Subject: For All Nails #51l: Victoria's Secret (Part 12)
8 May 1973
"Well, now we know whether the Conservatives can breathe
without Harry pushing the bellows," said Alistair Reid.
"They're running away from him all on their own, and I must
say they're doing quite an admirable job."
"Like a nigger caught raiding the pantry," chortled Richard
Patten. "Remind me to send that Madoka woman a note of
"The man's finished," Reid answered. "A man who digs a grave
had better dig two, what?"
"I wouldn't open any bottles of champagne just yet," cautioned
John Amalfi. "Harry may be finished, but the Conservatives?
Their people have been on the stump all day, going on about
how Harry betrayed them and how they hate miscegenation more
than ever. What do you want to bet they'll make it stick?
This time week, they'll be saying that Harry was brought down
by the great nigger conspiracy and how they're the only party
to stop it."
"I suppose he was, at that," Patten said. "Madoka and this
Letitia Ntimana together are enough to make a conspiracy,
aren't they? But I take your meaning, John - we don't have
our majority yet." The Prime Minister shook his head in
resignation; the Victoria United Party was only two seats
short of an outright majority in the current Parliament, and
three months ago he'd been sure of winning one in the general
election. But that was before that damned Madoka case had
changed everything; now, Patten would be happy not to _lose_
seats, and not to lose ground to the Conservatives within his
coalition. He'd thought that Keller's fall might make that
easier, but now he wasn't sure; as Amalfi had said, the man
was not the party.
"A nigger daughter, though," he said, resignation dissolving
into laughter. "Isn't that just like the bloody bastard?"
"That prancing traitor Jefferson played around in the slave
quarters as well, I believe," Amalfi answered. [FN1] "The
righteous ones always have secrets, don't they? At any rate,
I also have some good news - some _other_ good news, that is."
"That's right," the Foreign Secretary said. "He's spoken to
his government, and the answer is quite reasonable. I think
we'll be able to make that announcement we talked about, at
least after a fashion..."
8 May 1973
"I think we should begin by taking a vote," said Max Klein.
He looked around the table and surveyed the other eleven
jurors. It was past three o'clock on Tuesday, and the trial
was finally over. The defendant had called two more witnesses,
whose testimony was anticlimactic after her own. To nobody's
great surprise, Hodges had once again taken over the
prosecution, and both his cross-examinations and his closing
statement had been almost perfunctory. Lunch had followed
summations, and the court's charge had followed lunch, and the
jury - now duly instructed - was left to its deliberations.
"Should we do it by show of hands, or by ballot?"
A consensus was reached, and a sheet of paper was torn into
twelve pieces; these were passed around the table and returned
a moment later.
"Six to six," said Klein. "It looks like we'll be here a
They were. The battle lines in the jury room were clearly
drawn, and as intractable as those outside; half the jurors
thought that Victoria Madoka was a dangerous revolutionary,
and the other half believed her guilty of no more than
speaking her mind. Max himself, for whom the trial had been
an education in Victorian politics, was of the latter opinion.
According to the letter of the law, Madoka was clearly guilty
as hell - but of what? He'd been impressed with her plain-
spoken sincerity on the witness stand - far more so than he'd
been with her theatrics during cross-examination - and he'd
come off thinking that Victoria would be better off with more
like her. There were others, though, who didn't share that
opinion, and who were far more persuaded by the prosecutor's
words than hers.
The jury deliberated, if that was the right word; jurors
argued and shouted, but no minds were changed. The shouting
continued even when dinner was brought to them, and went on
after the paper plates were cleared away.
Marķa Marques listened to the argument with growing despair.
She was not a strong-minded woman, nor did she have the stomach
for debate; how was she supposed to convince the other jurors
to convict? A hung jury seemed certain, and it seemed equally
certain that her husband would blame her...
_Maybe I should tell them about my idea_. She'd been too shy
to suggest it before, and she wasn't certain her husband would
approve. She still wasn't sure - but he _had_ told her to do
anything she could to make sure Madoka was convicted. If he
really meant that, then he couldn't object, could he?
"Maybe..." she began. She hesitated when she saw the other
jurors looking at her, but found the strength to continue.
"Maybe we can compromise..."
9 May 1973
"The foreman says that the jury has reached a verdict, your
Honor," said the bailiff.
"Very well, then," said Magistrate Ian Douglas. "Please bring
"Criminal cause for trial, State of Victoria against Victoria
Madoka," the bailiff announced as the jurors were led into the
courtroom. "Will the defendant please rise?"
Victoria Madoka stood and faced the jury.
"Mr. Klein, do you have a verdict?" asked the judge.
"We do, your Honor. We have a verdict, and we also have a
"A declaration?" repeated Hodges. "This is highly irregular,
To the prosecutor's surprise, it was the foreman rather than
the judge who answered. "As the judge has said on many
occasions, this is an irregular trial. We're the judges of
the facts - at least, that's what Magistrate Douglas said in
his instructions - and we feel that there are some facts
about this case that the court should know."
"That's quite a cogent proposition, Mr. Klein," said the
magistrate. "And one more reason why this is an irregular
trial - I certainly can't recall ever hearing legal argument
from a juror before. I'll listen to your findings of fact,
Mr. Klein, although I hope you realize that only the verdict
itself is binding on me."
"We realize that, your Honor." He put his reading glasses on
and withdrew a note from his pocket. "In any event, taking the
Sedition Act as you read it to us, we think there can be no
question that the defendant violated the law. However, the
jury finds that she acted as a citizen of Victoria,
exercising her right to speak on political matters, and that
nothing she said posed a threat to the state. We do not feel
that a prison sentence is in any way called for, and we
recommend that Your Honor exercise leniency."
"Very well, Mr. Klein," Magistrate Douglas said. "I see you
managed to get through all that without saying the word
'guilty' once, but I will take it as a verdict of conviction.
As for the other things you said, I will take them under
advisement. Thank you for your conscientious service; you are
"Your Honor..." began Hodges.
"When I said I would take the jurors' statement under
advisement, Mr. Hodges, I meant exactly that. I'm fully aware
that I don't have to abide by it, but I'm also aware that I
can if I wish. You have your conviction, Mr. Hodges; you have
nothing to complain about. I will see all parties here for
sentencing on May eighteenth..."
"Excuse me, your Honor," the prosecutor interrupted. "The law
requires sentencing to be held within seven days after the
verdict, absent cause."
"So it does," said the judge. That section of the criminal
procedure code was routinely ignored due to the crowded dockets
of the Victorian courts, but it was still on the books - and
following it meant that the sentencing would take place the day
before the election. _And, no doubt, that all the Conservative
dailies will make it their election day headline if Victoria
"Very well, then. May sixteenth, promptly at nine."
[FN1] Jefferson's famous liaison with Sally Hemings, of course,
was precluded in the FANTL by his execution for treason in
1778. However, Jefferson is not highly regarded by British and
North American historians, many of whom have spent the
intervening two centuries digging up dirt on him. One of the
things discovered during the early 1800s, and passed down as
received wisdom ever since, was that he had several other
sexual relationships with female slaves. Whether this is true,
and whether the stories of coercion through force or threats
have any basis in fact, has been the subject of debate for
almost as long, with many USM historians asserting that they
are nineteenth-century smears.
Jonathan I. Edelstein in Kew Gardens, NY
"It's been a lot of fun." -- in memoriam, Alison Brooks