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The Barrister
by [?]

“I have no idea,” said Jobson, after casting his mind back and waiting in vain for some result.

“In that case you cannot swear that you were not being turned out of the Hampstead Parliament–“

“But I never belonged to it.”

Rupert leaped at the damaging admission.

“What? You told the Court that you lived at Hampstead, and yet you say that you never belonged to the Hampstead Parliament? Is THAT your idea of patriotism?”

“I said I lived at Hackney.”

“To the Hackney Parliament, I should say. I am suggesting that you were turned out of the Hackney Parliament for–“

“I don’t belong to that either.”

“Exactly!” said Rupert triumphantly. “Having been turned out for intoxication?”

“And never did belong.”

“Indeed? May I take it then that you prefer to spend your evenings in the public-house?”

“If you want to know,” said Jobson angrily, “I belong to the Hackney Chess Circle, and that takes up most of my evenings.”

Rupert gave a sigh of satisfaction and turned to the jury.

“At LAST, gentlemen, we have got it. I thought we should arrive at the truth in the end, in spite of Mr Jobson’s prevarications.” He turned to the witness. “Now, sir,” he said sternly, “you have already told the Court that you have no idea what you were doing on the night of April 24th, 1897. I put it to you once more that this blankness of memory is due to the fact that you were in a state of intoxication on the premises of the Hackney Chess Circle. Can you swear on your oath that this is not so?”

A murmur of admiration for the relentless way in which the truth had been tracked down ran through the court. Rupert drew himself up and put on both pairs of pince-nez at once.

“Come, sir!” he said, “the jury is waiting.” But it was not Albert Jobson who answered. It was the counsel for the prosecution. “My lord,” he said, getting up slowly, “this has come as a complete surprise to me. In the circumstances, I must advise my clients to withdraw from the case.”

“A very proper decision,” said his lordship. “The prisoner is discharged without a stain on her character.”

. . . . . . .

Briefs poured in upon Rupert next day, and he was engaged for all the big Chancery cases. Within a week his six plays were accepted, and within a fortnight he had entered Parliament as the miners’ Member for Coalville. His marriage took place at the end of a month. The wedding presents were even more numerous and costly than usual, and included thirty-five yards of book muslin, ten pairs of gloves, a sponge, two gimlets, five jars of cold cream, a copy of the Clergy List, three hat-guards, a mariner’s compass, a box of drawing-pins, an egg-breaker, six blouses, and a cabman’s whistle. They were marked quite simply, “From a Grateful Friend.”