Y’are accused,” said the judge, eyes hidden behind glasses, “of being a whore.”

“Huh,” said Victoria. “Whore? What’s a whore?”

High forehead and wide and the judge sent his hand across it. “This is not a formal trial, you understand. I have no legal authority, except what your institution chooses to grant me. That being said, you would do well to treat this with some small dignity. There are penalties, even though no bailiffs stand guard at the door, though no cell swings wide its mouth to swallow you when you leave.”

She spat. “Whore? Whore? A social poison? The rot that eats at society? The ruin of many a young man? My crimes? Lovely clothes, a lively heart, alcohol and fine living, and men? This is what I’m here for?” On her feet. “The number of rapes this year –“

“Ms. Long –“

“– the number of assaults –“

“Ms. Long!”

“– how many lies have been told in this building, how many times have you spread your legs for position and pride of place, for not even such a little thing as money, and you drag me here for whoring? While you seat there smug in your place and growl and snap at those who cower before you, may your own spit choke you! May the pills in your throat kill you! May you die of the canker of the syphilis you clutch in your heart!”

The door crashed open and she was dragged away. Bailiffs, after all.