Tuesday, 26 March 2013

A sort of atmospheric pressure

     ‘Are you saying,’ said Mr Franklin grimly, ‘the trial was rigged?’
     ‘You’re a bigger ass than I thought you were, if you believe that,’ said Sir Harry. ‘Of course it wasn’t. It didn’t have to be. This isn’t America, where you have to slip a thousand dollars to a congressman or a judge to get things done. You’re a new country; things ain’t settled yet. But here — things aren’t rigged. Look at Button — her father’s a lord, connected to God knows who. She’s my great niece, and I’m half-Paget, and my sister-in-law married a Rothschild, and among the lot of us I dare say we’re connected to half the criminal upper-classes — you don’t “rig” things because you don’t have to. There’s a sort of atmospheric pressure that causes things to go properly and fittingly. Button couldn’t go to jail unless her family washed their hands of her — which they would, like a shot, if it was murder or high treason. But smashing pictures? Hardly. And it isn’t rigging, you see. You couldn’t rig a British judge and jury nowadays, not if you tried.’

Mr American, p.430, Pan Books, paperback edition 1982.

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