“Geoffrey! Geoffrey!” she cried.
It was the warder. He stirred her with his foot. She was hauled back to the procurator’s court.
“So! Have you considered well?” said the little spotted man. “Will you now confess?”
“How can I confess what I have not done?” protested Asako.
The remorseless inquisition proceeded. Asako’s replies became more and more confused. The procurator frowned at her contradictions. She must assuredly be guilty.
“How many times do you say that you have met this Ito?” he asked.
Asako was at the end of her strength. She reeled and would have fallen; but the warder jerked her straight again.
“Confess, then,” shouted the procurator, “confess and you will be liberated.”
“I will confess,” Asako gasped, “anything you like.”
“Confess that you killed this Ito!”
“Yes, I confess.”
“Then, sign the confession.”
With the triumphant air of a sportsman who has landed his fish after a long and bitter struggle, the procurator held out a sheet of paper prepared beforehand, on which something was written in Japanese characters.
Asako tried to move towards the desk that she might write her name; but this time, her legs gave way altogether. The warder caught her by the neck of her kimono, and shook her as a terrier shakes a rat. But the body remained limp. He twisted her arm behind her with a savage wrench. His victim groaned with pain, but spoke no distinguishable word. Then he laid her out on the benches, and felt her chest.
“The body is very hot,” he said; “perhaps she is indeed sick.”
“Obstinate,” grunted the procurator; “I am certain that she is guilty. Are you not?” he added, addressing the clerk.
The clerk was busy filling up some of the blanks in the back evidence, extemporising where he could not remember.
“Assuredly,” he said, “the opinion of the procurator is always correct.”
However, the doctor was summoned. He pronounced that the patient was in a high fever, and must at once be removed to the infirmary.
So the preliminary examination of Asako Fujinami came to an abrupt end.
Haru no hi no Nagaki omoi wa Wasureji wo, Hito no kokoro ni Aki ya tatsuramu.
The long thoughts
Of the spring days
Will never be forgotten
Even when autumn comes
To the hearts of the people.