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Newspaper Page Text
By George Munson.
"But law and sentiment are the
same thing," said Rogers, the old cor
poration lawyer. Somebody had been
lamenting the average juryman's in
ability to bring in a verdict upon the
evidence alone. "Sentiment is law,"
Rogers repeated. "It is law in its em
bryonic state, uncrystallized, but
often better law than written, codes.
"Do any of you remember the
Bright murder trial of the late seven
ties?" he continued, looking round at
Came Upon the Rifle.
us. "No? Well, there have been
many murders since then, and doubt
less it was not of epoch-making im
portance. Yet I was led to undertake
the defense of Howard Bright
"It was pretty Lorna Bright, the
cousin of the young man, and secret
ly engaged to him, who persuaded
me, by her protestations of Howard's
innocence, to undertake so desperate
a case. Old Charles Bright had driven
his son from his home, because he
preferred the life of a musician to en
tering his- business, and had forbid
den Lorna, his niece and adopted
child, to have anything more to do
with him, under penalty of being dis
inherited also. That was six months
before the murder occurred.
"Charles Bright was one of those
cantankerous old men who are cor
dially hated by their neighbors. He
had a big estate at Lanark, Md., to
which he retired after having dispos
ed of the business which he hoped
Howard would inherit, at a price of
two or three hundred thousands.
Among those who hated him most
strongly was Pete Jones, a small
farmer whose lands he had taken
when a mortgage fell due. Jones was.
a violent, and also a crafty character.
He had made no open threat of vio
lence, but the old man had been in
sufficient fear of him to have him ar
rested Once as a vagrant. The charge
fell through, an'd Jones lived around
the village, doing odd jobs, and cher
ishing a burning hatred of old man.
"Now we come to the murder. On
Thanksgiving eve, 1875, the servants
of the old man were aroused by a cry
and the sound of a shot. They ran
out of the house and saw their mas
ter lying dead with a bullet wound
through his head. Some fifty yards
away stood Howard, a rifle in his
hands. He made no resistance and
was arrested and duly committed for
"Some said the rifle was still hot,
but others denied this, and anyway
the case seemed so clear that this
question did not figure for much.
There might have been time for.the
barrel to cool after the discharge.
What was obvious was that Howard,
having apparently learned that his
father intended to sign a will disin
heriting him, had crept up to , the
house and murdered him.
- "As I said, gentlemen, it was Lorna
Bright who insisted that I undertake