Page images
PDF
EPUB

a

But you remained at the luncheon?

The manager compelled me almost, under a threat of closing my engagement; but I requested Mr. Ransford to take me away.

He was at the luncheon, then ?

Mr. Holland : Her ladyship said he was, and that she was glad to see him for the first time in her life, because she thought he would protect her if she appealed to him.

Yes; but if you have no objection, I would rather have the lady's own answer. Did you not know that Mr. Ransford would be at the luncheon ?

I did not.
You swear that?
Yes.
He took you away from luncheon ?
I asked him to do so.
You went in his brougham ?

A brougham was at the door; I felt very ill, and he put me into it. You were ill, you say.

What sort of illness was it?
I was giddy and faint; I think the wine disagreed with me.

You did drink, then, with these ladies whom you had reason to think were not respectable.

I took a little wine.

Though you refused to drink in Wilton Street, you took a little wine at the Delphos Theatre ?

Mr. Holland : Your Worship, this is really shameful.

The Magistrate : Not more shameful from your point of view than the charge which the prisoner has made against the witness; therefore, it is useless to object--at present, at all events.

Very well, then, I will not trouble your ladyship with that question—I simply state it as a fact, and pass on. Mr. Ransford took you to his chambers ?

I was too ill to object. I thought I was going to die.

You told my learned friend you thought you had been drugged. Do you still think so ?

Yes.
By whom?
By Mr. Ransford. (Sensation.)
On what ground do you make this terrible accusation ?

I think he was capable of doing it, and he had ample opportunity; and I cannot account for my illness in any other way. It was also the opinion of the housekeeper at the Piccadilly Chambers.

a

Indeed, and where is this wonderful housekeeper, and who is she?

I do not know. I think she said her name was Meredith.

["Meredith,” said Kalmat, making a mental note of the name ; “Mary Meredith? I wonder if it was Mary Meredith. It is a name I have heard ; but there is no name like it in the letters addressed C. Y. E. at the General Post Office, which I got this morning. Meredith-she must be found."]

Meredith; I think this is the first time we have heard the woman's name?

It is only at this moment that I have remembered it.
She remained with you all night, you say?
Yes.
But you were insensible?
She was by my side when I fainted ; she was there when I reco-

l vered my senses ; she promised not to leave me, and she did not leave me.

You could not know whether she did or not if you were insensible. I do know.

Very well ; but it is nevertheless true that you remained there all night, and in the morning Mr. Ransford told you you were compromised beyond all redemption ; I am quoting your own evidence ?

Yes.

He said you had better stay for good, tried to take your hand ; whereupon, like a London Journal heroine, you seized a knife and raised it as if to strike him?

I was ill and desperate, and too indignant to know well what I said or did.

The facts stand thus, then : you went to rehearsal and luncheon one day at the Delphos Theatre, and did not return to your lodgings at the Breezes' until the next morning, having been during the interval of luncheon and that time at Mr. Ransford's chambers in Piccadilly?

I suppose you may sum it up as you please ; I have previously explained the circumstances.

Very well; two days after this you again went to rehearsal ? l'es.

You did not first communicate with Mr. Chute Woodfield or with your grandfather?

No. And

you never made a public appearance after all? No. And the public were not entertained with that interesting orphan

a

and the wicked solicitor who wanted to get her lover's money. (Laughter.) The Breezes with their box, and all the other people, had to go away again ?

Yes.

Mr. White, however, played the guardian angel to you. I can quite fancy Mr. White with wings — (laughter)--- Mr. White introduced himself to you as a messenger from your grandfather ?

Partly from my grandfather.
But that was not true ?
Yes it was.
How? He had not seen Mr. Waller ?
No; he came from my grandfather the tenth Earl of St. Barnard.

Indeed! How long have you been accustomed to call that nobleman grandfather?

Since you have compelled me to acknowledge my relationship.

Mr. Holland : Your Worship, I must beg permission to interrupt the cross-examination for a few moments.

Mr. Cuffing : On a point of order, or what?

Mr. Holland : A piece of information has come to the knowledge of the prosecution this very day, and as it applies to the question at this moment raised, and which is one of the issues of the case, I beg

I to be allowed to make a statement.

Mr. Cuffing : I object.

The Magistrate: This is really not the time, Mr. Holland; think not.

Mr. Holland : With all due submission I would suggest that in a case of this kind affecting the honour and reputation of a noble lord and lady wantonly attacked for the purpose of —

Mr. Cuffing : Stop, sir; your Worship, I protest against this most improper and illegal interruption; Mr. Holland is positively making a speech.

The Magistrate : You are really out of order, Mr. Holland.

The learned counsel bowed, sat down, and wrote a note to the Times reporter, who rubbed his spectacles, and nodded an affirmative answer; and Mr. Holland proceeded to write the following note, which appeared the next morning in all the daily papers :

We are requested to state that the prosecution have received from a priest in Paris copies of the registration of the marriage at Boulogne of Miss Pitt to the Hon. Frank Barnard, the birth of Mary Waller Barnard, and the death of Mrs. Barnard, with other particulars and copies of affidavits of the officiating priest, relating to the matter in hand.

Did Mr. White go into the Breezes' house on the night when he told you the nobleman who was your grandfather's friend would provide for you?

Yes.

And I suppose you had a long talk about the theatre and the nobleman—a general gossip, in fact ?

Mr. White explained his mission.
Which was?

To induce me to leave the stage, and go with him to meet my
grandfather the Earl at the Burlington Hotel.
Did he say your grandfather the Earl?
No.
Had you ever heard of the late Lord St. Barnard up to that time?
I think I had heard his name mentioned at the theatre.
Oh, you had : at that celebrated luncheon ?
I believe so.

But you had no notion of calling him grandfather, or any nonsense of that kind, then?

I did not know that he was my grandfather.

Nor do you now, Lady St. Barnard, for that matter ; let us understand each other.

I do not understand you, sir.

Perhaps not; I shall possibly make myself better understood byand-by, my lady. Mr. White, then, took Mrs. Breeze and yourself to see this generous nobleman?

Yes.

Well, we have a very long account of the interview in your evidence in chief. We will not go into that matter again. When you found yourself rich and a lady, and all that kind of thing, did you leave St. Mark's Crescent ?

I have already stated that I thought it would have been ungrateful to do so.

You drove up there one day in grand style with coachmen and liveries ?

I had said to Mrs. Breeze that if ever I were a great lady I would call and take her out in my carriage. I said this only half earnestly, though I always had an instinctive belief in my being acknowledged as of noble birth.

So you kept your promise ?

The late Earl lent me his carriage, and my first drive in it was to St. Mark's Crescent, and I took Mrs. Breeze and one of her children into the park, and pointed out to her the spot where in her company I had first seen Rotten Row. (Applause.)

And where Mr. Ransford got off his horse and asked you

how you found yourself, and begged to be allowed to visit you?

The Magistrate : It is after four o'clock, Mr. Cuffing. We will adjourn, if you please, until twelve o'clock to-morrow.

The court was speedily cleared, and as the crowd emptied itself, hot and tired, upon the traffic outside, they were greeted by the newsboys with "Evening paper-the great Barnard-Ransford Libel Case, this day!”

CHAPTER XV.

THE WHEEL.

LADY ST. BARNARD appeared the next day not only to be suffering from physical exhaustion, but she was mentally much excited. She had slept but little for several days. The cross-examination of Mr. Cuffing was almost more than she could bear. Brave, firm in her determination to fight the battle through to the bitter end, she still felt most keenly the misery of her position, the impossibility of thoroughly justifying herself in the eyes of the world.

It is a terrible thing for a woman to commit an indiscretion. Clytie now realised all the love of her dead grandfather. If she only had her game of life to play again ! The thought harassed her through the night, and left her weaker and more disheartened every day. It seemed years since first she stood at this awful bar of public opinion. When would it end? Was it a dream? Would she wake and find that she was still Mary Waller, with this terrible lesson to warn and guide her? She prayed that this might be so.

Lord St. Barnard was kind and considerate under the trying circumstances of his position. He never left his wife except to attend the conferences of his solicitors and Mr. Holland. His lordship had secured for her a comfortable suite of apartments at the Westminster Palace Hotel, and once a day Mrs. Breeze brought the children up from Grassnook to kiss and cheer her, and strengthen her for her daily ordeal. It was a cruel time, and her husband's love and gracious words and affectionate solicitude made her feel all the more the bitterness of the disgrace which must through her already have fallen upon the house of St. Barnard. Her principal affliction on this sixth day of her cross-examination was the fear that she would break down. Mr. Holland assured her that it could not possibly last more than two days at the outside. Two days more! It was an eternity to her. What questions could possibly be invented that would last another two days? The uncertainty was terrible. With her

« PreviousContinue »