Page 11, 15th June 1935

15th June 1935
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Page 11, 15th June 1935 — `rhe Viaduct Murder

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`rhe Viaduct Murder

By Ronald Knox



01..; lad?"

"Yes, I've just been talking to him front the eteward's uffice, through that eonfounded inetaphone thing. I told him the whole toory, ae hail pia it together---" "1 pees the "And I told him he must own up. He tied no chance of eaying anything down the tube, of course. and now it seems he has bolted for London."

"Bolted! Why, of course, that was why he was making streaks for the kitation at about sixty miles an hour. Good Lord, Reevee, you hove done it? I believe you've convinced Marryatt, by eheer logic, that he's a murderer, when he's nothing of the kind."

'No, but i say, du you really think lie's butted?"

"Looks like it, doesn't it.? Very much like the cad story of the man who 'elegraphed te the biehop to say ' AU is

• -nred; fly at once ' Poor old 1st have a guilty conscienee .ething, mustn't he? I wonder ien embezzling the collections': think it would be worth about igla in (plod, embezzling the `)aanic collections. My ball, I

h you'd take this thing

/.4. • my best; it was a beast t 4 !he game, you fool. 1 f.\i'hO,aP•clearing off like this.

What happens if he really tries to disappear? How am I to get al, him? And what's it all about, anyhow?"

" I haverat the faintest idea what it's Ru about. But if you ask me, I don't believe Marryatt has totted for good. Ile vvaen't taking his clubs with him."

"You think he'll come back title evening?" • should think almost tertainly." 'But. look here, what the deuce am I to say to hint v.hen he does?"

`Oh, leave all that to me. I'll calm his fevered brow. I told you yesterday there -were one or two little things I wanted Malayatt to explain, and you wouldn't let me. This time, I'm going to have it my own way."

"It's awfully good of you if 3'ou . Oh, Lona right over the green, as usual. ... Bill. I say. tell me about Davenant. How did you hear?"

"The hear; waiter was the source of the information, aut I gather it is on good null-I.:1HO,-. According to tilt' gossip of Binver. the pollee were trying to inerimma.„ you friend Miss RendallSmith, ea.

?, that's how they got Davenant 10 oon up. Dirty dodge, rather. I think."

"Trying to iticriminate her? Then, of course, it Avas the police who were shadowing her! She told me yesterday she thought she was being watched."

That would be it, I suppose.* ▪ But then, how did Davenant explain all the things that have been puzzling us all this Hine?"

"I don't think he's been intervieevert by the Daily Matt yet. lint if eon mean how he explained the diffiruity about the two !rains, that's very simple. It wasn't done from atrain at all.

" ant from a train?"

"No lie was walking with Pantherhood along the railway line in the fog, and he lost hie temper and pitched him over. At least, that's the story they're telling down at I3inver."

'Oh, I see. That being so, this for the hole."

They went round again that afternoon. There was really nothing else to he tinne; hut Reeves was in a pitiable state of suspense all the lime, and the hours travelled slowly. The 3.47 put down its generous toll of passengers at Pittston Oatvilee hut no Marryatt among them. Two more trains came in, and still no Marryatt appeared: his place was empty at the dinner-table. Reeves was in terror that he might crime haelt ei the middle: in terror that lie luigin lint 4'01110 hitli al, all. At Iasi, as they went out from (limier, they cauglir sight of his face. looking white and briggerd. en iee Weill:lee hall. Ilsevas leaUlded

upstairs, full of relief, while Gordon marked down his matt.

"Hullo. alarryalt? Had dinner? lima; tome. and sit tn the lounge for a ba. I'd been wanting toeee you."

There was only ono way to open the conversaOon. "Haat? a small somethirg ii. the anishy line," he eug• gesti d.

"No, thanks. Knocked off."

"Knoeked off! Why on earth? Are you ailing to start a Band of Hope I'm sorry. Marryatt, but I'm afraid you a-mat get !teeny members to join."

"No. lt's nothing of that sort. Doetor's orders. you knnw."

'• First Mae I ever heard of Benaly preSerthing that."

It wasn't Beaoly. I've just been na to London, you know; I went ao see a specialist." E say, I'm nadully sorry; what's wrong? Heart'?"

-Well, it was a sort of nerve man I went M. Didn't seem to be ninon Use. Ile talked to me for about half an hour abrut French cathearals, and then trild oe• to icta:ck off drinking and smolo

Yes, but dash It all, what were your iymptome?" '' I say. Gnrdon, do you belSeve ;n gbosts and things?' 'Not more than's good for nte. Why?

You been seeing spooks?"

"Look here. I wanted to tell some

body about. it You know. or course, that I preached about Lerotnerimod last

night. I wasn't qu:te sure whether it was the thing to do—it seamed a lin unfair at the time. Anyhow, I fen I

eught Then at dinner. If you remember, you and Carmichael . were ragging about it—wondermg what would happen if old BrottierhOod came back."

"Yes, I remember."

"Vt1l, of course, that may have preyed on my nerves a tat. Anyhow. I went .upstairs to my room, and found my pepe chocked up—you know." ,

'' Yes, it's funny the way they do get chocked up."

—Se I went along to Reeves's room to bag one or his pipe-cleaners. It was dark and lie wasn't ill, so I turned on the light. And there, eight in front tit me, I saw old lirothertiood's oak stick —the mut ne used te carry willi I remount-ate a lieu lie preaehed on the village green. I remember hils quoting Johnsoine refutation ot Herkeley---you

k e thing—and !misting that

stnw the

the ground. That \Ade the stick I elle.'

" hi Reeves's room?'

" Yes, by the side of hie arm-chair. And I didn't exactly sec anything, you know, only it looked exactly as if Brotherhood himself -were sitting in the chair, invisible, with his hand reeting on the stlea. I was just telling myself I was'a fool, when—be breathed."

Who aid?"

"1 don't know. 'There was nobody in the room—nobody visible, I mean. That was too much for me, I'm afraid. I went to my room and locked myself In. You see, I'm psychie. rather. .Always have been, from a kid."

".‘nd was that all your trouble? " "No. I had half theught about seeirie a. Juan about it while I was lip iii London, anyhow. And theta ,iust. ite I was starting Int the train, that beastly metaphone thing iii my room whistled.

So I went and said ' speaking? ' —and—I may be an awful foot, you know, but I thought the same thing Said • It's Brotherhood.' And at that I fairly dropped the tube and raced or the train. Then, in London, I went to see this fool of a specialist, and ni course he told roe I'd been overdoing it."

tiordon's oyes twinkled. "You'd have saved yourself a couple of guineas at least," he said, "if you'd talked to me earlier."

"Oh I Why, what's the point? "

"Well—that stick. It had a perfect right to be in Reeves's room. He found it yesterday afternoon oil the railway line; Broilwrlirioil must have droppyrl it ■oliell lie fell. of course, Beerei hroUglit it back here, 4114J it %%A., b1,441(1•

iiisaalaaL diaea

There. IN as Di'tpdy iI titig there."

"But hang it all, I ewear I heard samehody breathing."

"Yeti did. That \vas just hal luck. The fi,et is, Beeves and 1 were fooling about. inside that secret passage, anti saw you comp. in Anil the breathing was done by Reeves, off." "Good Lord I Why didn't. you tel! me?"

" Well, you didn't. give us much Chance, aid you, going and lockine yourself up in your room like that? And then this morning Reeves phoned you up from the steward's office to tell

you the news.e what gt,,,.e?

" Thel the mystery about Brotheshood's murder was solved."

"Oh, yes--Davenant did il, didn't he? They Were telling toe about it at the station."

U \'ell, you see, Reeves inuet have

slatted Ly ei0 About Brotherhood,' or something like that. And then, like a. fool, you dropped the tube and legged it for London."

thank Of it, I CHAPTER XXIV

Gordon Offers the Consolation of Philosophy (Jordon fell into Ileeves's other armchair and shouted \lath laughter. Nolte

catiagreeole to ing uould be more tt IletVeb atready jangled. Reeves almost *book him Into position, demanding explanations.

'It's all right," he said at last. "You get all the luck. Reeves. Marryatt vasn't listening at the other end of tlie metaphorie. Anti all the time you were through it, It seas just a soli loquy."

"Thank God for that! But how dm vou expiate it all? Wbat did you tell him?"

"Oh, I jiat told him the truth—part of the trial,. And you must really get out of ilea habit of wheezing, because it was your wheezarg Omuta the secret 0.10 Mat made Marryatt think It wns lirotherlooda ghost setting in your loom last night!"

-you Inekei that's what frightened Marryatla Why did lie run away this morning, then?"

"He thought it was Brollurhood tele phoning to hitia Lord, what a day:" And you've explained everything to hini?"

Yea, I've explained It all: I'd have. explained it yesterday a you'd let me." " , doLil. I ry to persuade me yin didn't think yourself Mat I\1.1 ri yait waa guatyr

"(Sella of murder? Not far a single solitary moment. Idid think there was soreetrang wrong with him---so there wee, ee hag-ridden with ntglittnaL. aboui Itroinerhood But I

neVf,r agreed with you Mem Marryan beaig a murderer, and. to do me Justice, I never said so."

"That's all very well, but you never showed me where I was wrong in my interpretaLon of the whole thing."

"I know; it was no good showing you whets You were wrong, because you 'were an confoundedly iiigensoue et devising fresh explanation:, Honestly, I did put one or two diffIculs ties to you, but. in a second you persuaded yourself to believe that Mil Nvere no difticulties at. • all. And vf course there wereheaps more."

"Such as?"

'Well, you persisted in regardiug the whole thing as a deliberate, carefully-alannea murder. But if you come to think or it, the eircumstancee that favoured the murder were just tlae sort of circumstances that couldn't have beeit fureseen. How could a man like Marryatt know that, Brotherhood weA due to go bankrupt.? He knows no more about the city than you do. And the fog—look how the fog played lip all through! How was Marryatt to know there was going to he a fog on the very day on which his attempt would be mine? Yet, without log. Me ettempt would have been pertectiy desperate."

"Yee, I Suppose that's true."

sand it wilsir,t nieresy the general eetting, it wee ilie details, How could Alarqatt know that lIt. train vvotild he help up by Hglials just there? How could he tell that Brotherhood wOilid get into the part of the train Nt hieh hadn't get a corridor, and that he would get into ant empty carriage? What would he have been able to do, if Brotherhood had happened to come hack as he always did—did, in feet, come back on Tuesday—in a crowded train like the 3.47? How could he be certain that nobody had seen Brotherhood get into the three o'clock? That nobody had noticed him at Weighford? Alternately, don't you see, you make your man lake the most superhumanly cunning precautions, and then trust to blind chance. But those are all objections of detail. I didn't mention them because, as 1 say, you'd have found some sort nf answer for each. My real objection was much tici'll SS e r'e:1;, why didn't you tell me about the!' "

" Reeroise 3 rei anoldn't have begun to

underetand it. Its lainteerned. :volt see, with people, not with thinp.s. il's simply tint Davenant is the kind of person who would -kill a man, and Marryatt isn't."

" You mean because Marryatt'S a palsorie But, dash it all, Davenant goes to church."

• " Davenant goes in hurch. hill he isn't the sort of person whn goes to canna'. With Protestants, I mean, it's ordinarily safe to as,sunit that if people do go to chinah they are of a churchgoing type; they belong to the unco' guild. That isn't a safe assumption tn. make about Catholics; they seem to go to church whether they're ' unera gnid'

or not. I don't mean that Dayenant's a. -stage villain, but lie's jiist an ordinary sort of person, end he's got red blood in I i I iii. whereas Merryait haene,-.1 hope it's not mita rid to say ee.

I-Is wouldn't kill a man; you may almost say he couldn't."

Couldn't morally, you mean, or couldn't physically? "

" I don't mean either. ' Couldn't psychtcally would be nearer the mark. For one thing, Davenant's Tonight in the war, and killed people, I expect—he was a. bombing officer, wasn't he? Well, you know, I think to most people that makes an enormous difference. I suppose that's why there's generally a crime-wave ' after WatS—pnrt, of the. reason, anyhow. People have got accustomed to tailing, and it isn't easy to murder maple till you've done that." " And Marryatt, you mean, really couldn't kill a. man? "

" Physically lie could—he's rather strong.Me rally he. rould—morally any of us enuld do anything. Or so they taught us when we vere email. But there's a. third difficulty you've got to gel over, if you want to nmrder people: a sort of nervous repugnance to the job. I don't say that if Marryatt went to the had he mightn't screw himself lip to the point of shoving poison into somebody's tea. But he couldp't kill a man with his hands."

"I know; it doesn't sound probable. And yet, I suppose a person with a fixed idea isn't nuieh different from a madman, is he? And my argument was that Marryatt had a sort of fixed idea about religion."

Yes; hill. don't you see, he hasn't. Marryatt's a very good ['flap, and he thinks all the doctrines lie preaches are more probable then not, hut. hts religion doesn't sweep him off his feet: the man who denies it. doesn't seem to him something less than human. That was another reason against your theory. Psychologically, alarryutt hasn't got the apparatus to tin what you thought he did. Morally, he hasn't got the motive la era as you thought he did." 'Welk I seem to have ntade ri pretty good ass of myself all round. I wonder if anybody in the world has ever been so led astray by a theory?" "Anybody ever? Wily, my dear Reeves, you're in exactly the'same position there as about three-quarters of the modern world: they are all led astray by theories. Only you were at least led astray by your own theory, not by one you'd herrowed at second-hand."

Whet. you mean seal-Oita: theories le medicine and so on? Taleing ilie doctor's word for it that it's, A _Clod ttitnngeto be vaccinated, and that kind of "No, hang it all, it would he unfair to complain of that. It's better for the doctors to have a false theory than no theory at all. Tney make mistakes, but sooner or later they find out they were wrong. It's bad luck on all the people who happen to have died from getting the wrong treatment, but still, we dla our best. No. I don't mean the guesswork by which we live from day to day, and which is necessary to living: I mean the theories learned people propound to us about the past, about the meaning of lia tiinrvl‘n arilt alisntodrya.l; , l that??

• No. not exactly. I grant you that does Illtatrate my point. Evolution is only a theory, and the relationship of the monkey to the man not. even a plausible theory; and yet they have gone on so long without being poeitively disproved that everybody talks as if they were proved. The scientist still treats evolution as a theory, the educationalist treats it as a fact. There's a curious sort of statute of limitations in the learned world which makes it Impossible to call a man a liar If he has gone on lying successfully for fifty years. Rut. after al!, there's something to be said for the Evolutionists. They dId set out tO explain a real problem, why there should be more than one kind °fatting In the world; and they don't even profess in have explained it, Tbe theorizers I mean aro people who create problems where none exist—as you did, Rervee, when you insisted on regarding it. as an open question who murdered Brotherhood. They are people who trust circumstantial evidence in the face of all common human probability, as you did, Reeves. when you wanted to convict a chump like Marryatt of rmirder on the strength of a Chain of silly coincidences."

To be conducted

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