Our World, Or, the Slaveholder's Daughter eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 672 pages of information about Our World, Or, the Slaveholder's Daughter.

“This won’t do!” exclaims Brien Moon, Esq., and proceeds to the door in the hope of catching something to make his mournful number complete.  He happens upon Mr. Jonas Academy, an honest cracker, from Christ’s parish, who visits the city on a little business.  Jonas is a person of great originality, is enclosed in loosely-setting homespun, has a woe-begone countenance, and wears a large-brimmed felt hat.  He is just the person to make the number complete, and is led in, unconscious of the object for which he finds himself a captive.  Mr. Brien Moon now becomes wondrous grave, mounts a barrel at the head of the corpse, orders the negro to uncover the body, and hopes gentlemen will take seats on the benches he has provided for them, while he proceeds to administer the oath.  Three or four yet retain their cigars:  he hopes gentlemen will suspend their smoking during the inquest.  Suddenly it is found that seven out of the twelve can neither read nor write; and Mr. Jonas Academy makes known the sad fact that he does not comprehend the nature of an oath, never having taken such an article in his life.  Five of the gentlemen, who can read and write, are from New England; while Mr. Jonas Academy declares poor folks in Christ’s parish are not fools, troubled with reading and writing knowledge.  He has been told they have a thing called a college at Columbia; but only haristocrats get any good of it.  In answer to a question from Mr. Moon, he is happy to state that their parish is not pestered with a schoolmaster.  “Yes, they killed the one we had more nor two years ago, thank Good!  Han’t bin trubl’d with one o’ the critters since” he adds, with unmoved nerves.  The Coroner suggests that in a matter of expediency like the present it may be well to explain the nature of an oath; and, seeing that a man may not read and write, and yet comprehend its sacredness, perhaps it would be as well to forego the letter of the law.  “Six used to do for this sort of a jury, but now law must have twelve,” says Mr. Moon.  Numerous voices assent to this, and Mr. Moon commences what he calls “an halucidation of the nature of an oath.”  The jurors receive this with great satisfaction, take the oath according to his directions, and after listening to the statement of two competent witnesses, who know but very little about the affair, are ready to render a verdict,—­“that M’Fadden, the deceased, came to his death by a stab in the left breast, inflicted by a sharp instrument in the hand or hands of Anthony Romescos, during an affray commonly called a rencontre, regarding which there are many extenuating circumstances.”  To this verdict Mr. Moon forthwith bows assent, directs the removal of the body, and invites the gentlemen jurors to join him in another drink, which he does in compliment to their distinguished services.  The dead body will be removed to the receiving vault, and Mr. Moon dismisses his jurors with many bows and thanks; and nothing more.

CHAPTER XXXV.

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Our World, Or, the Slaveholder's Daughter from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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