FORTY
CONFESSION WHILE Getliffe PREPARES HIS SPEECH

I went from the court to some friends who had invited me to drink sherry; a crowd of people were already gathered in the drawing-room. Many of them asked questions about the trial. No one there, as it happened, knew that I was so intimate with George. They were all eager to talk of the evidence of the day, discussing Olive's infatuation for Jack, the kind of life they had both led. Several of them agreed that "she had done it because he was involved already." It was strange to hear the guesses, some superficial as that, some penetrating and shrewd. The majority believed them guilty. There was a good-humoured and malicious delight in their exposure, and the gossip was warm with the contact of human life.

From the point of view of the case, they were exaggerating the day's significance. People here felt that George's crossexamination "had settled the business. He can't get away with that"; just as, in the street, I had overheard two men reading the evening paper and giving the same opinion in almost the same words. Yet, for all the talk of his "hypocrisy,""the good time he had managed for himself," there were some ready to defend him in this room. "I can believe it of the other two easier than I can of him," one of them said. "I shouldn't have thought swindling was in his line." But no-one there believed that he had ever devoted himself to help his friends.

I returned to dinner at Eden's. Getliffe told Eden that he thought it was "all right." He added: "I'd be certain if it weren't for this prejudice they've raised. I must try to smooth that down." Yet he was not so cheerfully professional as he

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