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A Bold Trick

Anecdotes Home

The following anecdote serves to exemplify how necessary it
is upon any important occasion to scrutinise the accuracy of a statement
before it is taken upon trust. A fellow was tried at the Old Bailey for
highway robbery, and the prosecutor swore positively that he had seen his
face distinctly, for it was a bright moonlight night. The counsel for the
prisoner cross-questioned the man so as to make him repeat that assertion,
and insist upon it. He then affirmed that this was a most important
circumstance, and a most fortunate one for the prisoner at the bar: because
the night on which the alleged robbery was said to have been committed was
one in which there had been no moon: it was then during the dark quarter!
In proof of this he handed an almanack to the bench,--and the prisoner was
acquitted accordingly. The prosecutor, however, had stated every thing
truly; and it was known afterwards that the almanack with which the counsel
came provided, had actually been prepared and printed for the occasion!

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