The Letter

The Letter quotes

28 total quotes (ID: 1074)

Howard Joyce
Leslie Crosbie
Robert Crosbie


Tell him there's been an accident and Mr. Hammond's dead.


He tried to make love to me and I shot him.

The boys take such good care of us. Funny the head boy running off tonight.

[to Howard] Poor Robert, he doesn't deserve it. He's never hurt anyone in his life. He's so good and simple and kind and he trusts me so. I mean everything, everything in the world to him. It's gonna ruin his life. Oh, I know what you're thinking. You despise me.

[to Leslie] I wonder why your story never wavers from exactly the same words. It suggests either that you have an extraordinary memory...or you're telling the plain, unvarnished truth.

I wasn't thinking of the money. I don't know if you'll understand this, but I've always looked on myself as an honest man. You're asking me to do something which is no better than suborning a witness...A lawyer has a duty to his profession and to himself.

Tell your friend to go to the devil...Ten thousand dollars is a lot of money, Ong, just to save some trouble.

[to Robert] It seems that Leslie wrote a letter to Hammond asking him to come to the bungalow on the night he was killed...She wanted his advice on something she was buying for your birthday...In the excitement, she forgot about the letter and then later on was afraid to say she made a mistake...This was a pretty serious mistake and she realized it....she (Hammond's widow) threatens to turn it over to the prosecution...Don't you see, Bob, that it might alter things a good deal in the minds of the jury if Hammond came to your house by invitation....I think we must get hold of that letter...I don't think it's right but I think it's expedient. Juries can sometimes be very stupid and it's just as well not to worry them with more evidence than they can conveniently deal with.

Maybe it's my own sense of guilt, but I have an unpleasant feeling that I'm gonna be made to pay the piper for what I'm doing tonight. I'm jeopardizing my whole career and I have to rely on your discretion.

[in court] No complicating motives, no possible pre-meditation. The jury is aware of the facts. And I'm convinced, gentlemen, there's no need for eloquence. If ever there was a simple, uncomplicated case, it's this one. Mrs. Crosbie killed a man, yes, but under circumstances where no courageous, self-respecting woman would hesitate for one instant to do the same thing. Nor is there need for me to extol Mrs. Crosbie's account. Her own testimony in the witness box, her bearing throughout this ordeal, stamped the character of this remarkable woman, more than any words of mine could possibly do. As for the prosecution's case, not one whit of evidence has been produced to refute the defendant's testimony. No, because such evidence couldn't exist in the light of truth. Gentlemen, in full faith and confidence, I place Leslie Crosbie's fate in your hands in the sure knowledge that justice will be done.

You've been the best wife a man could have...I've always loved you...Leslie, darling, if I could love you any more, I would now.

I always wanted a fine plantation, one that I could work for myself and for my family. This is the one I've been waiting for. They'll be the two of us, but my wife's a good sport. I always can count on her. She's not afraid of anything. And we'll have each other. That's the important thing, isn't it?

Howard: Tell us exactly what happened.
Withers: Take your time, Mrs. Crosbie, remember, we're all friends here.
Leslie: I ate dinner rather late and started working on my lace. I don't know how long I'd been working when suddenly I heard a footstep outside. Someone came up on the veranda and said: 'Good evening, can I come in?' I was startled because I hadn't heard a car drive up.
Withers: Hammond left his car about a quarter mile down the road. Your houseboy noticed it as we were driving here.
Robert: Well, he probably didn't want anyone to hear him drive up.
Leslie: Well, at first, I couldn't tell who it was. 'Who is it?' I asked. 'Jeff Hammond.' 'Oh, of course,' I said, 'Come in and have a drink.'
Howard: Were you surprised to see him?
Leslie: Well I was rather. We hadn't seen him for ages, had we, Robert?
Robert: Three months, at least.
Leslie: I told him Robert was out at our No. 4 Plantation getting out a shipment or something. Was that it?...Well he said, 'Oh, I'm so sorry, but I was feeling rather lonely so I thought I'd come over and see how you were getting on.' I asked him how he'd come, as I hadn't heard a car. He said he'd left it on the road because he thought we might be in bed and didn't want to wake us up. Well, I put on my spectacles again and went on with my work. Well, we went on chatting and then real suddenly, he said something rather silly...It's hardly worth repeating. He paid me a little compliment.
Howard: I think perhaps you'd better tell us exactly what he said.
Leslie: He said, 'You have very pretty eyes. It's a shame to hide them under those ugly spectacles.'
Howard: Has he ever said anything of the sort to you before?
Leslie: Oh no, never, and I thought it impertinent. He tried to take one of my hands. 'Don't be an idiot,' I said. 'Sit back where you were and talk sensibly or I shall have to send you home.'
Withers: But Mrs. Crosbie, I wonder you didn't throw him out there and then.
Leslie: Well, I didn't want to make a fuss. You know, there are men who think it's their duty to flirt with women whenever they have the chance. I believe they think women expect it of them.
Howard: When did you first suspect that Hammond was serious?
Leslie: The next thing he said to me. He looked at me straight in the face and said, 'Don't you know I'm awfully in love with you?'
Robert: Swine!
Howard: Were you surprised?
Leslie: Of course I was surprised. We've known him seven years, Robert. He's never paid me the smallest attention. Didn't suppose he even knew what color my eyes were.
Robert: We haven't seen very much of him for the last few years.
Howard: Go on, Leslie.
Leslie: Well, he helped himself to another whiskey and soda. Began to wonder if he'd been drinking before. 'I wouldn't have another one if I were you,' I said. I was quite friendly, not the least bit frightened. It never occurred to me I couldn't manage him. He emptied his glass and said to me in a funny, abrupt way: 'Do you think I'm saying all this to you because I'm drunk?' I said, 'That's the most obvious explanation, isn't it?' Oh, it's too awful having to tell you all this. I'm so ashamed.
Withers: I wish there was some way we could spare you, Mrs. Crosbie.
Howard: Leslie, it's for your own good that we know the facts while you remember them.
Leslie: Very well, I'll tell you the rest. I got up from that chair there and I stood in front of the table here. He rose and came around the table and stood in front of me. I held out my hand. 'Good night,' I said. But he didn't move. He just stood there looking at me. His eyes were all funny. 'I'm not going,' he said. Then I began to lose my temper. 'You poor fool, don't you know I've never loved anyone but Robert? And even if I didn't love him, you'd be the last man in the world I should care for.' 'Robert's away,' he said. Well, that was the last straw. I wasn't in the least bit frightened, just angry. 'If you don't leave immediately,' I said, 'I shall call the boys and have you thrown out.' When I walked past him toward the veranda to call the boys, well, he took hold of my arm and swung me back. But I tried to scream and he flung his arms about me and began to kiss me. I struggled to tear myself away from him. He seemed like a madman. He kept talking and talking and saying he loved me. Oh, it's horrible, I can't go on...He lifted me in his arms and started carrying me. Somehow, he stumbled on those steps. We fell and I got away from him. Suddenly, I remembered Robert's revolver in the drawer of that chest. He got up and ran after me but I reached it before he could catch me. I seized the gun as he came toward me. I heard a report and saw him lurch toward the door. Oh, it was all instinctive. I didn't even know I'd fired. Then I followed him out to the veranda. He staggered across the porch, grabbed the railing, but it slipped through his hand and he fell down the steps. I don't remember anything more, just the reports one after another till there was a funny little click and the revolver was empty. It was only then I knew what I'd done.
Withers: May I say that I think you behaved magnificently. I'm terribly sorry that we had to put you through the ordeal of telling us all this...It's quite obvious the man only got what he deserved.
Robert: My poor child...You did what every woman would have done in your place, only nine-tenths of them wouldn't have had the courage.

Leslie: Would I have to be - arrested?
Howard: I think you're by way of being arrested now. As a matter of form, you must surrender herself up to the Attorney General in Singapore.
Leslie: Shall I be imprisoned?
Howard: It depends on what the charge is...Why, I think it not unlikely that he can say that only one charge is possible - and in that case, I'm afraid an application for bail would be useless.
Leslie: What charge?
Howard: Murder.

Withers: [about Hammond] You know the sort, very breezy, devil-may-care, generous with his money.
Howard: Did you like him?
Withers: He was the sort of chap you couldn't help liking.
Howard: Could you have imagined him doing anything like this?
Withers: Well, how can you tell what a man will do when he's drunk?
Howard: That's true.