3. CHAPTER III
"Find out whether there is any article of dress in this house
with the stain of paint on it. Find out who that dress belongs to.
Find out how the person can account for having been in the room,
and smeared the paint between midnight and three in the morning.
If the person can't satisfy you, you haven't far to look for the hand that
took the Diamond."
One after another those words travelled over my memory,
repeating themselves again and again with a wearisome,
mechanical reiteration. I was roused from what felt like a
trance of many hours--from what was really, no doubt, the pause
of a few moments only--by a voice calling to me. I looked up,
and saw that Betteredge's patience had failed him at last.
He was just visible between the sandhills, returning to
The old man's appearance recalled me, the moment I perceived it,
to my sense of present things, and reminded me that the inquiry
which I had pursued thus far still remained incomplete.
I had discovered the smear on the nightgown. To whom did
the nightgown belong?
My first impulse was to consult the letter in my pocket--
the letter which I had found in the case.
As I raised my hand to take it out, I remembered that there
was a shorter way to discovery than this. The nightgown
itself would reveal the truth, for, in all probability,
the nightgown was marked with its owner's name.
I took it up from the sand, and looked for the mark.
I found the mark, and read--
MY OWN NAME.
There were the familiar letters which told me that the nightgown was mine.
I looked up from them. There was the sun; there were the glittering waters
of the bay; there was old Betteredge, advancing nearer and nearer to me.
I looked back again at the letters. My own name. Plainly confronting me--
my own name.