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Chapter 12 THE EPISODE OF THE OLD BAILEY

  • When we reached Bow Street, we were relieved to find that our prisoner, afte_ll, had  _not_  evaded us. It was a false alarm. He was there with th_oliceman, and he kindly allowed us to make the first formal charge agains_im.
  • Of course, on Charles's sworn declaration and my own, the man was at onc_emanded, bail being refused, owing both to the serious nature of the charg_nd the slippery character of the prisoner's antecedents. We went back t_ayfair—Charles, well satisfied that the man he dreaded was under lock an_ey; myself, not too well pleased to think that the man I dreaded was n_onger at large, and that the trifling little episode of the ten per cen_ommission stood so near discovery.
  • Next day the police came round in force, and had a long consultation wit_harles and myself. They strongly urged that two other persons at least shoul_e included in the charge—Césarine and the little woman whom we had variousl_nown as Madame Picardet, White Heather, Mrs. David Granton, and Mrs. Elih_uackenboss. If these accomplices were arrested, they said, we could includ_onspiracy as one count in the indictment, which gave us an extra chance o_onviction. Now they had got Colonel Clay, in fact, they naturally desired t_eep him, and also to indict with him as many as possible of his pals an_onfederates.
  • Here, however, a difficulty arose. Charles called me aside with a grave fac_nto the library. "Seymour," he said, fixing me, "this is a serious business.
  • I will not lightly swear away any woman's character. Colonel Clay himself—or, rather, Paul Finglemore—is an abandoned rogue, whom I do not desire to scree_n any degree. But poor little Madame Picardet—she may be his lawful wife, an_he may have acted implicitly under his orders. Besides, I don't know whethe_ could swear to her identity. Here's the photograph the police bring of th_oman they believe to be Colonel Clay's chief female accomplice. Now, I as_ou, does it in the least degree resemble that clever and amusing and charmin_ittle creature, who has so often deceived us?"
  • In spite of Charles's gibes, I flatter myself I do really understand the whol_uty of a secretary. It was clear from his voice he did not  _wish_  me t_ecognise her; which, as it happened, I did not. "Certainly, it doesn'_esemble her, Charles," I answered, with conviction in my voice. "I shoul_ever have known her." But I did not add that I should no more have know_olonel Clay himself in his character of Paul Finglemore, or of Césarine'_oung man, as  _that_  remark lay clearly outside my secretarial functions.
  • Still, it flitted across my mind at the time that the Seer had made som_asual remarks at Nice about a letter in Charles's pocket, presumably fro_adame Picardet; and I reflected further that Madame Picardet in turn migh_ossibly hold certain answers of Charles's, couched in such terms as he migh_easonably desire to conceal from Amelia. Indeed, I must allow that unde_hatever disguise White Heather appeared to us, Charles was always tha_isguise's devoted slave from the first moment he met it. It occurred to me, therefore, that the clever little woman—call her what you will—might be th_older of more than one indiscreet communication.
  • "Under these circumstances," Charles went on, in his austerest voice, "_annot consent to be a party to the arrest of White Heather. I—I decline t_dentify her. In point of fact"—he grew more emphatic as he went on—"I don'_hink there is an atom of evidence of any sort against her. Not," h_ontinued, after a pause, "that I wish in any degree to screen the guilty.
  • Césarine, now—Césarine we have liked and trusted. She has betrayed our trust.
  • She has sold us to this fellow. I have no doubt at all that she gave him th_iamonds from Amelia's rivière; that she took us by arrangement to meet him a_chloss Lebenstein; that she opened and sent to him my letter to Lord Craig- Ellachie. Therefore, I say, we  _ought_  to arrest Césarine. But not Whit_eather—not Jessie; not that pretty Mrs. Quackenboss. Let the guilty suffer; why strike at the innocent—or, at worst, the misguided?"
  • "Charles," I exclaimed, with warmth, "your sentiments do you honour. You are _an of feeling. And White Heather, I allow, is pretty enough and clever enoug_o be forgiven anything. You may rely upon my discretion. I will swear throug_hick and thin that I do not recognise this woman as Madame Picardet."
  • Charles clasped my hand in silence. "Seymour," he said, after a pause, wit_arked emotion, "I felt sure I could rely upon your—er—honour and integrity. _ave been rough upon you sometimes. But I ask your forgiveness. I see yo_nderstand the whole duties of your position."
  • We went out again, better friends than we had been for months. I hoped, indeed, this pleasant little incident might help to neutralise the possibl_ll-effects of the ten per cent disclosure, should Finglemore take it into hi_ead to betray me to my employer. As we emerged into the drawing-room, Ameli_eckoned me aside towards her boudoir for a moment.
  • "Seymour," she said to me, in a distinctly frightened tone, "I have treate_ou harshly at times, I know, and I am very sorry for it. But I want you t_elp me in a most painful difficulty. The police are quite right as to th_harge of conspiracy; that designing little minx, White Heather, or Mrs. Davi_ranton, or whatever else we're to call her, ought certainly to b_rosecuted—and sent to prison, too—and have her absurd head of hair cut shor_nd combed straight for her. But—and you will help me here, I'm sure, dea_eymour—I _cannot_  allow them to arrest my Césarine. I don't pretend to sa_ésarine isn't guilty; the girl has behaved most ungratefully to me. She ha_obbed me right and left, and deceived me without compunction. Still—I put i_o you as a married man— _can_  any woman afford to go into the witness-box, to be cross-examined and teased by her own maid, or by a brute of a barriste_n her maid's information? I assure you, Seymour, the thing's not to be dream_f. There are details of a lady's life—known only to her maid—which  _cannot_e made public. Explain as much of this as you think well to Charles, an_make_  him understand that  _if_  he insists upon arresting Césarine, I shal_o into the box—and swear my head off to prevent any one of the gang fro_eing convicted. I have told Césarine as much; I have promised to help her: _ave explained that I am her friend, and that if  _she'll_  stand by  _me_ , _I'll_  stand by  _her_ , and by this hateful young man of hers."
  • I saw in a moment how things went. Neither Charles nor Amelia could fac_ross-examination on the subject of one of Colonel Clay's accomplices. N_oubt, in Amelia's case, it was merely a question of rouge and hair-dye; bu_hat woman would not sooner confess to a forgery or a murder than to thos_oilet secrets?
  • I returned to Charles, therefore, and spent half an hour in composing, as wel_s I might, these little domestic difficulties. In the end, it was arrange_hat if Charles did his best to protect Césarine from arrest, Amelia woul_onsent to do her best in return on behalf of Madame Picardet.
  • We had next the police to tackle—a more difficult business. Still, eve_they_  were reasonable. They had caught Colonel Clay, they believed, bu_heir chance of convicting him depended entirely upon Charles'_dentification, with mine to back it. The more they urged the necessity o_rresting the female confederates, however, the more stoutly did Charle_eclare that for his part he could by no means make sure of Colonel Cla_imself, while he utterly declined to give evidence of any sort against eithe_f the women. It was a difficult case, he said, and he felt far from confiden_ven about the man. If  _his_  decision faltered, and he failed to identify, the case was closed; no jury could convict with nothing to convict upon.
  • At last the police gave way. No other course was open to them. They had mad_n important capture; but they saw that everything depended upon securin_heir witnesses, and the witnesses, if interfered with, were likely to swea_o absolutely nothing.
  • Indeed, as it turned out, before the preliminary investigation at Bow Stree_as completed (with the usual remands), Charles had been thrown into such _tate of agitation that he wished he had never caught the Colonel at all.
  • "I wonder, Sey," he said to me, "why I didn't offer the rascal two thousand _ear to go right off to Australia, and be rid of him for ever! It would hav_een cheaper for my reputation than keeping him about in courts of law i_ngland. The worst of it is, when once the best of men gets into a witness- box, there's no saying with what shreds and tatters of a character he may a_ast come out of it!"
  • "In  _your_  case, Charles," I answered, dutifully, "there can be no suc_oubt; except, perhaps, as regards the Craig-Ellachie Consolidated."
  • Then came the endless bother of "getting up the case" with the police and th_awyers. Charles would have retired from it altogether by that time, but, mos_nfortunately, he was bound over to prosecute. "You couldn't take a lump su_o let me off?" he said, jokingly, to the inspector. But I knew in my heart i_as one of the "true words spoken in jest" that the proverb tells of.
  • Of course we could see now the whole building-up of the great intrigue. It ha_een worked out as carefully as the Tichborne swindle. Young Finglemore, a_he brother of Charles's broker, knew from the outset all about his affairs; and, after a gentle course of preliminary roguery, he laid his plans deep fo_ campaign against my brother-in-law. Everything had been deliberatel_esigned beforehand. A place had been found for Césarine as Amelia'_aid—needless to say, by means of forged testimonials. Through her aid th_windler had succeeded in learning still more of the family ways and habits, and had acquired a knowledge of certain facts which he proceeded forthwith t_se against us. His first attack, as the Seer, had been cleverly designed s_s to give us the idea that we were a mere casual prey; and it did not escap_harles's notice now that the detail of getting Madame Picardet to inquire a_he Crédit Marseillais about his bank had been solemnly gone through o_urpose to blind us to the obvious truth that Colonel Clay was already in ful_ossession of all such facts about us. It was by Césarine's aid, again, tha_e became possessed of Amelia's diamonds, that he received the lette_ddressed to Lord Craig-Ellachie, and that he managed to dupe us over th_chloss Lebenstein business. Nevertheless, all these things Charles determine_o conceal in court; he did not give the police a single fact that would tur_gainst either Césarine or Madame Picardet.
  • As for Césarine, of course, she left the house immediately after the arrest o_he Colonel, and we heard of her no more till the day of the trial.
  • When that great day came, I never saw a more striking sight than the Ol_ailey presented. It was crammed to overflowing. Charles arrived early, accompanied by his solicitor. He was so white and troubled that he looked muc_ore like prisoner than prosecutor. Outside the court a pretty little woma_tood, pale and anxious. A respectful crowd stared at her silently. "Who i_hat?" Charles asked. Though we could both of us guess, rather than see, i_as White Heather.
  • "That's the prisoner's wife," the inspector on duty replied. "She's waiting t_ee him enter. I'm sorry for her, poor thing. She's a perfect lady."
  • "So she seems," Charles answered, scarcely daring to face her.
  • At that moment she turned. Her eyes fell upon his. Charles paused for a secon_nd looked faltering. There was in those eyes just the faintest gleam o_leading recognition, but not a trace of the old saucy, defiant vivacity.
  • Charles framed his lips to words, but without uttering a sound. Unless _reatly mistake, the words he framed on his lips were these: "I will do m_est for him."
  • We pushed our way in, assisted by the police. Inside the court we saw a lad_eated, in a quiet black dress, with a becoming bonnet. A moment passed befor_ knew—it was Césarine. "Who is—that person?" Charles asked once more of th_earest inspector, desiring to see in what way he would describe her.
  • And once more the answer came, "That's the prisoner's wife, sir."
  • Charles started back, surprised. "But—I was told—a lady outside was Mrs. Pau_inglemore," he broke in, much puzzled.
  • "Very likely," the inspector replied, unmoved. "We have plenty that way.
  • _When_  a gentleman has as many aliases as Colonel Clay, you can hardly expec_im to be over particular about having only  _one_  wife between them, ca_ou?"
  • "Ah, I see," Charles muttered, in a shocked voice. "Bigamy!"
  • The inspector looked stony. "Well, not exactly that," he replied, "occasiona_arriage."
  • Mr. Justice Rhadamanth tried the case. "I'm sorry it's him, Sey," my brother- in-law whispered in my ear. (He said  _him_ , not  _he_ , because, whateve_lse Charles is, he is  _not_  a pedant; the English language as it is spoke_y most educated men is quite good enough for his purpose.) "I only wish i_ad been Sir Edward Easy. Easy's a man of the world, and a man of society; h_ould feel for a person in  _my_  position. He wouldn't allow these beasts o_awyers to badger and pester me. He would back his order. But Rhadamanth i_ne of your modern sort of judges, who make a merit of being what they call
  • 'conscientious,' and won't hush up anything. I admit I'm afraid of him. _hall be glad when it's over."
  • "Oh,  _you'll_  pull through all right," I said in my capacity of secretary.
  • But I didn't think it.
  • The judge took his seat. The prisoner was brought in. Every eye seemed ben_pon him. He was neatly and plainly dressed, and, rogue though he was, I mus_onestly confess he looked at least a gentleman. His manner was defiant, no_bject like Charles's. He knew he was at bay, and he turned like a man to fac_is accusers.
  • We had two or three counts on the charge, and, after some formal business, Si_harles Vandrift was put into the box to bear witness against Finglemore.
  • Prisoner was unrepresented. Counsel had been offered him, but he refused thei_id. The judge even advised him to accept their help; but Colonel Clay, as w_ll called him mentally still, declined to avail himself of the judge'_uggestion.
  • "I am a barrister myself, my lord," he said—"called some nine years ago. I ca_onduct my own defence, I venture to think, better than any of these m_earned brethren."
  • Charles went through his examination-in-chief quite swimmingly. He answere_ith promptitude. He identified the prisoner without the slightest hesitatio_s the man who had swindled him under the various disguises of the Reveren_ichard Peploe Brabazon, the Honourable David Granton, Count von Lebenstein, Professor Schleiermacher, Dr. Quackenboss, and others. He had not th_lightest doubt of the man's identity. He could swear to him anywhere. _hought, for my own part, he was a trifle too cocksure. A certain amount o_esitation would have been better policy. As to the various swindles, h_etailed them in full, his evidence to be supplemented by that of ban_fficials and other subordinates. In short, he left Finglemore not a leg t_tand upon.
  • When it came to the cross-examination, however, matters began to assume quit_ different complexion. The prisoner set out by questioning Sir Charles'_dentifications. Was he sure of his man? He handed Charles a photograph. "I_hat the person who represented himself as the Reverend Richard Peplo_rabazon?" he asked persuasively.
  • Charles admitted it without a moment's delay.
  • Just at that moment, a little parson, whom I had not noticed till then, ros_p, unobtrusively, near the middle of the court, where he was seated besid_ésarine.
  • "Look at that gentleman!" the prisoner said, waving one hand, and pouncin_pon the prosecutor.
  • Charles turned and looked at the person indicated. His face grew still whiter.
  • It was—to all outer appearance—the Reverend Richard Brabazon in propriâ personâ.
  • Of course I saw the trick. This was the real parson upon whose outer ma_olonel Clay had modelled his little curate. But the jury was shaken. And s_as Charles for a moment.
  • "Let the jurors see the photograph," the judge said, authoritatively. It wa_assed round the jury-box, and the judge also examined it. We could see a_nce, by their faces and attitudes, they all recognised it as the portrait o_he clergyman before them—not of the prisoner in the dock, who stood ther_miling blandly at Charles's discomfiture.
  • The clergyman sat down. At the same moment the prisoner produced a secon_hotograph.
  • "Now, can you tell me who  _that_  is?" he asked Charles, in the regular brow- beating Old Bailey voice.
  • With somewhat more hesitation, Charles answered, after a pause: "That i_ourself as you appeared in London when you came in the disguise of the Gra_on Lebenstein."
  • This was a crucial point, for the Lebenstein fraud was the one count on whic_ur lawyers relied to prove their case most fully, within the jurisdiction.
  • Even while Charles spoke, a gentleman whom I had noticed before, sittin_eside White Heather, with a handkerchief to his face, rose as abruptly as th_arson. Colonel Clay indicated him with a graceful movement of his hand. "An_this_  gentleman?" he asked calmly.
  • Charles was fairly staggered. It was the obvious original of the false Vo_ebenstein.
  • The photograph went round the box once more. The jury smiled incredulously.
  • Charles had given himself away. His overweening confidence and certainty ha_uined him.
  • Then Colonel Clay, leaning forward, and looking quite engaging, began a ne_ine of cross-examination. "We have seen, Sir Charles," he said, "that w_annot implicitly trust your identifications. Now let us see how far we ca_rust your other evidence. First, then, about those diamonds. You tried to bu_hem, did you not, from a person who represented himself as the Reveren_ichard Brabazon, because you believed he thought they were paste; and if yo_ould, you would have given him 10 pounds or so for them. _Do_  you think tha_as honest?"
  • "I object to this line of cross-examination," our leading counsel interposed.
  • "It does not bear on the prosecutor's evidence. It is purely recriminatory."
  • Colonel Clay was all bland deference. "I wish, my lord," he said, turnin_ound, "to show that the prosecutor is a person unworthy of credence in an_ay. I desire to proceed upon the well-known legal maxim of falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus. I believe I am permitted to shake the witness's credit?"
  • "The prisoner is entirely within his rights," Rhadamanth answered, lookin_everely at Charles. "And I was wrong in suggesting that he needed the advic_r assistance of counsel."
  • Charles wriggled visibly. Colonel Clay perked up. Bit by bit, with dexterou_uestions, Charles was made to acknowledge that he wanted to buy diamonds a_he price of paste, knowing them to be real; and, a millionaire himself, woul_ladly have diddled a poor curate out of a couple of thousand.
  • "I was entitled to take advantage of my special knowledge," Charles murmure_eebly.
  • "Oh, certainly," the prisoner answered. "But, while professing friendship an_ffection for a clergyman and his wife, in straitened circumstances, you wer_repared, it seems, to take three thousand pounds' worth of goods off thei_ands for ten pounds, if you could have got them at that price. Is not tha_o?"
  • Charles was compelled to admit it.
  • The prisoner went onto the David Granton incident. "When you offered t_malgamate with Lord Craig-Ellachie," he asked, "had you or had you not hear_hat a gold-bearing reef ran straight from your concession into Lord Craig- Ellachie's, and that his portion of the reef was by far the larger and mor_mportant?"
  • Charles wriggled again, and our counsel interposed; but Rhadamanth wa_damant. Charles had to allow it.
  • And so, too, with the incident of the Slump in Golcondas. Unwillingly, shamefacedly, by torturing steps, Charles was compelled to confess that he ha_old out Golcondas—he, the Chairman of the company, after repeate_eclarations to shareholders and others that he would do no such thing—becaus_e thought Professor Schleiermacher had made diamonds worthless. He ha_ndeavoured to save himself by ruining his company. Charles tried to brazen i_ut with remarks to the effect that business was business. "And fraud i_raud," Rhadamanth added, in his pungent way.
  • "A man must protect himself," Charles burst out.
  • "At the expense of those who have put their trust in his honour an_ntegrity," the judge commented coldly.
  • After four mortal hours of it, all to the same effect, my respected brother- in-law left the witness-box at last, wiping his brow and biting his lip, wit_he very air of a culprit. His character had received a most serious blow.
  • While he stood in the witness-box all the world had felt it was  _he_  who wa_he accused and Colonel Clay who was the prosecutor. He was convicted on hi_wn evidence of having tried to induce the supposed David Granton to sell hi_ather's interests into an enemy's hands, and of every other shady trick int_hich his well-known business acuteness had unfortunately hurried him durin_he course of his adventures. I had but one consolation in my brother-in-law'_isfortunes—and that was the thought that a due sense of his own shortcoming_ight possibly make him more lenient in the end to the trivial misdemeanour_f a poor beggar of a secretary!
  • _I_  was the next in the box. I do not desire to enlarge upon my ow_chievements. I will draw a decent veil, indeed, over the painful scene tha_nsued when I finished my evidence. I can only say I was more cautious tha_harles in my recognition of the photographs; but I found myself particularl_orried and harried over other parts of my cross-examination. Especially was _haken about that misguided step I took in the matter of the cheque for th_ebenstein commission—a cheque which Colonel Clay handed to me with the utmos_oliteness, requesting to know whether or not it bore my signature. I caugh_harles's eye at the end of the episode, and I venture to say the expressio_t wore was one of relief that I too had tripped over a trifling question o_en per cent on the purchase money of the castle.
  • Altogether, I must admit, if it had not been for the police evidence, we woul_ave failed to make a case against our man at all. But the police, I confess, had got up their part of the prosecution admirably. Now that they knew Colone_lay to be really Paul Finglemore, they showed with great cleverness how Pau_inglemore's disappearances and reappearances in London exactly tallied wit_olonel Clay's appearances and disappearances elsewhere, under the guise o_he little curate, the Seer, David Granton, and the rest of them. Furthermore, they showed experimentally how the prisoner at the bar might have got himsel_p in the various characters; and, by means of a wax bust, modelled by Dr.
  • Beddersley from observations at Bow Street, and aided by additions in th_utta-percha composition after Dolly Lingfield's photographs, they succeede_n proving that the face as it stood could be readily transformed into th_aces of Medhurst and David Granton. Altogether, their cleverness and traine_cumen made up on the whole for Charles's over-certainty, and they succeede_n putting before the jury a strong case of their own against Paul Finglemore.
  • The trial occupied three days. After the first of the three, my respecte_rother-in-law preferred, as he said, not to prejudice the case against th_risoner by appearing in court again. He did not even allude to the littl_atter of the ten per cent commission further than to say at dinner tha_vening that all men were bound to protect their own interests—as secretarie_r as principals. This I took for forgiveness; and I continued diligently t_ttend the trial, and watch the case in my employer's interest.
  • The defence was ingenious, even if somewhat halting. It consisted simply of a_ttempt to prove throughout that Charles and I had made our prisoner th_ictim of a mistaken identity. Finglemore put into the box the ingenuou_riginal of the little curate—the Reverend Septimus Porkington, as it turne_ut, a friend of his family; and he showed that it was the Reverend Septimu_imself who had sat to a photographer in Baker Street for the portrait whic_harles too hastily identified as that of Colonel Clay in his personificatio_f Mr. Richard Brabazon. He further elicited the fact that the portrait of th_ount von Lebenstein was really taken from Dr. Julius Keppel, a Tyroles_usic-master, residing at Balham, whom he put into the box, and who was wel_nown, as it chanced, to the foreman of the jury. Gradually he made it clea_o us that no portraits existed of Colonel Clay at all, except Doll_ingfield's—so it dawned upon me by degrees that even Dr. Beddersley coul_nly have been misled if we had succeeded in finding for him the allege_hotographs of Colonel Clay as the count and the curate, which had been show_s by Medhurst. Altogether, the prisoner based his defence upon the fact tha_o more than two witnesses directly identified him; while one of those two ha_ositively sworn that he recognised as the prisoner's two portraits whic_urned out, by independent evidence, to be taken from other people!
  • The judge summed up in a caustic way which was pleasant to neither party. H_sked the jury to dismiss from their minds entirely the impression created b_hat he frankly described as "Sir Charles Vandrift's obvious dishonesty." The_ust not allow the fact that he was a millionaire—and a particularly shad_ne—to prejudice their feelings in favour of the prisoner. Even th_ichest—and vilest—of men must be protected. Besides, this was a publi_uestion. If a rogue cheated a rogue, he must still be punished. If a murdere_tabbed or shot a murderer, he must still be hung for it. Society must se_hat the worst of thieves were not preyed upon by others. Therefore, th_roved facts that Sir Charles Vandrift, with all his millions, had meanl_ried to cheat the prisoner, or some other poor person, out of valuabl_iamonds—had basely tried to juggle Lord Craig-Ellachie's mines into his ow_ands—had vilely tried to bribe a son to betray his father—had directly tried, by underhand means, to save his own money, at the risk of destroying th_ealth of others who trusted to his probity—these proved facts must not blin_hem to the truth that the prisoner at the bar (if he were really Colone_lay) was an abandoned swindler. To that point alone they must confine thei_ttention; and  _if_  they were convinced that the prisoner was shown to b_he self-same man who appeared on various occasions as David Granton, as Vo_ebenstein, as Medhurst, as Schleiermacher, they must find him guilty.
  • As to that point, also, the judge commented on the obvious strength of th_olice case, and the fact that the prisoner had not attempted in any one ou_f so many instances to prove an alibi. Surely, if he were  _not_  Colone_lay, the jury should ask themselves, must it not have been simple and eas_or him to do so? Finally, the judge summed up all the elements of doubt i_he identification—and all the elements of probability; and left it to th_ury to draw their own conclusions.
  • They retired at the end to consider their verdict. While they were absen_very eye in court was fixed on the prisoner. But Paul Finglemore himsel_ooked steadily towards the further end of the hall, where two pale-face_omen sat together, with handkerchiefs in their hands, and eyes red wit_eeping.
  • Only then, as he stood there, awaiting the verdict, with a fixed white face, prepared for everything, did I begin to realise with what courage and pluc_hat one lone man had sustained so long an unequal contest against wealth, authority, and all the Governments of Europe, aided but by his own skill an_wo feeble women! Only then did I feel he had played his reckless game throug_ll those years with  _this_  ever before him! I found it hard to picture.
  • The jury filed slowly back. There was dead silence in court as the clerk pu_he question, "Do you find the prisoner at the bar guilty or not guilty?"
  • "We find him guilty."
  • "On all the counts?"
  • "On all the counts of the indictment."
  • The women at the back burst into tears, unanimously.
  • Mr. Justice Rhadamanth addressed the prisoner. "Have you anything to urge," h_sked in a very stern tone, "in mitigation of whatever sentence the Court ma_ee fit to pass upon you?"
  • "Nothing," the prisoner answered, just faltering slightly. "I have brought i_pon myself—but—I have protected the lives of those nearest and dearest to me.
  • I have fought hard for my own hand. I admit my crime, and will face m_unishment. I only regret that, since we were both of us rogues—myself and th_rosecutor—the lesser rogue should have stood here in the dock, and th_reater in the witness-box. Our country takes care to decorate each accordin_o his deserts—to him, the Grand Cross of St. Michael and St. George; to me, the Broad Arrow!"
  • The judge gazed at him severely. "Paul Finglemore," he said, passing sentenc_n his sardonic way, "you have chosen to dedicate to the service of frau_bilities and attainments which, if turned from the outset into a legitimat_hannel, would no doubt have sufficed to secure you without excessive effort _ubsistence one degree above starvation—possibly even, with good luck, _ordid and squalid competence. You have preferred to embark them on a lawles_ife of vice and crime—and I will not deny that you seem to have had a goo_un for your money. Society, however, whose mouthpiece I am, cannot allow yo_ny longer to mock it with impunity. You have broken its laws openly, and yo_ave been found out." He assumed the tone of bland condescension which alway_eralds his severest moments. "I sentence you to Fourteen Years' Imprisonment, with Hard Labour."
  • The prisoner bowed, without losing his apparent composure. But his eye_trayed away again to the far end of the hall, where the two weeping women, with a sudden sharp cry, fell at once in a faint on one another's shoulders, and were with difficulty removed from court by the ushers.
  • As we left the room, I heard but one comment all round, thus voiced by _chool-boy: "I'd a jolly sight rather it had been old Vandrift. This Cla_hap's too clever by half to waste on a prison!"
  • But he went there, none the less—in that "cool sequestered vale of life" t_ecover equilibrium; though I myself half regretted it.
  • I will add but one more little parting episode.
  • When all was over, Charles rushed off to Cannes, to get away from th_mpertinent stare of London. Amelia and Isabel and I went with him. We wer_riving one afternoon on the hills beyond the town, among the myrtle an_entisk scrub, when we noticed in front of us a nice victoria, containing tw_adies in very deep mourning. We followed it, unintentionally, as far as L_rand Pin—that big pine tree that looks across the bay towards Antibes. There, the ladies descended and sat down on a knoll, gazing out disconsolatel_owards the sea and the islands. It was evident they were suffering very dee_rief. Their faces were pale and their eyes bloodshot. "Poor things!" Ameli_aid. Then her tone altered suddenly.
  • "Why, good gracious," she cried, "if it isn't Césarine!"
  • So it was—with White Heather!
  • Charles got down and drew near them. "I beg your pardon," he said, raising hi_at, and addressing Madame Picardet: "I believe I have had the pleasure o_eeting you. And since I have doubtless paid in the end for your victoria, _may_  I venture to inquire for whom you are in mourning?"
  • White Heather drew back, sobbing; but Césarine turned to him, fiery red, wit_he mien of a lady. "For  _him_!" she answered; "for Paul! for our king, who_you_  have imprisoned! As long as  _he_  remains there, we have both of u_ecided to wear mourning for ever!"
  • Charles raised his hat again, and drew back without one word. He waved hi_and to Amelia and walked home with me to Cannes. He seemed deeply dejected.
  • "A penny for your thoughts!" I exclaimed, at last, in a jocular tone, tryin_eebly to rouse him.
  • He turned to me, and sighed. "I was wondering," he answered, "if  _I_  ha_one to prison, would Amelia and Isabel have done as much for me?"
  • For myself, I did  _not_  wonder. I knew pretty well. For Charles, you wil_dmit, though the bigger rogue of the two, is scarcely the kind of rogue t_nspire a woman with profound affection.