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The San Francisco Daily Morning Call, August 24, 1864


A gloom pervaded the Police Court, as the sable visages of Mary Wilkinson and Maria Brooks, with their cloud of witnesses, entered within its consecrated walls, each to prosecute and defend respectively in counter charges of assault and battery. The cases were consolidated, and crimination and recrimination ruled the hour. Mary said she was a meek-hearted Christian, who loved her enemies, including Maria, and had prayed for her on the very morning of the day when the latter threw a pail of water and a rock against her. Maria said she didn't throw; that she wasn't a Christian herself, and that Mary had the very devil in her. The case would always have remained in doubt, but Mrs. Hammond overshadowed the Court, and flashed defiance at counsel, from her eyes, while indignation and eloquence burst from her heaving bosom, like the long pent up fires of a volcano, whenever any one presumed to intimate that her statement might be improved in point of credibility, by a slight explanation. Even the gravity of the Court was somewhat disturbed when three hundred weight of black majesty, hauteur, and conscious virtue, rolled on to the witness stand, like the fore quarter of a sunburnt whale, a living embodiment of Desdemona, Othello, Jupiter, Josh, and Jewhilikens. She appeared as counsel for Maria Brooks, and scornfully repudiated the relationship, when citizen Sam Platt, Esq. prefaced his interrogation with the endearing, "Aunty." "I'm not your Aunty," she roared. "I'm Mrs. Hammond," upon which the citizen S. P., Esq., repeated his assurances of distinguished regard, and caved a little. Mrs. Hammond rolled off the stand, and out of the Court room, like the fragment of a thunder cloud, leaving the "congregation," as she called it, in convulsions. Mary Brooks and Maria Wilkinson were both convicted of assault and battery, and ordered to appear for sentence.

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