Witness For the Prosecution
SIR WILFRED (English
He seems to have
impressed both of us favorably. I can’t think why. I never heard a weaker
story. And yet, it must be true. It couldn’t be so idiotic if it wasn’t
true. Put all the facts down in black and white and the whole thing is
utterly damning. When you talk to the boy, and he blurts out these damning
facts, you realize that the whole thing could happen just as he said.
Unfortunately, the only
evidence in his favour seems to be his wife’s---and who’s going to believe a
wife. And, she’s a foreigner. Nine out of the twelve in a jury box believe
a foreigner is lying anyway. She’ll be emotional and upset, and won’t
understand what the prosecuting counsel says to her. Still, we have to
interview her. You’ll see, she’ll have hysterics all over my Chambers.
MYERS (English accent):
May it please you, my
lord. Members of the Jury, this is a case of murder. The facts are simple
and up to a certain point are not in dispute. You will hear how the
prisoner made the acquaintance of Miss Emily French, a woman of fifty-six.
How he was treated by her with kindness and even affection. The nature of
that affection you will have to decide for yourselves. Dr. Wyatt will tell
you that in his opinion death occurred at some time between nine-thirty and
ten on the night of the fourteenth of October last. You will hear the
evidence of Janet McKenzie, who was Miss French’s faithful and devoted
housekeeper The fourteenth of October—it was a Friday—was Janet McKenzie’s
night out, but on this occasion she happened to return for a few minutes
with a key and upon going upstairs to her room she passed the door of the
sitting room. She will tell you that in the sitting room she heard the
voices of Miss French and of the prisoner—Leonard Vole.
LEONARD VOLE (American):
It was one day in
Oxford Street. I saw an old lady crossing the road carrying a lot of
parcels and in the middle of the street she dropped them, tried to get hold
of them again and found a bus was almost on top of her. Just managed to get
to the curb safely. Well, I recovered her parcels from the street and
soothed the old dear down. She was very grateful. Anyone would think I’d
saved her life instead of her parcels.
I never expected to see
her again, but by an extraordinary coincidence, two days later I happened to
be sitting behind her in the theatre. She looked around and recognized me
and we began to talk, and in the end she asked me to come and see her. She
made no secret of the fact that she was rolling in money. I know they’ll
say I was after her for her money. And in a way, perhaps that is true. I’d
invented a gadget for a car—a really good idea it is—and if I could have
persuaded her to finance that, well, I mean it would have been her money,
and it might have brought her in a lot. Oh, it’s difficult to explain—but I
wasn’t sponging off her, Sir Wilfred, really I wasn’t.
I already said that I
want to understand fully just how black the case against--my husband is. I
say to the police, Leonard was at home with me at nine-thirty—and they do
not believe me. There is no one else who saw him, so it will only be his
word and mine. I shall have to swear, shall I not, to speak the truth and
all the truth and nothing but the truth.
It is very convenient
that I cannot by law be called to testify against my husband. But Leonard
Vole is not my husband. He went through a form of marriage with me in
Berlin. He got me out of the Russian zone and brought me to this country.
I did not tell him, but I had a husband living at the time. Leonard
worships the ground I walk on…………I will say that Leonard came in at
twenty-five past nine on the evening of October 14th.
JANET MCKENZIE (Scottish):
It was a Friday and my
night out. I was going to see some friends of mine in Glenister Road, which
is not above three minutes walk. I left the house at half past seven. I’d
promised to take my friend the pattern of a knitted cardigan that she’d
admired. When I got there I found I’d left it behind, so after supper I
said I’d slip back and get it as it was a fine night and no distance. I
got back to the house at twenty-five past nine. I let myself in with my key
and went upstairs to my room. As I passed the sitting-room door I heard the
prisoner in there talking to Miss French…..I know his voice well enough.
Talking and laughing they were. But it was no business of mine so I went up
and fetched the pattern, came down and let myself out and went back to my
THE OTHER WOMAN (Lower
The chap I was going
with did this to my face. Going with him steady, I was too. He was a bit
younger than me, but he was fond of me and I loved him. Then she came
along. She took a fancy to him and she got him away from me. She started
to see him on the sly and one day he cleared out. I knew where he’d gone.
I went after him and I found them together. I told ‘er what I thought of
‘er and ‘e set on me. In with one of the razor gangs he was. He cut my
face up proper. “There,” he says, “no man will ever look at you now.”