CURTIS IN A NEW ROLE
In an instant, Lilian Rosenberg had decided the course she would adopt.
“What a disgusting thing to do,” she indignantly exclaimed. “I wouldn’t have believed it of Shiel. The idea of forcing me to give evidence—of forcing me to save the situation for the sake of the woman he thinks he loves! I shan’t do it!”
And she proved as good as her word. Apart from her importance as a witness, considerable interest attached to her on account of her appearance—she was infinitely more attractive than any of the women who had hitherto appeared in the witness-box—though many of them were so-called Society beauties.
“You were wrong,” was the look which Shiel read in H.V. Sevenning’s eyes, as Lilian Rosenberg took the oath. “She is on our side.”
But simple as Shiel was in many ways, he knew women better than the lawyer, and the exceedingly sweet expression Lilian Rosenberg had assumed, and which he knew to be quite foreign to her, filled him with misgivings. Nor was he mistaken. The evidence she gave was entirely in favour of the trio.
The case for the prosecution was concluded. For the defence, Gerald Kirby, K.C., resorted to satire. He characterized the whole proceedings as the most absurd heard in any Court for the past two centuries, and wondered, only, that it had been possible to procure a counsel for such a ridiculous prosecution.
“Even though,” he remarked, “spirits such as have been specified by the prosecution do exist—which is extremely dubious—there has never yet been produced any reliable corroborative evidence respecting them, and the Prosecution has wholly failed to prove, that it is through the medium of these spirits, that the Modern Sorcery Company have worked their spells. The marvellous feats that we have all seen performed in Cockspur Street have been accomplished—as the defendants have all along stated—through will—sheer will power and nothing else; and I intend producing evidence to show that the secret of the wonderful efficacy of all the charms and spells sold by the Sorcery Company, lies in will power also. Whenever they have been consulted with regard to the purchasing of a spell, the Firm have invariably pointed out this fact to the purchasers, carefully explaining at the same time that the rings, lockets and other articles sold to them were merely to assist them in concentration. It is ridiculous to suppose that such trivial articles could have produced, of themselves, such calamities as the witnesses for the prosecution attributed to them. But, of course you did not believe the statements of such witnesses. How could you? How could you expect anything but falsehood from women who, upon cross-examination, had owned that their object in obtaining the spells was a far more dangerous object than they had at first led you to suppose.