The First Day
"The trial began at the Central Criminal Court yesterday. . . ." The Times
The Judge came on swiftly. Out of the side-door, an ermined puppet progressing weightless along the bench, head held at an angle, an arm swinging, the other crooked under cloth and gloves, trailing a wake of subtlety, of secret powers, age: an Elizabethan shadow gliding across the arras.
The high-backed chair has been pulled, helped forward, the figure is seated, has bowed, and the hundred or so people who had gathered themselves at split notice to their feet rustle and subside into apportioned place. And now the prisoner, the accused himself is here--how had he come, how had one missed the instant of that other clockwork entry?--standing in the front of the dock, spherical, adipose, upholstered in blue serge, red-faced, bald, facing the Judge, facing this day. And already the clerk, risen from below the Judge's seat, is addressing him by full name.
There cannot be a man or woman in this court who has not heard it before.
". . . You are charged with the murder . . ."
And that, too, is expected. It is what all is set for--nobody, today, is