The prisoner had been arrested in consequence of the discovery, in his room, by Detective Inspector Japp--a most brilliant officer--of the identical phial of strychnine which had been sold at the village chemist's to the supposed Mr. Inglethorp on the day before the murder. It would be for the jury to decide whether or not these damning facts constituted an overwhelming proof of the prisoner's guilt.
And, subtly implying that a jury which did not so decide, was quite unthinkable, Mr. Philips sat down and wiped his forehead.
The first witnesses for the prosecution were mostly those who had been called at the inquest, the medical evidence being again taken first.
Sir Ernest Heavywether, who was famous all over England for the unscrupulous manner in which he bullied witnesses, only asked two questions.
"I take it, Dr. Bauerstein, that strychnine, as a drug, acts quickly?"
"And that you are unable to account for the delay in this case?"
Mr. Mace identified the phial handed him by Counsel as that sold by him to "Mr. Inglethorp." Pressed, he admitted that he only knew Mr. Inglethorp by sight. He had never spoken to him. The witness was not cross-examined.
Alfred Inglethorp was called, and denied having purchased the poison. He also denied having quarrelled with his wife. Various witnesses testified to the accuracy of these statements.
The gardeners' evidence, as to the witnessing of the will was taken, and then Dorcas was called.
Dorcas, faithful to her "young gentlemen," denied strenuously that it could have been John's voice she heard, and resolutely declared, in the teeth of everything, that it was Mr. Inglethorp who had been in the boudoir with her mistress. A rather wistful smile passed across the face of the prisoner in the dock. He knew only too well how useless her gallant defiance was, since it was not the object of the defence to deny this point. Mrs. Cavendish, of course, could not be called upon to give evidence against her husband.
After various questions on other matters, Mr. Philips asked: "In the month of June last, do you remember a parcel arriving for Mr. Lawrence Cavendish from Parkson's?"
Dorcas shook her head.
"I don't remember, sir. It may have done, but Mr. Lawrence was away from home part of June."
"In the event of a parcel arriving for him whilst he was away, what would be done with it?"
"It would either be put in his room or sent on after him."