber gave the bond and the case went up to the Supreme Court.

In that court no witnesses were likely to be examined.  New testimony was not admissible; all testimony taken in the inferior courts “went up” by the request of either party as part of the record, and to it no addition could ordinarily be made.  The case would be ready for argument almost at once.

XII.

BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT.

Once more it was May, when in the populous but silent court-room the clerk announced the case of Miller versus Louis Belmonti, and John F. Miller, warrantor.  Well-nigh a year had gone by since the appeal was taken.  Two full years had passed since Madame Karl had found Salome in Belmonti’s cabaret.  It was now 1845; Grymes was still at the head of one group of counsel, and Roselius of the other.  There again were Eva and Salome, looking like an elder and a younger sister.  On the bench sat at the right two and at the left two associate judges, and between them in the middle the learned and aged historian of the State, Chief-Justice Martin.

The attorneys had known from the first that the final contest would be here, and had saved their forces for this; and when on the 19th of May the deep, rugged voice of Roselius resounded through the old Cabildo, a nine-days’ contest of learning, eloquence, and legal tactics had begun.  Roselius may have filed a brief, but I have sought it in vain, and his words in Salome’s behalf are lost.  Yet we know one part in the defense which he must have retained to himself; for Francis Upton was waiting in reserve to close the argument on the last day of the trial, and so important a matter as this that we shall mention would hardly have been trusted in any but the strongest hands.  It was this:  Roselius, in the middle of his argument upon the evidence, proposed to read a certain certified copy of a registry of birth. 

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Strange True Stories of Louisiana from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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