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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 78

What was the Secret?

page 34

What was the Secret?

It is, however, suggested that Troup spoke from pique a losing his employment with the Company, and that he must not be taken to have meant what he said. Certainly the witnesses were practically in agreement as to the disappointment and annoyance under which Troup was labouring when he spoke. But it is remarkable that of the three witnesses who were induced in cross-examination to say that they did not take him seriously, one afterwards added, "I think he pretty well meant it all the same "—(W. Beange. C. 219/258) and another that there was nothing to suggest that he did not mean what he said—(Mabin. C. 90/368). In their discussion of the point with Meikle's counsel—(C. 270-2)—the Commissioners seem to take a somewhat narrow view of the human psychology when they treat the matter as though Troup's having spoken in anger or from spite was necessary incompatible with his having spoken the truth. When a man has a secret in his keeping, spite or anger is the very thing to bring out the truth; and Troup would hardly have selected the same remote and unlikely point of attack in all different conversations if there had been nothing in it. OnMr. Christie, who succeeded Troup as manager of the station as on most of the others, the statement made at the time no deep or serious impression. At first he did not whether to take it seriously, but afterwards it set him thinking. (C. 22¾39.) "I had taken no interest in the case whatever, and did not want to take any interest in it, afterwards cropped up in my mind, 'Has there been some thing put up against this man?' "(C. 224/445.) The same uncomfortable question will force itself upon any man who considers Troup's statements in connection with the subject of Meikle's communication to Detective Ede, with the unexplained delay in putting the police in, and with the speed with which they did enter immediately after Lambert's unexplained visit to the smithy. There are, indeed, strong indicated that Lambert did not work single-handed, that Meikle was victim of an infamous conspiracy of which Troup could really have told the story. There is, at any rate, an absolute certainty that Troup is utterly discredited, thereby removing the most shining of the rotten pillars on which the Crown case has rested, and swelling the already overwhelming presumption against the soundness of the others.