“Was the situation thus obtained for the girl nearer her father’s house or nearer Mr. Sabre’s?—’Not a quarter of an hour, not ten minutes, from Mr. Sabre’s house.’
“Had the witness any knowledge as to whether this man Sabre was a frequent visitor at the place of the girl’s situation?—’Constantly, constantly, night after night he was there!’
“‘Was he, indeed?’ says Humpo, mightily interested. ’Was he, indeed? There were perhaps great friends of his own standing there, one or two men chums, no doubt?’—’No one! No one!’ cries the old man. ’No one but an old invalid lady, nigh bedridden, past seventy, and my daughter, my daughter, my Effie.’
“That was all very well, all very well, says Humpo. Mr. Bright’s word was of course accepted, but had the witness any outside proof of the frequency of these visits to this bedridden old lady old enough to be the man Sabre’s grandmother? Had the witness recently been shown a diary kept by Mr. Twyning at that period?—’Yes! Yes!’
“And it contained frequent reference to Sabre’s mention in the office of these visits?—’Yes! Yes!’
“Did one entry reveal the fact that on one occasion this Sabre spent an entire night there?
“‘Look here—’ bursts out old Sabre. ‘Look here—’
“Can’t get any farther. Buddha on the throne shuts him up if he could have got any farther. ‘Yes,’ groans old Bright out of his heaving chest. ‘Yes. A night there.’
“And on the very next day, the very next day, did this man Sabre rush off and enlist?—’Yes. Yes.’
“Viewed in light of the subsequent events, did that sudden burst of patriotism bear any particular interpretation?—’Running away from it,’ heaves the old man. ‘Running away from it.’
“‘Look here—’ from Sabre again. ‘Look here—’ Same result.
“So this Humpo chap went on, piling it up from old Bright like that, old man; and all the time getting deeper and getting worse, of course. Sabre getting the girl into his own house after the old lady’s death removes the girl from the neighbourhood; curious suddenness of the girl’s dismissal during Sabre’s leave; girl going straight to Sabre immediately able to walk after birth of child, and so on. Blacker and blacker, worse and worse.
“And then Humpo ends, ’A final question, Mr. Bright, and I can release you from the painful, the pitiable ordeal it has been my sad duty to inflict upon you. A final question: ’Have you in your own mind suspicions of the identity of this unhappy woman’s betrayer?’ Old man cannot speak for emotion. Only nods, hands at his breast like a prophet about to tear his raiment. Only nods.
“‘Do you see him in this court?’
“Old man hurls out his arms towards Sabre. Shouts, ‘There! There!’
“Warm-hearted and excellent Iscariot leaps up and leads him tottering from the box; court seethes and groans with emotion; Humpo wipes his streaming face, Sabre stammers out, ‘Look here—Look here—’ Case goes on.”