“As I thought of my poor girl that he’d killed I grew savage, and I told him that I had a good mind to break every bone in his body. He threatened to have me arrested for breaking into the place, but I only laughed and hit him across the face. He backed away from me with a wicked look in his eyes, and I followed him. He backed quickly towards the door, and before I knew what game he was up to be made a dart out of the room. But I was too quick for him. I got him at the head of the stairs and dragged him back into the room and shut the door and stood with my back against it. I told him I hadn’t finished with him. I had mastered him so quickly, and was able to handle him so easily, that I didn’t watch him as closely as I ought to have done. He had backed away to his desk with his hand behind him, and suddenly he brought it up with a revolver in his hand.
“‘Now it’s my turn,’ he said to me with his cunning smile. Throw up your hands.’
“I saw then it was man for man. If I let him take me I was in for a good seven years. I’d sooner be dead than do seven years for him. ‘Shoot and be damned,’ I said. I ducked as I spoke, and as I ducked I made a dive with my hand for my hip pocket where I had put my revolver. He fired and missed. He fired again, but his toy revolver missed fire, for I heard the hammer click. But that was his last chance. I fired at his heart and he dropped beside the desk, I didn’t wait for anything more—I bolted. I got tangled in the staircase curtains and fell down the stairs. As I was falling I thought what a nice trap I would be in if I broke my leg and had to lie there until the police came. But I wasn’t much hurt and I got up and dashed out of the house and over the fence into the wood, the way I came.”
He stopped, and his gaze wandered round the hushed court till it rested on the prisoner, who with his hands grasping the rail of the dock had leaned forward in order to catch every word. Kemp turned his gaze from the man in the dock to the man in the scarlet robe on the bench, and it was to the judge that he addressed his concluding words.
“You can call it murder, you can call it manslaughter, you can call it justifiable homicide, you can call it what you like, but what I say is that the man you have in the dock had nothing to do with it. It was me that killed him. Let him go, and put me in his place.”
He held his hands outstretched with the wrists together as though waiting for the handcuffs to be placed on them.
An hour after the trial Crewe entered the chambers of Mr. Walters, K.C.
“I congratulate you on the way you handled him in the witness-box,” said Crewe, who was warmly welcomed by the barrister. “You did splendidly to get it all out of him—and so dramatically too.”
“I think it is you who deserves all the congratulations,” replied Walters. “If it had not been for you there would not have been such a sensational development at the trial and in all probability Kemp’s evidence would have got Holymead off.”