THIRTY-ONE
CONFIDENTIAL TALK IN EDEN'S DRAWING-ROOM

I read the diary all evening. At dinner Eden and I were alone, and he was kindly and cordial. We went into the drawing-room afterwards; he built up the fire as high as it had been the night of Morcom's slip; he pressed me to a glass of brandy.

"How do you feel about yesterday?" he said at length.

"It looks none to good," I said.

"I completely agree," he said deliberately, with a friendly smile to mark my judgment and to recognize bad news. "As a matter of fact, I've been talking to Hotchkinson about it during the afternoon. We both consider we shall be lucky if we can save those young nuisances from what, between ourselves, I'm beginning to think they deserve. But I don't like to think of their getting it through the lack of any possible effort on our part. Don't you agree?"

"Of course," I said. He was sitting back comfortably now, his voice smooth and friendly, as though I was a client he liked, but to whom he had to break bad news. He was sorry, and yet buoyed up by the subdued pleasure of his own activity.

"Well then, that's what Hotchkinson and I have been considering. And we wondered whether you ought to have a little help. You're not to misunderstand us, young man. I'd as soon trust a case to you as anyone of your age, and Hotchkinson believes in you as well. Of course, you were a trifle over-optimistic imagining you might get a dismissal in the police court, but we all make our mistakes, you know. This is going to be a very tricky case, though. It's not going to be just working out the legal defence. If it was only doing that

-210-

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