The surprise was like a physical blow, and yet no one at first supposed that the pearls were actually gone. Mrs. Conway, as so often happens to anyone who has sustained a loss, was instantly severely lectured by her three children on her habitual carelessness.
Then a superficial search was made on her dressing table, on the glass shelves in the bathroom. Then a recapitulation was made--a joint effort on the part of everybody--of just what had occurred since the pearls were last seen.
Everyone agreed that Mrs. Conway had been wearing them at dinner the night before. She had gone to bed rather early, and distinctly remembered that she had put the pearls in their slim blue velvet case and put the case in the safe and shut the safe, which was then automatically locked. She did not remember seeing the safe unlocked in the morning.
No, Pearl explained, the reason for this was that she, Pearl, had knocked at the door about eleven, just after finishing Durland's algebra lesson. There had been no answer, because Mrs. Conway was in her bath--her bathroom opened out of her bedroom. Pearl had been in a hurry, so that she had just run and unlocked the safe and had called to Mrs. Conway that it was unlocked. There had been no one in the room at the time; but the maid--the maid had been Dolly's nurse when she was a baby, and was therefore absolutely above suspicion--had been sewing in the next room.
Mrs. Conway did not contradict this story. She simply raised her