Guy. No, sir.
Mayor. [With a gesture of dismissal] Very well, That seems to be the evidence. Defendant John Builder—what do you say to all this?
Builder. [In a voice different from any we have heard from him] Say! What business had he to touch me, a magistrate? I gave my daughter two taps with a cane in a private house, for interfering with me for taking my wife home—
Mayor. That charge is not pressed, and we can’t go into the circumstances. What do you wish to say about your conduct towards the constable?
Builder. [In his throat] Not a damned thing!
Mayor. [Embarrassed] I—I didn’t catch.
Chantrey. Nothing—nothing, he said, Mr Mayor.
Mayor. [Clearing his throat] I understand, then, that you do not wish to offer any explanation?
Builder. I consider myself abominably treated, and I refuse to say another word.
Mayor. [Drily] Very good. Miss Maud Builder.
Maud stands up.
Mayor. When you spoke of the defendant seeing red, what exactly did you mean?
Maud. I mean that my father was so angry that he didn’t know what he was doing.
Chantrey. Would you say as angry as he—er—is now?
Maud. [With a faint smile] Oh! much more angry.
Ralph builder stands up.
Ralph. Would you allow me to say a word, Mr Mayor?
Mayor. Speaking of your own knowledge, Mr Builder?
Ralph. In regard to the state of my brother’s mind—yes, Mr Mayor. He was undoubtedly under great strain yesterday; certain circumstances, domestic and otherwise—
Mayor. You mean that he might have been, as one might say, beside himself?
Ralph. Exactly, Sir.
Mayor. Had you seen your brother?
Ralph. I had seen him shortly before this unhappy business.
The Mayor nods and makes a gesture, so that Maud and Ralph sit down; then, leaning over, he confers in a low voice with Chantrey. The rest all sit or stand exactly as if each was the only person in the room, except the journalist, who is writing busily and rather obviously making a sketch of builder.
Mayor. Miss Athene Builder.
Athene stands up.
This young man, Mr Herringhame, I take it, is a friend of the family’s?
A moment of some tension.
Athene. N—no, Mr Mayor, not of my father or mother.
Chantrey. An acquaintance of yours?
Mayor. Very good. [He clears his throat] As the defendant, wrongly, we think, refuses to offer his explanation of this matter, the Bench has to decide on the evidence as given. There seems to be some discrepancy as to the blow which the constable undoubtedly received. In view of this, we incline to take the testimony of Mr—