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The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, May 01, 1914, NOON EDITION, Image 19

Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1914-05-01/ed-1/seq-19/

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There was one young man on the
Jury, however, Elmer Whltcomb,
from a distanf town, who from the
first had settled in his own minckthat
Winston was a victim of circumstan
tial evidence. Perhaps his sympathy
for the pure-faced, gentle-souled wife
influenced him. Ferhaps a constant
sight of the distressed sister of Win
ston, always in tears, always by the
side of her imperiled brother, moved
the pity of Elmer Whitcomb more
than he knew. Her lovely eyes,
mournful, beseeching, stirred his
soul. It seemed as if her presence
brought a new and hitherto unknown
element into his life, which .had been
a lonely, loveless one, working the
home farm of his aged-parents out
of debt.
And then there was another vast
influence that moved this man to the
depths when that name, Arthur
Vaille, was mentioned. A queer, con
fusing thought haunted his brain. He
had heard it before where? When?
Finally, though dimly, it seemed to
him that during a visit to the city
several weeks ago, some friend had
spoken that name, had mentioned
that he had received a letter from
him. Which one of perhaps half a
dozen city acquaintances it was,
Whitcomb could not decide. Perhaps
it was a vagary of his mind. Had not
the defense advertised far and wide
for this missing witness? Still,a cer
tain sense of deep responsibility in the
premises oppressed Whitcomb.
"The jury is dismissed until morn
ing, when I will deliver instructions,"
spoke the somber judge as the prose
cuting attorney concluded his argu
ment. , The courtroom was dim and shad
owy, for dusk had come on. As they
filed out of the doorway Whitcomb
felt his hand caught in a warm, quiv
ering clasp.
"Oh," besought a pleading whisper,
"be merciful!"
It was Verona Winston, the sister
of the prisoner. The young man
thrilled as he realized that this sweet
girl had read his soul, that there was
a bond between them, and his duty
arose more compelling than ever be-
fore him.
The jury were taken to their hotel.
After supper, in charge of a court
deputy, they began the usual evening
walk for exercise. It had growili
dusk. As they passed down an un
lighted street Elmer Whitcomb caifef
ried out a plan he had formed in hie
mind. He straggled behind, slippedj .
down a dark alley and, unobserved,
disappeared. u
There was a great commotion in
Fajrfield the next day. Such a thing
as a deserting juryman had never
been heard of before.
"An outrage on the majesty of the
law!" pronounced- the indignant
prosecuting attorney.
"When Whitcomb comes up for
contempt of court it won't seem so
funny to him, maybei' added the
sheriff.
They searched for Whitcomb,' but
did not find him. Verona Winton re
ceived a note, brief, unsigned, but she
guessed who had sent it and kissed
the single word it contained: "Hope!"
Of course a veifdict could not be
legal with only eleven jurymen. If
would take a month before, the slow
machinery of the law could bring up
the case anew. It wdsa grateful re
spite for the prisoner.
Five weeks later, just as the new
jury had convened, Elmer Whitcomb
walked quietly into the courtroom
and approached the bar of justice.
"I am here to receive my punish
ment,' "he said simply.
There was bewilderment, excite
ment in the courtroom. Then Whit
comb turned and nodded to a man
who had accompanied him as far as
the door.
"Your honor," he explained, "J
have been thousands of miles away
on a hint I got from a friend In thi
city to find this gentleman. He ii
Arthur Vaille, the witness who can
prove the Innocence of the prisoner
at the bar." ' t

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