The jury returned in about half an hour, and there was a dead silence as the foreman stood up to deliver the verdict.
The jury found as follows:—
That the deceased, Selina Jane Sprotts, died on the 21st day of November, from the effects of poison, namely, conia, feloniously administered by one Katherine Marchurst, and the jury, on their oaths, say that the said Katherine Marchurst feloniously, wilfully, and maliciously did murder the said deceased.
That evening Kitty was arrested and lodged in the Melbourne Gaol, to await her trial on a charge of wilful murder.
Of two evils it is always best to choose the least, and as M. Vandeloup had to choose between the loss of his popularity or his liberty, he chose to lose the former instead of the latter. After all, as he argued to himself, Australia at large is a small portion of the world, and in America no one would know anything about his little escapade in connection with Kitty. He knew that he was in Gollipeck’s power, and that unless he acceded to that gentleman’s demand as to giving evidence he would be denounced to the authorities as an escaped convict from New Caledonia, and would be sent back there. Of course, his evidence could not but prove detrimental to himself, seeing how badly he had behaved to Kitty, but still as going through the ordeal meant liberty, he did so, and the result was as he had foreseen. Men, as a rule, are not very squeamish, and view each other’s failings, especially towards women, with a lenient eye, but Vandeloup had gone too far, and the Bachelors’ Club unanimously characterised his conduct as ’damned shady’, so a letter was sent requesting M. Vandeloup to take his name off the books of the club. He immediately resigned, and wrote a polite letter to the secretary, which brought uneasy blushes to the cheek of that gentleman by its stinging remarks about his and his fellow clubmen’s morality. He showed it to several of the members, but as they all had their little redeeming vices, they determined to take no notice, and so M. Vandeloup was left alone. Another thing which happened was that he was socially