Chapter 20319309

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Chapter NumberFirst Period: I
Chapter TitleFirst Period: The Loss of the Diamond (1848)
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article20319309
Full Date1868-07-04
Page Number2
Corrections0
Word Count6982
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939)
Trove TitleThe Moonstone
article text

THE STORY.

FIRST PERIOD. THE LOSS OF THE DIAMOND (1848).

The Events related by Gabriel Betteredge, house-steward in the service of Julia, Lady Verinder.

CHAPTER I.

IN the first part of Robinson Crusoe, at page one hundred and twenty-nine, you will find it thus written: "Now I saw, though too late, the Folly of

beginning a Work before we count the Cost, and before we judge rightly of our own Strength to go through with it." Only yesterday I opened my Robinson Crusoe at that place. Only this morning (May 21, 1850) came my lady's nephew, Mr. Franklin Blake, and held a short conversation with me, as follows: "Betteredge," Bays Mr. Franklin, "I have been to the lawyer's about some family matters; and, among other things, we hare been talking of the lorn of the Indian Diamond, in my auntf ?

house in Yorkshire, two years Bince. The lawyer thinks, as I think, that the whole story ought, in the interests of truth, to be placed on record in writing—and the sooner the better." Not perceiving his drift yet, and thinking it always desirable for the sake of peace and quiet ness to be on the lawyer's side, I said I thought so too. Mr. Franklin went on: "In this matter of the Diamond," he said, " the characters of innocent people have suffered under suspicion already—as you know. The memories of innocent people may suffer, here after, for want of a record of the facts to which those who come after us can appeal. There can be no doubt that this strange family story of ours ought to be told. And I think, Betteredge, the lawyer and I together have hit on the right way of telling it." Very satisfactory to both of them, no doubt. But I failed to see what I myself had to do with it, so far." " We have certain events to relate," Mr. Franklin proceeded ; " and we have certain per sons concerned in those events who are capable of relating them. Starting from these plain facts, the lawyer's' idea is that we should all write the story of the Moonstone in turn—as far as our own personal experience extends, and no farther. We must begin by showing how the Diamond first fell into the hands of my uncle Herncastle, when he was serving in India, fifty years since. This prefatory narrative I have al ready got by me in the form of an old family paper, which relates the necessary particulars, on the authority of an eye-witness. The next thing to do is to tell how the Diamond found its way into my aunt's house in Yorkshire, two years since, and how it came to be lost in little more than twelve hours afterward. Nobody knows as much as you do, Betteredge, about what went on in the house at that time. So you must take the pen in hand, and start the story." In those terms I was informed of what my personal concern was with the matter of the Dia mond. If you are curious to know what course I took under the circumstances, I beg to inform you that I did what you would probable have done in my place. I modestly declared myself to be quite unequal to the task imposed upon me —and I privately felt, all the time, that I was quite clever enough to perform it, if I only gave my own abilities a fair chance. Mr. Franklin, I imagine, must have seen my private sentiments in my face. He declined to believe in my modesty; and he insisted on giving my abilities a fair chance. Two hours have passed since Mr. Franklin left me. As soon as his back was turned I went to my writing-desk to start the story. There I have sat helpless (in spite of my abilities) ever since; seeing what Robinson Crusoe saw, as quoted above—namely, the folly of beginning a work before we count the cost, and before we judge rightly of our own strength to go through with it. Please to remember, I opened the book by accident, at that bit, only the day before I rashly undertook the business now in hand; and, allow me to ask—if that isn't prophecy, what is ? lam not superstitious; I have read a heap of books in my time ; I am a scholar in my own way. Though turned seventy, I possess an active memory, and legs to correspond. You are not to take it, if you please, as the saying of an ignorant man, when I express my opinion that such a book as Robinson Crusoe never was written, and never will be written again. I have tried that book for years—generally in combination with a pipe of tobacco—and I have found it my friend in need in all the necessities of this mortal life. When my spirits are bad- Robinson Crusoe. When I want advice—Robin son Crusoe. In past times, when my wife plagued me; in present times, when I have had a drop too much—Robinson CrußOe. I have worn out six stout Robinson Crusoes with hard work in my service. On my lady's last birthday she gave me a seventh. I took a drop too much on the strength of it; and Robinson Crusoe put me right again. Price four shillings and sixpence, bound in blue, with a picture into the bargain. Still, this don't look much like starting the story of the Diamond—does it ? I seem to be wandering off in search of Lord knows what, Lord knows where. We will take a new sheet of paper, if you please, and begin over again, with my best respects to you. Chapter n. I spoke of my lady a line or two back. Now the Diamond could never have been in our house, where it was lost, if it had not been made a present of to my lady's daughter ; and my lady's daughter would never have been in existence to have the present, if it had not been for my lady who (with pain and travail) pro duced her into the world. Consequently if we begin with my lady, we are pretty sure of beginning far enough back. And that, let me tell you, when you have got such a job as mine on hand, is a real comfort at starting. If you know anything of the fashionable world you have heard tell of the three beautiful Miss Herncastles. Miss Adelaide, Miss Caio line, and Miss Julia—this last being the young est and the best of the three sisters, in my opinion; and I had opportunities of judging, as you shall presently see. I went into the service of the old lord, their father (thank God we have got nothing to do with him in this business of the Diamond; he had the longest tongue and the shortest temper of any man, high or low, I ever met with)—l say, I went into the service of the old lord, as page-boy in waiting on the three honorable young ladies, at the age of fifteen years. There I lived till Miss Julia married the late Sir John Verinder. An excellent man, who only wanted somebody to manage him; and, between ourselves, he found somebody to do it; and what is more, he throve on it, and grew fat on it; and lived happy and died easy on it, dating from the day when my lady took him to church to be married to the day when she relieved him of his last breath and closed his eyes for ever. I have omitted to state that I went with the bride to the bride's husband's house and lands down here. " Sir John," she said, " I can't do without Gabriel Betteredge." "My lady"' says Sir John, "Ican't do without him, either." That was his way with her—and that was how I went into his service. It was all one to me where I went, so long as my mistress and I were together. Seeing that my lady took an interest in the out-of-doer work, and the farms, and such like, I took an interest in them too—with all the more reason that I was a small farmer's seventh son myself. My lady got me put under the bailiff, and I did my best, and gave satisfaction, and got promotion accordingly. Some years later, on the Monday aB it might be, my lady says, " Sir John, your bailiff is a stupid old man. Pension him liberally, and let Gabriel Betteredge hare

his place." On the Tuesday as it might be, Sir John says, "My lady, the bailiff is pensioned liberally; and Gabriel Betteredge has got his place." You hear more than enough of married people living together miserably. Here is an example to the contrary. Let it be a warn ing to some of you, and an encouragement to others. In the mean time, I will go on with my story. Well, there I was in clover you will say. Placed in a position of trust and honor, with a little cottage of my own to live in, with my rounds ou the estate to occupy me in the morning and my accounts in the afternoon, and my pipe and my Robinson Crusoe in the even ing—what more could I possibly want to make me happy? Remember what Adam wanted when he was alone in the Garden of Eden; and i if you don't blame it in Adam, don't blame it in me. The woman I fixed my eye on was the woman who kept house for me at my cottage. Her name was Selina Goby. I agree with the late William Cobbett about picking a wife. See that she chews her food well, and sets her foot down firmly on the ground when she walks, and you're all right. Selina Goby was all right in both these respects, which was one reason for marry ing her. I had another reason, likewise, entirely of my own discovering. Selina, being a single woman, made me pay so much a week for her board and services. Selina, being my wife, couldn't charge for her board, and would have to give me her services for nothing. That was the point of view I looked at it from. Economy—with a dash of love. I put it to my mistress, as in duty bound, just as I have put it to myself. " I have been turning Selina Goby over in my mind," I said, " and I think, my lady, it will be cheaper to marry her than to keep her." My lady burst out laughing, and said she didn't know which to be most shocked at—my language or my principles. Some joke tickled her, I suppose, of the sort that you can't take unless you are a person of quality. Understand ing nothing myself but that I was free to put it next to Selina, I went and put it accordingly. And what did Selina say? Lord! how little you must know of women, if you ask that. Of course, she said Yes. As my time drew nearer, and there got to be talk of my having a new coat for the ceremony, my mind began to miogive me. I hate compared. notes with other men as to what they feit while ?? they were in my interesting situation, and they have all acknowledged that, about a week before it happened, they privately wished themselves out of it. I went a trifle further than that my self ; I actually rose up, as it were, and tried to get out of it. Not for nothing! I was too just a man to expect she would let me off 4 for nothing Compensation to the woman when the man gets out of it is one of the laws of England. In obedience to the laws, and after turning it over carefully in mind, I offered Selina Goby a feather-bed and fifty shillings to be off the bar gain. You will hardly believe it, but it is never theless true—Bhe was fool enough to refuse. After that it was all over with me, of course. I got the new coat as cheap as I could, and 1 went through all the rest of it as cheap as I could. We were not a happy couple, and not a miserable couple. We were six of one, and half a dozen of the other. How it was I don't understand, but we always seemed to be getting, with the best of motives, in one another's way. When I wanted to go up stairs, there was my wife coming'down; or when my wife wanted to go down there was I coming up. This is mar ried life, according to my experience of it. After five years of misunderstandings on the stairs, it pleased an all-wise Providence to re lieve us of each other by taking my wife. I was left with my little girl Penelope, and with no other child. Shortly afterward Sir John died, and my lady was left with her little girl Miss Rachel, and no other child. I have written to very poor purpose of my lady if you require to be told that my little Penelope was taken care of under my good mistress's own eye, and was sent to school, and taught, and made a sharp girl, and promoted, when old enough, to be Miss Rachel's own maid. As for me, I went on with my aB bailiff year after year up to Christmas, 1847» when there came a change in my life. On that day my lady invited herself to a cup of tea alone with me in my cottage. She remarked that, reckoning from the year when I started as page boy in the time of the old lord, I had been more than fifty years in her service, and she put into my hands a beautiful waistcoat of wool that she had worked herself, to keep me warm in the bitter winter weather. I received this magnificent present quite at a loss to find words to thank my mistress with for the honor she had done me. To my great astonishment, it turned out, however, that the waistcoat was not an honor, but a bribe. My lady had discovered that I was getting old be fore I had discovered it myself, and she had come to my cottage to wheedle me (if I may use such an expression) into giving up my hard, out-of-door work as bailiff, and taking my ease for the rest of my days as steward in the house. I made as good a fight of it against the indig nity of taking my ease as I could. But my mis tress knew the weak side of me; she put it as a favor to herself. The dispute between us ended, after that, in my wiping my eyes, like an old fool, with my new woollen waistcoat, and saying I would think abont it. The perturbation in my mind, in regard to thinking about it, being truly dreadful after my lady had gone away, I applied the remedy which I have never yet found to fail me in cases of doubt and emergency. I smoked a pipe and took a turn at Robinson Crusoe. Before I had occupied myself with that extraordinary book five minutes I came on a comforting bit (page one hundred and fifty-eight), as follows: "To | day we love what to-morrow we hate." I saw jmy way clear directly. To-day I was all for , continuing to be farm-bailiff; to-morrow, on the authority of Robinson Crusoe, I should be all the other way. Take myself to-morrow while in to morrow's humor, and the thing was done. My mind being reeved in this manner, I went to I sleep that night in the character of Lady Verin | der's farm-bailiff, and I woke up the next morn- I ing in the character of Lady Verinder's house steward. All quite comfortable, and all through Robinson Crusoe! My daughter Penelope has just looked over my shoulder to see what I have done, so far. She remarks that it is beautifully written, and every word of it true. But she points out one objection. She says, what I have done so far isn't in the least what I was wanted to do. I am asked to tell the story of the Diamond, and, instead of that, I have been telling the story of my own self. Curious, and quite beyond me to account for. I wonder whether the gentlemen who make a business and a living out of writing books ever find their own selves getting in the

way of their subjects like me ? If they do, I can feel for them. In the mean time, here is another false start, and more waste of good writing paper. What's to be done now ? Nothing that I know of, except for you to keep your temper, and for me to begin it all over again for the third time. Chapter 111. The question of how I am to start the story properly I have tried to settle in two ways. First, by scratching my head, which led to nothing. Second, by consulting my daughter Penelope, which has resulted in an entirely new idea. Penelope's notion is that I should set down I what happened regularly day by day, beginning I with the day when we got the news that Mr. Franklin Blake was expected on a visit to the house. When you come to fix your memory with a date in this way, it is wonderful what your memory will pick up for you upon that compulsion. The only difficulty is to fetch out the dates, in the first place. This Penelope offers to do for me by looking into her own diary, which she was taught to keep when she was at school, and which she has gone on keeping ever since. In answer to an improvement on this notion, devised by myself, namely, that she should tell the story instead of me, out of her own diary, Penelope observes, with a fierce look and a red face, that her journal is for her own private eye, and that no living creature shall ever know what is in it but herself. When I inquire what this means, Penelope says, " Fiddlestick!" I say, Sweet-hearts. Beginning, then, on Penelope's plan, I beg to mention that I was specially called one Wednes» day morning into my lady's own sitting-room, the date being the 24th of May, 1848. " Gabriel," says my lady, " here is news that will surprise you. Franklin Blake has come back from abroad. He has been staying with his father in London, and he is coming to us to morrow to stop till next month and keep Rachel's birthday." If I had had a hat in my hand nothing but respect would have prevented me from throwing that hat up to the ceiling. I had not seen Mr. Franklin since he was a boy, living along with us in this house. He was, out of sight (as I remember him), the nicest boy that ever spun a top or broke a window. Miss Rachel, who was present, and to whom I made that remark, observed, in return, that she remembered him as the most atrocious tyrant that ever tortured a doll, and the hardest driver of an exhausted little girl in string harness that England could produce. "I burn with indignation, and I ache with fatigue," was the way Miss Rachel summed it up, "when I think of Franklin Blake." Hearing what I now tell you, you will naturally ask how it was that Mr. Franklin should have passed all the years, from the time when he was a boy to the time when he was a man, out of his own country. I answer, because his father had the misfortune to be next heir to a Dukedom, and not to be able to prove it. In two words, this was how the thing happened. My lady's eldest sister married the celebrated Mr. Blake—equally famous for his great riches and his great suit at law. How many years he went on worrying the tribunals of his country to turn out the Duke in possession, and to put himself in the Duke's place—how many lawyer's purses he filled to bursting, and how many otherwise harmless people he set by the ears together disputing whether he was right or wrong—is more by a great deal than I can reckon up. His wife died, and two of his three children died, before the tribunals could make up their minds to show him the door and take no more of his money. When it was all over, and the Duke in possession was left in posses sion, Mr. Blake discovered that the only way Of being even with his country for the minner in which it had treated him was not to let his country have the honor of educating his son. " How can I trust my native institutions," was the form in which he put'it, " after the way in which my native institutions have behaved to me ?" Add to this that Mr. Blake disliked all boys, his own included, and you will admit that it could only end in one way. Master Franklin was taken from us in England, and was sent to institutions whioh his father could trust, in that superior country, Germany; Mr. Blake himself, yon will observe, remaining snug in England, to improve his fellow-countrymen in the Parlia ment House, and to publish a statement on the subject of the Duke in possession which has remained an unfinished statement from that day to this. There! Thank God, that's told! Neither you nor I need trouble our heads any more abont Mr. Blake, senior. Leave him to the Dukedom; and let you and I stick to the Diamond. The Diamond takes us back to Mr. Franklin who was the innocent means of bringing that unlucky jewel into the house. Oar nice boy didn't forget us after he went abroad. He wrote every now and then ; some times to my lady, sometimes to Miss Rachel and sometimes to me. We had had a transac tion together before he left, which consisted of his borrowing of me a ball of string, a four-bladed knife, and seven-and-sixpence in money—the color of which last I have not seen, and never expeot to see again. His letters to me chiefly related to borrowing more. I heard, however, from my lady, how he got on abroad, as he grew in years and stature.. After he had learned what the institutions of Germany could teach him» he gave the French a turn next, and the Italians a turn after that. They made him among them a sort of universal genius, as well as I could understand it. He wrote a little; he painted a little; he sang and played and composed a little —borrowing, as I suspect, in all these cases, just as he had borrowed from me. His mother's fortune (sevenhundred a year), fell to him when he came of age, and ran through him as it might be through a sieve. Tbe more money he had, the more he wanted : there was a hole in Mr. Franklin's pocket that nothing would sew up. Wherever he went the lively, easy way of him made him welcome. He lived here, there, and every where ; his address (as he used to put it himself) being " Post-office, Europe—to be left j till called for." Twice over he made up his mind to come back to England and see us; and twice over (saving your presence) some unmen tionable woman stood in the way and stopped him. His third attempt succeeded, as you know already from what my lady told me. On Thursday, the 25th of May, we were to see for the first time that our nice boy had grown to be as a man. He came of good blood; he had a high courage; and he was five-and-twenty years of age, by our reckoning. Now you know as much of Mr. Franklin Blake as I did —before Mr. Franklin Blake came down to our house. The Thursday was as fine a summer's day as

ever you saw; and my lady and Miss Rachel (not expecting Mr. Franklin till dinner-time) drove out to lunch with some friends in the neighborhood. When they were gone I went and had a look at the bedroom which had been got ready for our guest, and saw that all was straight. Then, being butler in my lady's establishment, as well as steward (at my own particular request, mind, and because it vexed me to see anybody but my self in possession of the key of the late Sir John's cellar) —then, I say, I fetched up some of our famous Latour claret, and set it in the warm summer air to take off the chill before dinner. Concluding to set myself in the warm summer air next—seeing that what is good for old claret is equally good for old age—l took up my bee-hive chair to go out into the back court, when I was stopped by hearing a sound like the soft beating of a drum on the terrace in front of my lady's residence. Going round to the terrace, I found three mahogany-colored Indians, in white linen frocks and trowsers, looking up at the house. The Indians, as I saw on looking closer, had small hand-drums slung in front of them. Be hind them stood a little, delicate-looking, light haired, English boy carrying a bag. I judged the fellows to be strolling conjurors, and the boy with the bag to be carrying the tools of their trade. One of the three, who spoke English, and who exhibited, I must own, the most elegant manners, presently informed me that my judgment was right. He requested permission to show his tricks in the presence of the lady of the house. Now lam not a sour old man. lam generally all for amusement, and the last person in the world to distrust another person because he happens to be a few shades darker than my self. But the best of us have our weaknesses— and my weakness, when I know a family plate basket to be out on a pantry-table, is to be instantly reminded of that basket by the sight of a strolling stranger whose manners are superior to my own. I accordingly informed the Indian that the lady of the house was out; and I warned him and his party off the premises. •' He made me a beautiful bow in return ; and he and his party went off the premises. On my side, I returned to my bee-hive chair, and set myself down on the sunny side of the court, and fell (if the truth must be owned) not exactly into a sleep, but into the next best thing to it. I was roused up by my daughter Penelope running out at me as if the house was on fire. What do you think she wanted ? She wanted to have the three Indian Jugglers instantly taken up; for this reason, namely, that they knew who was coming from London to visit us, and that they meant some mischief to Mr. Franklin Blake. Mr. Franklin's name roused me. I opened my eyes, and made my girl explain herself. Itappeared that Penelope had just come from our lodge, where she had been having a gossip with the lodge-keeper'B daughter. The two girls had seen the Indians pass out, after I had warned them off, followed by their little boy. Taking it into their heads that the boy was ill used by the foreigners—for no reason that I could discover, except that he was pretty and delicate-looking—the girls had stolen along the inner side of the hedge between us and the road, and had watched the proceedings of the foreign ers on the outer side. These proceedings resulted in the performance of the following extraordinary tricks: They first looked up the road and down the road, and made sure that they were alone. Then they all three faced about, and stared hard in the direction of our house. Then they jabbered und disputed in their own language, and looked at each other like men in doubt. Then they all turned to their little English boy. as if they expected him to help them. And then the chief Indian, who spoke English, said to the boy, " Hold out your hand." On hearing these dreadful words, my daughter Penelope said she didn't know what prevented her heart from flying straight out of her. I thought privately that it might have been her stays. All I said, however, was, " You make my flesh creep." (Nota bene: women like these little compliments.). Well, when the Indian said " Hold out your hand," the boy shrank back, and shook his head, and said he didn't like it. The Indian thereupon asked him (not at all unkindly) whether he would like to be sent back to Lon don, and left where they had found him, sleep ing in an empty basket in a market—a hungry, ragged, and forsaken little boy. This, it seems, ended the difficulty. The little chap unwillingly held out his hand. Upon that the Indian took a bottle from his bosom, and poured out of it some black Btuff, like ink, into the palm of the boy's hand. The Indian—first touching the boy's head, and making signs over it in the air—then said, " Look." The boy became quite stiff, and stood like a statue, looking into the ink in the hollow of his hand. (3o far, it seemed to me to be juggling, accompanied by a foolish waste of ink. I was beginning to feel sleepy again, when Penelope's next words stirred me up.) The Indians looked up the road and down the road once more—and then the chief Indian said these words to the boy: " See the English gen tleman from foreign parts." The boy said, " I see him." The Indian said, " Is it on the road to this house, and on no other, that the English gen tleman will pass by us to-day ?" The boy said, " It is on the road to this house, and on no other, that the English gentleman will pass by you to-day." The Indian put a second question—after wait ing a little first. He said: " Has the English gentleman got it about him ?" The boy answered—also, after waiting a little first—" Yes." The Indian put a third and last question : " Will the English gentleman come here, as he has promised to come, at the close of day ?" The boy said, " I can't tell." The Indian asked why. The boy said, "I am tired. The mist rises in my head, and guzzles me. I can see no more today." With that the catechism ended. The chief Indian said something in his own language to the other two, pointing to the boy, and pointing toward the town, in which (as we afterward dis covered) they were lodged. He then, after making more signs on the boy's head, blew on his forehead, and so woke him up with a start. After that they all went on their way toward the town, and the girls saw them no more. Most things, they say, have a moral, if you only look for it. What was the moral of thia ?" The moral was, as I thought: First, that the chief juggler had heard Mr. Franklin's arrival talked of among the servants out-of-doors, and saw his way to making a little money by it.

Second, that he and his men and boy (with a view to making the said money) meant to hang about till they saw my lady drive home, and then to come back, and foretell Mr. Franklin's arrival by magic. Third, that Penelope had heard them rehearsing their hocus-pocus, like actors, rehears ing a play. Fourth, that I should do well to ™l aHTi ha, fc evening. on the plate-basket. Fifth, that Penelope would do well to cool down, .and leave me, her father, to doze off again in the sun. 6 That appeared to me to be the sensible view. If you know anything of the ways of youne women, you won't be surprised to hear that Penelope wouldn't take it. The moral of the thing was serious, according to my daughter. She particularly reminded me of the Indian's third question. Has the English gentleman eot it about him ? " Oh, Father!" says Penelope, clasping her hands, " don't joke about this' What does ' it ' mean ?" " We'll ask Mr. Franklin, my dear," I said, "if you can wait till Mr. Franklin comes." I winked to show I meant that in joke. Penelope took it quite seriously. My girl's earnestness tickled me. " What on earth should Mr. Frank lin know abouf it," I inquired. " Ask him," says Penelope. " And Bee whether he thinks it a laughing matter, too." With that parting shot my daughter left me. I settled it with myself, when she was gone, that I really would ask Mr. Franklin—mainly to set Penelope's mind at rest. What was said between us, when I did ask him, later on that same day, you will find set out fully in its proper place. But as I don't wish to raise your ex pectations and then disappoint them, I will take*^ leave to warn you here—before we go any further —that you won't find the ghost of a joke in our conversation on the subject of the jugglers. To my great surprise, Mr. Franklin, like Penelope, took the thing seriously. How seriously, you will understand, when I tell you that, in his opinion, " It" meant the Moonstone. I am truly sorry to detain you over me and my bee-hive chair. A sleepy old man, in a sunny back-yard, is not an interesting object, I am well aware. But things must be put down in their places, as things actually happened— and you must please to jog on a little while longer with me, in the expectation of Mr. Frank-' lin Blake's arrival later in the day. • -.. Before I had time to doze off again, after my daughter Penelope had left me, I was disturbed by a rattling of plates and dishes in the servants' hall, which meant that dinner was ready. Taking my own meals in my own sitting-room, I had nothing to do with the servants' dinner, except to wish them a good stomach to it all round, previous to composing myself once more in my chair. I was just stretching my legs, when out bounced another woman on me. Not my daughter again; only Nancy, the kitchen maid, this time. I was straight in her way out; and I observed, as she asked me to let her by, that she had a Bulky face—a thing which, as head of the servants, I never allow, on principle, to pass me without inquiry. " What are you turning your back on your dinner for?" I asked. "What's wrong now, Nancy?" Nancy tried to push by without answering; upon which I rose up, and took her by the ear. She is a nice, plump young lass, and it is custom ary with me to adopt that manner of showing that I personally approve of a girl. " What's wrong now ?" I said, once more. " Rosanna's late again for dinner," said Nan cy. " And I'm sent to fetch her in. All the hard work falls on my shoulders in this house. Let me alone, Mr. Betteredge!" The person here mentioned as Rosanna was our second house-maid. Having a kind of pity for our second house-maid (why, you shall presently know), and seeing in Nancy's face that she would fetch her fellow-servant in with more hard words than might be needful under the circumstances, it struck me that I had nothing particular to do, and that I might as well fetch Rosanna myself; giving her a hint to be punctual in future, which I knew she would take kindly from me. " Where is Rosanna ?" I enquired. "At the sands, of course," says Nancy, with a toss of her head. " She had another of her fainting fits this morning, and she asked to go out and get a breath of fresh air. I have no patience with her." " Go back to your dinner, my girl," I said. " I have patience with her, and I'll fetch her in." Nancy (who has a fine appetite) looked pleased. When she looks pleased she looks nice. When she looks nice, I chuck her under the chin. It isn't immorality—it's only habit. Well, I took my stick, and set off for the sands. No! it won't do to set off yet. lam sorry again to detain you; but you really must hear the story of the sands, and the story of Rosanna —for this reason, that the matter of the Diamond touches them both nearly. How hard I try to get on with my statement without stopping by the way, and how badly I sucoeed! But, there! —persons and things do turn up so vexatiously in this life, and will in a manner insist on being noticed. Let us take it easy, and let us take it short; we shall be in the thick of the myßtery soon, I promise you! Rosanna (to put the person before the thing, which is but common politeness) was the only, new servant in our house. About four months. before the time I am writing of my lady had been in London, and had gone over a Reforma tory, intended to save forlorn women from drift ing back into bad ways, after they had got re leased from prison. The matron, seeing my lady took an interest in the place, pointed out a girl to her, named Rosanna Spearman, and told her a most miserable story, which I haven't the heart to repeat here; for I don't want to be made wretched without any use, and no more do you. The upshot of it was, that Rosanna Spearman had been a thief, and not being of the sort that get up companies in the city, and rob from thousands, instead of only robbing from one, the law laid hold of her, and the prison and the re formatory followed the lead of the law. The matron's opinion of Rosanna was (in spite of what she had done) that the girl was one in a thousand, and that she only wanted a chance to prove herself worthy of any Christian woman's interest in her. My lady (being a Christian woman, if ever there was one yet) said to the matron upon that, " Rosanna Spearman shall have her chance in my service. In a week afterward Rosanna Spearman entered this es- • tablishment as our second house-maid. Not a soul was told the girl's story excepting Miss Rachel and me. My lady, doing me the honor to consult me about most things, consulted me about Rosanna. Having fallen a good deal latterly into the late Sir John's way of always agreeing with my lady, I agreed with her heartily about Kosanna Spearman. A fairer chance no girl could have had than was given to this poor girl of ours. None of the servants could cast her past life in her teeth, for none of tbe servants knew what it had been. She had her wages and her privileges, like the rest of them; and every now and then a friendly word from my lady, in private, to encourage her. In return she showed herself, lam bound to say, well worthy of the kind treatment be stowed upon her. Though far from strong, and troubled occasionally with those fainting fits already mentioned, she went about her work modestly and uncomplainingly, doing it carefully and doing it well. But somehow she failed to make friends among the other women servants, excepting my daughter Penelope, who was always kind to Rosanna, though never inti mate with her. I hardly know what the girl did to offend them. There was certainly no beauty about her to make the others envious ; she was the plainest woman in the house, with the additional misfortune of having one shoulder bigger than the other. What the servants chiefly resented, I think, was her silent tongue and her solitary ways. She read or worked in leisure hours when the rest gossiped. And when it came to her turn to go out, nine times out of ten she quietly put on her bonnet, and had her turn by herself. She never quarreled, she never took offence; she only kept a certain distance, obstinately and civilly, be tween the rest of them and herself. Add to this that, plain as she was, there was just a dash of* something that wasn't like a house-maid, and that was Eke a lady, about her. It might have been in her voice, or it might have been in her face. All I can say is that the other women pounced on it like lightning the first day she came into the house ; and said (which was most unjust) that Rosanna Spearman gave herself sirs. [TO BX COXTJNVZD.]