plea was as skilfully drawn as I knew how, and was framed as if we had the evidence to sustain it. The whole thing was a sham, but so constructed as to work the desired continuance, because I knew that Stuart
believed the facts were as I pleaded them.
This was done in the absence and without the knowledge of Lincoln
The plea could not be demurred to, and the opposing counsel dared not take issue on it. It perplexed them sorely.
At length, before further steps were taken, Lincoln
came into court.
He looked carefully over all the papers in the case, as was his custom, and seeing my engenious subterfuge, asked, “Is this seventh plea a good one?”
Proud of the exhibition of my skill, I answered that it was “But,” he inquired, incredulously, “is it founded on fact?”
I was obliged to respond in the negative, at the same time following up my answer with an explanation of what I had overheard Stuart
intimate, and of how these alleged facts could be called facts if a certain construction were put upon them, I insisted that our position was justifiable, and that our client must have time or be ruined.
I could see at once it failed to strike Lincoln
as just right.
He scratched his head thoughtfully and asked, “Hadn't we better withdraw that plea?
You know it's a sham, and a sham is very often but another name for a lie. Don't let it go on record.
The cursed thing may come staring us in the face long after this suit has been forgotten.”
The plea was withdrawn.
By some agency — not our own — the case was continued and our client's interests were saved