At first Lady Dane could not believe what she had just been told, Redman had always been her special favourite nephew. She knew he was he was a naughty boy, but that was part of his charm, and she had always believed his mischief was harmless.
Meanwhile in an upstairs room in the house behind them, Redman was still in bed. While Lady Dane's mood may have darkened Redman's mood was vastly improved, and he lay on crumpled sheets with a smug, sly and satisfied grin on his face. He had a pleasant feeling of excited anticipation, as he imagined how the clever plot he had hatched would fall into place.
“You look very Dapper my Boy!” she purred, “But what is that unsightly thread hanging from the tail of your tunic? Let me remove it for you!”
Before Redman had a chance to respond, he aunt had bent forward grasped at the loose thread handing from his tunic and gave it a firm tug and by doing so released the loosely sewen seem at the back of the garment. As she did so, a glittering pearl, diamond and pink sapphire item fell clattering to the floor, landing around the heels of Redman's shiny polished black leather boots.
Lady Dane gave a rather theatrical gasp “My gems!” she cried “You had my precious necklace hidden in your
Redman spun round and stared gown aghast at the glittering object at his feet, before Lady Dane knelt down with the agility of a schoolgirl and scooped up the necklace. Now he realized why the piping at the hem of his tunic had felt so bulky and uncomfortable. But how had the gems, which he had carefully hidden in Ruth Gallagher's rooms, found their way into his clothing?
It was then that he caught sight of the sneering grins on the faces of Miss Gallagher and his man servant Griffiths, and the truth began to dawn on him. Yet there was nothing he could do, he could not accuse them without exposing his own far more reprehensible actions.
“I .. I .. I have no idea how that got there Aunt!” he stammered
“Don't lie to me, you villain!” bellowed an imperious Lady Dane, “You stole my necklace and had it hidden on your person, until you could sell it, to pay off gambling debts no doubt!”
Redman stared at his aunt in abject horror, like a rabbit caught in a trap might stare at an advancing fox, he could not believe what had happened, this was not how he had planned for events to unfold. “T..there has been some terrible mistake!” he stammered.
“The only mistakes were yours, you young Scallywag!” Stormed Lady Dane reciting her pre rehearsed script with relish, “Your first mistake was stealing from me, and the second was hiding it so poorly!”
Redman was keenly aware that all eyes in the room were upon him and he felt a desperate urge to bolt and flee from the gathering, but already the yonger and fitter men in the room were instinctively taking position in order to block any attempted escape. He struggled to think of clever words he could use in his defence, but none would come.
“What else have you got secreted on your person?” demanded Lady Dane “What more of my property is hidden in your clothing?”
“Nothing Aunt!” he stammered “I assure you, there is nothing more!”
“How can we believe you?” cried Lady Dane “Prove it, take off your clothes!”
“You can not be serious!” gasped Redman
“I am very serious, do as you are told!”
“Not in front of our guests Please Aunt!” he pleaded
“They must see the proof!” roared Lady Dane “You deserve to be shamed. And they will witness your shaming!”
“I ..I refuse!”
“Then we will summons the constable, and you will languish in the county jail with the other thieves and vagabonds!” before adding with a sneering growl, “and you will relinquish all hope of inheriting my fortune!”
Then another voice was at his ear, his young stepmother Claudia Dane, had approached unnoticed and was standing beside him, her hands gripped into fists “Do as you are told Redman!” she ordered “Or I shall report your actions to your father, who will certainly banish and disinherit you, NOW STRIP OFF YOUR CLOTHES!”