Puslapio vaizdai

延 frowned with plates, exps and saucen, kun und bau este burgenfitive boy copia were provided for those who sendspacem, vt they were used by the Russian und. uerian gen only in a tentative and exame way. When we had all taken Saute e a gan fagon containing a seromar kad di dark-colored Chinese vinegar was passed round, and every guest poured woré tal a ga of it into a small saucer bewder a plate.

"what a the vinegar for?" I asked Mr. Leonikoff.


#16 dp your food in," he replied. "The Chinese if. Maimachin eat almost everything with vinegar. It is n't bad."

As I had not the faintest idea what was coming in the shape of food, I reserved my judgment as to the expediency of using vinegar and maintained an attitude of expectancy. In a few moments the first course was brought in. I will not undertake to say positively what it was, but I find it described in my note-book as "a prickly sea-weed or sea plant of some kind, resembling stiff moss." It had presumably been boiled or cooked in some way, but I cannot venture to affirm anything whatever with regard to it except that it was cold and had a most disagreeable appearance. Each of the Russian guests took a small quantity of it, sopped a morsel in the dark-colored vinegar, and ate it, if not with relish, at least with heroic confidence and composure. There was nothing for Mr. Frost and me to do but to follow the example. The next nine courses, taking them in order, I find described in my note-book as follows:

1. Shreds of cold meat embedded in small diamond-shaped molds of amber-colored jelly. 2. Black mushrooms of a species to me unknown.

3. Salad of onions and finely shredded herbs. 4. Lichens from birch trees.

5. Thin slices of pale, unwholesome-looking sausage, component materials unknown.

6. Small diamonds, circles, and squares of boiled egg, dyed in some way so as to resemble scraps of morocco leather.

7. The tails of crawfish fried brown. 8. Long-fronded sea-weed of a peculiar grass green color.

9. Curly fibers of some marine plant that looked like shredded cabbage.

I do not pretend to say that these brief entries in my note-book describe with scientific accuracy the articles of food to which they relate. I did not know, and could not find out, what many of the courses were, and all I could do was to note e impression that they made upor them by the names of the t med most to

resemble. All of these preparations, without exception, were served cold and were eaten with vinegar. Over a brazier of coals on a broad van near the table stood a shallow pan of hot water, in which were half immersed three or four siver pots or pitchers containing the colorless nice-brandy known as maigalo. After every course of the dinner a servant went round the table with one of these pitchers and filled with the hot Equor a small porcelain cup like a Japanese saki-cup that had been placed beside every guest's plate.

I had heard a short time before this an anecdote of an ignorant East Siberian peasant, who in making an excavation for some purpose found what he supposed to be the almost perfectly preserved remains of a mammoth. With the hope of obtaining a reward he determined to report this extraordinary find to the ispravnik, and in order to make his story more impressive he tasted some of the flesh of the extinct beast so that he could say to the police officer that the animal was in such a state of preservation as to be actually eatable. An investigation was ordered, a scientist from the Irkutsk geographical society was sent to the spot, and the remains of the mammoth were found to be a large deposit of the peculiar Siberian mineral known as "gorni kozha" (gór-nee kó-zhaa), or "mineral leather." The irritated ispravnik, who felt that he had been made to appear like an ignorant fool in the eyes of the Irkutsk scientists, sent for the peasant and said to him angrily, "You stupid blockhead! Did n't you tell me that you had actually eaten some of this stuff? It is n't a mammoth at all; it's a mineral—a thing that they take out of mines."

"I did eat it, Barin" (Báh-rin, meaning "Master"), maintained the peasant stoutly; "but," he added, with a sheepish self-excusatory air, "what can't you eat with butter? "

As the servants in Maimachin brought round and handed to us successively black mushrooms, crawfish tails, tree-lichens, and sea-weed I thought of the peasant's mammoth and said to myself, "What can't one eat with vinegar and Chinese brandy?"

After the last of the cold victuals had been served and disposed of the dishes were cleared away, the saucers were replenished with vinegar, and the hot courses came on as follows:

1. Meat dumplings, consisting of finely minced veal inclosed in a covering of dough and boiled.

Mr. Frost, by some occult process of divination, discovered, or thought he discovered, that the essential component of these dumplings was young dog, and he firmly refused to have anything whatever to do with them even in combination with vinegar. I reproached him

for this timidity, and assured him that such unfounded prejudices were unworthy the character of a man who professed to be a traveler and an investigator, and a man, moreover, who had already spent three years in the Russian Empire. Had I known, however, what was yet to come, I think I should have held my peace. 2. Finely minced meat pressed into small balls and fried.

3. Small meat pies, or pâtés.

4. Boiled fowl, served in a thick whitish gravy with large snails.

At this course I felt compelled to draw the line. The snails had turned black in the process of cooking and resembled nothing so much as large boiled tomato-vine worms; and although I drank two cupfuls of hot rice-brandy with the hope of stimulating my resolution up to the point of tasting them, my imagination took the bit between its teeth and ran away with my reason.

5. Fat of some kind in soft, whitish, translucent lumps.

6. Roast sucking pig, served whole. This was perhaps the most satisfactory course of the whole dinner, and as I ate it I thought of Charles Lamb's well-known essay describing the manner in which the Chinese discovered the great art of roasting young pig, and decided that I too would burn down a house if necessary in order to obtain it.

7. Small pieces of mutton spitted on long, slender iron needles and roasted over a hot fire. 8. Chicken in long, thin, shredded fibers, served with the broth.

9. Boiled rice.

10. Peculiar, hard, woody mushrooms, or lichens, boiled and served with brown gravy. 11. Thin, translucent, and very slippery macaroni, cooked in a Chinese samovar.

12. Cocks' heads with sections of the necks; and finally,

13 to 19. Different kinds of soup served simultaneously.

The soups virtually brought the dinner to an end. The table was again cleared, the vinegar-saucers and saki-cups were removed, and the servants brought in successively nuts and sweetmeats of various sorts, delicious "flower tea," and French champagne.

The dinner occupied about three hours, and within that time every guest partook of thirty or forty courses, consumed from one to three saucerfuls of Chinese vinegar, drank from fifteen to twenty-five saki-cupfuls of hot rice-brandy flavored with rose, and washed down the last mouthfuls of Chinese confectionery with bumpers of champagne to the health of our host.

That we were able to get to our droshkies without assistance, and did not all die of acute indigestion before the next morning, must be

regarded as a piece of good luck so extraordinary as to be almost miraculous. My curiosity with regard to a Chinese dinner was completely satisfied. If the Chinese dine in this way every day I wonder that the race has not long since become extinct. One such dinner, eaten late in the fall, would enable a man, I should think, if he survived it, to go into a cave like a bear and hibernate until the next spring.

I little thought when I drove away from the Chinese merchant's counting-house in Maimachin late that afternoon that I had enjoyed the last recreation I should know for months to come, and that I was looking at the old Mongolian town for the last time. Early Sunday morning I was taken sick with a violent chill, followed by high fever, severe headache, pain in the back, cough, languor, and great prostration. It was the beginning of a serious illness, which lasted nearly two weeks and from which I did not fully recover for three months. With that sickness began the really hard and trying part of my Siberian experience. Up to that time I had had at least strength to bear the inevitable hardships of life and travel in such a country; but after that time I was sustained chiefly by will power, quinine, and excitement. It is unnecessary to describe the miseries of sickness in such a place as that wretched room adjoining Klembotski's bakery in the frontier town of Troitskosavsk. There are no entries in my note-book to cover that unhappy period of my Siberian life; but in a letter that I managed to write home from there I find my circumstances briefly described in the words, " It is one thing to be sick at home in a good bed, in clean linen and with somebody to take care of you; but it is quite another thing to lie down sick like a dog on a hard plank floor, with all your clothes on, and in the paroxysms of fever be tormented to the verge of frenzy by bedbugs." I had no bedding except my sheepskin overcoat and a dirty blanket, and although I tried the hard bedstead, the floor, and the table by turns, I could not anywhere escape the fleas and the bedbugs. I tried at first to treat my illness myself with a small case of medicines that I had brought with me; but learning that there was a Russian physician in the town, I finally sent for him. He began giving me ten-grain doses of quinine, which ultimately broke the fever, and at the end of twelve days, although still very weak, I was able to be up and to walk about.

I fully realized for the first time while lying sick in Klembotski's bakery what a political exile must suffer when taken sick in a roadside étape. In addition, however, to all that I had to endure the exile must live upon coarse food, breathe air that is more or less foul or infected,

underscored by a single broad quill-stroke, was this "Conclusion."

"1. These marks ought to be considered as nævi materni.

"2. They are congenital; or, in other words, the person was born with them.

"3. There is no process by means of which artificial spots bearing all the character of the marks can be produced."


On the 11th of June the case of Sally Miller versus Louis Belmonti was called up again and the report of the medical experts received. Could anything be offered by Mr. Grymes and his associates to offset that? Yes; they had one last strong card, and now they played it.

It was, first, a certificate of baptism of a certain Mary's child John, offered in evidence to prove that this child was born at a time when Salome Müller, according to the testimony of her own kindred, was a year or two too young to become a mother; and secondly, the testimony of a free woman of color, that to her knowledge that Mary was this Bridget or Sally, and the child John this woman's eldest son Lafayette. And hereupon the court announced that on the morrow it would hear the argument of counsel.

Salome's counsel besought the court for a temporary postponement on two accounts: first, that her age might be known beyond a peradventure by procuring a copy of her own birth record from the official register of her native Langensoultz, and also to procure in New Orleans the testimony of one who was professionally present at the birth of her son, and who would swear that it occurred some years later than the date of the baptismal record just accepted as evidence.

"We are taken by surprise," exclaimed in effect Roselius and his coadjutors, "in the production of testimony by the opposing counsel openly at variance with earlier evidence accepted from them and on record. The act of the sale of this woman and her children from Sarah Canby to John Fitz Miller in 1835, her son Lafayette being therein described as but five years of age, fixes his birth by irresistible inference in 1830, in which year by the recorded testimony of her kindred Salome Müller was fifteen years old."

But the combined efforts of Roselius, Upton, and others were unavailing, and the newspapers of the following day reported: "This cause, continued from yesterday, came on again today, when, after hearing arguments of counsel, the court took the same under consideration." It must be a dull fancy that will not draw for itself the picture, when a fortnight later the

court-room is filled again to hear the word of judgment. It is near the end of the hot farsouthern June. The judge begins to read aloud. His hearers wait languidly through the prolonged recital of the history of the case. as we have given it here: no use has been made here of any testimony discredited in the judge's reasons for his decision. At length the evidence is summed up and every one attends to catch the next word, while every eye is on the white slave. The judge reads:

"The supposed identity is based upon two circumstances: first, a striking resemblance of plaintiff to the child above mentioned and to the family of that child. Second, two certain marks or moles on the inside of the thighs [one on each thigh], which marks are similar in the child and in the woman. This resemblance and these marks are proved by several witnesses. Are they sufficient to justify me in declaring the plaintiff to be identical with the German child in question? I answer this question in the negative."

What stir there was in the room when these words were heard the silent records lying before me do not tell, or whether all was silent while the judge read on; but by and by his words were these:

"I must admit that the relatives of the said family of redemptioners seem to be very firmly convinced of the identity which the plaintiff claims. . . . As, however, it is quite out of the question to take away a man's property upon grounds of this sort, I would suggest that the friends of the plaintiff, if honestly convinced of the justice of her pretensions, should make some effort to settle a l'aimable with the defendant, who has honestly and fairly paid his money for her. They would doubtless find him well disposed to part on reasonable terms with a slave from whom he can scarcely expect any service after what has passed. Judgment dismissing the suit with costs."

The white slave was still a slave. We are left to imagine the quiet air of dispatch with which as many of the counsel as were present gathered up any papers they may have had, exchanged a few murmurous words with their clients, and, hats in hand, hurried off and out to other business. Also the silent, slow dejection of Salome, Eva, Frank, and their neighbors and kin as they rose and left the hall where a man's property was more sacred than a woman's freedom. But the attorney had given them ground of hope. Application would be made for a new trial; and if this was refused, as it probably would be, then appeal would be made to the Supreme Court of the State.

So it happened. Only two days later the plaintiff, through one of her counsel, the brother of Frank Upton, applied for a new trial. She

stated that important evidence not earlier obtainable had come to light; that she could produce a witness to prove that John F. Miller had repeatedly said she was white; and that one of Miller's own late witnesses, his own brother-in-law, would make deposition of the fact, recollected only since he gave testimony, that the girl Bridget brought into Miller's household in 1822 was much darker than the plaintiff and died a few years afterwards. And this witness did actually make such deposition. In the six months through which the suit had dragged since Salome had made her first petition to the court and signed it with her mark she had learned to write. The application for a new trial is signed "Sally Müller."

The new trial was refused. Roselius took an appeal. The judge allowed it, but required the amount of Salome's bond to be doubled—this in face of his own characterization of her as "a slave from whom her master could scarcely expect any service." However, Frank Schuber doubled the bond and the case went up to the Supreme Court.

In that court no witnesses were likely to be examined. New testimony was not admissible; all testimony taken in the inferior courts "went up" by the request of either party as part of the record, and to it no addition could ordinarily be made. The case would be ready for argument almost at once.


ONCE more it was May, when in the populous but silent court-room the clerk announced the case of Miller versus Louis Belmonti, and John F. Miller, warrantor. Well-nigh a year had gone by since the appeal was taken. Two full years had passed since Madame Karl had found Salome in Belmonti's cabaret. It was now 1845; Grymes was still at the head of one group of counsel, and Roselius of the other. There again were Eva and Salome, looking like an elder and a younger sister. On the bench sat at the right two and at the left two superior judges, and between them in the middle the learned and aged historian of the State, Chief-Justice Martin.

The attorneys had known from the first that the final contest would be here, and had saved their forces for this; and when on the 19th of May the deep, rugged voice of Roselius resounded through the old Cabildo, a nine-days' contest of learning, eloquence, and legal tactics had begun. Roselius may have filed a brief, but I have sought it in vain, and his words in Salome's behalf are lost. Yet we know one part in the defense which he must have retained to himself; for Francis Upton was waiting in reserve to close the argument on the

last day of the trial, and so important a matter as this that we shall mention would hardly have been trusted in any but the strongest hands. It was this: Roselius, in the middle of his argument upon the evidence, proposed to read a certain certified copy of a registry of birth. Grymes and his colleagues instantly objected. It was their own best gun captured and turned upon them. They could not tolerate it. It was no part of the record, they stoutly maintained, and must not be introduced nor read nor commented upon. The point was vigorously argued on both sides; but when Roselius appealed to an earlier decision of the same court the bench decided that, as then, so now, "in suits for freedom, and in favorem libertatis, they would notice facts which come credibly before them, even though they be dehors the record." And so Roselius thundered it out. The consul for Baden at New Orleans had gone to Europe some time before, and was now newly returned. He had brought an official copy, from the records of the prefect of Salome's native village, of the registered date of her birth. This is what was now heard, and by it Salome and her friends knew to their joy, and Belmonti to his chagrin, that she was two years older than her kinsfolk had thought her to be.

Who followed Roselius is not known, but by and by men were bending the ear to the soft persuasive tones and finished subtleties of the polished and courted Grymes. He left, we are told, no point unguarded, no weapon unused, no vantage-ground unoccupied. The high social standing and reputation of his client were set forth at their best. Every slenderest discrepancy of statement between Salome's witnesses was ingeniously expanded. By learned citation and adroit appliance of the old Spanish laws concerning slaves, he sought to ward off as with a Toledo blade the heavy blows by which Roselius and his colleagues endeavored to lay upon the defendants the burden of proof which the lower court had laid upon Salome. He admitted generously the entire sincerity of Salome's kinspeople in believing plaintiff to be the lost child; but reminded the court of the credulity of ill-trained minds, the contagiousness of fanciful delusions, and especially of what he somehow found room to call the inflammable imagination of the German temperament. He appealed to history; to the scholarship of the bench; citing the stories of Martin Guerre, the Russian Demetrius, Perkin Warbeck, and all the other wonderful cases of mistaken or counterfeited identity. Thus he and his associates plead for the continuance in bondage of a woman whom their own fellow-citizens were willing to take into their houses after twenty years of degradation and infamy, make their

oath to her identity, and pledge their fortunes to her protection as their kinswoman.

Day after day the argument continued. At length the Sabbath broke its continuity, but on Monday it was resumed, and on Tuesday Francis Upton rose to make the closing argument for the plaintiff. His daughter, Miss Upton, now of Washington, once did me the honor to lend me a miniature of him made about the time of Salome's suit for freedom. It is a pleasing evidence of his modesty in the domestic circle-where masculine modesty is so rare that his daughter had never heard him tell the story of this case, in which, it is said, he put the first strong luster on his fame. In the picture he is a very David-"ruddy and of a fair countenance"; a countenance at once gentle and valiant, vigorous and pure. Lifting this face upon the wrinkled chief-justice and associate judges, he began to set forth the points of law, in an argument which, we are told, "was regarded by those who heard it as one of the happiest forensic efforts ever made before the court."

He set his reliance mainly upon two points: one, that, it being obvious and admitted that plaintiff was not entirely of African race, the presumption of law was in favor of liberty and with the plaintiff, and therefore that the whole burden of proof was upon the defendants, Belmonti and Miller; and the other point, that the presumption of freedom in such a case could be rebutted only by proof that she was descended from a slave mother. These points the young attorney had to maintain as best he could without precedents fortifying them beyond attack; but "Adele versus Beauregard" he insisted firmly established the first point and implied the court's assent to the second, while as legal doctrines "Wheeler on Slavery" upheld them both. When he was done Salome's fate was in the hands of her judges.

Almost a month goes by before their judgment is rendered. But at length, on the 21st of June, the gathering with which our imagination has become familiar appears for the last time. The chief-justice is to read the decision from which there can be no appeal. As the judges take their places one seat is left void; it is by reason of sickness. Order is called, silence falls, and all eyes are on the chief-justice.

He reads. To one holding the court's official copy of judgment in hand, as I do at this moment, following down the lines as the justice's eyes once followed them, passing from paragraph to paragraph, and turning the leaves as his hand that day turned them, the scene lifts itself before the mind's eye despite every effort to hold it to the cold letter of the timestained files of the court. In a single clear, wellcompacted paragraph the court states Salome's

claim and Belmonti's denial; in another, the warrantor Miller's denial and defense; and in two lines more, the decision of the lower court. And now mark the strange utterance that follows-esteemed right enough then and there, but already in our day repudiated by law and the best conscience of our nation, and destined yet to be abhorred by every right mind:

"The first inquiry," so reads the chiefjustice-"the first inquiry that engages our attention is, What is the color of the plaintiff?” But this is far from bringing dismay to Salome and her friends. For hear what follows: "Persons of color "- meaning of mixed blood, not pure negro "are presumed to be free. . . The burden of proof is upon him who claims the colored person as a slave. . . . In the highest courts of the State of Virginia. a person of the complexion of the plaintiff, without evidence of descent from a slave mother, would be released even on habeas corpus. Not only is there no evidence

of her [plaintiff] being descended from a slave mother, or even a mother of the African race, but no witness has ventured a positive opinion that she is of that race."

Glad words for Salome and her kindred. The reading goes on: "The presumption is clearly in favor of the plaintiff." But suspense returns, for-"It is next proper," the reading still goes on, "to inquire how far that presumption has been weakened or justified or repelled by the testimony of numerous witnesses in the record. . . If a number of witnesses had sworn "-here the justice turns the fourth page; now he is in the middle of it, yet all goes well; he is making a comparison of testimony for and against, unfavorable to that which is against. And now—" But the proof does not stop at mere family resemblance." He is coming to the matter of the birth-marks. He calls them "evidence which is not impeached."

He turns the page again, and begins at the top to meet the argument of Grymes from the old Spanish Partidas. But as his utterance follows his eye down the page he sets that argument aside as not good to establish such a title as that by which Miller received the plaintiff. He exonerates Miller, but accuses the absent Williams of imposture and fraud. One may well fear the verdict after that. But now he turns a page which every one can see is the last :

It has been said that the German witnesses are

imaginative and enthusiastic, and their confidence is at least of a quiet sort, evidently the result of ought to be distrusted. That kind of enthusiasm profound conviction and certainly free from any taint of worldly interest, and is by no means incompatible with the most perfect conscientiousness.

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