Q. Indeed? (Counsel was evidently a little taken aback over the frankness of this admission.) Would you inform me on what subject?
A. I had been accidental witness the night before of the scrimmage between her and Louis already referred to, and I wished at once to apologise to her for Louis's behaviour, and to warn her against any repetition of the punishment she had inflicted.
Q. On what grounds?
A. On the grounds that, the man being quicktempered and impulsive, I would not answer for the consequences of another such assault. (Sensation.)
Q. And what was the deceased's answer? A. She thanked me, and said she could look after herself.
Q. Anything further?
A. Nothing. I went on and joined my friend, Sir Calvin, in the house.
Q. The deceased, while you were with her, offered no sort of explanation of her presence in the copse? #
A. None whatever.
Q. And you did not seek one?
A. O, dear, no ! I should not have been so foolish. (Laughter.)
Q. Did you speak to the prisoner on the subject of the assault?
A. At the time, yes.
Q< And what did you gather from his answer?
A. I gathered that, in his quick ardent way, he v,'as very much enamoured of the girl's beauty.
Q. And was correspondingly incensed, perhaps, over her rejection of his advances? A. Not incensed. Saddened. Q. He uttered no threat? A. No.
Q. On the afternoon of the murder, on your return to the house, as just described, you inquired for the prisoner?
A. I inquired for him, then, and again later on our return from the copse after we had been to view the body.
Q. You were troubled about him, perhaps?
A. I was uneasy, until I had seen and questioned him.
Q. When was that?
A. He came in about five o'clock, and was immediately sent up to me.
Q. You asked him, perhaps, to account for his absence ?
A. I did.
Q. And what was his explanation?
A. He made a frank confession of his quarrel with Mr Cleghorn, described how his first intention on rushing from the house had really been to find the girl and throw himself upon her mercy; but how, once in the open air, his frenzy had begun to cool, and to }deld itself presently to indecision. He had then, he said, gone for a long walk over the downs, fighting all the way the demon of rage and jealousy which possessed him, and had finally, getting the better of his black unreasoning mood, grown thoroughly repentant and ashamed of his behaviour, and had returned to make amends.
Q. And you credited that wonderful story?
A. I believed it implicitly.
Q. Well, indeed, sir ! Did he appear overcome by the news which had greeted him on his return ?
A. He appeared stupefied-that is the word.
Q. Did he comment on it at all?
A. If you mean in the self-incriminating sense, he did not.
Q. In what sense, then?
A. He cursed the assassin capable of destroying so sweet a paragon of womanhood.' (Laughter.)
Q. Very disinterested of him, I'm sure. Thank you, sir; that will suffice.
Counsel sitting down, Mr Redstall, for Sir Calvin, rose to put a question or two to the witness :-
Q. You have never had reason, M. le Baron, to regard the prisoner as a vindictive man ?
A. Never. Impulsive, yes.
Q. And truthful?
A. Transparently so-to a childish degree.
Q. He would have a difficulty in dissembling?
A. An insuperable difficulty, I should think.
Dr Harding, of Longbridge, was the last witness called. He deposed to his having been summoned to the house on the afternoon of the murder, and to having examined the body within an hour and a half of its first discovery in the copse. The cause of death was a gunshot wound in the back, from a weapon fired at short range. Practically the whole of the charge had entered the body in one piece. Death must have been instantaneous, and must have occurred, from the indications, some two hours before his arrival; or, approximately, at about 3.30 o'clock. The wound could not possibly have been self-inflicted, and the position of the gun precluded any thought of accident. He had since, assisted by Dr Liversidge of Winton, made a post-mortem examination of the body. Asked if there was anything significant in the deceased's condition, his answer was yes.
This completed the evidence, at the conclusion of which, and of some remarks by the Coroner, the jury, after a brief consultation among themselves, brought in a verdict that the deceased died from a gunshot wound deliberately inflicted by the prisoner Louis Victor Cabanis, in a fit of revengeful passion; which verdict amounting to one of wilful murder, the prisoner was forthwith, on the Coroner's warrant, committed to the County gaol, there to await his examination before the magistrates on the capital charge. The jury further--being local men-added a rider to their verdict respectfully commiserating Sir Calvin on the very unpleasant business which had chosen to select his grounds for its enactment; and with that the proceedings terminated.