Cry, The Beloved Country Book 2, Chapter 22
The courtroom is a serious place. Judges are given the utmost respect, because everyone believes they are incorruptible. "In a land of fear this incorruptibility is like a lamp set upon a stand, giving light to all that are in the house." Chapter 22, pg. 158 The trial begins: Absalom pleads innocent to the charge of murder, saying he did not mean to kill, and Matthew and the other boy, Johannes Pafuri, plead innocent. Absalom is questioned, and relates the events of the day of the murder. He says that they chose the day because Johannes said no one would be in the house. Johannes brought along an iron bar, and when the servant cried out for Arthur, Johannes hit him over the head with it. Then Arthur appeared in the doorway, and Absalom shot him in fear. The three of them left separately, and met again at Mrs. Mkize's house. The judge interrupts, asking Absalom why he had a revolver. Absalom replies that he had it to frighten people, and to use in case someone shot at him. He would not have used it on a decent person, he says-he only shot Arthur because he was afraid. He tells the judge that Johannes had the iron bar for frightening people too; that was all it was supposed to be used for. The Prosecutor continues, asking Absalom if the others are lying when they say that no murder was ever discussed at Mrs. Mkize's house, and Absalom says they are. He says that Mrs. Mkize was afraid and told them all to leave. He buried his revolver and prayed for forgiveness. The Prosecutor seems shocked by this. Absalom says that he wandered about for a few days, terrified, and then the police came asking him where Johannes was. He confessed then, and told them that Johannes and Matthew had been with him, but he was the one who had killed Arthur. He says he decided never to lie or do anything evil again. He says that he repented because he was in trouble. On the way out of the courthouse, Kumalo notices James Jarvis, and cannot look at him.