Walters was slow in coming round to Crewe’s point of view. He had a high opinion of Crewe, for in his association with the case he had realised how skilfully Crewe had worked out the solution of the Riversbrook mystery. But he took the view that now the case was before the court it was entirely a matter for the legal profession to deal with. He pointed out to Crewe the professional view that his own duty did not extend beyond the exposure of Kemp’s perjury. It was not his duty to give Kemp a second chance—an opportunity to qualify his evidence. He believed the defence had called Kemp in the belief that his evidence was true, but the defence must take the consequences if they built up their case on perjured evidence which they had not taken the trouble to sift.
Crewe entered into the professional view sympathetically, but he was not to be turned from his purpose. He felt that too much was at stake, and he lifted the discussion out of the atmosphere of professional procedure into that of their common manhood.
“Walters, I know you are not a vain man,” he said, earnestly. “A personal triumph in this case means even less to you than it does to me. I have built up what I regard as an overwhelming case against Holymead. But it is based on circumstantial evidence, and I would willingly see the whole thing toppled over if by that means we could get the final truth. This man Kemp knows the truth, and you are in a position in which you can get the truth from him. It may be the last chance anyone will have of getting it. Apart from all questions of professional procedure, isn’t there an obligation upon you to get at the truth?”
“If you put it that way, I believe there is,” replied Walters slowly and meditatively. There was a pause, and then he spoke with a sudden impulse. “Yes, Crewe; you can depend on me. I’ll do my best.”
The public interest in the Holymead trial on the second day was even greater than on the first. It was realised that Kemp’s evidence had given an unexpected turn to the proceedings, and that if it could be substantiated the jury’s verdict would be “not guilty.” There were confident persons who insisted that Kemp’s evidence was sufficient to acquit the prisoner. But every one grasped the fact that the Counsel for the prosecution, by his action in applying for an adjournment of the cross-examination of Kemp, clearly realised that his case was in danger if the evidence of the first witness for the defence could not be broken down.
The public appetite for sensation having been whetted by sensational newspaper reports of the latest phase of the Riversbrook mystery, there was a great rush of people to the Old Bailey early on the morning of the second day to witness the final stages of the trial. The queue in Newgate Street commenced to assemble at daybreak, and grew longer and longer as the day wore on, but it was composed of persons