Wister. [To Walter] From Scotland Yard,
Walter. [Askance] Very well! I’ll speak to my father.
He goes into the partners’ room. James enters.
James. Morning! [In answer to an appealing gesture from Cokeson] I’m sorry; I’d stop short of this if I felt I could. Open that door. [Sweedle, wondering and scared, opens it] Come here, Mr. Falder.
As Falder comes
shrinkingly out, the detective in obedience to a
sign from James, slips his hand out and grasps his arm.
Falder. [Recoiling] Oh! no,—oh! no!
Walter. Come, come, there’s a good lad.
James. I charge him with felony.
Falter. Oh, sir! There’s some one—I did it for her. Let me be till to-morrow.
James motions with his hand. At that sign of hardness, Falder becomes rigid. Then, turning, he goes out quietly in the detective’s grip. James follows, stiff and erect. Sweedle, rushing to the door with open mouth, pursues them through the outer office into the corridor. When they have all disappeared Cokeson spins completely round and makes a rush for the outer office.
Cokeson: [Hoarsely] Here! What are we doing?
There is silence.
He takes out his handkerchief and mops the
sweat from his face. Going back blindly to his table, sits
down, and stares blankly at his lunch.
The curtain falls.
A Court of Justice, on a foggy October afternoon crowded with barristers, solicitors, reporters, ushers, and jurymen. Sitting in the large, solid dock is Falder, with a warder on either side of him, placed there for his safe custody, but seemingly indifferent to and unconscious of his presence. Falder is sitting exactly opposite to the judge, who, raised above the clamour of the court, also seems unconscious of and indifferent to everything. Harold Cleaver, the counsel for the Crown, is a dried, yellowish man, of more than middle age, in a wig worn almost to the colour of his face. Hector frome, the counsel for the defence, is a young, tall man, clean shaved, in a very white wig. Among the spectators, having already given their evidence, are James and Walter how, and Cowley, the cashier. Wister, the detective, is just leaving the witness-box.
Cleaver. That is the case for the Crown, me lud!
Gathering his robes together, he sits down.