Page:The Green Bag (1889–1914), Volume 25.pdf/361

This page needs to be proofread.


The Green Bag

338

His eyes fell on a faithful and long-tired friend — his pen. And while false dreams and phantoms fell back into the past, Lucius, the heaven-born writer, now found himself at last. He saw himself as having one single goal in sight, And all his future called him: "Take up your pen, and write." One single goal? Ah, no; they worse than sadly err Who strive to play the god but not the worshiper. The old, old, mighty force that spins the world around Now makes him start and tremble at the silken, rustling sound Of garments trailed. With hands outheld, and eyelids wet, Beside him "Portia" stands. He, turning, sees, and yet Can scarce believe. Perhaps 'twas Heaven's own plan That she should whisper low, "Little Tin Pan!" Clyde, 0.

Reviews of Books SCOTTISH CRIMINAL JUSTICE The Case of Oscar Slater. By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. George H. Doran Co., New York. Pp. 103. (50 cts. net.) THE author of "Sherlock Holmes" might to good advantage have placed upon the title-page of his chival rous attempt to aid the proper adminis tration of justice the following passage quoted in the book from the commission which investigated the notorious Beck case (the commission consisted of Lord Collins, Sir Spencer Walpole, and Sir John Edge) : — Evidence of identity upon personal im pression, however bona fide, is of all classes of evidence the least to be relied upon, and unless supported by other evidence an unsafe basis for the verdict of a jury. To such a proposition any one versed in the criminal law will readily assent, and language of that sort employed by any appellate court would not excite surprise. We hope the Slater case is not typical of Scottish criminal courts. So plain

a miscarriage of justice, turning on vague and conflicting evidence of per sonal identity, would not often be pos sible, we believe, through the stupidity of a Scottish jury, in spite of the inordi nate zeal of any prosecuting officer, and it would be quite unlikely to occur in England or the United States owing to the requirement of unanimous verdicts. In this instance the verdict was nine for "guilty," five for "non-proven," and one for "not guilty," surely an iniqui tous combination on which to sentence a man to death for murder. Sir Arthur states and carefully reviews the evidence as if he were counsel for the defense, but his fairness and im partiality are visible at every turn. The police are criticized for losing their interest in the case and neglecting to look for the real criminal after the arrest of the suspect. The book offers an object-lesson not only of conviction on insufficient evidence but of slipshod police investigation. The convicted man's sentence has been commuted to