FIRST PERIOD: THE LOSS OF THE DIAMOND (1848)
18. CHAPTER XVIII
"Her own, to be sure. Between twelve and three, on the Thursday morning,
she must have slipped down to your young lady's room, to settle
the hiding of the Moonstone while all the rest of you were in bed.
In going back to her own room, her nightgown must have brushed the wet
paint on the door. She couldn't wash out the stain; and she couldn't
safely destroy the night-gown without first providing another like it,
to make the inventory of her linen complete."
"What proves that it was Rosanna's nightgown?" I objected.
"The material she bought for making the substitute dress,"
answered the Sergeant. "If it had been Miss Verinder's nightgown,
she would have had to buy lace, and frilling, and Lord knows
what besides; and she wouldn't have had time to make it in
one night. Plain long cloth means a plain servant's nightgown.
No, no, Mr. Betteredge--all that is clear enough.
The pinch of the question is--why, after having provided
the substitute dress, does she hide the smeared nightgown,
instead of destroying it? If the girl won't speak out,
there is only one way of settling the difficulty.
The hiding-place at the Shivering Sand must be searched--
and the true state of the case will be discovered there."
"How are you to find the place?" I inquired.
"I am sorry to disappoint you," said the Sergeant--"but that's a secret
which I mean to keep to myself."
(Not to irritate your curiosity, as he irritated mine, I may here inform
you that he had come back from Frizinghall provided with a search-warrant.
His experience in such matters told him that Rosanna was in all probability
carrying about her a memorandum of the hiding-place, to guide her, in case
she returned to it, under changed circumstances and after a lapse of time.
Possessed of this memorandum, the Sergeant would be furnished with all that
he could desire.)
"Now, Mr. Betteredge," he went on, "suppose we drop speculation,
and get to business. I told Joyce to have an eye on Rosanna.
Where is Joyce?"