The Angel of Terror

Edgar Wallace
The Angel of Terror, by Edgar

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Title: The Angel of Terror
Author: Edgar Wallace
Release Date: May 19, 2007 [EBook #21530]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

Produced by David Clarke, Geetu Melwani and the Online Distributed
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The characters in this book are entirely imaginary, and have no relation
to any living person.

First Printed, May, 1922
32nd Edition, September, 1934
Made and Printed in Great Britain for Hodder and Stoughton Limited,
by Wyman & Sons Ltd., London, Reading and Fakenham

The Angel of Terror
Chapter I
The hush of the court, which had been broken when the foreman of the
jury returned their verdict, was intensified as the Judge, with a quick
glance over his pince-nez at the tall prisoner, marshalled his papers
with the precision and method which old men display in tense moments
such as these. He gathered them together, white paper and blue and
buff and stacked them in a neat heap on a tiny ledge to the left of his
desk. Then he took his pen and wrote a few words on a printed paper
before him.
Another breathless pause and he groped beneath the desk and brought
out a small square of black silk and carefully laid it over his white wig.
Then he spoke:
"James Meredith, you have been convicted after a long and patient trial
of the awful crime of wilful murder. With the verdict of the jury I am in
complete agreement. There is little doubt, after hearing the evidence of
the unfortunate lady to whom you were engaged, and whose evidence
you attempted in the most brutal manner to refute, that, instigated by
your jealousy, you shot Ferdinand Bulford. The evidence of Miss
Briggerland that you had threatened this poor young man, and that you
left her presence in a temper, is unshaken. By a terrible coincidence, Mr.
Bulford was in the street outside your fiancée's door when you left, and
maddened by your insane jealousy, you shot him dead.

"To suggest, as you have through your counsel, that you called at Miss
Briggerland's that night to break off your engagement and that the
interview was a mild one and unattended by recriminations is to
suggest that this lady has deliberately committed perjury in order to
swear away your life, and when to that disgraceful charge you produce
a motive, namely that by your death or imprisonment Miss Briggerland,
who is your cousin, would benefit to a considerable extent, you merely
add to your infamy. Nobody who saw the young girl in the box, a
pathetic, and if I may say, a beautiful figure, could accept for one
moment your fantastic explanation.
"Who killed Ferdinand Bulford? A man without an enemy in the world.
That tragedy cannot be explained away. It now only remains for me to
pass the sentence which the law imposes. The jury's recommendation to
mercy will be forwarded to the proper quarter...."
He then proceeded to pass sentence of death, and the tall man in the
dock listened without a muscle of his face moving.
So ended the great Berkeley Street Murder Trial, and when a few days
later it was announced that the sentence of death had been commuted to
one of penal servitude for life, there were newspapers and people who
hinted at mistaken leniency and suggested that James Meredith would
have been hanged if he were a poor man instead of being, as he was,
the master of vast wealth.
"That's that," said Jack Glover between his teeth, as he came out of
court with the eminent King's Counsel who had defended his friend and
client, "the little lady wins."
His companion looked sideways at him and smiled.
"Honestly, Glover, do you believe that poor girl could do so dastardly a
thing as lie about the man she loves?"
"She loves!" repeated Jack Glover witheringly.
"I think you are prejudiced," said the counsel, shaking his head.

"Personally, I believe that Meredith is a lunatic; I am satisfied that all
he told us about the interview he had with the girl was born of a
diseased imagination. I was terribly impressed when I saw Jean
Briggerland in the box. She--by Jove, there is the lady!"
They had reached the entrance of the Court. A big car was standing by
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