Dave Chappelle: What’s in a Name (2022) | Transcript

Dave Chappelle delivers a speech at his prestigious alma mater that reflects on his comedy roots, his rise to fame and why artists "should never behave."
Dave Chappelle: What's in a Name

What’s in a Name? is a 40-minute talk Chappelle delivered at Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C., on June 20, 2022

* * *

Art is dangerous.
It is one of the attractions: when it ceases to be dangerous you don’t want it.

Duke Ellington

Amid the controversy of Dave Chappelle’s Netflix release “The Closer,” Duke Ellington School of the Arts resolved to name its newly renovated theatre “Dave Chappelle Theatre.”
The following is Dave’s acceptance speech for that honor…

[Dave Chappelle] This… is… surreal.

[cheering and applause]

In 1987… 1987, I moved back… from Ohio to D.C. And– and– and enrolled in Eastern High School, and did…

[audience member] Whoo!

You must not have went there when I went there, champ. Those were tough times is the way I remember it. [chuckles] [groans]

When I had gone, I– I had lived with my father for three years. I went to middle school in Ohio, and when I’d gotten back to Washington, the crack epidemic was in full swing, and the city was largely unrecognizable to me. Now I was an older kid, and– and– and kids my age were doing a lot of wild things that I– I didn’t know that kids would do. I– I’d never seen a kid with a pager before, I didn’t know anything about selling drugs, any of that shit. All I knew, every day when I went to Eastern, I didn’t feel safe. [groans]

I’m a quiet guy, naturally. I’m a shy person, naturally. And I used to get my hair cut on a barbershop on 15th Street Northeast. And I would go there, and, uh… and everyone in the barbershop would just snap on each other. And I’d sit in the corner, and I– and I’d watch everybody, and just listen to all these jokes. The guys were funny as shit, but– but one day, after a few weeks of goin’ there and gettin’ my hair cut, they– they– they turned the jokes on me. I call that day The Barbershop Massacre. I lit everybody in that barbershop up, I had been sittin’ in there listening to ’em for weeks talk about each other, I knew every inside joke about each and every one of ’em, and they couldn’t believe I knew this stuff. I lit their asses up.

From then on in the neighborhood, people kind of liked me, like, “Okay… he’s pretty funny.” Time magazine released an article about Bill Cosby. The headline said, “Fifty, Funny, and Filthy Rich,” and I read that article and it was when I was looking at his face, before all that disgrace, that I looked and I said, “I could do that.” I told my father and my father said, “Well, then just do it.” I said, “Well, I wouldn’t even know where to start,” and he said, “Well, look in the phone book.” It’s before the internet, if you’re young. We used to have a book with phone numbers in it.

My father found for me the local comedy club in Washington, D.C. I called ’em… I found out when Open Mic night was, and I started to go there on Tuesday nights… and just watch. And then one night I went on a weekend. I would– I would get my money together and I would go to this comedy club and I would just watch these comedians, and sometimes… sometimes they would talk to me. And I told one of the comedians after the show one night, I said, “Man, I really wanna try to do this.” And– and he said, “Well…” He said… He said, “If you wanna be a good comedian, you should know how to act.” I said, “Why?” And he says, you know… He didn’t explain it. I said, “Okay,” and I told my parents, and– and this is how I came to find out about Duke Ellington. My mother, she said, “There’s a place you can go where you can learn to act right in Washington. It’s a– It’s a high school.” I said, “You mean I would… get out of Eastern?” The school year was already in full swing and Ellington has a policy that they don’t let people just come in the middle of the year, but Lynda Gravatt was the head of the theater department at the time. Very graciously took a meeting with me and my mother, and… I get emotional thinking about it. Anybody that went here?

[crowd cheers]

Remember what it was first like?

[audience members] Yes! Yes!

When you first walked through the door? It was in the afternoon, and everyone was in their arts classes, and the girls had tutus on, and everyone was weird, and walking around the hallway, like, you weren’t sure where anyone was supposed to be, and you could hear people practicing their horns and shit all through the hallways. There was art bouncing off the walls, the minute I walked through the door, there was a gallery of– of all these children’s work and these pictures were amazing.

My first thought… when I walked through that door: “I’m not good enough to be here. I’m sure.”

And Miss Gravatt sat me down, she told me about the school, and you remember Miss Gravatt? She was very businesslike. But also very warm. She was intimidating, but palpably kind. She was a paradox of a human being. She gave me a date for an audition. My mother said, “Okay, Dave, it’s on you.”

Now… Those of you who know me… know that I didn’t prepare for that audition. That audition was like a– a possession, it was just something that I was proud to have.

But as the days got closer, I’m like, “Oh, my God, I gotta get– I gotta get something together.” I didn’t even know how to do an audition, And I had never done it before, so I went and I said– I said, “What do I need?” They said, “A monologue,” I… So I looked up “monologue.” And I went to the library, the MLK Library, this huge library, so I gotta find something, and I found a piece in one of those yellow script books, it was a monologue by Mark Twain called “The Judge’s Spirited Woman.” And I learned it in a night. You know, it was not hard for me to memorize things.

The next day, it was a Saturday, I think, and I came to the school, and they auditioned in what used to be this room– the original… theater, Duke Ellington School of the Arts. And all the department heads sat in here, and the light’s in your eyes, and there’s a bunch of kids who already go to the school, who come on Saturday, just to see… who might be coming.

And I talked to all these kids before I went in, and these kids were nothing like the kids at Eastern. They were like them, but they were different, they were weird, funny, and self-deprecating, things like this.

And I remember I came out on stage… and I did my audition, and it was like… like, terrible. I– I froze up in the beginning, I started, and then I said, “Wait a minute, I’m messing up, I’m gonna start again.” [sighs] And I was nervous, and I was scared, and… and… in the middle of the audition, I’m in the middle of the monologue, uh, one of the teachers, Fred Lee, he said– Fred Lee, he goes, “Okay, that’s enough.” I said, “Well, there’s still a little more,” he goes, “No, no, no, no, no… That is enough,” he said.

And I– I can’t tell you, like, I– I was crushed. Uh… without saying his disapproval, I knew it stunk. And I was right. When I walked in here, I knew I wasn’t good enough to go to this school. And I thought to myself, “Ah, fuck this school, that’s stupid anyway.”

In first-year theater, there’s a question that they ask students from time to time. And it’s a make-or-break question, and… And we ask this question, you don’t know. And the question is this: They say, “Why do you wanna act?” Now… if you say anything like, “I wanna be a star,” you’re not… You’re not gonna get in. I didn’t know that. And I figured I already blew the audition, so I told them the truth. He said, “Why do you wanna act?” “I don’t.” That’s what I said. And they said, “Well then, why are you here?” I said, “Because I wanna be a comedian and some comedian told me that if I wanna be a good comedian, I need to learn how to act.” And the teachers look at each other and go, “Thank you very much,” and I left. And I was walking down the hallway kicking rocks.

It was a kid that already went here, his name was Ako Handy. And Ako said, “Hey, man, I listened to them talking about you.” I said, “You did?” He said, “You’re in.” I said, “What?” He said, “You’re in.” But it didn’t make any sense. Somehow we worked it out so that they gave me an early enrollment, and I left Eastern within weeks of that, and I came to Duke Ellington and it was better than I could have ever imagined.

I didn’t have the suspicion that most new kids get. I was an oddity, a new toy, I was quirky, I wasn’t a snappy dresser, I didn’t really know what the fuck was going on, because the crack epidemic itself was new to me and they were all refugees from their neighborhood schools. In the morning, we would have our academic classes, and then in the afternoon, we would have our arts classes. It was a long school day. We’d start at 8:30, we wouldn’t leave here ’til five, sometimes 5:30. Whenever they saw fit.

It’s funny walking in here tonight, ’cause I saw the Pride flags up, and I remember when I came here all those years ago, it’s the first time I ever met a kid who was just, like, gay. It was never strange to us. Their sexuality or their gender identity was the least remarkable thing about a person that could dance as well as Roger Bellamy, or…

There was no distinction between any of that. Everybody was weird in their own way. And in a very strange way, because we spent so much time with one another. We helped raise… one another.

There’s a camaraderie between these students that I don’t know that I’ve seen since I left this school. I can remember, and I won’t say names, there was a student that went here that used to sell drugs. It wasn’t just a student, but this particular guy… This particular guy did the cardinal no-no on the streets. He did what they call “not making your roll,” which meant he got some drugs on consignment and he didn’t pay whoever gave him the drugs back. And whoever gave him those drugs had declared, “I’m gonna come to that school, and I’m gonna kill you,” he said. And my man was scared, and word got around, around school, that the goons was coming. And by the time the goons showed up, every dude that went to this school: gay, straight, whatever the fuck, was all standing out front, they say, “You’ll have to kill all of us.” And who was in front of all of ’em? Roger Bellamy with some leg warmers on like this.

I started making friends that are still my friends to this very day. Life-long friends.

As I get older, I appreciate my teachers more and more. But to tell you the truth, I appreciated them then. Teacher salaries, you know, not necessarily what it should be. And when I think about that, juxtaposed to the dedication that the teachers, the time they would spend with me, the way they would notice, “Are you okay? Is everything all right? You look sad today.” Any little thing, like a family member would. And they fostered an environment of almost absolute trust, like your parents.

There’s two lectures that I got at school that changed the way I do comedy. That like… turned the light switch on. It was two teachers: Donal Leace. Donal Leace, may he rest in peace. Maybe one of the single best educators that I’ve ever met in my life. He had a demeanor about himself that demanded excellence from his students. He would tell us incredible stories that I didn’t believe. He claimed… in one class, the song “Killing Him Softly” was about him. I was like, “Nah, n*gga, not you.” He told me he knew Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack and all these people. These D.C. legends.

He’s a humble man, but he really demanded excellence. And he gave us a lecture once on a concept called polarization. Polarization meaning the– the idea that if you can make everybody look at the same thing at the same time, that their rational mind will decrease, and their emotional response will increase. He said, “That’s how audiences work, that’s how mobs work, that’s how you make a person lose themself in the crowd.”

I got it. As he was saying this, he would hold a stapler in his hand, it was a good lecture. He said, “Everyone focus on the stapler,” and he would explain to us what polarization is as we’re all looking at this stapler, and then he’d scream, “Hah!” And everyone would jump, “Oh!” He said, “What’re you scared of?” “Oh, shit, that works.”

And ever since he did that lecture, I listened in his class intently. He was one of the only guys that I would always get straight As from because I worked very hard, not to get his approval, but to avoid his disapproval.

When we were coming up, they had a thing called juries. I don’t know, do they still do juries? Juries is when all the department heads give you a piece to work on, and they sit there, and they make you perform the piece, and the criticism is brutal. And we were kids. We didn’t understand that they were preparing us for a hard world ahead if you wanted a profession in art. They would tear us to shreds. Just the stress… The stress of a jury. And man, I never practiced. ‘Cause I didn’t wanna act.

At an improv class, a teacher named Geraldine Gillstrap told me that she should– I should stop doing funny pieces. That I should try to stretch myself artistically. And maybe had more in me than comedy. And at the time, I took offense to that. So because she said that, after school that very night, I went to the comedy club, and for the first time I signed the list, and I waited, and I got on, and I killed it. Killed it. Must have been 35 years ago, night after night, I killed it. I’d show up with the bag of tricks that I learned at school, and I would dominate adults on a regular basis.

Couldn’t wait to get out of D.C. When I was 17, I moved to New York and lit that comedy scene up. I was obviously talented. You’ll hear stories about people saying that I discovered Dave Chappelle. That’s like saying you discovered sunshine. I was shining on everybody.

And when I got in that professional world, I was oddly prepared. I had a sense of professionalism, I showed up on time, I did the things that I learned in school to do. Just the basics. My… career didn’t have any direction ’cause I was still so young. And that didn’t change for many years.

It didn’t change until, uh… my girlfriend at the time, now my wife, told me she was pregnant, and I was like, “You know what? I should really start taking this seriously.”

And when she told me that, before the baby was born, I’d done my first HBO special, and then– and then I went to work on a sketch comedy show idea I had, and– and– and The Chappelle Show came out when my son was still maybe 18 months-year old. And I bet on myself. I took less money. I took less money, I remember that, so I could do what I wanted to do. I said, “You don’t have to pay me that much, but you can’t ever tell me… You can’t ever tell me that I can’t do what I wanna do.” And I did the first season, I’ll tell you, for $300,000. Which sounds like a lot of money, but– but– but– but– but…

It was a rare experience in my life, because it was the first time that I did something that was so successful that I knew I had exceeded the expectations. I was more successful than I felt like I was supposed to be. They didn’t plan on that.

The second season… came out, and it was a juggernaut, and– and– and… and then, I remember this was the single best day of my career, the Rick James episode of Chappelle Show had come out… People were going crazy about the Rick James episode at the same time the– the DVD for Season 1 of Chappelle Show dropped. It was the first time any television show had ever been sold off air. And it sold a million copies in the first day. It was unheard of. To this day, nothing has sold more than Chappelle Show. It’s still on the Top Ten in Netflix.

All those great things happened, and my contract was up. Clearly… Clearly, I was about to be rich.

I’ll spare you all the details of why it didn’t work out. But it didn’t work out. And I ended up doing something that no one had ever seen before, including myself. Maybe Prince is the only other guy that I’ve seen do this, where you just quit something that was popular when you’re at the very top of it.

Lucky for me, when I quit, I went to Africa, so there was a media storm that I didn’t hear. By the time I got back, everyone was just lookin’ at me crazy. That was a very difficult decision to make. The entire world told me I was crazy, but I– I was sure… I was sure I was being true to myself and to something that I learned at Ellington.

I’m one of those comedians that thought of himself as an artist. I was enamored by what the genre could do. It was like… the pictures that I could paint with words, and the way I could engage with audiences. I understood as it was happening, I was very lucky to be able to do this. And I protected that. And I knew that if I took the money, they would expect me to behave differently, and I wasn’t willing to accept that, so I quit. And when I quit, it was a very difficult time in my life, that I’ll spare you the details, but man, fuck show business. It was tough.

And then one day I was in Panama City, Panama, and I was in a hotel, and I looked at the lobby, there was a– a painting of Abraham Lincoln. Was– And then– I would look closer, it wasn’t a painting, it was all pennies, just pennies on a black canvas, arranged into the face of Abraham Lincoln. And I asked the guy, I said, “How much is that painting worth?” He said, “$600,000, sir.” And I looked at the pennies that made up the painting, and I was like, “That’s like, $300 worth of pennies.”

Lightbulb went in my head. I realized the value of art. Some of the biggest wars and crimes and scams in history were financed through the theft of art. Art is a powerful commodity. An artist, if you’re good at it, should never behave as a commodity. It’s a tough one.

And then I gave up. ‘Cause it– I said, “Oh– you know, this is probably it.” I accepted the fact that the career I thought I was gonna have was over, but, I started to rediscover just my art for its own sake. I would go to comedy clubs and I’d work for way less money than I ever had, and I enjoyed it more than any of the work I ever did. It was probably the best work I’ll ever do. ‘Cause it was so honest. It was so sincere. There was no media, there was no studio, there was no scrutiny, just me and the crowds. And I did it night after night, and slowly but surely the crowds got bigger and bigger, and then suddenly people started to notice. In post, I would say, “Dave Chappelle has the tour of the year.” And again, and then the year after that, and then the year after that.

And then, Lorne Michaels asked me to do Saturday Night Live. And it wasn’t just like he asked me, he was courtin’ me, I didn’t even know it, he gave me this whole long speech, and I was like, “All right.” And then I read some book about Lorne Michaels starting Saturday Night Live, and I read the speech that he gave Richard Pryor when he wanted him to host the show, and I said, “Holy shit, that’s the same shit he said to me!”

And I did it. And that was an enormous amount of pressure, it had been 12 years since I’d been on television, or since I’d even talked to the media, and I remember I signed my Netflix contract on my way to my mark for the monologue. If you do live television, they count down every second, “30 seconds…” “Are you sure this contract is good?” “It’s good, just sign the papers…” “22 seconds…” “Aw, nigga, you better not be trickin’ me.”

Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one, I walked out on that stage, and I killed it. It was natural. It was nothing. It was easy work. Got an Emmy for that one, too. First Emmy I won. And when I walked on the stage after being in the cold for so long, for the first time when I walked on the stage, I’m like, “Damn, n*gga, I just made 60 million dollars.” That’s what I thought to myself. It’s been great ever since. And really I could do these specials like Steph Curry, I be shooting from inside, outside, all night. It’s been great ever since.

A lot of my friends are athletes, and I never could understand what it would feel like to only have a limited amount of time to be great. You got 20 years to be the best, or 30 years to be the best, but when you do art, you could be great whenever the will decides that you’re great. And I feel very lucky for that.

And I never forgot this school. I’ve always come back, checked in. One of my favorite honors was doing the commencement at Ellington. Listen, I can’t even remember what year it is. I just remember they cheered for me when I came out, I wasn’t a big star, but I was their star, and I felt like I was home.

After I did Lorne Michaels, I mean, after I did Saturday Night Live, Lorne Michaels said something that I gotta share with you. He goes, “You went to Peggy Cafritz’s school, didn’t you?” That’s what he said. I said, “I did,” and he said… he said– I wanted to say this on Saturday Night Live. He goes, “Tell her I owe her money.”

You know, I never asked to have this theater named after me. Peggy asked me. She was ailing, and I went to her house to visit her. And she said, “I want you to put your name on the school,” she said, “It would help us raise money for the school,” and to me, it was like, I felt like I’m a little young for that, and I’m still kind of using the name, you know what I mean? Let’s see what I do with it first! You never know… Like, imagine if O.J. had named his son O.J. Junior. “Oh, Dad!”

And around then, I was receiving the Mark Twain Prize. Huge honor…


[audience applauds]

And the next day, all the artists that came to honor me, the Bradley Coopers and Chris Tuckers, and all these great people who came to Ellington and they taught master classes for the students. And Peggy Cooper Cafritz, as sick as she was, got out of her bed, so she could be with her babies. She never left us. So I did it. So, you know, whatever you wanna do, if I can help, I’ll do it.

Now I have to tell you: if you quit a show like Chappelle Show, I don’t know if you know what happens to you professionally, but I’ll tell you what doesn’t happen. They don’t just say, “Well, good luck in your future endeavors.” With that media, they beat me up. With their power, they tried to make me behave, it’s– -it– it takes a strong person to stand out in the cold like that, and I swear to God, so much of the strength I got to do that, the inner warmth I got to do that, I learned in this school, and from my friends who helped raise me.

So why wouldn’t… I’d do anything I could to help my benefactor. And the last time I came back, after The Closer, when the kids were mad at me, I got to tell you, that was quite the day. All the kids was screaming and yelling, I remember, I said to the kids, I go, “Well, okay, well what do you guys think I did wrong?” And a line formed. These kids said everything about gender, and this and that and the other, but they didn’t say anything about art. And this is my biggest gripe with this whole controversy with The Closer: that you cannot report on an artist’s work, and remove artistic nuance from his words. It would be like if you were reading a newspaper and they say, “Man Shot in the Face by a Six-Foot Rabbit Expected to Survive,” you’d be like “Oh, my God,” and they never tell you it’s a Bugs Bunny cartoon.

I took a lot of cold shots… in show business. And I gotta tell you, as the years go on, you feel the shots less and less. “Ah, it’s just the business,” is what you say. But that one, that day, boy, that day they hurt me. When I heard those talking points coming out of these children’s faces, that really, sincerely, hurt me. Because I know those kids didn’t come up with those words, I’ve heard those words before. The more you say I can’t say something, the more urgent it is for me to say it. And it has nothing to do with what you’re saying I can’t say. It has everything to do with my right, my freedom… of artistic expression. That is valuable to me. That is not severed from me. It’s worth protecting for me, and it’s worth protecting for everyone else who endeavors in our noble, noble professions. And these kids… And these kids didn’t understand that they were instruments… instruments of oppression. And I didn’t get mad at them. They’re kids. They’re freshmen. They’re not ready yet. They don’t know.

What made me mad… and I am this petty… I ain’t sayin’ names. One of the kid’s mother went on Fox News, and she used to be a student here, I remember her face but I don’t know if she was particularly popular. Anyway. She was in the Literary Media Arts department. She said a lot of things that I didn’t like, lot of things. But, you know, that’s her right. The thing she said that got to me, she said, “At Duke Ellington, that theater was a sanctuary for students. I used to sit there and meditate.” Well, of course you’d meditate. You were a Literary Media Arts student. We didn’t meditate in here. We got to work. But, okay, fine. “I would sit in there and meditate,” she said.

And then she scrunched her face up. She’s a beautiful woman, but her face looked hideous, the way she scrunched it up, and she said, “And just to imagine… his name… on that theater. How could you do that to those kids?”

Listen. No matter what they said about The Closer, it was still the most-watched special in the world. And I am still of the mind, and I say this with all humility, it is a masterpiece, and I challenge all my p– my peers– to make its equal. They cannot. I am sure. It will be decades before you ever see someone in my genre as proficient as me. I am maybe a once-in-a-lifetime talent. I am telling you the truth.

About three weeks ago I saw in the newspaper that a man, they said a man that was dressed in women’s clothing, threw a– a pie at the Mona Lisa and tried to deface it. And– and it made me laugh, ’cause I’m like, “It’s like The Closer.”

I said it to the kids that day: if you have a better idea, then express it. And you can beat me. It’s that easy. If you have more talent than me, then display it and you can beat me with certainty. This is what our genre is about.

The idea that my name will be turned into a– a– a instrument of someone else’s perceived oppression is untenable to me. The fact that if my name was on this theater, and a kid that walked through that door would feel anything other than pride in his school and in their endeavors, that’s untenable to me.

So on Friday, I decided… that I don’t want my name on the school. Hear me out. The Ellington family is my family. When this controversy came out, and students were angry, at the height of their anger, they said, “We still wanna name the theater after you.” They taught the kids about the nuance of art and activism. And to– I feel a great deal of success, and it came around. So it’s not that they did not wanna give this to me, they’re still my family. And, I’m not gonna say I don’t want it. I’m gonna say I’ll defer it. Rather than give this theater my name, I would like to give these students my message. To them.

So it is with great honor, that I unveil the new name of this theater, the Jerrod Carmichael Theater. I’m just kidding, I’m just kiddin’… I’m just kiddin’. I’m totally joking. Uh, let me see if I can get this here. This theater should be called… The Theater for Artistic Freedom and Expression. I want that for myself, and I want it for every student that’s educated at this school. And when and if you are ever ready, you can put my name right on top of that.

I love you, Duke Ellington, thank you very much. Thank you very much. Thank you very much.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to bring off his new album Leace Renewed, the first single “Flow to You,” give it up for the best-hitter history teacher in the world, Mr. Leace.

[laughter from class]

[Mr. Leace and students singing]

[students begin clapping]

Come on! Here we go.

[all clapping]

That’s the show! I’ll see you next year!

[whispering] Bitches.

[all laugh]

[announcer] This is protected by the red, the black, and the green at the crossroad with a key!

* * *

The Judge’s “Spirited Woman”

by Mark Twain

“I was sitting here,” said the judge, “in this old pulpit, holding court, and we were trying a big, wicked-looking Spanish desperado for killing the husband of a bright, pretty Mexican woman. It was a lazy summer day, and an awfully long one, and the witnesses were tedious. None of us took any interest in the trial except that nervous, uneasy devil of a Mexican woman because you know how they love and how they hate, and this one had loved her husband with all her might, and now she had boiled it all down into hate, and stood here spitting it at that Spaniard with her eyes; and I tell you she would stir me up, too, with a little of her summer lightning, occasionally. Well, I had my coat off and my heels up, lolling and sweating, and smoking one of those cabbage cigars the San Francisco people used to think were good enough for us in those times; and the lawyers they all had their coats off, and were smoking and whittling, and the witnesses the same, and so was the prisoner. Well, the fact is, there warn’t any interest in a murder trial then, because the fellow was always brought in ‘not guilty,’ the jury expecting him to do as much for them some time; and, although the evidence was straight and square against this Spaniard, we knew we could not convict him without seeming to be rather high-handed and sort of reflecting on every gentleman in the community; for there warn’t any carriages and liveries then, and so the only ‘style’ there was, was to keep your private graveyard. But that woman seemed to have her heart set on hanging that Spaniard; and you’d ought to have seen how she would glare on him a minute, and then look up at me in her pleading way, and then turn and for the next five minutes search the jury’s faces, and by and by drop her face in her hands for just a little while as if she was most ready to give up; but out she’d come again directly, and be as live and anxious as ever. But when the jury announced the verdict–Not Guilty–and I told the prisoner he was acquitted and free to go, that woman rose up till she appeared to be as tall and grand as a seventy-four-gun ship, and says she:

“‘Judge, do I understand you to say that this man is not guilty that murdered my husband without any cause before my own eyes and my little children’s, and that all has been done to him that ever justice and the law can do?’

“‘The same,’ says I.

“And then what do you reckon she did? Why, she turned on that smirking Spanish fool like a wildcat, and out with a ‘navy’ and shot him dead in open court!”

“That was spirited, I am willing to admit.”

“Wasn’t it, though?” said the judge admiringly.

“I wouldn’t have missed it for anything. I adjourned court right on the spot, and we put on our coats and went out and took up a collection for her and her cubs, and sent them over the mountains to their friends. Ah, she was a spirited wench!”


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