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(In Sir Wilfred's study. Leonard Vole is arrested and taken to jail. Brogan-Moore, the barrister Sir Wilfred recommended for the defence counsel, and Sir Wilfred are waiting of Mrs Vole. Suddenly she appears in the doorway. Mrs Vole is a good-looking woman, self-possessed and very quiet. So quiet as to make one uneasy. From the very first Sir Wilfred is conscious he is up against something that he does not understand.)

Sir Wilfred (not noticing Mrs Vole, to Brogan-Moore): Oh, about Mrs Vole. Handle her gently, especially in breaking the news of the arrest. Bear in mind she is a foreigner, so be prepared for hysterics and even a fainting spell. Better have smelling salts ready.

Christine (standing in the doorway): I don't think that will be necessary. I never faint because I am not sure that I will fall gracefully and I never use smelling salts. I'm Christine Vole.

Sir Wilfred (holding out his hand to her): How do you do. This is Mr Brogan-Moore.

Brogan-Moore: How do you do.

Sir Wilfred: I am Wilfred Robart. My dear Mrs Vole, I'm afraid we have rather bad news for you.

Christine: Don't be afraid, Sir Wilfred, I'm quite disciplined.

Sir Wilfred:There is nothing to be alarmed at.

Christine:Leonard has been arrested and charged with murder. Is that it?

Sir Wilfred: Yes.

Christine: I knew he would be. I told him so.

Brogan-Moore: Mrs Vole, you know that Mrs French left your husband money?

Christine:Yes, a lot of money.

Brogan-Moore: Of course your husband had no previous knowledge of this bequest?

Christine: Is that what he told you?

Brogan-Moore: Well, surely, Mrs Vole, you're not suggesting anything different?

Christine: Oh, no, no. I do not suggest anything!

Sir Wilfred: Pardon me, Brogan-Moore. Mrs Vole, do you mind if I ask you a question?

Christine: Go right ahead, Sir Wilfred.

Sir Wilfred: Mrs Vole, you realize your husband's entire defence rests on his word and yours?

\Christine: I realize that.

Sir Wilfred: And that the jury will be quite sceptical of the word of a man accused of murder when supported only by the word of his wife?

Chistine: I realize that too.

Sir Wilfred: Mrs Vole, I assume you want to help your husband.

Christine:Of course I want to help Leonard. I want to help Mr Brogan-Moore and I want to help you, Sir Wilfred.

Sir Wilfred: Now, Mrs Vole, this is very important. On the night of the murder your husband came home before nine-thirty. Is that correct?

Christine: Precisely. Isn't that what he wants me to say? (The two lawyers exchange bewildered glances. Her answers puzzle them.)

Brogan-Moore: But isn't it the truth?

Christine: Of course. But when I told it to the police I do not think they believed me. Maybe I didn't say it well. May be because of my accent.

Brogan-Moore: You are aware of course that when I put you in the witness box, you will be sworn in and you will testify under oath?

Christine: Yes.. «Leonard came at 9.26 precisely and did not go out again». «The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth!» (The barristers are astounded.)

Sir Wilfred: Mrs Vole, do you love your husband?

Christine: Leonard thinks I do.

Sir Wilfred: Well, do you?

Christine: Am I already under oath?

Sir Wilfred: Mrs Vole, do you know that under British law you cannot be called to give testimony damaging to your husband?

Christine: How very convenient!

Sir Wilfred (indignant at Christine's cynicism): We are dealing with a capital crime! The prosecution will try to hang your husband!

Christine (unemotionally): He is not my husband. (Sir Wilfred and Brogan-Moore are shocked.)

Christine:Leonard and I went through a form of marriage in Hamburg, but I had a husband living at the time somewhere in East Germany.

Sir Wilfred: Did you tell Leonard?

Christine: I did not. It would have been stupid to tell him. He would not have married me and I would have been left behind to starve.

Brogan-Moore: But he did marry you and brought you safely to this country. Don't you think you should be grateful to him?

Christine: One can get very tired of gratitude.

Sir Wilfred: Your husband loves you very much, does he not?

Christine: Leonard? He worships the ground I walk on.

Sir Wilfred: And you?

Christine: You want to know too much. Auf Wiedersehen, gentlemen.

Sir Wilfred (bitterly): Thank you for coming, Mrs Vole. Your visit has been most reassuring.

Christine: Do not worry, Sir Wilfred. I will give him an alibi and I shall be very convincing. There will be tears in my eyes when I say: «Leonard came home at nine twenty-six precisely».

Sir Wilfred: You are a very remarkable woman, Mrs Vole.

Christine: You are satisfied, I hope. (She goes out.)

Sir Wilfred: I'm damned if I'm satisfied! That woman is up to something, but what?

Brogan-Moore: Well, the prosecution will break her down in no time when I put her in the witness-box. You know defending this case is going to be quite one-sided. I haven't got much to go on, have I? The fact is I've got nothing.

Sir Wilfred: Let me ask you something… Do you believe Leonard Vole is innocent? (Brogan-Moore does not answer.) Do you? (As Brogan-Moore still keeps silent he repeats the question.) Do you?

Brogan-Moore: I'm not sure. I'm sorry, Wilfred. Of course I'll do my best.

Sir Wilfred: It's all right, Brogan-Moore. I'll take it from here.


Date: 2015-01-12; view: 1610

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