It was the second day of the
trial but Crusoe could never get accustomed to the harshness of the
lights. How did so much sunshine get in here he questioned. He
sat despondent and penitent beside his lawyer Unasumin Mitymus.
He looked across at the prosecutor Hagar Lowder. His mind went
back to yesterday. Not one tittle of the proceedings had escaped
He was amazed to see the crowd
that had gathered. He tried to read into the sea of faces but
nothing registered. He listened to the whisperings and heard
nothing. He was weighed down with grief and disbelief. He ambled
up the few steps and sat beside the lawyer. When his honor waddled
in the marshall bellowed: "All rise, His Honor Eronus Fairchild
presiding." The crowd rose in unison like eager choirsters at the
command of an exuberant conductor. Crusoe rose. He turned his
eyes to heaven. "Oh Divine Master You have always snatched me just
in time. Do not neglect me now in the closing moments of my life."
His lawyer heard him but said nothing. He had become accustomed to
his incoherent soliloquies.
Judge Fairchild lowered his expanse into a special chair and
the crowd sat. The marshall began: " We are gathered here in the
court of Moral Justice in the year of our Lord two thousand and two
on this twenty eighth day of September to hear Case number 006911,
The People versus Robinson Crusoe." Crusoe stood at his lawyer's
tug. Mr. Eagle Eye continued in his officious tone. " Robinson
Crusoe, you are hereby charged on the following counts,
Heresy,Discrimination and Biased Contractual Relationship."
"How do you plead?" thundered
"Not guilty, Sir Honor,"
spluttered Crusoe as if the sound of his own name was frightening
A murmur went up from the crowd
and the judge grabbed his gavel. What he lacked in agility of gait
, he made up for in swiftness of wrist. He took off his glasses
and moved his head like a squirrel checking traffic.
"Ladies and gentlemen" . . .
He admonished the audience on proper courtroom decorum. His
discourse was rather prolix as if this were an activity he
relished. During this time Crusoe looked at the people in front of
him. He dared not turn around.
He cast his eye left and saw
twelve people in an area. Three looked like Xury. But--they
could not be related. Xury's brothers would have been much older
than these men. Three had features like Friday, but their hair did
not come down in that smooth fall. Theirs was kinky and twirly.
These had to be Negroes. Yes, he remembered them from the place
where he and Xury had stopped near Cape Verde. Two were dressed
like a cross between a preacher and a ship's captain. They wore
long black coats and high hats. There was one elderly woman.
(Could this be the widow?). Then there were three others with
intent eyes. They were fairer than Friday and wore colorful beads.
Each had two plaits which hung to the side of their faces. Their
faces were wide and their eyes seemed endless. He could not
identify the other women. All mondaine, but they were neither
black, white yellow nor brown; just shades of in-betweens. He had
never yet beheld such a colorful ethnic pot pourri. In fact he was
not even sure he was in England. It's as if someone had imported
people from Brazil, Italy and the Caribbean. Why did they have to
get them from everywhere? Surely his case was not of such import.
Hagar's figure cast a shadow
over him and he looked up to see what was happening. The man
looked at him, did a slight turn, went back on his heels and down
on his toes as if he were preparing to do an entrechat. Then he
walked towards the twelve people. "Ladies and gentlemen of
the jury," he began in obsecration. (So that's who they were
acknowledged Crusoe). "You are brought here to weigh the facts in
the charges brought against Robinson Crusoe. (Lowder was building
to a crescendo). This man received preferential treatment from the
Lord. God equipped him with tools for his survival, rescued him,
supplied his needs in abundance and provided him with help and
companionship when he needed it most. This man although
undeserving of the Lord's goodness, has received copious blessings
from His abundant grace and goodness. Yet ladies and gentlemen,
yet; this ingrate (he paused for effect) has chosen to question
God's purpose, his goodness, his benevolence and has rendered a
gratitude of convenience to our most majestic Creator. Mr. Crusoe
has vacillated in his religious commitment and openly credits his
affluence and prosperity to his own genius and creativity. He has
done this in a pompous, self-adulating fashion rather instead of
acquiescing with humility and gratitude to the Master's
graciousness and goodness.
"To add to this, Mr. Crusoe
has, in a specious manner described how as an act of graciousness
and kindness, he used for his escape, befriended for usury and
servitude and later sold into slavery one Mr.Xury. This man boasts
how he, in an act of selflessness and kindness, rescued Friday (as
was his right to name this gallant young man) whom he later used as
a hewer of wood and drawer of water. In fairness, ladies and
gentlemen, do you believe that had they been Englishmen like
himself that he would have relegated them to slavery? Crusoe in
feigned philanthropy and concern for his fellowmen rescued two sea
captains. He went into such contractual arrangements with them so
that the Spanish captain ended up guarding and protecting Crusoe's
island and the English captain declared, 'There is your ship.' The
men from the English ship ended up calling Crusoe governor.
Hagar Lowder paused, shook his head, and looked at the jurors with
a sardonic smile. "How like our artful corporate seducers, who
would entice their workers with a few dollars, just to keep them in
servile contentment while they adorn their mansions, persist in
endless impropriation, and indulge their deprecating fantasies. It
is his kind who would ascend on the backs of the poor but
attributes his success solely to his executive genius thus
justifying his opulence and leaving the impecunious existence of
his workers to the ruminations of sociologists. Ladies and
gentlemen, today you are the people's advocate and we will bring
evidence to expose Robinson Crusoe as the dissolute, artful, self-
serving, conniving usurer who would dare to ordain himself with
such eminent titles as 'Master' and 'Governor.' When you have
heard of all his schemes and machinations you will declare the only
verdict possible--guilty on all counts."
Crusoe thought that Mr. Lowder
was never going to end this discourse in approbrious semantics. He
looked and listened in disbelief. After this, he knew that he
could only hope to play with his grandchildren through iron grates.
His lawyer squeezed his shoulder reassuringly, bit hard on the edge
of his thumb, smiled and looked at the jury.
Mr. Mitymus was a small ill-dressed man. His appearance belied his legal dexterity,
persuasiveness and tenacity, hence he was dubbed in legal circles
"the gentle assasinator." He had refused Crusoe's case but not
unlike those of his well-meaning brotherhood, he was convinced by
the greatest of all exhorters--lucre.
"Ladies and gentlemen, I'm
sure, after hearing my esteemed colleague you would join me in
encouraging him to change the courtroom for the pulpit." There was
a general snicker. Judge Fairchild's head and thorax enacted a
difficult erectness and his eyes enlarged like the school teacher
to the exasperating wiseacre. The courtroom quietened instantly.
Mr. Mitymus continued. "It is
not my intention to convince you with vociferous exhortations and
exuberant gesticulations. You have heard my client--the esteemed,
generous and compassionate--Yes, compassionate Robinson Crusoe
described with all kinds of derogatory appelations. I'm sure he is
sitting there wondering who Mr. Lowder was getting loud about.
(This time the snicker was more muffled). The circumstances (as
you will eventually comprehend) which have brought my client into
this predicament were purely adventitious. Here was a young man,
curious and adventurous--like most of you were, and still are, as
some of you are still very young) the brave risk taker who wanted
to see the world. He was not at all times fortunate as Mr. Lowder
would have you believe. He was shipwrecked. Yes, providence had
smiled on him and he was the sole survivor. He was only twenty-
six. Those of you, who like myself crossed that youthful threshold
eons ago, can you remember what you were like? God in his wisdom
must have spared Mr. Crusoe for greater works, as indeed he did."
Mitymus walked with his head
bowed and shook his index finger. He was playing the ardent
courtier, but Crusoe wondered at his theatrics. Mitymus resumed.
"All of us are shaken in our
faith at sometimes. The fact that we falter (he got louder and
more admonishing) does not make us agnostics or heretics. It makes
us human. Human ladies and gentlemen--Human! Which of you has
never been there? I know the words entrepreneur, investor, piety
and philanthropy are rare bedfellows. I can assure you that Mr.
Crusoe is an exception. It was through industry, assiduousness,
will, ingenuity and an unrelenting faith in the God he serves that
Mr. Crusoe was able to survive those twenty-eight lonely years on
that desolate island. I will not tire you with useless verbage
concerning the charge of discrimination, as I find it lacking in
substance and I am appalled at any judicial interpretations that
would cause it to be presented here"
His terse criticism reflected
"I would not like to be
described as fanciful and quixotic. I am a realist. There is not
such thing as an egalitarian society. There isn't, there never
was, and there never will be. We have supervisors, leaders,
chairmen and directors. Our jobs are arranged in hierarchies.
Someone has to be in charge. As a worker who is answerable to a
supervisor, do you call yourself a slave? When Mr. Crusoe rescued
Mr. Friday, what was he to do? Ask him to watch him work? Who
does more for you? the man who gives you a fish or the one who
teaches you to fish? Isn't our great country built on cooperative
effort, industry and creativity? The good book admonishes us that,
"by the sweat of your brow you shall eat bread." We have seen the
toll that lack of industry has taken on our society. Are we to
encourage a society of inveterate freeloaders, mendicants and
beefeaters? Should we discourage entrepreneural ingenuity? Many
of you sitting in this courtroom owe your livelihood to men who
were willing to take risks. Or should they have given you handouts
rather than skills and wages? Should we dub alms as acts of
generosity and label gainful employment as exploitation and usury?
Mr. Crusoe saved Mr. Xury and Mr. Friday from a worse fate. With
the respect to the latter, no matter what cultural persuasion we
favor, frankly, I cannot see any of us championing the merits of
cannibalism. And to encourage someone to be ungrateful to his or
her benefactor is far beyond the comprehension of my faculties.
"Fear is a primordial sentiment
of humans. We guard against the destruction of our person and our
property. Would any of you willingly allow yourself or your
property to be destroyed? If not, then we will have to allow this
fine citizen the right to exercise the same privileges. Diplomacy
is being used to save lives--even to protect whole countries.
Parties enter into relationships where compromise becomes mutually
beneficial. It is this diplomacy that my colleague is
misinterpreting as contractual bias. Should Mr. Crusoe have
arbitrarily gone into these agreements without binding clauses to
protect his person and his property? I think not. And frankly,
ladies and gentlemen without Robinson Crusoe there would have been
no Mr. Xury, no Mr. Friday, no English captain and no Spanish
captain and to punish Mr. Crusoe for his treatment of them is to
render these men as the worst of ingrates.
"Ladies and gentlemen, do not
be swayed by sentiments. Judge the evidence and the evidence
Crusoe had expected his father
to be older. He looked almost as young as he.
"Sir, are you the father of the
"Sir, how would you describe
"Was he disobedient?"
"He never really..
"Yes or no, Sir."
"Did you advise him against
going on a voyage?"
"Yes, I, . . .
"Is it your belief Sir, that it
is God's will that cildren should obey their parents?"
"Objection! ,the witness is not
a certified minister; he is not qualified to determine God's will."
"Did your son show any remorse
about leaving his family especially considering the fact that one
son had already left home?"
" No Sir, he did not."
"What effect did this have on
"She was heartbroken."
"Did you show him the
scriptures regarding disobedience of children to parents?"
"Yes Sir, we did."
"How did he react?"
"He was adamant. There was no
Throughout the testimony,
Crusoe's father did not look at him. Surely, his father could not
be holding that old grudge against him. He could not bear to admit
that Crusoe had made a good living for himself without any help
from him. As he heard it, his mother had refused to testify
against him. In fact, she was barely audible because of a stroke
that she had suffered. Mitymus got up and addressed Crusoe's
father in a voice somewhat a mixture of derision, respect and pity.
"Mr Crusoe, was your son a
"That, he was Sir.""Did this
curiosity get less or more as your son grew into a young man?"
"It grew worse, Sir. He . . .
" He was about to explain but the lawyer cut him off.
"Are you an Englishman by
birth, Mr. Crusoe?"
"Where are you from?"
"From Germany, Sir."
"So you yourself, have somewhat
of an adventurous spirit? Sons usually emulate fathers."
"It was for religion . . . "
He was drowned by Mitymus.
"Mr Crusoe, are you angry because your son disobeyed you or that he
disobeyed you and followed his intuitions and by his own will and
ingenuity not yours--made fortunes greater than he could ever have
made had he stayed at home?"
"He was disobedient, riotous,
unrepentant and preferred the company of undesirables rather than
his own family. He.. . " He would have gone on, but Mr. Mitymus
said, "No further questions."
It was Moley's turn.
"Mr. Ishmael, why did you
accompany Mr. Crusoe on that little ship--a barco-longo I think
it is called?"
"He said we were going
"How did Mr. Crusoe trick you
into stealing your patron's guns?"
"He said that we were going to
"What happened while you were
"Mr. Crusoe pushed me
overboard, held me at gunpoint and threatened to shoot me."
"How did you escape?"
"I had to swim three miles to
Mr. Mitymus got up.
"Mr. Ishmael, while you were
swimming, could Mr. Crusoe have easily shot you?"
"Yes Sir! Yes Sir!" he
"Did he have a clear aim?"
"So he could have easily killed
"I see you are still alive."
Xury approached the stand. He
had grown from a young sook into and older sook. Mr. Lowder took a
piece of paper and looked at it. He glanced at the paper and then
spoke as if he were making a royal proclamation.
"'Xury, if you will be faithful
to me, I'll make you a great man; but if you will not stroke your
face to be true to me, I must throw you into the sea.' Do you
remember these words?"
"Who said them?"
Xury pointed to Crusoe and
"Were you faithful to him?"
"Yes Sir", he said, bowing his
head several times.
"So you are now a great man."
"Oh no Sir."
"What did Mr. Crusoe do for
"He sold me." His voice was
"Speak louder Mr Xury."
"He sold me Sir," he said, his
eyes now misty. The crowd gave an agonizing gasp.
"Did you help the man you
called master to gain his liberty?"
"But he sold yours." It was
not a question.
"Objection," cavilled Mr.
Mitymus, "Mr. Xury was not a free man."
"Mr. Xury, did this gentleman
treat you well while you were in his employ?"
"Objection, the witness
received no wages from Mr. Crusoe."
"Did you express your
willingness to go with the Brazilian captain?"
"Yes Sir, but. . ."
"So you had a choice."
Xury jumped up and screamed,
"What choice? What choice? slavery for a Brazilian or slavery for
an English man? Which choice?"
There were the other witnesses
for the prosecution. There were Tom Smith and Will Atkins and
William Frye from the mutiny and the English captain. Lowder tried
in vain to rattle the captain, but the gentleman kept saying, "He
saved us, he saved us." It was Friday's turn. Crusoe relaxed. He
was quite shaken from Xury's outburst. After all, he had also
saved Friday's life, turned him into a Christian and taught him to
"May we call you Mr. Friday?"
"Friday, my name" he said, a
little too pleased.
"Mr. Friday, you have spent a
lot of time with Mr. Crusoe, haven't you?"
"Yes, I spend very long time
with my master."
"Why do you call him master?"
"That what he say I call him"
"During your time with Mr.
Crusoe, did he ever ask you your name?"
"He give me name--Friday."
"Did you have a name before you
came to the island?"
"Oh yes, yes. I sorry."
"Did Mr. Crusoe ever ask you
for that name?"
"No, master don't ask name."
"Who taught you to speak
"My master, I speak well now."
"Does he know any words from
"No he don't learn my
laguage,he my master"
"Are you a christian Mr.
"Yes, I pray Jesus Christ."
"And to whom did you pray
"God in the mountain."
"Why did you stop praying to
the God in the mountain?"
"My master say bad God, he
teach me christian God better." "Thank you Mr. Friday."
"Mr. Friday, do you love this
"Yes Sir, I love master."
"You may call him Mr. Crusoe.
Why do you love him?"
"He save life, mans eat me. I
run, master save me."
"How did he treat you while you
were with him?"
"He teach Friday 'No,' 'yes,'
'bring,' 'Help,' 'go' . . ." He would have continued with elan but
Mr. Mitymus stopped him. "Did he give you clothes,
food, shelter? Did he cook for you? Did he protect you?"
"Yes Sir, master save life and
protect me like good Christian."
Crusoe slapped himself because
he was sure that he had been stung by a mosquito. He felt the
lawyer squeezing his shoulder and someone saying: "We call
Robinson Crusoe to the stand --to the stand--to the stand." The
words came out like several repeats from a musket. The second day
had begun. He found himself sitting where Xury and Friday had sat
and Mr Lowder's face, Mr. Lowder's everything was suffocating him.
"Mr. Crusoe, do you consider
yourself a Christian?"
"Yes Sir, I do."
"Do you believe that parents
should be honored in all things lawful?"
"Yet you dishonored yours with
Crusoe had no response. He just
hung his head on his chest.
"Let's look at an entrance in
your journal of June twenty seventh of 1658. 'I do not remember
that I had in all that time, one thought that so much as tended
either to looking upwards towards God or inwards towards a
reflection upon my own ways.' On what occasion did you write these
"It was only at the beginning.
. . I. . .I . . ."
"At the beginning when you were
the only man saved on that ship or only when you were sick to the
point of death? You have chosen (as a Christian) to neglect God
and spurn his graciousness towards you. Sir, didn't you in fact
refer to God's saving you as a 'dreadful deliverance' and isn't it
true that in spite of all the provisions that God made for your
sustenance on that island that all you could call yourself was
'Poor Robinson Crusoe'?"
"But I made reparation, I gave
"To whom did you give? Let's
see--an already rich captain, another captain who had given to you
and a widow who had saved for you. You gave to those who had given
to you. It was merely an exchange of services. And to those whom
you used, how did you treat them? Is that one of the precepts of
Christianity, to be kind to the already rich?"
"Did Mr. Xury help you to
procure your freedom?"
"Did you promise to be fair to
"Yes and I was."
"How? By selling his freedom?
Do you remember the Brazilian captain's words to you after he saved
you? Let me refresh your memory. (and he quoted) 'I have saved your
life on no other terms than I would be glad to be saved myself. .
. ' In other words, Mr. Crusoe, the Golden Rule. 'Do unto others
as you would have them do to you' As a christian, is that what you
did for Xury?"
"He was to have his freedom."
"On what terms Mr. Crusoe?" (he
became louder and more disdainful) and then he spat: "Only if he
gave up his religion. You who claim to honor and revere yours would
allow another human being to be denied his. We have already heard
Mr. Friday's testimony but let's retrace our step. You saved him
"Yes Sir, I did."
"In your journal you wrote. 'I
taught him to say "master" and let him know that was to be my
name.' And you further wrote--'I made it my business to teach him
everything that was proper to make him useful, handy and helpful.'
Are those your words Mr. Crusoe?"
"You saved him to make him a
servant, isn't that so?"
"Objection! That's mere
speculation on counsel's part."
"Mr. Crusoe, under what
conditions did you promise to give protection to the Spanish
captain and his men?"
"That they should be absolutely
under my leading as their commander and captain."
"When you helped to quell the
mutiny and the captain said to you, 'There is your ship!' Did you
"In fact, you were in charge of
that ship throughout its voyage to England, weren't you? Is it
true to say sir, that unlike the Brazilian captain your benevolence
always had conditions which were totally to your advantage?"
"One last question, Mr. Crusoe.
Where were you going when you became shipwrecked?"
"Could you tell the court the
purpose of your journey to Africa?"
"To buy slaves."
Mr. Lowder sat down, his
disgust evident, but there was also a satisfied resignation. He
had used all the points well. In his mind, the defense would have
a mammoth task trying to equal his performance.
"Mr. Crusoe, are you the owner
of, or ever were the owner of an English ship?"
"No Sir." (The crowd
"How did the owners of the ship
react when they heard of your heroic deeds?"
"They were so grateful sir,
they gave me two hundred pounds."
"Had it not been for your
intervention what would have happened?"
"The captain would have been
killed and the mutineers would have captured the ship."
"Objection! the witness cannot
be sure that that would have happened."
"Wasn't the boatswain already
"Yes Sir, he was."
"Mr. Crusoe, did you discuss
the Brazilian captain's proposition with Xury?"
"Yes Sir! I did."
"So he went of his own choice."
"Mr. Friday has already made it
clear that you treated him kindly and protected him and his father.
But, let me ask a question just for clarification. Did you make an
attempt to take back Mr. Friday to his own people?"
"Yes Sir, I did."
"Tell the court what happened
on this occasion."
"He got angry and started
asking what he had done to offend me. He said that I might as well
kill him rather than send him back."
"Why did you teach Mr. Friday
to speak English?"
"I just wanted us to be able to
talk to each other, and I chose the words which I thought were
easiest to learn."
"We are aware that you set
conditions for the kind of relationship you had with the people
whom you rescue. Why was this?"
"I had to show some authority
to protect my life, the things which I had built and the food which
I had grown for my sustenance. I did not know these men. It was
the best way to save myself." "So you did this only for
Mr Mitymus had left the
question of Christianity for last. This was his trump card and he
wanted to keep it fresh in the jury's mind.
"On July fourth, 1658 you
wrote:'Jesus, Thou son of David, Jesus, Thou exalted Prince and
Savior, give me repentance!' Why did you write this?"
"I had come to realize that in
spite of my loneliness, I had so much to be thankful for. I had my
life and everything that I needed. It was my way of thanking the
Lord and asking for His forgiveness."
"Tell the court what you did on
the thirtieth of September for the 28 years you were on the
"I kept this day as a solemn
fast, setting it apart to religious exercise, prostrating myself
on the ground with ther most serious humiliation, confessing my
sins to God, acknowledging his righteous judgments upon me and
praying to Him to have mercy on me through Jesus Christ."
Crusoe was quoting from his
journal of September thirtieth, 1658. His lawyer had forced him to
memorize the entry so that he could repeat it in the most ardent
and convincing manner.
"I have no further questions."
"Mr. Lowder?" ( It was Judge
"Mr. Crusoe, you said that Mr.
Xury went to the Brazilian captain of his own choice. Would you
tell the court how much you received from the captain."
"Answer the question Mr.
Crusoe." Judge Fairchild was adamant.
"Sixty pieces of eight,"
replied Crusoe shamefully. This time he kept his head lowered.
The recess ended and Mr. Lowder
began his summation. "Thomas Hooker in his essay, 'The Soul's
Vocation,' tells us that whatsoever our weaknesses, wants or
necessities be, there is full sufficiency in God's mercy to give
the full content in every particular.' Another devout Christian
Thomas Heron in his sermon 'The Worldling's Downfall' also warns us
that, 'a man may prosper outwardly, and yet still be hateful and
abominable before God.' "We have seen how Mr. Crusoe has
abused the stewardship that God has given him. He has received
blessing, but he did not extend such generosity without conditions.
He wanted to be exalted for his generosity. He is what St.Paul
would call 'a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.' How can he
call himself a Christian and choose to disobey the teachings of the
Lord as he did. Is christianity a convenience, good one day and
dispensable the next?
"We have seen that the only
time that Mr. Crusoe showed any sign of contriteness was when he
thought himself at the point of death. His generosity was only an
exchange of goods in a well connected network of affluent friends--a subtle quid pro quo arrangement. He taught Mr. Friday to
'helpful' and 'dutiful' after setting himself as master over him.
I'll teach you no more than what will keep you obedient. I'll feed
you and teach you to be a happy servant.
"You have heard Mr. Crusoe
state that Mr. Xury helped him to procure his own freedom.
Mr.Crusoe repaid him by selling him into slavery. I suppose this
was a Christian action. I can assure you, ladies and gentlemen,
that there is no such thing as a slave who fared well. You have
listened to his contractual relationships. You can determine
whether he was afraid or he was propelled by greed and a desire to
rule over his 'subjects' as he called them. "Members of the
jury, the citizenry has put its trust in your hands. Examine the
evidence, think carefully about it. You cannot, after all you have
heard reach any other verdict except guilty on all counts."
"Ladies and gentlemen, I have
never heard of anyone (except Jesus Christ of course) who has ever
been given a prison sentence for saving the lives of his fellowmen
and for restoring their property to them. I'm sure you would not
force this court to start setting a precedence of ingratitude and
degeneracy. The citizens of this fair land credit its people as
having fair minds and intelligence. My client has given just reason
for the terms he set in the different relationships that he formed.
It was plain and simple fear. After all, at each instance he had to
face brutality, violence and recklessness. His sole concern (as
would be yours if you were in his situation) was the preservation
of his life. As the only one knowledgeable about the island, it
was incumbent upon him to provide structure and a sense of order.
Without a sense of order humanity would descend into chaos and
rapid destruction. It was this that Mr. Crusoe worked so hard at
"We have heard Mr. Friday and
the English and Spanish captains express their gratitude for their
lives, and for the kindnesses that Mr. Crusoe showed them.
Everyone expresses gratitude differently. Mr. Friday chose to stay
with Mr. Crusoe and be his friend and companion. You cannot in
good conscience call their relationship that of an unfair and
exacting master and an unhappy slave. It more resembled that of an
older and wiser brother and a younger less experienced one.
"The prosecutor referred to
Thomas Hooker's essay, 'The Soul's Devotion.' In that very essay,
that wise man also states that: 'The condition of every in the fall
of Adam is that there is not only a great deal of weakness in the
soul, but there is a great deal of wants and emptiness in the soul.
That visionary also explained that if horror siezes a man's heart
there is a way to succour himself. He explains that God's fullness
and sufficiency of mercy lays provisions for future wants and
calamities that can, (can ladies and gentlemen) befall the soul.
If God in his wisdom makes provisions for man's weakness, and is
willing to offer mercy and forgiveness for man's disobedience to
Him is it not our duty and obligation as fellow weaklings to do the
same? The evidence in Mr. Crusoe's journal is enough testimony to
his repentance and devotion.
"Ladies and gentlemen, examine
the evidence, search your just minds. Judge this man on his
behavior, not as any man lesser or greater than yourselves but
equal to yourselves. If you can do this, in all fairness, the only
verdict you can return is not guilty on all counts."
The jury retired. Crusoe had
been on the stand for two and a half hours. It was now three
o'clock in the afternoon. The members of the jury filed into their
neat rows. The foreman gave a slip of paper to the marshall and
the latter handed it to Judge Fairchild. The order was reversed
and the foreman took the paper. During the recess Crusoe had all
the time to mull over counsel Lowder's opening statement and
summation. They raked his brain like cats scratching at a closed
door. His father must have told the lawyer more than what was said
on the stand. How could anyone do such a visceral inspection of
another's motives and behavior? It is said that God shows his
evidence through chaos. Maybe this was God's way of forcing him
once more to acknowledge His omnipotence.
"Mr. Crusoe will you please
He felt as if he were
suffocating. He stepped too much forward and hit himself against
the bench in front.
"Ladies and gentlemen,have you
reached a verdict?"
"Yes, we have your honor."
"On the charge of heresy, how
"On the charge of Bias
Contractual Relationship how say you?" "Not Guilty."
"On the charge of
Discrimination, how say you?"
The crowd outside was chanting
"No more master! No more master!" Gradually the voices waned.
They now seem to be in the distance. The menacing chant had lost
its choral resonance and strident timbre. Now Crusoe heard a
gentle: "Master, no more. Master, no more." Friday was standing
over him and laughing because Crusoe was twisting and turning in a
mosquito net. Now he remembered. It was the first anniversary
after he had returned from England. Tomorrow would be September
thirty. He had sent Friday to search for grapes. He had not found
any. This was since ten o'clock. The sun was now heading west.
It must be after two. Crusoe untangled himself and looked at Friday
with a melancholic smile.
"Friday, what did your parents
13 Sept. 1809
Edward Rochester was arrested
at his home, Thornfield, in Millcote and was brought to London
for trial under a new law just passed by Parliament. Mr. Rochester
was charged with three counts of Assault by Mental Cruelty towards
his governess, Miss Jane Eyre. He is the first person to be
charged under this new law, passed last month. The law was designed
to protect women who have no one to shield them from villains
who browbeat their victims into committing heinous acts or into
asylums. Details about the indictment are expected to be made
public at the preliminary hearing. This trial will be the test
case for future legislation and will be covered in depth by
15 Sept. 1809
Pandemonium reigned at the courthouse
today as Edward Rochester was brought in for the preliminary
hearing. Men and women craned for a sight of him as he was hustled
into the court. Coverage in the newspapers has made this case
an overnight sensation. The coffee houses and bars are humming
as everyone tries to find a way of attending the trial as soon
as it is decided which court will hear the case. Due to the
nature of the crime and legal technicalities, it was finally
decided to assign the case to the court of Chancery. Details
about what actually happened will have to wait until the trial
since the preliminary hearing was not open to the public. It
is being rumored that the trial will be closed also. However,
members of the press are expected to be admitted. I will continue
to bring you details.
19 Sept. 1809
Feelings are running high concerning
the Rochester-Eyre trial. The Chancellor, fearing a riot in
the courtroom, has banned from the proceedings the general public,
but is allowing the trial to start in a couple of days as soon
as the calendar is cleared. This reporter is one of the press
to be admitted and I will continue to keep my readers apprised
of all the details surrounding this case.
21 Sept. 1809
There were boos and catcalls
as Mr. Rochester was sighted being led into the courthouse.
Any thoughts the crowd had of administering their own justice
was quelled by the dozens of constables and mounted policemen
surrounding the court. Inside, an excited murmur rose in the
press section. This quickly died at a glare from the Chancellor.
After Mr. Rochester was placed in the dock, the barristers took
their positions and the case was started. A plea of not guilty
was entered as Mr. Rochester from the dock. The barrister for
the prosecution, Sir William Bentley, spoke first.
"We intend to prove that on three
separate occasions, Mr. Edward Rochester was deliberately and
maliciously cruel to his governess, Miss Jane Eyre. The first
of these occasions was a house party at Thornfield where he
allowed her to be humiliated by a house guest. The second occasion
was when he told her that he was getting married to Miss Ingram
and that she would have to leave; when all along he had no intention
of marrying Miss Ingram and was just testing Miss Eyre's affections.
The third and final time was when he tried to marry her when
he already had a wife whom he kept locked in an attic and forced
her to leave Thornfield to seek shelter elsewhere. I intend
to call witnesses to prove these charges and show this man for
the monster that he is.
"If it please the court, I would
like to start with the first count and call my first witness."
When Mrs. Fairfax had been escorted
to the witness box and sworn in, Sir Bentley asked, "Mrs. Fairfax,
you are the housekeeper at Thornfield?"
"Do you recall a houseparty there
when Lady Ingram, Miss Ingram and others were guests there?"
"Did you have a conversation
with Miss Eyre on the second day of the houseparty about bringing
her pupil into the drawing room that night?"
"Yes, I told Miss Eyre that she
was expected to accompany Miss Adele to the drawing room after
dinner to meet the ladies."
"Did Miss Eyre want to go?"
"No. I thought that she wouldn't
and made mention of this to Mr. Rochester. He said to tell her
that it was his particular wish; and if she resists, tell her
I will come and fetch her in case of contumacy."
"Thank you, Mrs. Fairfax. Any
questions, Mr. Smythe?"
Mr. Smythe, the defense barrister,
rose and replied, "Not at this time."
Bentley proceed to call his next
witness to the stand.
"Miss Ingram, do
you recall attending a houseparty at Thornfield?"
"Do you recall a conversation
that you had with Mr. Rochester on the second evening of the
"We had many conversations."
"The conversation was about governesses."
"Oh yes, I remember."
"What did you say?"
"Oh, that I was surprised that
he kept the child at home instead of sending her to school.
After all, school would be cheaper."
"Did you say anything else?"
"Yes, that he should ask my mother
about our governesses."
"Miss Ingram, did you give your
opinion of governesses?"
"What is your opinion?"
"Well. I said that I find them
either detestable or ridiculous. Why, the governesses I had
were all nuisances. My brother and I took delight in tormenting
them, especially Madame Joubert. We'd drive her to extremities
and then we'd sermonize her on the presumption of teaching such
clever blades as we were, when she herself was so ignorant.
We even brought a liaison between my brother's tutor and Miss
Wilson to my mother's attention in order to hoist the deadweights
from the house."
"Miss Ingram, were you aware
that Miss Eyre was in the room and could hear your conversation?"
"Yes, I was."
"Was Mr. Rochester aware of her
"Why yes, I told him myself that
she was behind the window curtain."
"Did he made any comment?"
"Not then, but he did ask my
mother to continue with her remarks about governesses. However,
she asked me to continue them for her."
"Thank you, Miss Ingram. Any
questions, Mr. Smythe?"
"Yes. Miss Ingram, did Mr. Rochester
make any remarks about governesses or give his opinion of them?"
Not then, but, but he did ask
my mother to continue with her remarks about governesses. However,
she asked me to continue them for her."
"Thank you, Miss Ingram, that
will be all."
"I'd like to call my next witness,
"Lady Ingram, do
you remember taking part in the conversation about governesses?"
"Yes, of course."
"What did you say?"
"I said I had suffered a martyrdom
from their incompetence and caprice. Thank God I don't have
to deal with them anymore."
"What did Mr. Rochester ask you
"Oh. I had said that I was a
judge of physiognomy and that I could the faults of her class
in the governess, and he wanted to know what they were. I referred
him to Blanche."
"Did Miss Eyre hear your conversation?"
"I neither know nor care. It
would do her good if she did."
"Thank you, Lady Ingram. Any
questions, Mr. Smythe?
"Not at this time."
"At this time, I'd like to call
Miss Jane Eyre to the stand."
"Miss Eyre, you
are governess to Mr. Rochester's ward, Adele?"
"Do you remember the conversation
that we have been discussing?"
"Yes, I do."
"What were your feelings during
and after this conversation?"
"At first, I drew back, hoping
that no one would notice me. Then, I left as soon as I could
do so unnoticed. I was a bit upset and just wanted to go up
to my room."
"Was Mr. Rochester aware of how
"Yes. He saw me go out and stopped
me on the stairs."
"What did he say?"
"He wanted me to return to the
drawing room. I said I was tired. Mr. Rochester remarked that
I looked depressed and saw that my eyes were teary. He excused
me for that night, but wanted me to be in the drawing room every
night the visitors were there."
"Did he say why?"
"Thank you, Miss Eyre."
The Chancellor called for a break
in the proceedings, and the case will continue tomorrow.
22 Sept. 1809
Torrential rains drove the spectators
indoors today to eagerly await the next installment of testimony,
and the session started without incident. Sir Bentley started
"I would like to call the witness
for the second count at this time. (The second count is when
he tells her that he's getting married to Miss Ingram when he
has no intention of doing so.) I would like Miss Eyre to return
to the stand."
"Miss Eyre, would you please
give us the details of your conversation with Mr. Rochester
concerning to Miss Ingram?"
"It was Midsummer Eve and Adele
had just gone to bed, exhausted from berry picking. I was walking
in the garden when Mr. Rochester joined me there. He told me
that the time had come for me to move on. He expected to be
a bridegroom in about a month's time, and would find me employment
and an asylum. In fact, his future mother-in-law had heard of
a position in Ireland with the O'Gall family. I protested that
it was far away. He said that the bond that joined us would
break with that much distance, and that I would forget him.
I started to sob. I sobbed that I wished I'd never been born
or come to Thornfield. I love Thornfield. I have talked, face
to face, with what I reverence; with what I delight in, with
an original, vigorous, expanded mind. I told him that I didn't
want to be torn from him forever, even though I saw the necessity.
He asked what necessity? I responded: The necessity you have
placed before me in the shape of your bride, Miss Ingram. After
I explained to him in explicit terms that I could not remain
with him and his wife, he confessed to me that he was not getting
married to Miss Ingram; that he wanted to marry me instead.
Miss Ingram was only after his money, whereas he was sure now
that I loved him and he wanted me to marry him."
"Miss Eyre, did you accept his
"Yes, I did."
"Thank you, Miss Eyre. Mr. Smythe,
do you have any questions?"
"Not at this time."
"The final count against Mr.
Rochester is the most serious of the charges. Attempted bigamy
is a capital offense. I wish to call my first witness, Mr. Briggs."
"Mr. Briggs, what
is your occupation?"
"I am a lawyer."
"And how are you connected to
"I was asked by my client to
stop a wedding between Mr. Rochester and Miss Eyre."
"Why was that?"
"Mr. Rochester was already married
to my client's sister."
"Thank you, Mr. Briggs. Any questions,
Mr. Smythe just shook his head.
"I would like to call my next
witness, Mr. Mason."
"Mr. Mason, were
you present when Mr. Rochester attempted to marry Miss Eyre?"
"Yes, I was the witness that
swore she was alive three months earlier and in residence at
"How come no one knew of her
"Rochester had her locked away
in an attic with a nurse-keeper. Those that knew of her existence
had no idea she was his wife."
"How long were they married?"
"When did she become mad?"
"Shortly after the marriage.
Mr. Rochester told us all and took us to see her. She resembled
an animal more than anything, and she attacked him while we
were there. He told us Miss Eyre knew nothing of the previous
"Thank you, Mr. Mason. Any questions,
As Mr. Smythe rose to start his
questions, Mr. Rochester summoned him to the dock. His features
set into a fierce scowl, he waved aside Mr. Smythe's arguments
and insisted upon something.
"If the Court pleases, Mr. Rochester
would like to change his plea to guilty in order to spare Miss
Eyre additional suffering."
"So be it. I will retire to consider
the sentence. Court will reconvene in two days."
Pandemonium broke out in the
court; as reported, all tried to be out the door first. Rochester
was led away giving one last longing look toward Miss Eyre.
Miss Eyre was being helped from the courtroom by her barrister.
Speculation on what the sentence
will be is running wild. There are those who favor hanging.
This will not help Miss Eyre since it is obvious that she is
still in love with him. I will have details of the sentence
as soon as possible.
24 Sept. 1809
Readers, if I were not at the
courtroom myself, and heard the sentence with my own ears, I
would not have believed it. The Chancellor declared that since
this was a highly unusual case, and since Miss Eyre had no one
to protect her, he, the Chancellor, would provide her with someone.
Now for the details of the sentence.
First, the court is appointing
Mr. St. John Rivers, her cousin, as her trustee. Second, Mr.
Rochester has to relinquish his money and his land to the Crown.
The Crown then awarded said money and land in trust for Miss
Eyre to Mr. Rivers. Third, since Mrs. Rochester perished in
a fire last year, Edward Rochester is ordered by the Crown to
marry Miss Eyre, and he will be dependent on her for his life
At the conclusion of the trial,
a cheer went up as Mr. Rochester freed from the dock went over
to Miss Eyre, Knelt down on one knee, and kissed her hang. There
were cheers and boos heard all over the city. Those that had
favored hanging could not understand the sentence, saying he
got what he wanted all along. However, manacles are manacles
be they of velvet or of steel.