Monday, November 21, 2005

Ink Scrawl Nugget 10

A Reasoned and Persuasive Speech:
A barrister, an experienced and effective defender in criminal trials on a good day, rises to his feet in the Old Bailey. This is not a good day. His life is in tatters. A mental storm, long threathened by gathering black clouds of depression, is about to burst inside his head. He has had a liquid lunch in the pub across the road and, although a large and weighty man, he sways and creaks like a tree in high wind. It's a quarter past two in the afternoon and he feels a strong disposition to sleep overcome him.

'Members of the jury' -- his voice is deep and comes softly at first, the half-audible hint of approaching thunder - 'this is the point in the case at which I am supposed to make a reasoned and persuasive speech on behalf of the accused. That will be followed by an unbiased summing-up from the learned judge, and you will then retire and come to a just decision. But' - here comes a great sigh and then a louder, clearer burst of thunder - 'as I am far too drunk to make a reasoned and persuasive speech, and as the judge has never given an unbiased summing-up in his entire career, and as you look far too stupid to come to a just verdict, I shall sit down.' He does so and, happy at last, closes his eyes.
An anecdote from Murderers and Other Friends - Another Part of Life by John Mortimer.

(Hat tip: Amod Paranjape)

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