MR. DOOLEY ON EXPERT TESTIMONY
by Finley Peter Dunne
"Annything new?" said Mr. Hennessy, who had been waiting
patiently for Mr. Dooley to put down his newspaper.
"I've been r-readin' th' tistimony iv th' Lootgert case," said
"What d'ye think iv it?"
"I think so," said Mr. Dooley.
"How do I know?" said Mr. Dooley. "How do I know what I think?
I'm no combi-nation iv chemist, doctor, osteologist, polisman,
an' sausage-maker, that I can give ye an opinion right off th'
bat. A man needs to be all iv thim things to detarmine annything
about a murdher trile in these days. This shows how intilligent
our methods is, as Hogan says. A large German man is charged with
puttin' his wife away into a breakfas'-dish, an' he says he
didn't do it. Th' on'y question, thin, is Did or did not Alphonse
Lootgert stick Mrs. L. into a vat, an' rayjooce her to a quick
lunch? Am I right?"
"Ye ar-re," said Mr. Hennessy.
"That's simple enough. What th' coort ought to've done was to call
him up, an' say: 'Lootgert, where's ye'er good woman?' If Lootgert
cudden't tell, he ought to be hanged on gin'ral principles; f'r a
man must keep his wife around th' house, an' whin she isn't there,
it shows he's a poor provider. But, if Lootgert says, 'I don't
know where me wife is,' the coort shud say: 'Go out, an' find her.
If ye can't projooce her in a week, I'll fix ye.' An' let that be
th' end iv it.
"But what do they do? They get Lootgert into coort an' stand him
up befure a gang iv young rayporthers an' th' likes iv thim to
make pitchers iv him. Thin they summon a jury composed iv poor,
tired, sleepy expressmen an' tailors an' clerks. Thin they call
in a profissor from a colledge. 'Profissor,' says th' lawyer f'r
the State, 'I put it to ye if a wooden vat three hundherd an'
sixty feet long, twenty-eight feet deep, an' sivinty-five feet
wide, an' if three hundherd pounds iv caustic soda boiled, an'
if the leg iv a ginea pig, an' ye said yesterdah about bicarbonate
iv soda, an' if it washes up an' washes over, an' th' slimy,
slippery stuff, an' if a false tooth or a lock iv hair or a
jawbone or a goluf ball across th' cellar eleven feet nine
inches--that is, two inches this way an' five gallons that?'
'I agree with ye intirely,' says th' profissor, 'I made lab'ratory
experiments in an' ir'n basin, with bichloride iv gool, which I
will call soup-stock, an' coal tar, which I will call ir'n filings.
I mixed th' two over a hot fire, an' left in a cool place to
harden. I thin packed it in ice, which I will call glue, an'
rock-salt, which I will call fried eggs, an' obtained a dark,
queer solution that is a cure f'r freckles, which I will call
antimony or doughnuts or annything I blamed please.'
"'But,' says th' lawyer f'r th' State, 'measurin' th' vat with
gas,--an' I lave it to ye whether this is not th' on'y fair
test,--an' supposin' that two feet acrost is akel to tin feet
sideways, an' supposin' that a thick green an' hard substance,
an' I daresay it wud; an' supposin' you may, takin' into
account th' measuremints,--twelve be eight,--th' vat bein'
wound with twine six inches fr'm th' handle an' a rub iv th'
green, thin ar-re not human teeth often found in counthry
sausage?' 'In th' winter,' says th' profissor. 'But th'
sisymoid bone is sometimes seen in th' fut, sometimes worn as
a watch-charm. I took two sisymoid bones, which I will call
poker dice, an' shook thim together in a cylinder, which I
will call Fido, poored in a can iv milk, which I will call
gum arabic, took two pounds iv rough-on-rats, which I rayfuse
to call; but th' raysult is th' same.' Question be th' coort:
'Different?' Answer: 'Yis.' Th' coort: 'Th' same.' Be Misther
McEwen: 'Whose bones?' Answer: 'Yis.' Be Misther Vincent:
'Will ye go to th' divvle?' Answer: 'It dissolves th' hair.'
"Now what I want to know is where th' jury gets off. What has
that collection iv pure-minded pathrites to larn fr'm this
here polite discussion, where no wan is so crool as to ask
what anny wan else means? Thank th' Lord, whin th' case is
all over, the jury'll pitch th' tistimony out iv th' window,
an' consider three questions: 'Did Lootgert look as though
he'd kill his wife? Did his wife look as though she ought
to be kilt? Isn't it time we wint to supper?' An', howiver
they answer, they'll be right, an' it'll make little diff'rence
wan way or th' other. Th' German vote is too large an'
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