Moon regarded him with an expression of real or assumed surprise.
“Any one,” continued Gould, “can call on Mr. Trip.”
“It is a comforting thought,” replied Michael with restraint; “but why should any one call on Mr. Trip?”
“For just exactly the sime reason,” cried the excited Moses, hammering on the table with both hands, “for just exactly the sime reason that he should communicate with Messrs. ’Anbury and Bootle of Paternoster Row and with Miss Gridley’s ’igh class Academy at ’Endon, and with old Lady Bullingdon who lives at Penge.”
“Again, to go at once to the moral roots of life,” said Michael, “why is it among the duties of man to communicate with old Lady Bullingdon who lives at Penge?”
“It ain’t one of the duties of man,” said Gould, “nor one of his pleasures, either, I can tell you. She takes the crumpet, does Lady Bullingdon at Penge. But it’s one of the duties of a prosecutor pursuin’ the innocent, blameless butterfly career of your friend Smith, and it’s the sime with all the others I mentioned.”
“But why do you bring in these people here?” asked Inglewood.
“Why! Because we’ve got proof enough to sink a steamboat,” roared Moses; “because I’ve got the papers in my very ’and; because your precious Innocent is a blackguard and ’ome smasher, and these are the ’omes he’s smashed. I don’t set up for a ’oly man; but I wouldn’t ’ave all those poor girls on my conscience for something. And I think a chap that’s capable of deserting and perhaps killing ’em all is about capable of cracking a crib or shootin’ an old schoolmaster—so I don’t care much about the other yarns one way or another.”
“I think,” said Dr. Cyrus Pym with a refined cough, “that we are approaching this matter rather irregularly. This is really the fourth charge on the charge sheet, and perhaps I had better put it before you in an ordered and scientific manner.”
Nothing but a faint groan from Michael broke the silence of the darkening room.
The Wild Weddings;
or, the Polygamy Charge
“A modern man,” said Dr. Cyrus Pym, “must, if he be thoughtful, approach the problem of marriage with some caution. Marriage is a stage—doubtless a suitable stage—in the long advance of mankind towards a goal which we cannot as yet conceive; which we are not, perhaps, as yet fitted even to desire. What, gentlemen, is the ethical position of marriage? Have we outlived it?”
“Outlived it?” broke out Moon; “why, nobody’s ever survived it! Look at all the people married since Adam and Eve—and all as dead as mutton.”
“This is no doubt an inter-pellation joc’lar in its character,” said Dr. Pym frigidly. “I cannot tell what may be Mr. Moon’s matured and ethical view of marriage—”
“I can tell,” said Michael savagely, out of the gloom. “Marriage is a duel to the death, which no man of honour should decline.”