This is a rough, and not for public consumption
The Last Witch Screenplay
It was as if the child had been launched by a giant catapult, tumbling slowly mid-air, a blur of flailing arms, legs and clothes. Jaws dropped, hands covered mouths, heads turned, following the inevitable downward trajectory. A dull thud signalled the end. Followed by an eerie silence. Pierced by a banshee scream and dozens of voices, yells, cries and shouts.
Helen gripped the hand of her little brother Donald tightly, as he whispered:
“You said that was going to happen.”
“I know, I know.”
Came the plaintiff reply.
The wooden table creaked as eight children fought over a tea of bread and jam sandwiches. Archie returned from the early shift at the factory to find the customary bedlam as his children fought, squabbled and ate. His routine was unshakable, a kiss for his wife, then he cleaned and carefully put away his tools. First his slater’s hammer, forged in a single piece, the twelve inch shaft encased in leather handle, its claw for drawing nails, its sheer edge for cutting slate Aa head with a sharp point at one end for punching holes in slate, and a hammer head at the other. Then the Rip, Stake and Zax. Everyone knew that on no account was his tool box ever to be opened, or played with. They were his livelihood, they were their livelihood. The tools of a master slater.
He had to raise his voice to make himself heard to his wife, Isabella.
“ I hear our Nell’s been making a name for herself again.”
“ I don’t know who you have been listening to, but she saved our Jimmy. It was Nell who told him to get off that swing. No sooner had that poor little boy from No 11 taken his place than the anchors on the cross bar gave way and he flew through the air before falling to the ground, knocked unconscious”
Archie straightened his waistcoat , and reflected. It had been only last week that he had been summonsed by Nells class teacher, Miss Carmichael who was very concerned about her pupil. She told her father the story of what had happened the day before. She had written questions on the blackboard for her pupils to write the answers on their slates. Helen had written the numbers of the questions down only, but the rest of the slate was conspicuously empty as Miss Carmichael patrolled the aisles. Yet when she went to collect the slates, all the questions were answered, correctly, but in unfamiliar handwriting. When questioned Nell could offer no explanation other than that she had called, in desperation, for Spirit to help her, and it had.
The previous week, Nell had caused a huge stir. Mr McBride her history teacher had admonished her for failing to learn dates adequately, much to her embarrassment. As Mr McBride had delivered the lesson, Nell started to write “1066” repeatedly on her slate. As, Mr McBride, talking about the Battle of Hastings uttered the number 1066, he collapsed and died of a heart attack.
Archie and Isabella were torn. Archie’s sister and Isabella’s mother both possessed the psychic gift. It had proved to be a blessing, and a curse. A steady stream of the emotionally unstable, bereaved and curious would visit on a Sunday afternoon giving comfort and release. But naysayers accused them of witchcraft and necromancy.
It was nine o’clock before the exhausted couple went to bed.
“Perhaps we should take her to the doctors, Archie? Maybe she is overcome by delusion?”
“Aye, maybe you’re right, Bel”
Dr Dalglish was thorough, or as thorough as you could be in a room blurred by the aftermath of a dozen Woodbine cigarettes.
“The child seems fine to me Mr and Mrs Macfarlane”
“Mammy, can I ask tell the Doctor something?”
Of course you can
“Don’t go out tonight”
The following morning Shuna woke up ill, Bel hurried to the surgery with her to get an appointment
“I am afraid Dr Dalglish is not in today. His car skidded off the road in the snowstorm and he is in Stirling general hospital”
At church that Sunday Rev Gemmill , who had heard news of Helen’s prediction accused her of consorting with the devil
Isabelle was mortified. The Church bound everything together in Callendar. She had faithfully defended Helen’s corner for years, indulging her psychic idiosyncrasies but this put her in an impossible position. Helen was leaving school, there was no work in the village, and the house was too small for her family which was growing in size, and its abilities to devour family resources. Something had to give. Helen had to go. It was 1913.
Dundee was known as Juteopolis, the world centre for the production of Jute, half the population of Dundee was employed in the trade and she found work in it soon enough at NSF Dundee 51-63 Mains Road. But the tide was starting to turn against the city as Bengal which had once supplied raw Jute to the city now began to finish it itself. Thirty shillings a week did not go far, and so she began to offer psychic readings as a medium to supplement her earnings. The overwhelmingly female work force, making sacks, provided her with a ready supply of custom. A year later King George 5th and Queen Mary, Princess Mary, visited the city on the 10th July 1914, Helen was mesmerised. Eighteen days later the city, the country, the World, was at war and the Jute Mill was converted from making sacks to making munitions within a year, 18-pdr. and 2.75in shells, forgings and burster containers. The pay doubled for work which was dirty and dangerous. There she met on the production lines a woman who was to be her friend for life, Jean Duncan.
It was not long before the casualties of War began to return home and demand for nursing care began to outstrip demand for munitions. Helen swapped cordite yellow stained fingers, for neatly pressed white sheets, it paid less, but was much safer, and met her empathetic needs in a way that a production line could not. One day, Jean invited Helen home for tea, and while she was there, she met her brother, Henry.
Henry’s first words to Helen were, “So we meet at last.”
Helen was dumbstruck, the man who she saw before her was the man she had imagined in her dreams, slender, medium build with a moustache and swept back hair. It was as if she had known him for years. The connection was instant, yet it was not a connection. It was a reconnection. Later on she became convinced that they had shared past lives together. He too had experienced visions of her before they met. He too had an interest in the supernatural and occult. Instead of being shunned for her gifts as she had been by the Rev Gemmill, instead Henry was intrigued by them, and encouraged them.
It was to be a whirlwind courtship. In 1916, the couple married. Henry had volunteered for the Black Watch but been subsequently invalided out of the army after rheumatic fever caused heart damage. A resourceful, industrious man he became a cabinet maker. Helen fell pregnant eight times, with six children surviviong; Bella, Nan, Lillian, Henry, Peter and Gena . With money tight, Helen’s income from her Mediumship work grew from being pin money into a vital income stream for the family as well as repairing and washing bed sheets and shirts for one penny an item and working part time in a bleach mill. Both worked hard to make ends meet, one day Helen had a premonition that Henry was seriously ill. It caused her to rush to his workshop where she found him incapacitated following a heart-attack. Although she managed to get him the help he needed to save his life, his overall health suffered terribly. In turn this caused Helen to expand her mediumship work still further. With Henry’s help she began to explore clairvoyance, clairaudience, psychometry and precognition. Her psychometry work drew increasing numbers to see her and she started to perform platform demonstrations at local Spiritual Churches.
The First World War saw a surge in people seeking mediumistic help. Dundonian men joined the 4th (City of Dundee) Battalion, The Black Watch and fought in the Battle of Loos on 25 September 1915 during which Over two hundred men from Dundee’s Own were killed or injured . Inevitably bereaved relatives sought Helen’s help in contacting those who were lost, increasing still further the demands upon Helen and growing her reputation. Meetings at local churches became packed, increasing her earnings. As she was working she increasingly found herself entering into a trance like state, and began speaking in an assumed voice when delivering her messages from the Spirit World. Initially, Henry thought it was Glossolia, speaking in tongues, something which Edward Irving had explored when setting up the Scottish Apostolic Church a hundred years previously. But Henry was wary, firstly an endorsement was unlikely to do Helen any favours with the Presbyterian Church which had condemned her in Callander, secondly amongst disbelievers it had a historic association with Witchcraft.
Yet it became a feature of her platform performances. Not only would she assume a voice from the Spirit world to provide messages from the other side, she also began to receive messages personally from a Dr Williams who invoked her to seek to physically materialize spirits.
Helen wasn’t sure. What had started as a quirky childhood gift had changed. That moment when Rev Gemmill had thrown her out of his Church had thrown her into something bigger. Much bigger. Bigger than she had anticipated, bigger than she had intended. The odd child in the family. The quiet one on the weaving line. The reliable one on the fuse line. The caring one in the wards. The one no-one noticed. Except now they did. And whatever she did they seemed to want more. The Church invitations had increased, first around Dundee, then Arbroath and Perth, then Stirling and Glenrothes, and biggest of all Edinburgh. Not bad for a wee lass from Callendar.
She had been confident as a medium. She didn’t have to work at it. People called it a gift, it certainly wasn’t something she thought that she had earned. Listening to people, being empathetic, reading people, intuitively understanding, that was what everyone did wasn’t it? She had been surprised when she was invited to her first Church appearance, even more surprised when people turned up, then more people at the next and the next. At first she had just been given a shilling for her trouble, then a florin to cover her expenses, then half a crown, then the proceeds from a hat passed around . It was when she made ten shillings that she realised how much thing had changed. She could make in one evening what it took her two days to earn in the Jute factory. Now the invites were coming in the post every day. The transition from mediumship to trance had been accidental, not planned.
Henry was always by her side. She practiced with friends and neighbours . The results were erratic, but something always came, invariably Dr Williams. It had scared her. He had scared her. A Church President had taught her how to create a protective force field around her to contain the forces which were conjured, Dr Williams himself helped and as the weeks went by, so her confidence grew. As did Henry’s. The halls she performed in had been growing larger. He had started to introduce her to the crowds, as an MC would. The larger the crowds grew so the proportion who received messages reduced. There was only so much time . The money was becoming a vital part of their income. They needed to grow that, they needed to grow their income , they needed to create a show.
As a child Henry had been fascinated by Punch and Judy. The puppet figures, the exaggerated showmanship, the stage. The box.
That was what it was. As a carpenter and cabinet maker he was just making a giant box. A wooden cupboard with curtains on the front, but large enough for a person to sit in. For Helen to sit in. For the energies of Spirit to be amplified, for a portal to the other side to be created, for the black curtains to be drawn back to reveal her, for the lights to shine on her stage, for the curtains to be drawn at the finale. It would create drama, interest and mystery. Provide a focal point beyond a person, to a performance.
Inspired by Dr Williams, and her box, which Henry set up in their front room, Helen, progressed from trance and vocalisation, to producing ectoplasm from her mouth and nostrils akin to a white mist that glowed. Although the spirit voice of Dr. Williams warned Henry that no light must ever be shone on the ectoplasm, as it would endanger Helen. Henry took to using a dim red light for dramatic effect, and to allow the audience to see what was happening. The sessions always drained Helen mentally, emotionally and physically inducing her to eat immediately afterwards. Over time this significantly increased her weight.
The more she practised, the more the ectoplasm became a regular feature of her seances, as did the spirit voice of Dr. Williams. During one session he announced that Helen’s ‘spirit guide’ could now form from the ectoplasm and would look after Helen from then on.To the audiences amazement, the ectoplasm swirled into the shape of an elderly but distinguished man over six foot tall who had an upright stature and an educated voice with a trace of an Australian accent. Always polite and with a sense of humour, he announced his arrival with a request for those present not to be alarmed at the sight of him and introducing himself as Albert Stewart who had been born in Scotland but had emigrated to Australia where he had drowned in 1913. ‘Uncle Albert’ as he became known, became the Master of Ceremonies at séances. He announced to sitters what spirit was about to come out of the cabinet. Sometimes Helen had another spirit guide – a young girl called Peggy who would skip around the room singing songs.
This was the Golden Age of Spiritualism, with international luminaries including politicians and scientists within the movement, as well as Scotland’s own Sir Arthur Connan Doyle. Spiritual Churches abounded, and numbered in the several hundreds. All had a voracious appetite for speakers, mediums and performers. Helen’s reputation spread quickly as materialization mediums were rare, her talent became in great demand.
The word that Helen had developed from a clairvoyant to a materialization medium quickly spread and by the mid 1920’s, Helen’s talent was much in demand, in Scotland, and throughout the United Kingdom. Henry had to deal with mountains of post everyday from individuals and organisations requesting her services. Her rising income enabled her to make local charitable donations increasing her standing further. But success brings problems of its own, as she would come to discover.
The Scottish Spiritualist Society in Edinburgh invited Helen to give regular séances to their members who were impressed and astonished at what they witnessed. So much so, that they presented her with a certificate endorsing her talent. However, when Helen and Henry learned how much the door money was compared to how little they were paid, they refused further engagements.This was the first rift with Spiritualist organisations that continued on and off throughout Helen’s life.
Mary McGinlay maid
- The newsroom was the usual hubbub of office gossip, football rivalry, and political titbits. The Jam Tarts continued to do well, but not well enough to challenge the Old Firm. Ramsay McDonald, the Scots lad made good wasn’t anymore. Once lauded he was now a figure of ridicule and derision. The Scotsman had championed him, now they could do little more than chart his tailspin to oblivion as the Great Depression sapped the life out of the country. Archie had joined the paper the week of the Invergordon Mutiny, he had known some of the families. The exhilaration he had felt, with a byline, made him certain he had picked the right career then. As time went on, costs were cut, staff were shed, and obituaries, the stuff of cub reporters in normal times, became his usual task. Editor George Waters had held the chair for a decade, he did so with humour, professionalism and an iron fist. He read out the tasks for the day.
“Archie, the stiffs, and count yourself lucky I won’t be asking for any quotes”
Archie flicked through the death notices, Jimmy McCleod, Northumberland St. Community benefactor, local industrialist, survived by a wife and three children, and it was just under a mile’s walk from the office. From the Old Town, across Princess Street, to the New Town. He would claim the price of the bus fare anyway.
Isla McCleod answered the door, late middle aged, prim, trim with a meticulously maintained grey bob, white blouse, plaid skirt, and sensible brogue shoes. She ushered Archie into the drawing room where she offered him morning tea and began to reminisce about her late husband. It was routine stuff, Archie made scribbled shorthand notes in his notebook. In truth he could have written a generic obituary in advance now, and just cut and pasted the crucial bits
“Of course I knew he was going to die that night”
“Nellie Duncan told me”
Archie stopped scribbling notes as if by remote command
“Nellie Duncan? The clairvoyant?”
Her name had swirled around the newsroom over the past years, a fringe figure, a figure of fun, but when a few column inches needed filling she seemed to pop up. In 1926 she developed from clairvoyant to physical medium by offering séances in which she claimed to be able to permit the spirits of recently deceased persons to materialise, by emitting ectoplasm from her mouth.
In 1928 the photographer Harvey Metcalfe attended a series of séances at the house of Duncan. During a séance he took various flash photographs of Duncan and her alleged “materialization” spirits including her spirit guide “Peggy”. The photographs that were taken reveal the spirits to be fraudulently produced, such as a doll made from a painted papier-mâché mask draped in an old sheet.
In 1931, the London Spiritualist Alliance (LSA) examined Duncan’s method. It was observed that upon opening her mouth, the ectoplasm gradually began to be formed on the tip of the tongue until it resembled a cherry. It then swelled up, sometimes to the extent of covering the medium’s body. When the ectoplasm retreated into the mouth, it diminished at the tip of the tongue into the likeness of a cherry, as it first appeared. None of the substance appeared at any time in the pharynx, disproving the idea that the ectoplasm was regurgitated cheesecloth, which is a cotton cloth. The latter hypothesis was put forward by the psychical researcher Harry Price, who examined her at the National Laboratory of Psychical Research (NLPR). Because of this accusation, she was persuaded by Harry Price to swallow a tablet of methylene blue before one of her séances to rule out any chance of this trick being performed. Contrary results of this experiment have been recorded. One account stated that no ectoplasm appeared. The investigation report concluded that the “material was swallowed by Mrs Duncan at some time previous to the sitting and subsequently regurgitated by her for the purpose of exhibition.” The other account stated that she still produced clean, white ectoplasm.
A piece of ectoplasm from one of Duncan’s early séances was obtained and secured in a bottle of distilled water. It was given to Harry Price, who was originally enthusiastic about the sample. However, when he gave the sample to a chemist for analysis it was discovered to be made from egg white mixed with chemicals. Price later duplicated Duncan’s ectoplasm with similar substances.
Duncan with fake ectoplasm made of cheesecloth and a cut out face from a magazine.
In 1931 Price paid Duncan £50 to perform a number of test séances. She was suspected of swallowing cheesecloth which was then regurgitated as “ectoplasm”. Price had proven through analysis of a sample of ectoplasm produced by Duncan that it was made of cheesecloth. She reacted violently at attempts to X-ray her, running from the laboratory and making a scene in the street, where her husband had to restrain her, destroying the controlled nature of the test. According to Price in a report of the mediumship of Duncan:
At the conclusion of the fourth seance we led the medium to a settee and called for the apparatus. At the sight of it, the lady promptly went into a trance. She recovered, but refused to be X-rayed. Her husband went up to her and told her it was painless. She jumped up and gave him a smashing blow on the face which sent him reeling. Then she went for Dr. William Brown who was present. He dodged the blow. Mrs. Duncan, without the slightest warning, dashed out into the street, had an attack of hysteria and began to tear her seance garment to pieces. She clutched the railings and screamed and screamed. Her husband tried to pacify her. It was useless. I leave the reader to visualize the scene. A seventeen-stone woman, clad in black sateen tights, locked to the railings, screaming at the top of her voice. A crowd collected and the police arrived. The medical men with us explained the position and prevented them from fetching the ambulance. We got her back into the Laboratory and at once she demanded to be X-rayed. In reply, Dr. William Brown turned to Mr. Duncan and asked him to turn out his pockets. He refused and would not allow us to search him. There is no question that his wife had passed him the cheese-cloth in the street. However, they gave us another seance and the “control’ said we could cut off a piece of “teleplasm” when it appeared. The sight of half-a-dozen men, each with a pair of scissors waiting for the word, was amusing. It came and we all jumped. One of the doctors got hold of the stuff and secured a piece. The medium screamed and the rest of the “teleplasm” went down her throat. This time it wasn’t cheese-cloth. It proved to be paper, soaked in white of egg, and folded into a flattened tube… Could anything be more infantile than a group of grown-up men wasting time, money, and energy on the antics of a fat female crook.
Price in his report published photographs of Duncan in his laboratory that revealed fake ectoplasm made from cheesecloth, rubber gloves and cut-out heads from magazine covers which she pretended to her audiences were spirits. Psychologist William McDougall, who attended two of the séances, pronounced her “whole performance fraudulent” in an appendix to the report.
Following the report written by Price, Duncan’s former maid Mary McGinlay confessed in detail to having aided Duncan in her mediumship tricks, and Duncan’s husband admitted that the ectoplasm materializations were the result of regurgitation.
In a séance on 6 January 1933 in Edinburgh, a little girl called Peggy emerged in the séance room. A sitter named Esson Maule grabbed her and the lights were turned on and the spirit was revealed to be made from a stockinette undervest.
Ian Flemming organises investigation
Theatre critic gives evidence.
My client stands before you in the dock at your mercy, her future in your hands, her mere appearance in this place a travesty.
The legislation under which she faces these unnatural charges dates back almost two hundred years, to the reign of George 11, under a parliament presided over by Prime minister Henry Pelham, before the Americas even sought independence, let alone won it, before the Boston Tea Party, yet today they stand on our shores, not as foes, but as comrades in arms against a common enemy.
In 1753 the Witchcraft act made it a crime for a person to claim that any human being had magical powers or was guilty of practising witchcraft, today in 1944, our newspapers, newspapers which the jury will read every day, carry astrological guidance which so many call upon to guide their daily lives. No newspaper owner stands before us as a purveyor of persons possessing magical powers or witch craft.
As a child in remote Callender ,Scotland she was happy to tend the animals, and look after the children of neighbours.. As a mother of six she has devoted her life to nurturing and protecting. Those attributes, those instincts, drew others to her, others who saw her offering insights and wisdom. Some saw her as gifted, in the same way that millions have their favourite astrologers in the Daily Sketch or Daily Mail newspapers.
Yet with those gifts come other things. Suspicion, hate, envy, jealousy, aspects of the human condition which are anathema to everything Mrs Duncan stands for. She began to receive invites for her wisdom for her gifts, first from further afield in Scotland, then from its fine cities, and then from the towns and villages of England.
As our great country stands, once alone, now with our allies, facing down the Nazi Tyranny we are united. United in our resolve, united in our efforts, united in our commitment and determination, and sadly, and all too often united in our human losses, the price that has to be paid for freedom, for our ultimate victory.
There will not be a single man or woman on the jury who has not been touched by this. The pride in the contributions being made by friend, family and townsfolk, the pain of loss as some suffer the most grievous injuries in our cause, and others pay the ultimate price, with their lives. But their memories live on, their deeds endure, and is it not understandable that some, that many, seek a connection with those who have left us, for those that have departed for that undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveller returns? Would we deny anyone their right to seek such comfort, would we deny the right of anyone who could offer such comfort to do so?
My client is the victim of the most outrageous injustice. One night, in Portsmouth, she was invited by those whose loved ones, even now, are keeping our shores safe, and our seas free of Nazi predators stalking our brave boys. When she told of the loss of HMS Barham she did so in sorrow, not malevolence, imparting her gift.
Some have accused her of being a Nazi spy, in which case she should be tried as such. Others, as in here, have accused her of witchcraft. What nonsense.
Does this person stand before you a demon? Does she have a cauldron? Does she draw upon Fillet of a fenny snake, In the cauldron boil and bake;Eye of newt and toe of frog,Wool of bat and tongue of dog,Adder’s fork and blind-worm’s sting,Lizard’s leg and howlet’s wing, AAFor a charm of powerful trouble, Like a hell-broth boil and bubble? Or is she merely a woman who people turn to in their hour of need ? Someone who far from frightening others brings comfort?
Does she look like a Nazi spy whose mission is to betray her country to a ruthless, heartless enemy? Or is her mission somewhat more benign, to draw the souls of the living and dead closer together.
Now what you may care to believe about such claims is immaterial. All that does matter is that some seek out comfort, freely, and without coercion, my client offers it, without obligation. For this she faces seven punishable counts: two of conspiracy to contravene the Witchcraft Act, two of obtaining money by false pretences, and three of public mischief.
At a time of great national peril from without, and unscrupulous profiteering from within, you may wish to ask yourself what purpose is served by members of His Majesty’s constabulary addressing themselves to her work?
When Mrs Duncan agreed to serve relatives in the homeport of the Royal Navy fleet, Portsmouth on the evening of January 19 1944,it was a dangerous place to hold any meeting – such was the German Luftwaffe’s intent on reducing Portsmouth to rubble and disable Britain’s ships. But the real danger lay not in a hail of enemy bombs but with the ignorance of the police, For that night, a plain-clothes policeman, who had infiltrated the evening following a tip off, launched a raid to disrupt her seance.
Thus Helen Duncan, together with three of her innocent sitters, were dragged before Portsmouth magistrates and charged with Vagrancy on the basis that she was begging. But how can a woman who was placing herself in mortal danger by visiting the port, who was invited there, and was being paid to attend possibly be begging?
Why was she refused bail? What repeat offence was feared, or danger to the public anticipated? Instead she was sent to London and forced to spend four days in the notorious Holloway women’s prison. It was this same Victorian goal where suffragettes had been forced fed by prison warders, and I put it to you that Mrs Duncan too is a similar such martyr. It is also where the grisly gallows waited for all female murderers, spies and traitors in whose company her detractors sought to place her.
My client was assumed to be a dangerous war criminal . The charge was mooted to be Conspiracy, which, carried the ultimate sentence of death, by hanging, a charge which understandably created great distress. Yet when the absurdity of this fell on the War Office the alternative has proved to be no less bizarre. It is today’s charge of witchcraft , that Mrs Duncan and three of her equally innocent sitters are accused of pretending ‘to exercise or use human conjuration that through the agency of Helen Duncan spirits of deceased dead persons should appear to be present’. And that under the Larceny Act, she stand s accused her of taking money ‘ by falsely pretending she was in a position to bring about the appearances of these spirits of deceased persons’.
You have heard testimony from distinguished members of London Society vouching for Mrs Duncan’s bona fides. You have learned of her celebrity, yet still she finds herself facing these preposterous allegations.
Our daily papers have recorded each day of this trial, selling hundreds of thousands of copies extra as a result. Is that the sign of a vagrant? Do the public support traitors and spies? Members of the Jury we live in a modern age. An age where no ocean cannot be crossed, no wilderness remains untamed, no challenge is to great for our scientists and engineers, and no enemy so powerful that they cannot be subjugated by our wit, resourcefulness and skill. An age which hitherto, we will all have believed that the days of witches and broomsticks, cauldrons and spells, witch hunters and the stake were in the dim distant past.
Yet we were mistaken, the prosecution has fallen back two hundred years to charge my client, but has failed to return to the twentieth century thereafter. We live in an age in which Helena Blavatsky and Annie Beasant, great Spiritualists, have had the ear of monarchs, and Heads of State. In which our finest writers like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle have engaged the world with their thoughts of, and connections to, the next world. Where astronomers such as Claude Flammarion, scientists like William Crookes and Nobel Prize Winners Richet test the world with their beliefs, their intellect and their propositions. But the prosecution are still in the age of the ducking stool, the scolds bridle, and the stake surrounded by tinder.
Members of the jury, do not hold a flame to this bonfire of absurdity, instead it is my earnest hope that you will let justice, and common sense, prevail by acquitting my client.