"In fact, the letter, though written on stamped notepaper, might have been posted from anywhere? From Wales, for instance?"
The witness admitted that such might be the case, and Sir Ernest signified that he was satisfied.
Elizabeth Wells, second housemaid at Styles, stated that after she had gone to bed she remembered that she had bolted the front door, instead of leaving it on the latch as Mr. Inglethorp had requested. She had accordingly gone downstairs again to rectify her error. Hearing a slight noise in the West wing, she had peeped along the passage, and had seen Mr. John Cavendish knocking at Mrs. Inglethorp's door.
Sir Ernest Heavywether made short work of her, and under his unmerciful bullying she contradicted herself hopelessly, and Sir Ernest sat down again with a satisfied smile on his face.
With the evidence of Annie, as to the candle grease on the floor, and as to seeing the prisoner take the coffee into the boudoir, the proceedings were adjourned until the following day.
As we went home, Mary Cavendish spoke bitterly against the prosecuting counsel.
"That hateful man! What a net he has drawn around my poor John! How he twisted every little fact until he made it seem what it wasn't!"
"Well," I said consolingly, "it will be the other way about to-morrow."
"Yes," she said meditatively; then suddenly dropped her voice. "Mr. Hastings, you do not think--surely it could not have been Lawrence--Oh, no, that could not be!"
But I myself was puzzled, and as soon as I was alone with Poirot I asked him what he thought Sir Ernest was driving at.
"Ah!" said Poirot appreciatively. "He is a clever man, that Sir Ernest."
"Do you think he believes Lawrence guilty?"
"I do not think he believes or cares anything! No, what he is trying for is to create such confusion in the minds of the jury that they are divided in their opinion as to which brother did it. He is endeavouring to make out that there is quite as much evidence against Lawrence as against John--and I am not at all sure that he will not succeed."
Detective-inspector Japp was the first witness called when the trial was reopened, and gave his evidence succinctly and briefly. After relating the earlier events, he proceeded: "Acting on information received, Superintendent Summerhaye and myself searched the prisoner's room, during his temporary absence from the house. In his chest of drawers, hidden beneath some underclothing, we found: first, a pair of gold-rimmed pince-nez similar to those worn by Mr. Inglethorp" --these were exhibited--"secondly, this phial."