What proof more convincing than that Belt had been there? How improbable the trumped-up story that Grant could decoy from his home his bitterest enemy, especially at the midnight hour! A loaded pistol and a chisel were found under the window. It had been alleged that Grant placed them there for his own base purposes. But admitting that man could deceive, the dog would not. Canine instinct could not lie. Every man who knew the nature of the animal must feel convinced that Belt’s dog would never have gone to that window except in honest pursuit of his master.
I felt that my speech had told, and as I sat down there was a stir in the vast crowd. My client’s face was flushed, and the wife’s somber veil was thrown back, revealing her large eyes lustrous with hope.
The Commonwealth’s attorney occupied the floor for an hour, during which he ridiculed what he termed the schoolboy tales from his youthful opponent. But when the jury retired I felt that my influence was still uppermost. The suspense was trying, but it did not last long. They reported in a very short time, and the verdict, announced in a clear ringing voice, was “Not guilty!”
Grant sprang forward as his friends pressed near and seized my hand in a vise-like grip. Loud cheers rent the air, for again the fickle public had veered around, the crowd surged to and fro, women wept, and the fervent “Thank God!” that broke from the pallid lips of the young wife rang in my ears for many a day.
The foreman of the jury, a plain, intelligent farmer, drew me aside and said, “That dog done the business! There was no gittin’ around that! I’ve got a dog myself.”
Grant was forced to begin life anew, for his counsels’ fees about consumed his little savings, but he remained at his post honest and industrious, and is one of the leading men in the now populous section.
A ROMANTIC SKETCH
The day was warm and sunny. A few industrious and enterprising pioneers were seated on a log near the Wallace Cross Roads, in what is now Garrard county, Ky. They were enjoying their noonday luncheon and discussing the object of their woodland caucus. Suddenly the sound of an advancing horse arrested their attention. Pausing and looking toward a primitive opening in the deep-tangled wildwood, they soon saw both horse and rider approaching, the latter looking about him as if a stranger to the country. He was among them in another moment, receiving their rough but hearty greetings, and manifesting genuine pleasure in his frank, youthful countenance. Though not yet attained to full manhood, the traveller’s figure was tall and graceful, and his face, by no means handsome, wore a genial glow that intensified the wonderful magnetism of his manner.
“You seem to be a stranger in these parts,” said one of the men, mopping his forehead with his red bandana.