by Elaine Vassell

      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 his memory.

      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 Judge Fairchild.

      "Not guilty, Sir Honor," spluttered Crusoe as if the sound of his own name was frightening to him.

      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 his disdain.

      "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 alone."

      Crusoe had expected his father to be older. He looked almost as young as he.

      "Sir, are you the father of the defendant?"

      "Yes, Sir."

      "Sir, how would you describe your son?"


      "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 your wife?"

      "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 stopping him."

      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 curious child?"

      "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?"

      "No Sir."

      "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 fishing."

      "How did Mr. Crusoe trick you into stealing your patron's guns?"

      "He said that we were going to shoot alcamies."

      "What happened while you were out fishing?"

      "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 shore.'

      Mr. Mitymus got up.

      "Mr. Ishmael, while you were swimming, could Mr. Crusoe have easily shot you?"

      "Yes Sir! Yes Sir!" he exclaimed eagerly.

      "Did he have a clear aim?"

      "Yes Sir."

      "So he could have easily killed you?"

      "Yes Sir."

      "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?"

      "Yes sir."

      "Who said them?"

      Xury pointed to Crusoe and said, "Master."

      "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 you?"

      "He sold me." His voice was barely audible.

      "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?"

      "Yes Sir."

      "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 speak English.

      "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 English?"

      "My master, I speak well now."

      "Does he know any words from your language?"

      "No he don't learn my laguage,he my master"

      "Are you a christian Mr. Friday?"

      "Yes, I pray Jesus Christ."

      "And to whom did you pray before?"

      "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 gentleman?"

      "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?"

      "Yes Sir."

      "Yet you dishonored yours with disobedience."

      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 words?"

      "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 back double."

      "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?"

      "Yes Sir."

      "Did you promise to be fair to him?"

      "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 didn't you?"

      "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?"

      "Yes, Sir."

      "You saved him to make him a servant, isn't that so?"

      "Objection! That's mere speculation on counsel's part."

      "Objection overruled."

      "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 object?"

      "No Sir."

      "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?"

      "To Africa."

      "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 snickered).

      "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."

      "Objection sustained."

      "Wasn't the boatswain already killed?"

      "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."

      "Yes Sir."

      "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 protection?"

      "Yes Sir."

      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 island."

      "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 Fairchild).

      "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."

      Crusoe hesitated.

      "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 preventing.

      "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 stand?"

      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 say you?"

      "Not Guilty"

      "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 call you?"


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 this reporter.

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?"
      "I am."
      "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 houseparty?"
      "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 presence?"
      "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."


      "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 about?"
      "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 you felt?"
      "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 the session.
      "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 proposal?"
      "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 Mr. Rochester?"
      "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?"
      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 Thornfield."
      "How come no one knew of her existence?"
      "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?"
      "Fifteen years."
      "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 marriage."
      "Thank you, Mr. Mason. Any questions, Mr. Smythe?"
      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 and liberty.
      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.

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