Best Lincoln Stories Tersely Told
by J. E. Gallaher
Pub. in 1898

 

The Jury Understood.
 

Another one of these anecdotes is related in connection with a case involving a bodily attack. Mr. Lincoln defended, and told the jury that his client was in the fix of a man who, in going along the highway with a pitchfork over his shoulder, was attacked by a fierce dog that ran out at him from a farmer’s door-yard. In parrying off the brute with the fork its prongs stuck into him and killed him.

"What made you kill my dog?" said the farmer.

"What made him bite me?"

"But why did you not go after him with the other end of the pitchfork?"
"Why did he not come at me with his other end?" At this Mr. Lincoln whirled about in his long arms an imaginary dog and pushed his tail end toward the jury. This was the defensive plea of "Son assault demesne"—loosely, that "The other fellow brought on the fight"—quickly told and in a way the dulled mind would grasp and retain.

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