“I’m telling you, old man, that after the coroner had done with him, and after this Humpo, with his viprous forefinger, and his retriever tongue, and his perspiration streaming down his face, and Twyning tugging him down by the coat and putting him on the trail afresh—after the coroner, and after this Humpo like that, had been on to him for a bit, Sabre absolutely couldn’t speak. He was like he had a constriction in his throat. There was nothing he could say but begin all his sentences with, ‘Look here—Look here—’; and nine times out of ten incapable of anything to follow it up with.
“He was distraught. He was speechless. He was clean crazed.
“At the very beginning, with the coroner, he wouldn’t use the word ’the deceased.’ Insisted on keeping calling her Effie. Coroner kept pulling him up over it, and about the twentieth time pulled him up hard.
“Poor chap threw out his arms like he was throwing the word away and then hammered on the ledge. ’I won’t say deceased. I won’t call her the deceased. Vile word. Horrible word. Obscene, beastly, hateful word. I won’t call her it. Why should I call her the deceased?’
“‘Control yourself,’ says Buddha. ‘Control yourself.’
“He only waved and thumped again. ’I won’t. I won’t. Why should I call her the deceased? I knew the girl. I was fond of the girl. She was my friend. She was fond of me. I did more for her than any one in this court—her father or any one. When she was in trouble she came to me and I succoured her. She lived in my house. She cooked my meals for me. We went through it together. I’ve known her for years. I’ve liked her for years. And now she’s dead and you turn around and tell me to call her the deceased. Effie. Effie! Do you hear?—Effie!’
“They couldn’t stop him. He was like a sick wolf then, cornered, and Buddha like a big, wary boarhound going in at him and jumping up on the wall out of the way when he made his dashes and then coming down and going in at him again. But they stopped him when Humpo got at him! They wore him down then! He was like that wolf then with a rope round his neck, tied to a post, and every time he’d fly out with, ’Look here—Look here—’ the rope would catch him and throttle him and over he’d go and Humpo in worrying him again.
“Like this. Link on link of the chain against him and brick by brick of the wall around him. Like this.
“‘What date did the deceased leave your wife’s employment?’
“‘In March. In March last year. Look here—’
“‘Did she leave of her own wish or was she dismissed?’
“’Was she dismissed because your wife suspected you of relations with her?’
“‘Answer the question.’
“‘Well, but look here—’
“‘Answer the question, sir.’