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"The deceased, Philip Boyes, was, as you have heard, awriter. He was thirty-six years old, and he had publishedfive novels and a large number of essays and articles. Allthese literary works were of what is sometimes called an'advanced' type. They preached doctrines which may seemto some of us immoral or seditious, such as atheism, andanarchy, and what is known as free love. His private lifeappears to have been conducted, for some time at least, inaccordance with these doctrines.
"Now you may feel, and quite properly, that this was avery wrong thing to do. You may, after making all allowancesfor this young woman's unprotected position,still feel that she was a person of unstable moral character.You will not be led away by the false glamour whichcertain writers contrive to throw about 'free love,' intothinking that this was anything but an ordinary, vulgar actof misbehavior. Sir Impey Biggs, very rightly using all hisgreat eloquence on behalf of his client, has painted thisaction of Harriet Vane's in very rosy colours; he hasspoken of unselfish sacrifice and self-immolation, and hasreminded you that, in such a situation, the woman alwayshas to pay more heavily than the man. You will not, I amsure, pay too much attention to this. You know quite wellthe difference between right and wrong in such matters,and you may think that, if Harriet Vane had not becometo a certain extent corrupted by the unwholesome influencesamong which she lived, she would have shown atruer heroism by dismissing Philip Boyes from her society.
Joey Trimbles occupied a studio over a mews. Herethere was the same crowd, the same smoke, more kippers,still more drinks and still more heat and conversation. Inaddition there was a blaze of electric light, a gramophone,five dogs and a strong smell of oil-paints. Sylvia Marriottwas expected. Wimsey found himself involved in a discussionof free love, D. H. Lawrence, the prurience ofprudery and the immoral significance of long skirts. Intime, however, he was rescued by the arrival of a masculine-lookingmiddle-aged woman with a sinister smile anda pack of cards, who proceeded to tell everybody's fortune.The company gathered around her, and at the sametime a girl came in and announced that Sylvia hadsprained her ankle and couldn't come. Everybody saidwarmly, "Oh, how sickening, poor dear!" and forgot thesubject immediately.
"We owe a great debt of gratitude to the press," saidthe Dowager Duchess, "so kind of them to pick out all theplums for us and save the trouble of reading the books,don't you think, and such a joy for the poor dear peoplewho can't afford seven-and-sixpence, or even a librarysubscription, I suppose, though I'm sure that works outcheaply enough if one is a quick reader. Not that thecheap ones will take those books for I asked my maid,such a superior girl and so keen on improving her mind,which is more than I can say for most of my friends, butno doubt it is all due to free education for the people andI suspect her in my heart of voting labour though I neverask because I don't think it's fair, and besides, if I did, Icouldn't very well take any notice of it, could I?"
"That, as Sherlock Holmes would say, is what you mayexpect to see when there is nothing there," said Wimsey,kindly. "Charles, you will pass the water and the flask andthe tube, old Uncle Tom Cobley and all as being arsenic-free."
Miss Murchison extracted the envelope and freed itfrom the enclosure. Bunter, receiving it respectfully on adeveloping dish, cut it into small pieces which he droppedinto the flask. The water bubbled brightly, but the littletubes still remained stainless from end to end. 2b1af7f3a8