Peter told his story, and then came his cross-questioning, and who should rise and start the job but David Andrews, suave and humorous and deadly. Peter had always been afraid of Andrews, and now he winced. Nobody had told him he was to face an ordeal like this! Nobody had told him that Andrews would be allowed to question him about every detail of these crimes which he said he had witnessed, and about all the conversations that had taken place, and who else was present, and what else had been said, and how he had come to be there, and what he had done afterwards, and what he had had to eat for breakfast that morning. Only two things saved Peter, first the constant rapid-fire of objections which Stannard kept making, to give Peter time to think; and second, the cyclone-cellar which Stannard had provided for him in advance. “You can always fail to remember,” the deputy had said; “nobody can punish you for forgetting something.” So Peter would repeat the minute details of a conversation in which Alf Guinness had told of burning down the barn, but he didn’t remember who else had heard the conversation, and he didn’t remember what else had been said, nor what was the date of the conversation.
Then came the blessed hour of noon, with a chance for Peter to get fixed up again before the court resumed at two. He was questioned again by Stannard, who patched up all the gaps in his testimony, and then again he failed to remember things, and so avoided the traps which Andrews set for his feet. He was told that he had “done fine,” and was escorted back to the Hotel de Soto in triumph, and there for a week he stayed while the defense made a feeble effort to answer his testimony. Peter read in the papers the long speeches in which the district attorney and the deputy acclaimed him as a patriot, protecting his country from its “enemies within;” also he read a brief reference to the “tirade” of David Andrews, who had called him a “rat” and a “slinking Judas.” Peter didn’t mind that, of course—it was all part of the game, and the calling of names is a pretty sure sign of impotence.