a man gesturing to Michelangelo's Moses

—He spoke on the law of evidence, J. J. O’Molloy said, of Roman justice as contrasted with the earlier Mosaic code, the lex talionis. And he cited the Moses of Michelangelo in the vatican.


—A few wellchosen words, Lenehan prefaced. Silence!

Pause. J. J. O’Molloy took out his cigarettecase.

False lull. Something quite ordinary.

Messenger took out his matchbox thoughtfully and lit his cigar.

I have often thought since on looking back over that strange time that it was that small act, trivial in itself, that striking of that match, that determined the whole aftercourse of both our lives.


Lex talionis: the law of retaliation, is basically an eye for an eye which Seymour Bushe seems to have been comparing with Roman Justice during the fratricide case in which he defended the murderer. He would have presumable used that defense to implore the court to spare the man’s life.