The Old Man in the Corner HTML version

XVI. "Non Proven"
"There is no doubt," continued the man in the corner, "that what little sympathy the
young girl's terrible position had aroused in the public mind had died out the moment that
David Graham left the witness-box on the second day of the trial. Whether Edith
Crawford was guilty of murder or not, the callous way in which she had accepted a
deformed lover, and then thrown him over, had set every one's mind against her.
"It was Mr. Graham himself who had been the first to put the Procurator Fiscal in
possession of the fact that the accused had written to David from London, breaking off
her engagement. This information had, no doubt, directed the attention of the Fiscal to
Miss Crawford, and the police soon brought forward the evidence which had led to her
"We had a final sensation on the third day, when Mr. Campbell, jeweller, of High Street,
gave his evidence. He said that on October 25th a lady came to his shop and offered to
sell him a pair of diamond earrings. Trade had been very bad, and he had refused the
bargain, although the lady seemed ready to part with the earrings for an extraordinarily
low sum, considering the beauty of the stones.
"In fact it was because of this evident desire on the lady's part to sell at _any_ cost that he
had looked at her more keenly than he otherwise would have done. He was now ready to
swear that the lady that offered him the diamond earrings was the prisoner in the dock.
"I can assure you that as we all listened to this apparently damnatory evidence, you might
have heard a pin drop amongst the audience in that crowded court. The girl alone, there in
the dock, remained calm and unmoved. Remember that for two days we had heard
evidence to prove that old Dr. Crawford had died leaving his daughter penniless, that
having no mother she had been brought up by a maiden aunt, who had trained her to be a
governess, which occupation she had followed for years, and that certainly she had never
been known by any of her friends to be in possession of solitaire diamond earrings.
"The prosecution had certainly secured an ace of trumps, but Sir James Fenwick, who
during the whole of that day had seemed to take little interest in the proceedings, here
rose from his seat, and I knew at once that he had got a tit-bit in the way of a 'point' up his
sleeve. Gaunt, and unusually tall, and with his beak-like nose, he always looks strangely
impressive when he seriously tackles a witness. He did it this time with a vengeance, I
can tell you. He was all over the pompous little jeweller in a moment.
"'Had Mr. Campbell made a special entry in his book, as to the visit of the lady in
"'Had he any special means of ascertaining when that visit did actually take place?'