Sunday, September 18, 2011

Clouds of Witness cont

The Coroner: “Alone?”
Witness: “Yes, everybody was running about and calling out. I couldn't bear it—I——”
Here the witness, who up till this moment had given her evidence very collectedly, though in a low voice, collapsed suddenly, and had to be assisted from the room.
The next witness called was James Fleming, the manservant. He remembered having brought the letters from Riddlesdale at 9.45 on Wednesday evening. He had taken three or four letters to the Duke in the gun-room.
In an English country house, the Gun Room is a secure walk-in vault in which sporting rifles, shotguns, ammunition and other shooting accessories are kept.

He could not remember at all whether one of them had had an Egyptian stamp. He did not collect stamps; his hobby was autographs.
The Hon. Frederick Arbuthnot then gave evidence. He had gone up to bed with the rest at a little before ten. He had heard Denver come up by himself some time later—couldn't say how much later—he was brushing his teeth at the time. (Laughter.) Had certainly heard loud voices and a row going on next door and in the passage. Had heard somebody go for the stairs hell-for-leather.
The expression hell-for-leather means at “breakneck speed, very fast” and was originally used with reference to riding on horseback. It may have originated with Kipling. The earliest citation in the OED is from an 1889 Kipling story, “The Valley of the Shadow.”
CAPT. M. (Jealously) Then don’t say it! Leave him alone. It’s not bad enough to croak over. Here, Gaddy, take the chit to Bingle and ride hell-for-leather. It’ll do you good. I can’t go.
JUNIOR CHAPLAIN. (Flicking M.’s charger.) That’ll do, thanks. Turn in, Gadsby, and I’ll bring Bingle back–ahem–’hell-for-leather.’
Had stuck his head out and seen Denver in the passage. Had said, “Hello, Denver, what's the row?” The Duke's reply had been inaudible. Denver had bolted into his bedroom and shouted out of the window, “Don't be an ass, man!” He had seemed very angry indeed, but the Hon. Freddy attached no importance to that. One was always getting across Denver, but it never came to anything. More dust than kick in his opinion.
Hadn't known Cathcart long—always found him all right—no, he didn't like Cathcart, but he was all right, you know, nothing wrong about him that he knew of. Good lord, no, he'd never heard it suggested he cheated at cards! Well, no, of course, he didn't go about looking out for people cheating at cards—it wasn't a thing one expected. He'd been had that way in a club at Monte once—he'd had no hand in bringing it to light—hadn't noticed anything till the fun began.
Monte Carlo is an administrative area of the Principality of Monaco. It is widely known for its casino. The permanent population is about 15,000. The Monte Carlo quarter includes not only Monte Carlo proper where the Le Grand Casino is located, it also includes the neighbourhoods of Saint-Michel, Saint-Roman/Tenao, and the beach community of Larvotto. It is also one of Monaco's 10 wards with a population of 3,500. It borders the French town of Beausoleil (sometimes referred to as Monte-Carlo-Supérieur).
Had not noticed anything particular in Cathcart's manner to Lady Mary, or hers to him. Didn't suppose he ever would notice anything; did not consider himself an observing sort of man. Was not interfering by nature; had thought Wednesday evening's dust-up none of his business. Had gone to bed and to sleep.
The Coroner: “Did you hear anything further that night?”
Hon. Frederick: “Not till poor little Mary knocked me up. Then I toddled down and found Denver in the conservatory, bathing Cathcart's head. We thought we ought to clean the gravel and mud off his face, you know.”
The Coroner: “You heard no shot?”
Hon. Frederick: “Not a sound. But I sleep pretty heavily.”
Colonel and Mrs. Marchbanks slept in the room over what was called the study—more a sort of smoking-room really.
When the Crimean War during the 1850s popularized Turkish tobacco, smoking gained in fashionable popularity but was considered indelicate. After dinner in a large private house, the gentlemen might retreat from the ladies to a smoking room, furnished with velvet curtains and decorated to masculine tastes, and replace his tail coat with a comfortable velvet smoking jacket and cap. The velvet was intended to absorb the smoke, to avoid contaminating other rooms and clothes.

They both gave the same account of a conversation which they had had at 11.30. Mrs. Marchbanks had sat up to write some letters after the Colonel was in bed. They had heard voices and someone running about, but had paid no attention. It was not unusual for members of the party to shout and run about. At last the Colonel had said, “Come to bed, my dear, it's half-past eleven, and we're making an early start to-morrow. You won't be fit for anything.” He said this because Mrs. Marchbanks was a keen sportswoman and always carried her gun with the rest. She replied, “I'm just coming.” The Colonel said, “You're the only sinner burning the midnight oil—everybody's turned in.”
To work late into the night. Originally this was by the light of an oil lamp or candle. More recently, the phrase is used figuratively, alluding back its use before electric lighting.

The English author Francis Quarles wrote in Emblemes, 1635:
Wee spend our mid-day sweat, or mid-night oyle;
Wee tyre the night in thought; the day in toyle.

Mrs. Marchbanks replied, “No, the Duke's still up; I can hear him moving about in the study.” Colonel Marchbanks listened and heard it too. Neither of them heard the Duke come up again. They had heard no noise of any kind in the night.
Mr. Pettigrew-Robinson appeared to give evidence with extreme reluctance. He and his wife had gone to bed at ten. They had heard the quarrel with Cathcart. Mr. Pettigrew-Robinson, fearing that something might be going to happen, opened his door in time to hear the Duke say, “If you dare to speak to my sister again I'll break every bone in your body,” or words to that effect. Cathcart had rushed downstairs. The Duke was scarlet in the face. He had not seen Mr. Pettigrew-Robinson, but had spoken a few words to Mr. Arbuthnot, and rushed into his own bedroom. Mr. Pettigrew-Robinson had run out, and said to Mr. Arbuthnot, “I say, Arbuthnot,” and Mr. Arbuthnot had very rudely slammed the door in his face. He had then gone to the Duke's door and said, “I say, Denver.” The Duke had come out, pushing past him, without even noticing him, and gone to the head of the stairs. He had heard him tell Fleming to leave the conservatory door open, as Mr. Cathcart had gone out. The Duke had then returned. Mr. Pettigrew-Robinson had tried to catch him as he passed, and had said again, “I say, Denver, what's up?” The Duke had said nothing, and had shut his bedroom door with great decision. Later on, however, at 11.30 to be precise, Mr. Pettigrew-Robinson had heard the Duke's door open, and stealthy feet moving about the passage. He could not hear whether they had gone downstairs. The bathroom and lavatory were at his end of the passage, and, if anybody had entered either of them, he thought he should have heard. He had not heard the footsteps return. He had heard his travelling clock strike twelve before falling asleep. There was no mistaking the Duke's bedroom door, as the hinge creaked in a peculiar manner.

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