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Subject: For All Nails #51n: Victoria's Secret (Part 14 and last)

Magistrate's Court
Nairobi, Victoria
16 May 1973

"I see that everyone's here," said Magistrate Ian Douglas, "and
now seems as good a time as any to end the drama.  Criminal
case for sentencing, number 73-751, State of Victoria against
Victoria Madoka.  Will the defendant please stand?"

The defendant rose gracefully to her feet.

"I'm afraid the passion play isn't quite over yet, Mrs. Madoka.
This is a courtroom, after all, so there are speeches to be
made first.  Mr. Hodges, you may proceed, assuming you have
anything to say."

The prosecutor pretended not to notice the magistrate's
disapproving tone.  "Yes, your Honor," he began.  "Rest assured
that I will be brief, because I believe that, in spite of the
theatrics that have marked this trial, it is not a complicated
case.  The defendant has violated the Sedition Act - an act, I
might add, that is intended to protect the very foundations of
the Victorian state.  She has been convicted of giving aid and
comfort to black revolutionaries whose aim is nothing less than
the destruction of everything we cherish.  A jury of her peers
has convicted her, and now she must pay the penalty.  I submit,
your Honor, that the egregious nature of the defendant's crimes
merits the maximum penalty available under law - two years'
imprisonment."

"Thank you, Mr. Hodges," said the judge.  "Mrs. Madoka, do you
wish to speak before I pass sentence?"

"No, thank you, your Honor.  I believe that everything that can
be said about this case already has been."

As they had during the trial, Victoria's composure and dignity
drew the judge powerfully.  If truth be told, he had admired
her for a long time, but he had always rationalized his
feelings as those of a father for a daughter.  He wondered, not
for the first time, whether he was being honest with himself.

"Is there any reason, Mrs. Madoka, why I should not pass
sentence on you now?"

"No, your Honor."

"Very well.  As Mr. Hodges just pointed out, you have been
convicted by a jury of your peers.  Over my years on the bench,
I've noticed that prosecutors often like to point that out.
'Your Honor, the jury has spoken, and the defendant is guilty.'
Well, the jury in this case has certainly spoken - but in
addition to its finding of guilt, it also said something else."

"Your Honor..." Hodges began.

"I will ignore the interruption, Mr. Hodges.  I realize that
the jury's recommendations are not binding on me, but I may
still consider them, and in this case I believe they are well
taken.  The defendant has violated the law, but she has not
done any of the things the law was intended to prevent - quite
the contrary, in fact.  I have carefully reviewed all the
circumstances of this case, and I sentence the defendant to one
day in gaol - which she has already served - and a fine of
three hundred pounds, payable within one week."

"Your Honor, I must object..."

"You have the right to appeal, Mr. Hodges - as does the
defendant.  The court's sentence stands.  Mrs. Madoka, you are
free to go."

The reporters were waiting in the hallway.  Most of them were
local - for most of the foreigners, the drama had gone out of
the case after the verdict - but there were a few North
American and British broadcasters still there.  As luck would
have it, Theresa Gugliano of NCCC was the first and loudest.

"Would you do it again, Mrs. Madoka?"

"No, I wouldn't."

Gugliano's expression was almost enough to crack Victoria's
composure; obviously, that wasn't the answer expected of a
crusading champion.

"I'd rather that the people who died on April fourth were still
alive, I'd rather fight for a cause than be one, and I'd rather
build bridges than burn them."

She made her way past the reporters and out to the street.

***

Kibera, Victoria
17 May 1973

It wasn't exactly a victory party, but Victoria decided that it
would do.  That the case was over, and that she could reflect
on it at home rather than from a cell, was reason enough to
celebrate.

It was a small gathering - her parents, nearby relations, and
a few close friends.  And Anand Rajaram - after what he had
done for her and for Letitia, he was a friend as well.  _A
better one, in fact, than some of the people I trusted_.

She had taken the day off and spent most of the afternoon
making dinner.  That was over now, and the party had adjourned
to the parlor - accompanied by the Ntimana children, who were
bewildered by the adult conversation but unwilling to risk
missing anything.  Victoria wondered vaguely whether she ought
to put them to bed, but decided to let them find their own way
when they were tired of being spoiled by the guests.

She turned the vitavision on at ten o'clock; the polls had
closed two hours before, and the first returns were starting to
come in.  As always, Nairobi and its suburbs reported first,
and the initial results were encouraging; with so many more
black voters on the rolls, a vote for the All Citizens' Party
was much less likely to be wasted, and middle-class ridings
that had voted for the VUP in 1969 were swinging to the
Democrats.  A cheer went up when the All Citizens' candidate
took Kibera, and another when Harry Keller lost his Langata
seat to a Democratic challenger.

Despite Keller's fall, though, it soon became clear that the
day's biggest winners were the Conservatives.  The Victoria
United Party had lost at both ends; those who were afraid of an
incipient police state defected to the Democrats, and those who
feared black revolution went Conservative.  By eleven thirty,
there could be no doubt which fear ran stronger in the white
working-class neighborhoods and the rural ridings.  Victoria
wondered, not for the first time, whether the news of her
sentence in that morning's papers was responsible for any of
the Conservative victories.  _But on the other hand, how many
Democrats did my indictment elect?_

Madoka doubted that Richard Patten was a happy man.  The VUP,
which held 58 seats in the current Parliament, would have only
37 in the next.  Their Conservative coalition partners - if
that was the right word - would increase their share from ten
seats to twenty-two.  The Democrats, who had made modest gains,
would have 46 seats, the Liberals seven, the All Citizens'
Party six...

It wasn't until Victoria tallied the numbers in her head that
she realized how divided the country was.  The VUP and the
Conservatives - the parties of the right - would have fifty-
nine seats.  The parties of the left, also fifty-nine.  And the
balance of power would be held by a cranky independent from
Mombasa South who hadn't uttered a word from the benches in
years.

_Where will we go from here?  Where _can_ we go from here?_ [FN1]

***

[FN1] Thus ends _Victoria's Secret_.  Those of you who are still
with me after 24,000 words of this can rest assured that the
story will continue; the next series, entitled _State of
Emergency_, will carry it through the fall of 1974.

***

Jonathan I. Edelstein in Kew Gardens, NY

"It's been a lot of fun." -- in memoriam, Alison Brooks