4. CHAPTER IV
"Now, Mr. Franklin, there's one thing certain, at any rate,"
said Betteredge, throwing the nightgown down on the table between us,
and pointing to it as if it was a living creature that could hear him.
"HE'S a liar, to begin with."
This comforting view of the matter was not the view that presented
itself to my mind.
"I am as innocent of all knowledge of having taken the Diamond as you are,"
I said. "But there is the witness against me! The paint on the nightgown,
and the name on the nightgown are facts."
Betteredge lifted my glass, and put it persuasively into my hand.
"Facts?" he repeated. "Take a drop more grog, Mr. Franklin,
and you'll get over the weakness of believing in facts!
Foul play, sir!" he continued, dropping his voice confidentially.
"That is how I read the riddle. Foul play somewhere--and you
and I must find it out. Was there nothing else in the tin case,
when you put your hand into it?"
The question instantly reminded me of the letter in my pocket.
I took it out, and opened it. It was a letter of many pages,
closely written. I looked impatiently for the signature at the end.
As I read the name, a sudden remembrance illuminated my mind,
and a sudden suspicion rose out of the new light.
"Stop!" I exclaimed. "Rosanna Spearman came to my aunt out
of a reformatory? Rosanna Spearman had once been a thief?"
"There's no denying that, Mr. Franklin. What of it now,
if you please?"
"What of it now? How do we know she may not have stolen the Diamond
after all? How do we know she may not have smeared my nightgown
purposely with the paint?"
Betteredge laid his hand on my arm, and stopped me before I could
say any more.