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The Moonstone

Part 11 out of 12

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that I was making him talk for a purpose. Little by little, he became
so interested in putting me right that he forgot to fidget in the bed.
His mind was far away from the question of the opium, at the all-important
time when his eyes first told me that the opium was beginning to lay its hold
on his brain.

I looked at my watch. It wanted five minutes to twelve,
when the premonitory symptoms of the working of the laudanum
first showed themselves to me.

At this time, no unpractised eyes would have detected any change
in him. But, as the minutes of the new morning wore away,
the swiftly-subtle progress of the influence began to show itself
more plainly. The sublime intoxication of opium gleamed in his eyes;
the dew of a stealthy perspiration began to glisten on his face.
In five minutes more, the talk which he still kept up with me,
failed in coherence. He held steadily to the subject of the Diamond;
but he ceased to complete his sentences. A little later,
the sentences dropped to single words. Then, there was an interval
of silence. Then, he sat up in bed. Then, still busy with the subject
of the Diamond, he began to talk again--not to me, but to himself.
That change told me that the first stage in the experiment was reached.
The stimulant influence of the opium had got him.

The time, now, was twenty-three minutes past twelve. The next half hour,
at most, would decide the question of whether he would, or would not,
get up from his bed, and leave the room.

In the breathless interest of watching him--in the unutterable
triumph of seeing the first result of the experiment declare itself
in the manner, and nearly at the time, which I had anticipated--
I had utterly forgotten the two companions of my night vigil.
Looking towards them now, I saw the Law (as represented
by Mr. Bruff's papers) lying unheeded on the floor.
Mr. Bruff himself was looking eagerly through a crevice left
in the imperfectly-drawn curtains of the bed. And Betteredge,
oblivious of all respect for social distinctions, was peeping over
Mr. Bruff's shoulder.

They both started back, on finding that I was looking at them,
like two boys caught out by their schoolmaster in a fault.
I signed to them to take off their boots quietly, as I was taking
off mine. If Mr. Blake gave us the chance of following him,
it was vitally necessary to follow him without noise.

Ten minutes passed--and nothing happened. Then, he suddenly
threw the bed-clothes off him. He put one leg out of bed.
He waited.

"I wish I had never taken it out of the bank," he said to himself.
"It was safe in the bank."

My heart throbbed fast; the pulses at my temples beat furiously.
The doubt about the safety of the Diamond was, once more,
the dominant impression in his brain! On that one pivot,
the whole success of the experiment turned. The prospect thus
suddenly opened before me was too much for my shattered nerves.
I was obliged to look away from him--or I should have lost my

There was another interval of silence.

When I could trust myself to look back at him he was out of his bed,
standing erect at the side of it. The pupils of his eyes were now contracted;
his eyeballs gleamed in the light of the candle as he moved his head slowly
to and fro. He was thinking; he was doubting--he spoke again.

"How do I know?" he said. "The Indians may be hidden in the house."

He stopped, and walked slowly to the other end of the room.
He turned--waited--came back to the bed.

"It's not even locked up," he went on. "It's in the drawer of her cabinet.
And the drawer doesn't lock."

He sat down on the side of the bed. "Anybody might take it,"
he said.

He rose again restlessly, and reiterated his first words.

"How do I know? The Indians may be hidden in the house."

He waited again. I drew back behind the half curtain of the bed.
He looked about the room, with a vacant glitter in his eyes.
It was a breathless moment. There was a pause of some sort.
A pause in the action of the opium? a pause in the action of
the brain? Who could tell? Everything depended, now, on what he
did next.

He laid himself down again on the bed!

A horrible doubt crossed my mind. Was it possible that the
sedative action of the opium was making itself felt already?
It was not in my experience that it should do this.
But what is experience, where opium is concerned?
There are probably no two men in existence on whom the drug
acts in exactly the same manner. Was some constitutional
peculiarity in him, feeling the influence in some new way?
Were we to fail on the very brink of success?

No! He got up again abruptly. "How the devil am I to sleep,"
he said, "with THIS on my mind?"

He looked at the light, burning on the table at the head of his bed.
After a moment, he took the candle in his hand.

I blew out the second candle, burning behind the closed curtains.
I drew back, with Mr. Bruff and Betteredge, into the farthest corner
by the bed. I signed to them to be silent, as if their lives had
depended on it.

We waited--seeing and hearing nothing. We waited, hidden from him
by the curtains.

The light which he was holding on the other side of us moved suddenly.
The next moment he passed us, swift and noiseless, with the candle in
his hand.

He opened the bedroom door, and went out.

We followed him along the corridor. We followed him down the stairs.
We followed him along the second corridor. He never looked back;
he never hesitated.

He opened the sitting-room door, and went in, leaving it open behind him.

The door was hung (like all the other doors in the house)
on large old-fashioned hinges. When it was opened, a crevice was
opened between the door and the post. I signed to my two companions
to look through this, so as to keep them from showing themselves.
I placed myself--outside the door also--on the opposite side.
A recess in the wall was at my left hand, in which I could
instantly hide myself, if he showed any signs of looking back into
the corridor.

He advanced to the middle of the room, with the candle still in his hand:
he looked about him--but he never looked back.

I saw the door of Miss Verinder's bedroom, standing ajar.
She had put out her light. She controlled herself nobly.
The dim white outline of her summer dress was all that I
could see. Nobody who had not known it beforehand would
have suspected that there was a living creature in the room.
She kept back, in the dark: not a word, not a movement
escaped her.

It was now ten minutes past one. I heard, through the dead silence,
the soft drip of the rain and the tremulous passage of the night air
through the trees.

After waiting irresolute, for a minute or more, in the middle of the room,
he moved to the corner near the window, where the Indian cabinet stood.

He put his candle on the top of the cabinet. He opened, and shut, one drawer
after another, until he came to the drawer in which the mock Diamond was put.
He looked into the drawer for a moment. Then he took the mock Diamond out
with his right hand. With the other hand, he took the candle from the top of
the cabinet.

He walked back a few steps towards the middle of the room,
and stood still again.

Thus far, he had exactly repeated what he had done on the birthday night.
Would his next proceeding be the same as the proceeding of last year?
Would he leave the room? Would he go back now, as I believed he had gone
back then, to his bed-chamber? Would he show us what he had done with
the Diamond, when he had returned to his own room?

His first action, when he moved once more, proved to be an action
which he had not performed, when he was under the influence of
the opium for the first time. He put the candle down on a table,
and wandered on a little towards the farther end of the room.
There was a sofa there. He leaned heavily on the back of it, with his
left hand--then roused himself, and returned to the middle of the room.
I could now see his eyes. They were getting dull and heavy;
the glitter in them was fast dying out.

The suspense of the moment proved too much for Miss Verinder's
self-control. She advanced a few steps--then stopped again.
Mr. Bruff and Betteredge looked across the open doorway at me
for the first time. The prevision of a coming disappointment was
impressing itself on their minds as well as on mine.

Still, so long as he stood where he was, there was hope.
We waited, in unutterable expectation, to see what would
happen next.

The next event was decisive. He let the mock Diamond drop out of his hand.

It fell on the floor, before the doorway--plainly visible
to him, and to everyone. He made no effort to pick it up:
he looked down at it vacantly, and, as he looked, his head sank
on his breast. He staggered--roused himself for an instant--
walked back unsteadily to the sofa--and sat down on it.
He made a last effort; he tried to rise, and sank back.
His head fell on the sofa cushions. It was then twenty-five minutes
past one o'clock. Before I had put my watch back in my pocket,
he was asleep.

It was all over now. The sedative influence had got him;
the experiment was at an end.

I entered the room, telling Mr. Bruff and Betteredge that they
might follow me. There was no fear of disturbing him.
We were free to move and speak.

"The first thing to settle," I said, "is the question of what we are
to do with him. He will probably sleep for the next six or seven hours,
at least. It is some distance to carry him back to his own room.
When I was younger, I could have done it alone. But my health and strength
are not what they were--I am afraid I must ask you to help me."

Before they could answer, Miss Verinder called to me softly.
She met me at the door of her room, with a light shawl,
and with the counterpane from her own bed.

"Do you mean to watch him while he sleeps?" she asked.

"Yes, I am not sure enough of the action of the opium in his case
to be willing to leave him alone."

She handed me the shawl and the counterpane.

"Why should you disturb him?" she whispered. "Make his bed on the sofa.
I can shut my door, and keep in my room."

It was infinitely the simplest and the safest way of disposing
of him for the night. I mentioned the suggestion to Mr. Bruff
and Betteredge--who both approved of my adopting it.
In five minutes I had laid him comfortably on the sofa,
and had covered him lightly with the counterpane and the shawl.
Miss Verinder wished us good night, and closed the door.
At my request, we three then drew round the table in the middle
of the room, on which the candle was still burning, and on
which writing materials were placed.

"Before we separate," I began, "I have a word to say about the experiment
which has been tried to-night. Two distinct objects were to be gained by it.
The first of these objects was to prove, that Mr. Blake entered this room,
and took the Diamond, last year, acting unconsciously and irresponsibly,
under the influence of opium. After what you have both seen, are you both
satisfied, so far?"

They answered me in the affirmative, without a moment's hesitation.

"The second object," I went on, "was to discover what he did
with the Diamond, after he was seen by Miss Verinder
to leave her sitting-room with the jewel in his hand,
on the birthday night. The gaining of this object depended,
of course, on his still continuing exactly to repeat
his proceedings of last year. He has failed to do that;
and the purpose of the experiment is defeated accordingly.
I can't assert that I am not disappointed at the result--
but I can honestly say that I am not surprised by it.
I told Mr. Blake from the first, that our complete success
in this matter depended on our completely reproducing in him
the physical and moral conditions of last year--and I warned
him that this was the next thing to a downright impossibility.
We have only partially reproduced the conditions, and the experiment
has been only partially successful in consequence. It is also
possible that I may have administered too large a dose of laudanum.
But I myself look upon the first reason that I have given,
as the true reason why we have to lament a failure, as well as to
rejoice over a success."

After saying those words, I put the writing materials before Mr. Bruff,
and asked him if he had any objection--before we separated for the night--
to draw out, and sign, a plain statement of what he had seen.
He at once took the pen, and produced the statement with the fluent
readiness of a practised hand.

"I owe you this," he said, signing the paper, "as some
atonement for what passed between us earlier in the evening.
I beg your pardon, Mr. Jennings, for having doubted you.
You have done Franklin Blake an inestimable service. In our
legal phrase, you have proved your case."

Betteredge's apology was characteristic of the man.

"Mr. Jennings," he said, "when you read ROBINSON CRUSOE again
(which I strongly recommend you to do), you will find that he never
scruples to acknowledge it, when he turns out to have been in the wrong.
Please to consider me, sir, as doing what Robinson Crusoe did,
on the present occasion." With those words he signed the paper in
his turn.

Mr. Bruff took me aside, as we rose from the table.

"One word about the Diamond," he said. "Your theory is that
Franklin Blake hid the Moonstone in his room. My theory is,
that the Moonstone is in the possession of Mr. Luker's
bankers in London. We won't dispute which of us is right.
We will only ask, which of us is in a position to put his theory
to the test?"

"The test, in my case, I answered, "has been tried to-night, and has failed."

"The test, in my case," rejoined Mr. Bruff, "is still in process of trial.
For the last two days I have had a watch set for Mr. Luker at the bank;
and I shall cause that watch to be continued until the last day of the month.
I know that he must take the Diamond himself out of his bankers" hands--and I
am acting on the chance that the person who has pledged the Diamond may
force him to do this by redeeming the pledge. In that case I may be able
to lay my hand on the person. If I succeed, I clear up the mystery,
exactly at the point where the mystery baffles us now! Do you admit that,
so far?"

I admitted it readily.

"I am going back to town by the morning train," pursued the lawyer.
"I may hear, when I return, that a discovery has been made--
and it may be of the greatest importance that I should have Franklin
Blake at hand to appeal to, if necessary. I intend to tell him,
as soon as he wakes, that he must return with me to London.
After all that has happened, may I trust to your influence to
back me?"

"Certainly!" I said.

Mr. Bruff shook hands with me, and left the room. Betteredge followed
him out; I went to the sofa to look at Mr. Blake. He had not moved
since I had laid him down and made his bed--he lay locked in a deep
and quiet sleep.

While I was still looking at him, I heard the bedroom door softly opened.
Once more, Miss Verinder appeared on the threshold, in her pretty
summer dress.

"Do me a last favour?" she whispered. "Let me watch him with you."

I hesitated--not in the interests of propriety; only in the interest
of her night's rest. She came close to me, and took my hand.

"I can't sleep; I can't even sit still, in my own room," she said.
"Oh, Mr. Jennings, if you were me, only think how you would long to sit
and look at him. Say, yes! Do!"

Is it necessary to mention that I gave way? Surely not!

She drew a chair to the foot of the sofa. She looked at him
in a silent ecstasy of happiness, till the tears rose in her eyes.
She dried her eyes, and said she would fetch her work.
She fetched her work, and never did a single stitch of it.
It lay in her lap--she was not even able to look away from him
long enough to thread her needle. I thought of my own youth;
I thought of the gentle eyes which had once looked love at me.
In the heaviness of my heart I turned to my Journal for relief, and
wrote in it what is written here.

So we kept our watch together in silence. One of us absorbed in his writing;
the other absorbed in her love.

Hour after hour he lay in his deep sleep. The light of the new day
grew and grew in the room, and still he never moved.

Towards six o'clock, I felt the warning which told me that my pains were
coming back. I was obliged to leave her alone with him for a little while.
I said I would go up-stairs, and fetch another pillow for him out of
his room. It was not a long attack, this time. In a little while I
was able to venture back, and let her see me again.

I found her at the head of the sofa, when I returned.
She was just touching his forehead with her lips. I shook
my head as soberly as I could, and pointed to her chair.
She looked back at me with a bright smile, and a charming
colour in her face. "You would have done it," she whispered,"
in my place!"

* * * * * * * * * *

It is just eight o'clock. He is beginning to move for the first time.

Miss Verinder is kneeling by the side of the sofa. She has so placed
herself that when his eyes first open, they must open on her face.

Shall I leave them together?


* * * * * * * * * *

Eleven o'clock.--The house is empty again. They have arranged it
among themselves; they have all gone to London by the ten o'clock train.
My brief dream of happiness is over. I have awakened again to the realities
of my friendless and lonely life.

I dare not trust myself to write down, the kind words that have been said
to me especially by Miss Verinder and Mr. Blake. Besides, it is needless.
Those words will come back to me in my solitary hours, and will help
me through what is left of the end of my life. Mr. Blake is to write,
and tell me what happens in London. Miss Verinder is to return to Yorkshire
in the autumn (for her marriage, no doubt); and I am to take a holiday,
and be a guest in the house. Oh me, how I felt, as the grateful happiness
looked at me out of her eyes, and the warm pressure of her hand said,
"This is your doing!"

My poor patients are waiting for me. Back again, this morning,
to the old routine! Back again, to-night, to the dreadful
alternative between the opium and the pain!

God be praised for His mercy! I have seen a little sunshine--
I have had a happy time.


The Story Resumed by FRANKLIN BLAKE


But few words are needed, on my part, to complete the narrative
that has been presented in the Journal of Ezra Jennings.

Of myself, I have only to say that I awoke on the morning of the twenty-sixth,
perfectly ignorant of all that I had said and done under the influence
of the opium--from the time when the drug first laid its hold on me,
to the time when I opened my eyes, in Rachel's sitting-room.

Of what happened after my waking, I do not feel called upon to
render an account in detail. Confining myself merely to results,
I have to report that Rachel and I thoroughly understood each other,
before a single word of explanation had passed on either side.
I decline to account, and Rachel declines to account, for the
extraordinary rapidity of our reconciliation. Sir and Madam,
look back at the time when you were passionately attached to each other--
and you will know what happened, after Ezra Jennings had shut the door
of the sitting-room, as well as I know it myself.

I have, however, no objection to add, that we should have been certainly
discovered by Mrs. Merridew, but for Rachel's presence of mind.
She heard the sound of the old lady's dress in the corridor,
and instantly ran out to meet her; I heard Mrs. Merridew say,
"What is the matter?" and I heard Rachel answer, "The explosion!"
Mrs. Merridew instantly permitted herself to be taken by the arm,
and led into the garden, out of the way of the impending shock.
On her return to the house, she met me in the hall,
and expressed herself as greatly struck by the vast improvement
in Science, since the time when she was a girl at school.
"Explosions, Mr. Blake, are infinitely milder than they were.
I assure you, I barely heard Mr. Jennings's explosion from the garden.
And no smell afterwards, that I can detect, now we have come back
to the house! I must really apologise to your medical friend.
It is only due to him to say that he has managed it beautifully!"

So, after vanquishing Betteredge and Mr. Bruff, Ezra Jennings vanquished
Mrs. Merridew herself. There is a great deal of undeveloped liberal
feeling in the world, after all!

At breakfast, Mr. Bruff made no secret of his reasons for wishing
that I should accompany him to London by the morning train.
The watch kept at the bank, and the result which might yet
come of it, appealed so irresistibly to Rachel's curiosity,
that she at once decided (if Mrs. Merridew had no objection)
on accompanying us back to town--so as to be within reach of the
earliest news of our proceedings.

Mrs. Merridew proved to be all pliability and indulgence,
after the truly considerate manner in which the explosion had
conducted itself; and Betteredge was accordingly informed that we
were all four to travel back together by the morning train.
I fully expected that he would have asked leave to accompany us.
But Rachel had wisely provided her faithful old servant with an
occupation that interested him. He was charged with completing
the refurnishing of the house, and was too full of his domestic
responsibilities to feel the "detective-fever" as he might have felt
it under other circumstances.

Our one subject of regret, in going to London, was the necessity
of parting, more abruptly than we could have wished, with Ezra Jennings.
It was impossible to persuade him to accompany us. I could only promise
to write to him--and Rachel could only insist on his coming to see her
when she returned to Yorkshire. There was every prospect of our meeting
again in a few months--and yet there was something very sad in seeing
our best and dearest friend left standing alone on the platform,
as the train moved out of the station.

On our arrival in London, Mr. Bruff was accosted at the terminus by a
small boy, dressed in a jacket and trousers of threadbare black cloth,
and personally remarkable in virtue of the extraordinary prominence
of his eyes. They projected so far, and they rolled about so loosely,
that you wondered uneasily why they remained in their sockets.
After listening to the boy, Mr. Bruff asked the ladies whether
they would excuse our accompanying them back to Portland Place.
I had barely time to promise Rachel that I would return, and tell her
everything that had happened, before Mr. Bruff seized me by the arm,
and hurried me into a cab. The boy with the ill-secured eyes took his
place on the box by the driver, and the driver was directed to go to
Lombard Street.

"News from the bank?" I asked, as we started.

"News of Mr. Luker," said Mr. Bruff. "An hour ago, he was seen
to leave his house at Lambeth, in a cab, accompanied by two men,
who were recognised by my men as police officers in plain clothes.
If Mr. Luker's dread of the Indians is at the bottom of this precaution,
the inference is plain enough. He is going to take the Diamond out of
the bank."

"And we are going to the bank to see what comes of it?"

"Yes--or to hear what has come of it, if it is all over by this time.
Did you notice my boy--on the box, there?"

"I noticed his eyes."

Mr. Bruff laughed. "They call the poor little wretch " Gooseberry"
at the office," he said. "I employ him to go on errands--and I only wish my
clerks who have nick-named him were as thoroughly to be depended on as he is.
Gooseberry is one of the sharpest boys in London, Mr. Blake, in spite of
his eyes."

It was twenty minutes to five when we drew up before the bank
in Lombard Street. Gooseberry looked longingly at his master,
as he opened the cab door.

"Do you want to come in too?" asked Mr. Bruff kindly.
"Come in then, and keep at my heels till further orders.
He's as quick as lightning," pursued Mr. Bruff, addressing me in
a whisper. "Two words will do with Gooseberry, where twenty would
be wanted with another boy."

We entered the bank. The outer office--with the long counter,
behind which the cashiers sat--was crowded with people;
all waiting their turn to take money out, or to pay money in,
before the bank closed at five o'clock.

Two men among the crowd approached Mr. Bruff, as soon as he showed himself.

"Well," asked the lawyer. "Have you seen him?"

"He passed us here half an hour since, sir, and went on into
the inner office."

"Has he not come out again yet?"

"No, sir."

Mr. Bruff turned to me. "Let us wait," he said.

I looked round among the people about me for the three Indians.
Not a sign of them was to be seen anywhere. The only person
present with a noticeably dark complexion was a tall man
in a pilot coat, and a round hat, who looked like a sailor.
Could this be one of them in disguise? Impossible! The man
was taller than any of the Indians; and his face, where it was
not hidden by a bushy black beard, was twice the breadth of any
of their faces at least.

"They must have their spy somewhere," said Mr. Bruff, looking at the dark
sailor in his turn. "And he may be the man."

Before he could say more, his coat-tail was respectfully
pulled by his attendant sprite with the gooseberry eyes.
Mr. Bruff looked where the boy was looking. "Hush!" he said.
"Here is Mr. Luker!"

The money-lender came out from the inner regions of the bank,
followed by his two guardian policemen in plain clothes.

"Keep your eye on him," whispered Mr. Bruff. "If he passes
the Diamond to anybody, he will pass it here."

Without noticing either of us, Mr. Luker slowly made his way to the door--
now in the thickest, now in the thinnest part of the crowd.
I distinctly saw his hand move, as he passed a short, stout man,
respectably dressed in a suit of sober grey. The man started a little,
and looked after him. Mr. Luker moved on slowly through the crowd.
At the door his guard placed themselves on either side of him.
They were all three followed by one of Mr. Bruff's men--and I saw them
no more.

I looked round at the lawyer, and then looked significantly towards
the man in the suit of sober grey. "Yes!" whispered Mr. Bruff,
"I saw it too!" He turned about, in search of his second man.
The second man was nowhere to be seen. He looked behind him for his
attendant sprite. Gooseberry had disappeared.

"What the devil does it mean?" said Mr. Bruff angrily.
"They have both left us at the very time when we want
them most."

It came to the turn of the man in the grey suit to transact his business
at the counter. He paid in a cheque--received a receipt for it--
and turned to go out.

"What is to be done?" asked Mr. Bruff. "We can't degrade ourselves
by following him."

"I can!" I said. "I wouldn't lose sight of that man for ten
thousand pounds!"

"In that case," rejoined Mr. Bruff, "I wouldn't lose sight of you,
for twice the money. A nice occupation for a man in my position,"
he muttered to himself, as we followed the stranger out of the bank.
"For Heaven's sake don't mention it. I should be ruined if it
was known."

The man in the grey suit got into an omnibus, going westward.
We got in after him. There were latent reserves of youth still left
in Mr. Bruff. I assert it positively--when he took his seat in
the omnibus, he blushed!

The man in the grey suit stopped the omnibus, and got out in Oxford Street.
We followed him again. He went into a chemist's shop.

Mr. Bruff started. "My chemist!" he exclaimed. "I am afraid we
have made a mistake."

We entered the shop. Mr. Bruff and the proprietor exchanged a few words
in private. The lawyer joined me again, with a very crestfallen face.

"It's greatly to our credit," he said, as he took my arm,
and led me out--"that's one comfort!"

"What is to our credit?" I asked.

"Mr. Blake! you and I are the two worst amateur detectives
that ever tried their hands at the trade. The man in the grey
suit has been thirty years in the chemist's service.
He was sent to the bank to pay money to his master's account--
and he knows no more of the Moonstone than the babe unborn."

I asked what was to be done next.

"Come back to my office," said Mr. Bruff. "Gooseberry, and my second man,
have evidently followed somebody else. Let us hope that THEY had their eyes
about them at any rate!"

When we reached Gray's Inn Square, the second man had arrived
there before us. He had been waiting for more than a quarter
of an hour.

"Well!" asked Mr. Bruff. "What's your news?"

"I am sorry to say, sir," replied the man, "that I have made a mistake.
I could have taken my oath that I saw Mr. Luker pass something to an
elderly gentleman, in a light-coloured paletot. The elderly gentleman
turns out, sir, to be a most respectable master iron-monger in Eastcheap."

"Where is Gooseberry?" asked Mr. Bruff resignedly.

The man stared. "I don't know, sir. I have seen nothing of him
since I left the bank."

Mr. Bruff dismissed the man. "One of two things," he said to me.
"Either Gooseberry has run away, or he is hunting on his own account.
What do you say to dining here, on the chance that the boy may come
back in an hour or two? I have got some good wine in the cellar,
and we can get a chop from the coffee-house."

We dined at Mr. Bruff's chambers. Before the cloth was removed,
"a person" was announced as wanting to speak to the lawyer.
Was the person Gooseberry? No: only the man who had been employed to
follow Mr. Luker when he left the bank.

The report, in this case, presented no feature of the slightest interest.
Mr. Luker had gone back to his own house, and had there dismissed
his guard. He had not gone out again afterwards. Towards dusk,
the shutters had been put up, and the doors had been bolted.
The street before the house, and the alley behind the house,
had been carefully watched. No signs of the Indians had been visible.
No person whatever had been seen loitering about the premises.
Having stated these facts, the man waited to know whether
there were any further orders. Mr. Bruff dismissed him for
the night.

"Do you think Mr. Luker has taken the Moonstone home with him?"
I asked.

"Not he," said Mr. Bruff. "He would never have dismissed his two policemen,
if he had run the risk of keeping the Diamond in his own house again."

We waited another half-hour for the boy, and waited in vain.
It was then time for Mr. Bruff to go to Hampstead, and for me
to return to Rachel in Portland Place. I left my card,
in charge of the porter at the chambers, with a line written
on it to say that I should be at my lodgings at half past ten,
that night. The card was to be given to the boy, if the boy
came back.

Some men have a knack of keeping appointments; and other men
have a knack of missing them. I am one of the other men.
Add to this, that I passed the evening at Portland Place,
on the same seat with Rachel, in a room forty feet long,
with Mrs. Merridew at the further end of it. Does anybody wonder
that I got home at half past twelve instead of half past ten?
How thoroughly heartless that person must be! And how earnestly I
hope I may never make that person's acquaintance!

My servant handed me a morsel of paper when he let me in.

I read, in a neat legal handwriting, these words--"If you please, sir, I am
getting sleepy. I will come back to-morrow morning, between nine and ten."
Inquiry proved that a boy, with very extraordinary-looking eyes, had called,
and presented my card and message, had waited an hour, had done nothing but
fall asleep and wake up again, had written a line for me, and had gone home--
after gravely informing the servant that "he was fit for nothing unless he got
his night's rest."

At nine, the next morning, I was ready for my visitor. At half past nine,
I heard steps outside my door. "Come in, Gooseberry!" I called out.
"Thank you, sir," answered a grave and melancholy voice. The door opened.
I started to my feet, and confronted--Sergeant Cuff.

"I thought I would look in here, Mr. Blake, on the chance of your being
in town, before I wrote to Yorkshire," said the Sergeant.

He was as dreary and as lean as ever. His eyes had not lost
their old trick (so subtly noticed in Betteredge's NARRATIVE)
of "looking as if they expected something more from you than
you were aware of yourself." But, so far as dress can alter
a man, the great Cuff was changed beyond all recognition.
He wore a broad-brimmed white hat, a light shooting jacket,
white trousers, and drab gaiters. He carried a stout oak stick.
His whole aim and object seemed to be to look as if he had
lived in the country all his life. When I complimented him
on his Metamorphosis, he declined to take it as a joke.
He complained, quite gravely, of the noises and the smells
of London. I declare I am far from sure that he did not speak
with a slightly rustic accent! I offered him breakfast.
The innocent countryman was quite shocked. HIS breakfast
hour was half-past six--and HE went to bed with the cocks
and hens!

"I only got back from Ireland last night," said the Sergeant,
coming round to the practical object of his visit, in his own
impenetrable manner. "Before I went to bed, I read your letter,
telling me what has happened since my inquiry after the Diamond
was suspended last year. There's only one thing to be said
about the matter on my side. I completely mistook my case.
How any man living was to have seen things in their true light,
in such a situation as mine was at the time, I don't profess
to know. But that doesn't alter the facts as they stand.
I own that I made a mess of it. Not the first mess, Mr. Blake,
which has distinguished my professional career! It's only
in books that the officers of the detective force are superior
to the weakness of making a mistake."

"You have come in the nick of time to recover your reputation,"
I said.

"I beg your pardon, Mr. Blake," rejoined the Sergeant.
"Now I have retired from business, I don't care a straw about
my reputation. I have done with my reputation, thank God!
I am here, sir, in grateful remembrance of the late Lady
Verinder's liberality to me. I will go back to my old work--
if you want me, and if you will trust me--on that consideration,
and on no other. Not a farthing of money is to pass,
if you please, from you to me. This is on honour.
Now tell me, Mr. Blake, how the case stands since you wrote to
me last."

I told him of the experiment with the opium, and of what had occurred
afterwards at the bank in Lombard Street. He was greatly struck
by the experiment--it was something entirely new in his experience.
And he was particularly interested in the theory of Ezra Jennings,
relating to what I had done with the Diamond, after I had left Rachel's
sitting-room, on the birthday night.

"I don't hold with Mr. Jennings that you hid the Moonstone,"
said Sergeant Cuff. "But I agree with him, that you must
certainly have taken it back to your own room."

"Well?" I asked. "And what happened then?"

"Have you no suspicion yourself of what happened, sir?"

"None whatever."

"Has Mr. Bruff no suspicion?"

"No more than I have."

Sergeant Cuff rose, and went to my writing-table. He came back with
a sealed envelope. It was marked "Private;" it was addressed to me;
and it had the Sergeant's signature in the corner.

"I suspected the wrong person, last year," he said:
"and I may be suspecting the wrong person now. Wait to open
the envelope, Mr. Blake, till you have got at the truth.
And then compare the name of the guilty person, with the name that I
have written in that sealed letter."

I put the letter into my pocket--and then asked for the Sergeant's opinion
of the measures which we had taken at the bank.

"Very well intended, sir," he answered, "and quite the right thing to do.
But there was another person who ought to have been looked after besides
Mr. Luker."

"The person named in the letter you have just given to me?"

"Yes, Mr. Blake, the person named in the letter. It can't be helped now.
I shall have something to propose to you and Mr. Bruff, sir, when the
time comes. Let's wait, first, and see if the boy has anything to tell
us that is worth hearing."

It was close on ten o'clock, and the boy had not made his appearance.
Sergeant Cuff talked of other matters. He asked after his old
friend Betteredge, and his old enemy the gardener. In a minute more,
he would no doubt have got from this, to the subject of his
favourite roses, if my servant had not interrupted us by announcing
that the boy was below.

On being brought into the room, Gooseberry stopped at the threshold of
the door, and looked distrustfully at the stranger who was in my company.
I told the boy to come to me.

"You may speak before this gentleman," I said. "He is here to assist me;
and he knows all that has happened. Sergeant Cuff," I added, "this is the boy
from Mr. Bruff's office."

In our modern system of civilisation, celebrity (no matter of what kind)
is the lever that will move anything. The fame of the great Cuff had even
reached the ears of the small Gooseberry. The boy's ill-fixed eyes rolled,
when I mentioned the illustrious name, till I thought they really must have
dropped on the carpet.

"Come here, my lad," said the Sergeant, and let's hear what you
have got to tell us."

The notice of the great man--the hero of many a famous story
in every lawyer's office in London--appeared to fascinate the boy.
He placed himself in front of Sergeant Cuff, and put his hands
behind him, after the approved fashion of a neophyte who is examined
in his catechism.

"What is your name?" said the Sergeant, beginning with the first question
in the catechism.

"Octavius Guy," answered the boy. "They call me Gooseberry
at the office because of my eyes."

"Octavius Guy, otherwise Gooseberry," pursued the Sergeant,
with the utmost gravity, "you were missed at the bank yesterday.
What were you about?"

"If you please, sir, I was following a man."

"Who was he?"

"A tall man, sir, with a big black beard, dressed like a sailor."

"I remember the man!" I broke in. "Mr. Bruff and I thought
he was a spy employed by the Indians."

Sergeant Cuff did not appear to be much impressed by what Mr. Bruff and I
had thought. He went on catechising Gooseberry.

"Well?" he said--"and why did you follow the sailor?"

"If you please, sir, Mr. Bruff wanted to know whether Mr. Luker
passed anything to anybody on his way out of the bank.
I saw Mr. Luker pass something to the sailor with the black beard."

"Why didn't you tell Mr. Bruff what you saw?"

"I hadn't time to tell anybody, sir, the sailor went out in such a hurry."

"And you ran out after him--eh?"

"Yes, sir."

"Gooseberry," said the Sergeant, patting his head, "you have got
something in that small skull of yours--and it isn't cotton-wool.
I am greatly pleased with you, so far."

The boy blushed with pleasure. Sergeant Cuff went on.

"Well? and what did the sailor do, when he got into the street?"

"He called a cab, sir."

"And what did you do?"

"Held on behind, and run after it.

Before the Sergeant could put his next question, another visitor
was announced--the head clerk from Mr. Bruff's office.

Feeling the importance of not interrupting Sergeant Cuff's
examination of the boy, I received the clerk in another room.
He came with bad news of his employer. The agitation and excitement
of the last two days had proved too much for Mr. Bruff.
He had awoke that morning with an attack of gout; he was confined
to his room at Hampstead; and, in the present critical condition
of our affairs, he was very uneasy at being compelled to leave
me without the advice and assistance of an experienced person.
The chief clerk had received orders to hold himself at
my disposal, and was willing to do his best to replace
Mr. Bruff.

I wrote at once to quiet the old gentleman's mind, by telling him of Sergeant
Cuff's visit: adding that Gooseberry was at that moment under examination;
and promising to inform Mr. Bruff, either personally, or by letter,
of whatever might occur later in the day. Having despatched the clerk
to Hampstead with my note, I returned to the room which I had left, and found
Sergeant Cuff at the fireplace, in the act of ringing the bell.

"I beg your pardon, Mr. Blake," said the Sergeant. "I was just
going to send word by your servant that I wanted to speak to you.
There isn't a doubt on my mind that this boy--this most meritorious boy,"
added the Sergeant, patting Gooseberry on the head, "has followed
the right man. Precious time has been lost, sir, through your
unfortunately not being at home at half past ten last night.
The only thing to do, now, is to send for a cab immediately."

In five minutes more, Sergeant Cuff and I (with Gooseberry
on the box to guide the driver) were on our way eastward,
towards the City.

"One of these days," said the Sergeant, pointing through the front window
of the cab, "that boy will do great things in my late profession.
He is the brightest and cleverest little chap I have met with,
for many a long year past. You shall hear the substance, Mr. Blake,
of what he told me while you were out of the room. You were present,
I think, when he mentioned that he held on behind the cab, and ran
after it?"


"Well, sir, the cab went from Lombard Street to the Tower Wharf.
The sailor with the black beard got out, and spoke to the steward
of the Rotterdam steamboat, which was to start next morning.
He asked if he could be allowed to go on board at once, and sleep
in his berth over-night. The steward said, No. The cabins, and berths,
and bedding were all to have a thorough cleaning that evening,
and no passenger could be allowed to come on board, before the morning.
The sailor turned round, and left the wharf. When he got into
the street again, the boy noticed for the first time, a man dressed
like a respectable mechanic, walking on the opposite side of the road,
and apparently keeping the sailor in view. The sailor stopped
at an eating-house in the neighbourhood, and went in. The boy--
not being able to make up his mind, at the moment--hung about among
some other boys, staring at the good things in the eating-house window.
He noticed the mechanic waiting, as he himself was waiting--
but still on the opposite side of the street. After a minute,
a cab came by slowly, and stopped where the mechanic was standing.
The boy could only see plainly one person in the cab, who leaned forward at
the window to speak to the mechanic. He described that person, Mr. Blake,
without any prompting from me, as having a dark face, like the face of
an Indian."

It was plain, by this time, that Mr. Bruff and I had made another mistake.
The sailor with the black beard was clearly not a spy in the service
of the Indian conspiracy. Was he, by any possibility, the man who had got
the Diamond?

"After a little," pursued the Sergeant, "the cab moved on slowly
down the street. The mechanic crossed the road, and went into
the eating-house. The boy waited outside till he was hungry
and tired--and then went into the eating-house, in his turn.
He had a shilling in his pocket; and he dined sumptuously,
he tells me, on a black-pudding, an eel-pie, and a bottle
of ginger-beer. What can a boy not digest? The substance
in question has never been found yet."

"What did he see in the eating-house?" I asked.

"Well, Mr. Blake, he saw the sailor reading the newspaper at
one table, and the mechanic reading the newspaper at another.
It was dusk before the sailor got up, and left the place.
He looked about him suspiciously when he got out into the street.
The boy--BEING a boy--passed unnoticed. The mechanic had
not come out yet. The sailor walked on, looking about him,
and apparently not very certain of where he was going next.
The mechanic appeared once more, on the opposite side of the road.
The sailor went on, till he got to Shore Lane, leading into
Lower Thames Street. There he stopped before a public-house,
under the sign of "The Wheel of Fortune," and, after examining
the place outside, went in. Gooseberry went in too. There were
a great many people, mostly of the decent sort, at the bar.
"The Wheel of Fortune" is a very respectable house, Mr. Blake;
famous for its porter and pork-pies."

The Sergeant's digressions irritated me. He saw it; and confined
himself more strictly to Gooseberry's evidence when he went on.

"The sailor," he resumed, "asked if he could have a bed.
The landlord said "No; they were full." The barmaid
corrected him, and said "Number Ten was empty." A waiter was
sent for to show the sailor to Number Ten. Just before that,
Gooseberry had noticed the mechanic among the people at the bar.
Before the waiter had answered the call, the mechanic had vanished.
The sailor was taken off to his room. Not knowing what to do next,
Gooseberry had the wisdom to wait and see if anything happened.
Something did happen. The landlord was called for.
Angry voices were heard up-stairs. The mechanic suddenly made
his appearance again, collared by the landlord, and exhibiting,
to Gooseberry's great surprise, all the signs and tokens
of being drunk. The landlord thrust him out at the door,
and threatened him with the police if he came back.
From the altercation between them, while this was going on,
it appeared that the man had been discovered in Number Ten,
and had declared with drunken obstinacy that he had taken the room.
Gooseberry was so struck by this sudden intoxication of a
previously sober person, that he couldn't resist running
out after the mechanic into the street. As long as he was
in sight of the public-house, the man reeled about in the most
disgraceful manner. The moment he turned the corner of the street,
he recovered his balance instantly, and became as sober a member
of society as you could wish to see. Gooseberry went back
to "The Wheel of Fortune" in a very bewildered state of mind.
He waited about again, on the chance of something happening.
Nothing happened; and nothing more was to be heard, or seen,
of the sailor. Gooseberry decided on going back to the office.
Just as he came to this conclusion, who should appear, on the
opposite side of the street as usual, but the mechanic again!
He looked up at one particular window at the top of the
public-house, which was the only one that had a light in it.
The light seemed to relieve his mind. He left the place directly.
The boy made his way back to Gray's Inn--got your card
and message--called--and failed to find you. There you have
the state of the case, Mr. Blake, as it stands at the present

"What is your own opinion of the case, Sergeant?"

"I think it's serious, sir. Judging by what the boy saw,
the Indians are in it, to begin with."

"Yes. And the sailor is evidently the person to whom Mr. Luker
passed the Diamond. It seems odd that Mr. Bruff, and I,
and the man in Mr. Bruff's employment, should all have been
mistaken about who the person was."

"Not at all, Mr. Blake. Considering the risk that person ran,
it's likely enough that Mr. Luker purposely misled you,
by previous arrangement between them."

"Do you understand the proceedings at the public-house?" I asked.
"The man dressed like a mechanic was acting of course in the employment
of the Indians. But I am as much puzzled to account for his sudden
assumption of drunkenness as Gooseberry himself."

"I think I can give a guess at what it means, sir," said the Sergeant.
"If you will reflect, you will see that the man must have had some pretty
strict instructions from the Indians. They were far too noticeable
themselves to risk being seen at the bank, or in the public-house--
they were obliged to trust everything to their deputy. Very good.
Their deputy hears a certain number named in the public-house,
as the number of the room which the sailor is to have for the night--
that being also the room (unless our notion is all wrong) which the Diamond
is to have for the night, too. Under those circumstances, the Indians,
you may rely on it, would insist on having a description of the room--
of its position in the house, of its capability of being approached from
the outside, and so on. What was the man to do, with such orders as these?
Just what he did! He ran up-stairs to get a look at the room, before the
sailor was taken into it. He was found there, making his observations--
and he shammed drunk, as the easiest way of getting out of the difficulty.
That's how I read the riddle. After he was turned out of the public-house,
he probably went with his report to the place where his employers
were waiting for him. And his employers, no doubt, sent him back
to make sure that the sailor was really settled at the public-house
till the next morning. As for what happened at "The Wheel of Fortune,"
after the boy left--we ought to have discovered that last night.
It's eleven in the morning, now. We must hope for the best, and find out what
we can."

In a quarter of an hour more, the cab stopped in Shore Lane,
and Gooseberry opened the door for us to get out.

"All right?" asked the Sergeant.

"All right," answered the boy.

The moment we entered "The Wheel of Fortune" it was plain even to my
inexperienced eyes that there was something wrong in the house.

The only person behind the counter at which the liquors were served,
was a bewildered servant girl, perfectly ignorant of the business.
One or two customers, waiting for their morning drink, were tapping
impatiently on the counter with their money. The bar-maid appeared
from the inner regions of the parlour, excited and preoccupied.
She answered Sergeant Cuff's inquiry for the landlord, by telling him
sharply that her master was up-stairs, and was not to be bothered
by anybody.

"Come along with me, sir," said Sergeant Cuff, coolly leading the way
up-stairs, and beckoning to the boy to follow him.

The barmaid called to her master, and warned him that strangers
were intruding themselves into the house. On the first floor
we were encountered by the Landlord, hurrying down, in a highly
irritated state, to see what was the matter.

"Who the devil are you? and what do you want here?" he asked.

"Keep your temper," said the Sergeant, quietly. "I'll tell you who I
am to begin with. I am Sergeant Cuff."

The illustrious name instantly produced its effect.
The angry landlord threw open the door of a sitting-room,
and asked the Sergeant's pardon.

"I am annoyed and out of sorts, sir--that's the truth," he said.
"Something unpleasant has happened in the house this morning.
A man in my way of business has a deal to upset his temper,
Sergeant Cuff."

"Not a doubt of it," said the Sergeant. "I'll come at once,
if you will allow me, to what brings us here. This gentleman
and I want to trouble you with a few inquiries, on a matter
of some interest to both of us."

"Relating to what, sir?" asked the landlord.

"Relating to a dark man, dressed like a sailor, who slept here last night."

"Good God! that's the man who is upsetting the whole house at this moment!"
exclaimed the landlord. "Do you, or does this gentleman know anything
about him?"

"We can't be certain till we see him," answered the Sergeant.

"See him?" echoed the landlord. "That's the one thing that
nobody has been able to do since seven o'clock this morning.
That was the time when he left word, last night, that he was
to be called. He WAS called--and there was no getting an answer
from him, and no opening his door to see what was the matter.
They tried again at eight, and they tried again at nine.
No use! There was the door still locked--and not a sound
to be heard in the room! I have been out this morning--
and I only got back a quarter of an hour ago.
I have hammered at the door myself--and all to no purpose.
The potboy has gone to fetch a carpenter. If you can wait a
few minutes, gentlemen, we will have the door opened, and see what
it means."

"Was the man drunk last night?" asked Sergeant Cuff.

"Perfectly sober, sir--or I would never have let him sleep in my house."

"Did he pay for his bed beforehand?"


"Could he leave the room in any way, without going out by the door?"

"The room is a garret," said the landlord. "But there's a
trap-door in the ceiling, leading out on to the roof--and a little
lower down the street, there's an empty house under repair.
Do you think, Sergeant, the blackguard has got off in that way,
without paying?"

"A sailor," said Sergeant Cuff, "might have done it--early in the morning,
before the street was astir. He would be used to climbing, and his head
wouldn't fail him on the roofs of the houses."

As he spoke, the arrival of the carpenter was announced.
We all went up-stairs, at once, to the top story.
I noticed that the Sergeant was unusually grave, even for him.
It also struck me as odd that he told the boy (after having
previously encouraged him to follow us), to wait in the room
below till we came down again.

The carpenter's hammer and chisel disposed of the resistance of
the door in a few minutes. But some article of furniture had been
placed against it inside, as a barricade. By pushing at the door,
we thrust this obstacle aside, and so got admission to the room.
The landlord entered first; the Sergeant second; and I third.
The other persons present followed us.

We all looked towards the bed, and all started.

The man had not left the room. He lay, dressed, on the bed--
with a white pillow over his face, which completely hid it
from view.

"What does that mean?" said the landlord, pointing to the pillow.

Sergeant Cuff led the way to the bed, without answering,
and removed the pillow.

The man's swarthy face was placid and still; his black
hair and beard were slightly, very slightly, discomposed.
His eyes stared wide-open, glassy and vacant, at the ceiling.
The filmy look and the fixed expression of them horrified me.
I turned away, and went to the open window. The rest of
them remained, where Sergeant Cuff remained, at the bed.

"He's in a fit!" I heard the landlord say.

"He's dead," the Sergeant answered. "Send for the nearest doctor,
and send for the police."

The waiter was despatched on both errands. Some strange
fascination seemed to hold Sergeant Cuff to the bed.
Some strange curiosity seemed to keep the rest of them waiting,
to see what the Sergeant would do next.

I turned again to the window. The moment afterwards, I felt
a soft pull at my coat-tails, and a small voice whispered,
"Look here, sir!"

Gooseberry had followed us into the room. His loose eyes
rolled frightfully--not in terror, but in exultation.
He had made a detective-discovery on his own account.
"Look here, sir," he repeated--and led me to a table in the corner
of the room.

On the table stood a little wooden box, open, and empty.
On one side of the box lay some jewellers' cotton. On the
other side, was a torn sheet of white paper, with a seal on it,
partly destroyed, and with an inscription in writing,
which was still perfectly legible. The inscription was in
these words:

"Deposited with Messrs. Bushe, Lysaught, and Bushe, by Mr. Septimus Luker,
of Middlesex Place, Lambeth, a small wooden box, sealed up in this envelope,
and containing a valuable of great price. The box, when claimed,
to be only given up by Messrs. Bushe and Co. on the personal application
of Mr. Luker."

Those lines removed all further doubt, on one point at least.
The sailor had been in possession of the Moonstone, when he had left
the bank on the previous day.

I felt another pull at my coat-tails. Gooseberry had not done with me yet.

"Robbery!" whispered the boy, pointing, in high delight,
to the empty box.

"You were told to wait down-stairs," I said. "Go away!"

"And Murder!" added Gooseberry, pointing, with a keener relish still,
to the man on the bed.

There was something so hideous in the boy's enjoyment of the horror
of the scene, that I took him by the two shoulders and put him
out of the room.

At the moment when I crossed the threshold of the door,
I heard Sergeant Cuff's voice, asking where I was. He met me,
as I returned into the room, and forced me to go back with him
to the bedside.

"Mr. Blake!" he said. "Look at the man's face. It is a face disguised--
and here's a proof of it!"

He traced with his finger a thin line of livid white, running backward
from the dead man's forehead, between the swarthy complexion,
and the slightly-disturbed black hair. "Let's see what is under this,"
said the Sergeant, suddenly seizing the black hair, with a firm grip
of his hand.

My nerves were not strong enough to bear it. I turned away again
from the bed.

The first sight that met my eyes, at the other end of the room,
was the irrepressible Gooseberry, perched on a chair, and looking
with breathless interest, over the heads of his elders,
at the Sergeant's proceedings.

"He's pulling off his wig!" whispered Gooseberry, compassionating my position,
as the only person in the room who could see nothing.

There was a pause--and then a cry of astonishment among the people
round the bed.

"He's pulled off his beard!" cried Gooseberry.

There was another pause--Sergeant Cuff asked for something.
The landlord went to the wash-hand-stand, and returned to the bed
with a basin of water and a towel.

Gooseberry danced with excitement on the chair. "Come up here,
along with me, sir! He's washing off his complexion now!"

The Sergeant suddenly burst his way through the people about him,
and came, with horror in his face, straight to the place where I
was standing.

"Come back to the bed, sir!" he began. He looked at me closer,
and checked himself "No!" he resumed. "Open the sealed letter first--
the letter I gave you this morning."

I opened the letter.

"Read the name, Mr. Blake, that I have written inside."

I read the name that he had written. It was GODFREY ABLEWHITE.

"Now," said the Sergeant, "come with me, and look at the man on the bed."

I went with him, and looked at the man on the bed.



Contributed by SERGEANT CUFF


Dorking, Surrey, July 30th, 1849. To Franklin Blake, Esq. Sir,--
I beg to apologise for the delay that has occurred in the production
of the Report, with which I engaged to furnish you. I have waited
to make it a complete Report; and I have been met, here and there,
by obstacles which it was only possible to remove by some little
expenditure of patience and time.

The object which I proposed to myself has now, I hope, been attained.
You will find, in these pages, answers to the greater part--if not all--
of the questions, concerning the late Mr. Godfrey Ablewhite, which occurred to
your mind when I last had the honour of seeing you.

I propose to tell you--in the first place--what is known of the manner
in which your cousin met his death; appending to the statement such
inferences and conclusions as we are justified (according to my opinion)
in drawing from the facts.

I shall then endeavour--in the second place--to put you in possession
of such discoveries as I have made, respecting the proceedings
of Mr. Godfrey Ablewhite, before, during, and after the time,
when you and he met as guests at the late Lady Verinder's country-house.


As to your cousin's death, then, first.

It appears to be established, beyond any reasonable doubt,
that he was killed (while he was asleep, or immediately on
his waking) by being smothered with a pillow from his bed--
that the persons guilty of murdering him are the three Indians--
and that the object contemplated (and achieved) by the crime,
was to obtain possession of the diamond, called the Moonstone.

The facts from which this conclusion is drawn, are derived
partly from an examination of the room at the tavern;
and partly from the evidence obtained at the Coroner's Inquest.

On forcing the door of the room, the deceased gentleman was discovered, dead,
with the pillow of the bed over his face. The medical man who examined him,
being informed of this circumstance, considered the post-mortem appearances
as being perfectly compatible with murder by smothering--that is to say,
with murder committed by some person, or persons, pressing the pillow over
the nose and mouth of the deceased, until death resulted from congestion
of the lungs.

Next, as to the motive for the crime.

A small box, with a sealed paper torn off from it (the paper containing
an inscription) was found open, and empty, on a table in the room.
Mr. Luker has himself personally identified the box, the seal,
and the inscription. He has declared that the box did actually contain
the diamond, called the Moonstone; and he has admitted having given
the box (thus sealed up) to Mr. Godfrey Ablewhite (then concealed
under a disguise), on the afternoon of the twenty-sixth of June last.
The fair inference from all this is, that the stealing of the Moonstone
was the motive of the crime.

Next, as to the manner in which the crime was committed.

On examination of the room (which is only seven feet high), a trap-door
in the ceiling, leading out on to the roof of the house, was discovered open.
The short ladder, used for obtaining access to the trap-door
(and kept under the bed), was found placed at the opening, so as to
enable any person or persons, in the room, to leave it again easily.
In the trap-door itself was found a square aperture cut in the wood,
apparently with some exceedingly sharp instrument, just behind the bolt
which fastened the door on the inner side. In this way, any person
from the outside could have drawn back the bolt, and opened the door,
and have dropped (or have been noiselessly lowered by an accomplice)
into the room--its height, as already observed, being only seven feet.
That some person, or persons, must have got admission in this way,
appears evident from the fact of the aperture being there.
As to the manner in which he (or they) obtained access to the roof
of the tavern, it is to be remarked that the third house, lower down
in the street, was empty, and under repair--that a long ladder was left
by the workmen, leading from the pavement to the top of the house--
and that, on returning to their work, on the morning of the 27th,
the men found the plank which they had tied to the ladder, to prevent
anyone from using it in their absence, removed, and lying on the ground.
As to the possibility of ascending by this ladder, passing over
the roofs of the houses, passing back, and descending again, unobserved--
it is discovered, on the evidence of the night policeman, that he only
passes through Shore Lane twice in an hour, when out on his beat.
The testimony of the inhabitants also declares, that Shore Lane,
after midnight, is one of the quietest and loneliest streets in London.
Here again, therefore, it seems fair to infer that--with ordinary caution,
and presence of mind--any man, or men, might have ascended by the ladder,
and might have descended again, unobserved. Once on the roof of the tavern,
it has been proved, by experiment, that a man might cut through the trap-door,
while lying down on it, and that in such a position, the parapet in front
of the house would conceal him from the view of anyone passing in the

Lastly, as to the person, or persons, by whom the crime was committed.

It is known (1) that the Indians had an interest in possessing
themselves of the Diamond. (2) It is at least probable
that the man looking like an Indian, whom Octavius Guy
saw at the window of the cab, speaking to the man dressed
like a mechanic, was one of the three Hindoo conspirators.
(3) It is certain that this same man dressed like a mechanic,
was seen keeping Mr. Godfrey Ablewhite in view, all through
the evening of the 26th, and was found in the bedroom
(before Mr. Ablewhite was shown into it) under circumstances
which lead to the suspicion that he was examining the room.
(4) A morsel of torn gold thread was picked up in the bedroom,
which persons expert in such matters, declare to be of
Indian manufacture, and to be a species of gold thread not
known in England. 5) On the morning of the 27th, three men,
answering to the description of the three Indians, were observed
in Lower Thames Street, were traced to the Tower Wharf,
and were seen to leave London by the steamer bound
for Rotterdam.

There is here, moral, if not legal, evidence, that the murder was committed
by the Indians.

Whether the man personating a mechanic was, or was not,
an accomplice in the crime, it is impossible to say.
That he could have committed the murder alone, seems beyond
the limits of probability. Acting by himself, he could hardly
have smothered Mr. Ablewhite--who was the taller and stronger man
of the two--without a struggle taking place, or a cry being heard.
A servant girl, sleeping in the next room, heard nothing.
The landlord, sleeping in the room below, heard nothing.
The whole evidence points to the inference that more than
one man was concerned in this crime--and the circumstances,
I repeat, morally justify the conclusion that the Indians
committed it.

I have only to add, that the verdict at the Coroner's Inquest
was Wilful Murder against some person, or persons, unknown.
Mr. Ablewhite's family have offered a reward, and no effort
has been left untried to discover the guilty persons.
The man dressed like a mechanic has eluded all inquiries.
The Indians have been traced. As to the prospect of ultimately
capturing these last, I shall have a word to say to you on that head,
when I reach the end of the present Report.

In the meanwhile, having now written all that is needful on the subject
of Mr. Godfrey Ablewhite's death, I may pass next to the narrative
of his proceedings before, during, and after the time, when you
and he met at the late Lady Verinder's house.


With regard to the subject now in hand, I may state, at the outset,
that Mr. Godfrey Ablewhite's life had two sides to it.

The side turned up to the public view, presented the spectacle of a gentleman,
possessed of considerable reputation as a speaker at charitable meetings,
and endowed with administrative abilities, which he placed at the disposal
of various Benevolent Societies, mostly of the female sort. The side kept
hidden from the general notice, exhibited this same gentleman in the totally
different character of a man of pleasure, with a villa in the suburbs which
was not taken in his own name, and with a lady in the villa, who was not taken
in his own name, either.

My investigations in the villa have shown me several fine
pictures and statues; furniture tastefully selected,
and admirably made; and a conservatory of the rarest flowers,
the match of which it would not be easy to find in all London.
My investigation of the lady has resulted in the discovery
of jewels which are worthy to take rank with the flowers,
and of carriages and horses which have (deservedly) produced
a sensation in the Park, among persons well qualified to judge
of the build of the one, and the breed of the others.

All this is, so far, common enough. The villa and the lady are such familiar
objects in London life, that I ought to apologise for introducing them
to notice. But what is not common and not familiar (in my experience),
is that all these fine things were not only ordered, but paid for.
The pictures, the statues, the flowers, the jewels, the carriages,
and the horses--inquiry proved, to my indescribable astonishment,
that not a sixpence of debt was owing on any of them. As to the villa,
it had been bought, out and out, and settled on the lady.

I might have tried to find the right reading of this riddle,
and tried in vain--but for Mr. Godfrey Ablewhite's death,
which caused an inquiry to be made into the state of his affairs.

The inquiry elicited these facts:--

That Mr. Godfrey Ablewhite was entrusted with the care of a sum of
twenty thousand pounds--as one of two Trustees for a young gentleman,
who was still a minor in the year eighteen hundred and forty-eight. That
the Trust was to lapse, and that the young gentleman was to receive
the twenty thousand pounds on the day when he came of age, in the month
of February, eighteen hundred and fifty. That, pending the arrival
of this period, an income of six hundred pounds was to be paid to him
by his two Trustees, half-yearly--at Christmas and Midsummer Day. That this
income was regularly paid by the active Trustee, Mr. Godfrey Ablewhite.
That the twenty thousand pounds (from which the income was supposed
to be derived) had every farthing of it been sold out of the Funds,
at different periods, ending with the end of the year eighteen hundred
and forty-seven. That the power of attorney, authorising the bankers
to sell out the stock, and the various written orders telling them
what amounts to sell out, were formally signed by both the Trustees.
That the signature of the second Trustee (a retired army officer, living in
the country) was a signature forged, in every case, by the active Trustee--
otherwise Mr. Godfrey Ablewhite.

In these facts lies the explanation of Mr. Godfrey's honourable conduct,
in paying the debts incurred for the lady and the villa--and (as you
will presently see) of more besides.

We may now advance to the date of Miss Verinder's birthday
(in the year eighteen hundred and forty-eight)--the twenty-first
of June.

On the day before, Mr. Godfrey Ablewhite arrived at his father's house,
and asked (as I know from Mr. Ablewhite, senior, himself) for a loan
of three hundred pounds. Mark the sum; and remember at the same time,
that the half-yearly payment to the young gentleman was due on the
twenty-fourth of the month. Also, that the whole of the young gentleman's
fortune had been spent by his Trustee, by the end of the year 'forty-seven.

Mr. Ablewhite, senior, refused to lend his son a farthing.

The next day Mr. Godfrey Ablewhite rode over, with you,
to Lady Verinder's house. A few hours afterwards, Mr. Godfrey
(as you yourself have told me) made a proposal of marriage
to Miss Verinder. Here, he saw his way no doubt--if accepted--
to the end of all his money anxieties, present and future.
But, as events actually turned out, what happened? Miss Verinder
refused him.

On the night of the birthday, therefore, Mr. Godfrey Ablewhite's pecuniary
position was this. He had three hundred pounds to find on the twenty-fourth
of the month, and twenty thousand pounds to find in February eighteen hundred
and fifty. Failing to raise these sums, at these times, he was a ruined man.

Under those circumstances, what takes place next?

You exasperate Mr. Candy, the doctor, on the sore subject of his profession;
and he plays you a practical joke, in return, with a dose of laudanum.
He trusts the administration of the dose, prepared in a little phial,
to Mr. Godfrey Ablewhite--who has himself confessed the share he had in
the matter, under circumstances which shall presently be related to you.
Mr. Godfrey is all the readier to enter into the conspiracy, having himself
suffered from your sharp tongue in the course of the evening. He joins
Betteredge in persuading you to drink a little brandy and water before you
go to bed. He privately drops the dose of laudanum into your cold grog.
And you drink the mixture.

Let us now shift the scene, if you please to Mr. Luker's house at Lambeth.
And allow me to remark, by way of preface, that Mr. Bruff and I, together,
have found a means of forcing the money-lender to make a clean breast of it.
We have carefully sifted the statement he has addressed to us; and here it is
at your service.


Late on the evening of Friday, the twenty-third of June
('forty-eight), Mr. Luker was surprised by a visit
from Mr. Godfrey Ablewhite. He was more than surprised,
when Mr. Godfrey produced the Moonstone. No such Diamond
(according to Mr. Luker's experience) was in the possession
of any private person in Europe.

Mr. Godfrey Ablewhite had two modest proposals to make,
in relation to this magnificent gem. First, Would Mr. Luker
be so good as to buy it? Secondly, Would Mr. Luker (in default
of seeing his way to the purchase) undertake to sell it
on commission, and to pay a sum down, on the anticipated result?

Mr. Luker tested the Diamond, weighed the Diamond and estimated
the value of the Diamond, before he answered a word. HIS estimate
(allowing for the flaw in the stone) was thirty thousand pounds.

Having reached that result, Mr. Luker opened his lips, and put a question:
"How did you come by this?" Only six words! But what volumes of meaning
in them!

Mr. Godfrey Ablewhite began a story. Mr. Luker opened his lips again,
and only said three words, this time. "That won't do!"

Mr. Godfrey Ablewhite began another story. Mr. Luker wasted no
more words on him. He got up, and rang the bell for the servant
to show the gentleman out.

Upon this compulsion, Mr. Godfrey made an effort, and came out with a new
and amended version of the affair, to the following effect.

After privately slipping the laudanum into your brandy and water,
he wished you good night, and went into his own room. It was the next
room to yours; and the two had a door of communication between them.
On entering his own room Mr. Godfrey (as he supposed) closed his door.
His money troubles kept him awake. He sat, in his dressing-gown and slippers,
for nearly an hour, thinking over his position. Just as he was preparing
to get into bed, he heard you, talking to yourself, in your own room,
and going to the door of communication, found that he had not shut it as
he supposed.

He looked into your room to see what was the matter.
He discovered you with the candle in your hand, just leaving
your bed-chamber. He heard you say to yourself, in a voice
quite unlike your own voice, "How do I know? The Indians may
be hidden in the house."

Up to that time, he had simply supposed himself (in giving you the laudanum)
to be helping to make you the victim of a harmless practical joke.
It now occurred to him, that the laudanum had taken some effect on you,
which had not been foreseen by the doctor, any more than by himself.
In the fear of an accident happening he followed you softly to see what you
would do.

He followed you to Miss Verinder's sitting-room, and saw you go in.
You left the door open. He looked through the crevice thus produced,
between the door and the post, before he ventured into the room himself.

In that position, he not only detected you in taking
the Diamond out of the drawer--he also detected Miss Verinder,
silently watching you from her bedroom, through her open door.
His own eyes satisfied him that SHE saw you take the Diamond, too.

Before you left the sitting-room again, you hesitated a little.
Mr. Godfrey took advantage of this hesitation to get back
again to his bedroom before you came out, and discovered him.
He had barely got back, before you got back too. You saw him
(as he supposes) just as he was passing through the door
of communication. At any rate, you called to him in a strange,
drowsy voice.

He came back to you. You looked at him in a dull sleepy way.
You put the Diamond into his hand. You said to him,
"Take it back, Godfrey, to your father's bank. It's safe there--
it's not safe here." You turned away unsteadily, and put
on your dressing-gown. You sat down in the large arm-chair
in your room. You said, "I can't take it back to the bank.
My head's like lead--and I can't feel my feet under me."
Your head sank on the back of the chair--you heaved a heavy sigh--
and you fell asleep.

Mr. Godfrey Ablewhite went back, with the Diamond, into his own room.
His statement is, that he came to no conclusion, at that time--
except that he would wait, and see what happened in the morning.

When the morning came, your language and conduct showed that you
were absolutely ignorant of what you had said and done overnight.
At the same time, Miss Verinder's language and conduct showed
that she was resolved to say nothing (in mercy to you) on her side.
If Mr. Godfrey Ablewhite chose to keep the Diamond, he might do so
with perfect impunity. The Moonstone stood between him and ruin.
He put the Moonstone into his pocket.


This was the story told by your cousin (under pressure of necessity)
to Mr. Luker.

Mr. Luker believed the story to be, as to all main essentials, true--on this
ground, that Mr. Godfrey Ablewhite was too great a fool to have invented it.
Mr. Bruff and I agree with Mr. Luker, in considering this test of the truth
of the story to be a perfectly reliable one.

The next question, was the question of what Mr. Luker would do
in the matter of the Moonstone. He proposed the following terms,
as the only terms on which he would consent to mix himself
up with, what was (even in HIS line of business) a doubtful
and dangerous transaction.

Mr. Luker would consent to lend Mr. Godfrey Ablewhite the sum
of two thousand pounds, on condition that the Moonstone was
to be deposited with him as a pledge. If, at the expiration
of one year from that date, Mr. Godfrey Ablewhite paid three
thousand pounds to Mr. Luker, he was to receive back the Diamond,
as a pledge redeemed. If he failed to produce the money at
the expiration of the year, the pledge (otherwise the Moonstone)
was to be considered as forfeited to Mr. Luker--who would,
in this latter case, generously make Mr. Godfrey a present
of certain promissory notes of his (relating to former dealings)
which were then in the money-lender's possession.

It is needless to say, that Mr. Godfrey indignantly refused
to listen to these monstrous terms. Mr. Luker thereupon,
handed him back the Diamond, and wished him good night.

Your cousin went to the door, and came back again. How was he to be sure
that the conversation of that evening would be kept strictly secret between
his friend and himself?

Mr. Luker didn't profess to know how. If Mr. Godfrey had accepted
his terms, Mr. Godfrey would have made him an accomplice,
and might have counted on his silence as on a certainty.
As things were, Mr. Luker must be guided by his own interests.
If awkward inquiries were made, how could be he expected to
compromise himself, for the sake of a man who had declined to deal
with him?

Receiving this reply, Mr. Godfrey Ablewhite did, what all animals
(human and otherwise) do, when they find themselves caught in a trap.
He looked about him in a state of helpless despair. The day of the month,
recorded on a neat little card in a box on the money-lender's chimney-piece,
happened to attract his eye. It was the twenty-third of June.
On the twenty-fourth he had three hundred pounds to pay to the young
gentleman for whom he was trustee, and no chance of raising the money,
except the chance that Mr. Luker had offered to him. But for this
miserable obstacle, he might have taken the Diamond to Amsterdam, and have
made a marketable commodity of it, by having it cut up into separate stones.
As matters stood, he had no choice but to accept Mr. Luker's terms.
After all, he had a year at his disposal, in which to raise the three
thousand pounds--and a year is a long time.

Mr. Luker drew out the necessary documents on the spot.
When they were signed, he gave Mr. Godfrey Ablewhite
two cheques. One, dated June 23rd, for three hundred pounds.
Another, dated a week on, for the remaining balance seventeen
hundred pounds.

How the Moonstone was trusted to the keeping of Mr Luker's bankers,
and how the Indians treated Mr. Luker and Mr. Godfrey (after that had
been done) you know already.

The next event in your cousin's life refers again to Miss Verinder.
He proposed marriage to her for the second time--and (after having
being accepted) he consented, at her request, to consider the marriage
as broken off. One of his reasons for making this concession has been
penetrated by Mr. Bruff. Miss Verinder had only a life interest in her
mother's property--and there was no raising the twenty thousand pounds
on THAT.

But you will say, he might have saved the three thousand pounds,
to redeem the pledged Diamond, if he had married.
He might have done so certainly--supposing neither his wife,
nor her guardians and trustees, objected to his anticipating
more than half of the income at his disposal, for some
unknown purpose, in the first year of his marriage.
But even if he got over this obstacle, there was another
waiting for him in the background. The lady at the Villa,
had heard of his contemplated marriage. A superb woman,
Mr. Blake, of the sort that are not to be triffled with--
the sort with the light complexion and the Roman nose.
She felt the utmost contempt for Mr. Godfrey Ablewhite.
It would be silent contempt, if he made a handsome provision
for her. Otherwise, it would be contempt with a tongue to it.
Miss Verinder's life interest allowed him no more hope of raising
the "provision" than of raising the twenty thousand pounds.
He couldn't marry--he really couldn't marry, under all the

How he tried his luck again with another lady, and how THAT marriage
also broke down on the question of money, you know already.
You also know of the legacy of five thousand pounds, left to him
shortly afterwards, by one of those many admirers among the soft
sex whose good graces this fascinating man had contrived to win.
That legacy (as the event has proved) led him to his death.

I have ascertained that when he went abroad, on getting his five
thousand pounds, he went to Amsterdam. There he made all the necessary
arrangements for having the Diamond cut into separate stones. He came back
(in disguise), and redeemed the Moonstone, on the appointed day.
A few days were allowed to elapse (as a precaution agreed to by
both parties) before the jewel was actually taken out of the bank.
If he had got safe with it to Amsterdam, there would have been just time
between July 'forty-nine, and February 'fifty (when the young gentleman
came of age) to cut the Diamond, and to make a marketable commodity
(polished or unpolished) of the separate stones. Judge from this,
what motives he had to run the risk which he actually ran.
It was "neck or nothing" with him--if ever it was "neck or nothing" with a
man yet.

I have only to remind you, before closing this Report, that there is a chance
of laying hands on the Indians, and of recovering the Moonstone yet.
They are now (there is every reason to believe) on their passage to Bombay,
in an East Indiaman. The ship (barring accidents) will touch at no other
port on her way out; and the authorities at Bombay (already communicated
with by letter, overland) will be prepared to board the vessel, the moment she
enters the harbour.

I have the honour to remain, dear sir, your obedient servant,
RICHARD CUFF (late sergeant in the Detective Force, Scotland Yard,

* NOTE.--Wherever the Report touches on the events of the birthday,
or of the three days that followed it, compare with Betteredge's Narrative,
chapters viii. to xiii.


In a Letter from MR. CANDY

Frizinghall, Wednesday, September 26th, 1849.--Dear Mr. Franklin Blake,
you will anticipate the sad news I have to tell you, on finding your
letter to Ezra Jennings returned to you, unopened, in this enclosure.
He died in my arms, at sunrise, on Wednesday last.

I am not to blame for having failed to warn you that his end
was at hand. He expressly forbade me to write to you.
"I am indebted to Mr. Franklin Blake," he said, "for having
seen some happy days. Don't distress him, Mr. Candy--
don't distress him."

His sufferings, up to the last six hours of his life, were terrible
to see. In the intervals of remission, when his mind was clear,
I entreated him to tell me of any relatives of his to whom I
might write. He asked to be forgiven for refusing anything to me.
And then he said--not bitterly--that he would die as he had lived,
forgotten and unknown. He maintained that resolution to the last.
There is no hope now of making any discoveries concerning him. His story
is a blank.

The day before he died, he told me where to find all his papers.
I brought them to him on his bed. There was a little
bundle of old letters which he put aside. There was his
unfinished book. There was his Diary--in many locked volumes.
He opened the volume for this year, and tore out, one by one,
the pages relating to the time when you and he were together.
"Give those," he said, "to Mr. Franklin Blake. In years to come,
he may feel an interest in looking back at what is written there."
Then he clasped his hands, and prayed God fervently to bless you,
and those dear to you. He said he should like to see you again.
But the next moment he altered his mind. "No," he answered
when I offered to write. "I won't distress him! I won't
distress him!"

At his request I next collected the other papers--that is to say,
the bundle of letters, the unfinished book and the volumes of the Diary--
and enclosed them all in one wrapper, sealed with my own seal.
"Promise," he said, "that you will put this into my coffin with
your own hand; and that you will see that no other hand touches
it afterwards."

I gave him my promise. And the promise has been performed.

He asked me to do one other thing for him--which it cost me a hard
struggle to comply with. He said, "Let my grave be forgotten.
Give me your word of honour that you will allow no monument of any sort--
not even the commonest tombstone--to mark the place of my burial.
Let me sleep, nameless. Let me rest, unknown." When I tried to plead
with him to alter his resolution, he became for the first, and only time,
violently agitated. I could not bear to see it; and I gave way.
Nothing but a little grass mound marks the place of his rest.
In time, the tombstones will rise round it. And the people who come
after us will look and wonder at the nameless grave.

As I have told you, for six hours before his death his
sufferings ceased. He dozed a little. I think he dreamed.
Once or twice he smiled. A woman's name, as I suppose--
the name of "Ella"--was often on his lips at this time.
A few minutes before the end he asked me to lift him on his pillow,
to see the sun rise through the window. He was very weak.
His head fell on my shoulder. He whispered, "It's coming!"
Then he said, "Kiss me!" I kissed his forehead.
On a sudden he lifted his head. The sunlight touched his face.
A beautiful expression, an angelic expression, came over it.
He cried out three times, "Peace! peace! peace!" His head sank
back again on my shoulder, and the long trouble of his life was at
an end.

So he has gone from us. This was, as I think, a great man--
though the world never knew him. He had the sweetest temper I
have ever met with. The loss of him makes me feel very lonely.
Perhaps I have never been quite myself since my illness.
Sometimes, I think of giving up my practice, and going away,
and trying what some of the foreign baths and waters will do
for me.

It is reported here, that you and Miss Verinder are to be married next month.
Please to accept my best congratulations.

The pages of my poor friend's Journal are waiting for you at my house--
sealed up, with your name on the wrapper. I was afraid to trust them to
the post.

My best respects and good wishes attend Miss Verinder.
I remain, dear Mr. Franklin Blake, truly yours,




I am the person (as you remember no doubt) who led the way in these pages,
and opened the story. I am also the person who is left behind, as it were,
to close the story up.

Let nobody suppose that I have any last words to say here
concerning the Indian Diamond. I hold that unlucky jewel
in abhorrence--and I refer you to other authority than mine,
for such news of the Moonstone as you may, at the present time,
be expected to receive. My purpose, in this place, is to state
a fact in the history of the family, which has been passed
over by everybody, and which I won't allow to be disrespectfully
smothered up in that way. The fact to which I allude is--
the marriage of Miss Rachel and Mr. Franklin Blake.
This interesting event took place at our house in Yorkshire,
on Tuesday, October ninth, eighteen hundred and forty-nine. I
had a new suit of clothes on the occasion. And the married
couple went to spend the honeymoon in Scotland.

Family festivals having been rare enough at our house, since my poor
mistress's death, I own--on this occasion of the wedding--to having
(towards the latter part of the day) taken a drop too much on the strength
of it.

If you have ever done the same sort of thing yourself you will understand
and feel for me. If you have not, you will very likely say, "Disgusting old
man! why does he tell us this?" The reason why is now to come.

Having, then, taken my drop (bless you! you have got your favourite vice, too;
only your vice isn't mine, and mine isn't yours), I next applied the one
infallible remedy--that remedy being, as you know, ROBINSON CRUSOE.
Where I opened that unrivalled book, I can't say. Where the lines of print
at last left off running into each other, I know, however, perfectly well.
It was at page three hundred and eighteen--a domestic bit concerning Robinson
Crusoe's marriage, as follows:

"With those Thoughts, I considered my new Engagement, that I
had a Wife "--(Observe! so had Mr. Franklin!)--"one Child
born"--(Observe again! that might yet be Mr. Franklin's case,
too!)--"and my Wife then"--What Robinson Crusoe's wife did,
or did not do, "then," I felt no desire to discover.
I scored the bit about the Child with my pencil, and put a morsel
of paper for a mark to keep the place; "Lie you there," I said,
"till the marriage of Mr. Franklin and Miss Rachel is some
months older--and then we'll see!"

The months passed (more than I had bargained for), and no
occasion presented itself for disturbing that mark in the book.
It was not till this present month of November, eighteen hundred
and fifty, that Mr. Franklin came into my room, in high good spirits,
and said, "Betteredge! I have got some news for you!
Something is going to happen in the house, before we are many
months older."

"Does it concern the family, sir?" I asked.

"It decidedly concerns the family," says Mr. Franklin.
"Has your good lady anything to do with it, if you please, sir?"

"She has a great deal to do with it," says Mr. Franklin,
beginning to look a little surprised.

"You needn't say a word more, sir," I answered. "God bless you both!
I'm heartily glad to hear it."

Mr. Franklin stared like a person thunderstruck.
"May I venture to inquire where you got your information?"
he asked. "I only got mine (imparted in the strictest secrecy)
five minutes since."

Here was an opportunity of producing ROBINSON CRUSOE!
Here was a chance of reading that domestic bit about the child
which I had marked on the day of Mr. Franklin's marriage!
I read those miraculous words with an emphasis which did them justice,
and then I looked him severely in the face. "NOW, sir,
do you believe in ROBINSON CRUSOE?" I asked, with a solemnity,
suitable to the occasion.

"Betteredge!" says Mr. Franklin, with equal solemnity, "I'm convinced
at last." He shook hands with me--and I felt that I had converted him.

With the relation of this extraordinary circumstance,
my reappearance in these pages comes to an end. Let nobody
laugh at the unique anecdote here related. You are welcome
to be as merry as you please over everything else I have written.
But when I write of ROBINSON CRUSOE, by the Lord it's serious--
and I request you to take it accordingly!

When this is said, all is said. Ladies and gentlemen, I make my bow,
and shut up the story.




The Statement of SERGEANT CLIFF'S MAN (1849)

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