Chapter 20319863

See chapter in newspaper

Chapter NumberFirst Period: XII - XIV
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1868-08-08
Page Number2
Word Count8685
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939)
Trove TitleThe Moonstone
article text

The Novelist.



BY WILKIE COLLINS. Author of "The Woman in White," "No Name," etc

British Quarterly Review.

HAVING settled the question of the paint, Ser -<*> geant Cuff, from that moment gave his brother-<*> officer up as a bad job—and addressed himself to Mr. Franklin, as the more promising assistant

of the two. " It's quite on the cards, sir," he said, " that yon have put the clew into our hands." As the words passed his lips the bedroom door opened and Miss Rachel came out among Hi suddenly. She addressed herself to the sergeant, without appearing to notice (or to heed) that he was a perfect stranger to her. " Did you say," she asked, pointing to Mr. Franklin, " that he had put the clew into your hands ?" ( v This is Mies Verinder," I whispered, be hind the sergeant.) " That gentleman, miss," says the sergeant— with his steely-grey eyes carefully studying my young lady's face—" has possibly put the clew into our hands." She turned for one moment, and tried to look at Mr. Franklin. I Bay tried, for she suddenly looked away again before their eyes met. There seemed to be some strange disturbance in her mind. She colored up, and then she turned pale again. With the paleness there came a new look into her face, a look which it startled me to see. " Having answered your question miss," says the sergeant, " I beg leave to make an inquiry in my turn. There is a smear on the painting of your door here. Do you happen to know when it was done ? or who did it P" Instead of making any reply, Miss Rachel went on with her questions as if he had not tpoken, or as if she had not heard him. "Are you another police-officer P" she asked. " I am Sergeant Cuff, miss, of the Detective Police." "Do you think a young lady's advice worth having?" "I shall be glad to hear it, miss." "Do your duty by yourself—and don't allow Mr. Franklin Blake to help you!" She said those words so spitefully, so savagely, with such an extraordinary outbreak of ill-will toward Mr. Franklin, in her voice Ad her look, that—though I had known her from a baby, though I loved and honored her next to my lady herself—l was ashamed of Miss Rachel for the first time in my life. Sergeant Cuffs immovable eyes never stirred from off her face. " Thank you miss," he said. "Do you happen to know anything about the smear? Might you have done it by accident yourself?" " I know nothing about the smear." 'With that answer she turned away, and shut herself up again in her bedroom. This time, I heard her—as Penelope had heard her before— bunt out crying as soon as she was alone again. I couldn't bring myself to look at the sergeant —I looked at Mr. Franklin, who stood nearest to me. He seemed to be even more sorely die tressed at what had passed than I was. " I told you I was uneasy about her," he said. "And now you see why." " Miss Verinder appears to be a little out of temper about the loss of her diamond," remarked the sergeant. " It's a valuable jewel. Natural ?ppeuaM natural enough!" Here was the excuse that I had made for her (when she forgot herself before Superintendent Seegrave, on the previous day) being made for her over again, by a man who couldn't have had my interest in making it—for he was a perfect stranger! A kind of cold shudder ran through me, which I couldn't account for at the time. I know now that I must have got my first suspi cion, at that moment, of a new light (and a hor rid light) having suddenly fallen on the case, in the mind of Sergeant Cuff—purely and entirely in consequence of what [he had seen in Miss Bachel, and heard from Miss Rachel, at that first interview between them. "A young lady's tongue is a privileged mem ber, sir," says the sergeant to Mr. Franklin. us forget what has passed, and go straight on with this business. Thanks to you we.know when the paint was dry. The next thing to dis cover is when the paint was last Been without that, smear. You have got a head on your shoulders—and j»u understand what I mean." i Mr.Franklin composed himself, and came back with an effort from Mis* Hachel to >ihe matter in hand. "I think Ido understand," he said. "TH sore we narrow the question of time the mcJB we also narrow the field of inquiry .*' " That's it, sir," said the sergeant. " Did you notioe your work here on the Wednesday after noon, after you had done it?" Mr. Franklin shook his head and answered, "I can't say I did." "Did you?" inquired Sergeant Cuff, turning tome. "I can't say I did either, sir." " Who was the last person in the room, the last thing on Wednesday night ?" "Miss Baohel, I suppose, sir." Mr. Franklin struck in there, " Or possibly your daughter, Betteredge." He turned to Ser jeant Cuff, and explained that my daughter was Miss Yerinder's maid. " Mr. Betteredge, ask your daughter to step up. 8top!" Bays the sergeant, taking me away to the window, out of ear-shot. " Your Super intendent here," he went on, in a whisper, " has ttade a pretty full report to me of the manner in which he has managed this case. Among other things he has, by his own confession, set the Mrvants' backs up. It's very important to smooth them down again. Tell your daughter, and tell the rest of them, these two things with my com pliments : First, that I have no evidence before "M. yet, that the diamocd has been stolen; I only know that the diamond has been lost. Second, that my business here with the servants is simply to ask them to lay their heads together «od help me to find it." My experience of the women-servants, when Superintendent Seegrave laid his embargo on their rooms came in handy here. " May I make bo bold, sergeant, as to tell the women a third thing?" I asked. "Are they free (with your compliments) to fidget up and down stairs, and whisk in and out of their bed woms, if the fit takeß them ?" "Perfectly free," says the sergeant. "That will smooth them down, sir," Ire marked, "from the cook to the scullion." "Go and do it at once, Mr. Betteredge." I did it in leas than five minutes. There was only one difficulty when I came to the bit about the bedrooms. It took a pretty stiff exertion of n»7 authority, as chief, to prevent the whole of

the female household from following me and Penelope up stairs, in the character of volunteer witnesses in a burning fever of anxiety to help Sergeant Cuff. The sergeant seemed to approve of Penelope. He became a trifle less dreary; and he looked much as he had looked when he noticed the white musk-rose in the flower-garden. Here is my daughter's evidence, as drawn off from her by the sergeant. She gave it, I think, very prettily—but, there she is my child all over: nothing of her mother in her ; Lord bless you, nothing of her mother in her! Penelope examined: Took a lively interest in the painting on the door, having helped to mix the colors. Noticed the bit of work under the lock, because it was the last bit dote. Had seen it, some hours afterward, without a smear. Had left it, as late as 12 at night, without a smear. Had, at that hour, wished her young lady good night in the bedroom ; had heard the clock strike in the " boudoir ;" had her hand at the time on the handle of the painted door; knew the paint was wet (having helped to mix the colors, as aforesaid) ; took particular pains not to touch it; could swear that she held up the skirts of her dress, and that there was no smear on the paint then ; could not swear that her dress mightn't have touched it accidentally in going out; re membered the dress she had on, because it was new, a present from Miss Rachel; her father re membered, and could speak to it, too; could, and would, and did fetch it; dress recognised by her tather as the dress she wore that night; skirts examined, a long job from the size of them ; not the ghost of a paint-stain discovered anywhere. End of Penelope'B evidence—and very pretty and convincing, too. Signed, Gabriel Betteredge. The Sergeant's next proceeding was to ques tion me about any large dogs in the house who might have got into the room, and done the mischief with a whisk of their tails. Hearing that this was impossible, he next sent for a mag nifying-glass, and tried how the smear looked, seen that way. No skin-mark (as of a human hand) printed off on the paint. All the signs visible—signs which told that the paint had been smeared by some loose article of somebody's dress touching it in going by. That somebody (putting together Penelope's evidence and Mr. Franklin's evidence) must have been in the room and done the mischief, between midnight and 3 o'clock on the Thursday morning. Having brought his investigation to this point, Sergeant Cuff discovered that suoh a person as Superintedent Seegrave was still left in the room, upon which he summed up the proceedings for his brother-officer's benefit, as follows : " This trifle of yours, Mr. Superintendent," says the sergeant, pointing to the place on the door, " has grown a little in importance since you noticed it last. At the present 6tage of the inquiry there are, as I take it, three discoveries to make, starting from that smear. Find out (first) whether there is any article of dreßß in this house with the smear of the paint on it. Find out (second) who that dress belongs to. Find out (third) how the person can account for having been in this room, and smeared the paint, between midnight and 3in the morning. If the person can't satisfy you, you haven't far to look for the hand that has got the diamond. I'll work this by myself, if yoa please, and detain you no longer from your regular business in town. You have got one of your men here, I see. Leave him here at my disposal, in case I want him—and allow me to wish you good morning." Superintendent Seegrave's respect for the ser geant was great; but bis respect for himself was greater still. Hit hard by the celebrated Cuff, he hit back smartly, to the best of his ability, on leaving the room. "I have abstained from expressing any opinion, so far," Bays Mr. Superintendent, with his military voice still in good working order. ** I have now only one remark to offer, on leav ing this case in your hands. There is such a thing, Sergeant, as making a mountain out of a mole-hill. Good-morning." " There is also such a thing as making nothing out of a mole-hill, in consequence of your head being to high to see it." Having returned his brother-officer's compliment in those terms, Ser geant Cuff wheeled about, and walked away to the window by himself. Mr. Franklin and I waited to see what was coming next. The sergeant stood at the win dow, with his hands in his pockets, looking out, and whistling the tune of the Last Rose of Sum mer softly to himself. Later in the proceedings, I discovered that he only forgot his manners so far as to whistle, when his mind was hard at work, seeing its way inch by inch to its own pri vate ends, on which occasion the Last Rose of Summer evidently helped and encouraged him. I suppose it fitted in somehow with his character. It reminded him, you see, of his favorite roses, and, as he whistled it, it was the most melan choly tune going. Turning from the window after a minute or two, the sergeant walked into the middle of the room, and stopped there, deep in thought, with his eyes on Miss Rachel's bedroom door. After a little he roused himself, nodded his head, as much as to say, " That will do!" and, addressing me, asked for ten minutes' converaation with my mistress, at her ladyship's earliest convenience. Leaving the room with this message, I heard Mr. Franklin ask the sergeant a question, and stopped to hear the answer also at the threshold of the door. " Can you gues9 yet," inquired Mr. Franklin, " who has stolen the diamond ?" " Nobody has stolen the diamond" answered Sergeant Cuff. We both started at that extraordinary view of the case, and both earnestly begged him to tell us what he meant. " Wait a little," said the sergeant. " Die pieces of the puzzle are not all put together yet." Chapter XIII. I found my lady in her own sitting-room. She started and looked annoyed when I men tioned that Sergeant Cuff wished to speak to her. " Must I see him ?" she asked. " Can't you represent me, Gabriel ?" I felt at a loss to understand this, and showed it plainly, I suppose, in my face. My lady was so good as to explain herself. " I am afraid my nerves are a little shaken," she said. " There is something in that police officer from London which I recoil from—l don't know why. I have a presentiment that he is bringing trouble and misery with him into the house. Very foolish and very unlike me—but so it is." I hardly knew what to say to this. The more I saw of Sergeant Cuff the better I liked him. My lady rallied a little after having opened her heart to me—being naturally a woman of a high courage, as I have already told you. " If I must see him, I must," she said. " But

I can't prevail on myself to see him alone. Bring him in, Gabriel, and stay here as long as he stays." This was the first attack of the megrims that I remembered in my mistress since the time when she was a young girl. I went back to the " boudoir." Mr. Franklin strolled out into the garden, and joined Mr. Godfrey, whose time for departure was now drawing near. Sergeant Cuff and I went straight to my mistress's room. I declare my lady turned a shade paler at the sight of him! She commanded herself, how ever, in other respects, and asked the sergeant if he had any objection to my being present. She was so good as to add that I was her trusted adviser as well as her old servant, and that in anything which related to the household I waß the person whom it might be most profitable to consult. The sergeant politely answered that he would take my presence as a favor, having something to say about the servants in general, and having found my experience in that quarter already of some use to him. My lady pointed to two chairs, and we set in for our conference immediately. " I have already formed an opinion on this case," says Sergeant Cuff, " which I beg your ladyship's permission to keep to myself for the present. My business now is to mention what I have discovered up stairs in Miss Verinder's sitting-room, and what I have decided (with your ladyship's leave) on doing next." He then went into the matter of the smear on the paint, and stated the conclusions he drew from it—just as he had stated them (only with greater respect of language) to Superintendent Seegrave. " One thing," he said, in conclusion, "is certain. The diamond is missing out of the drawer in the cabinet. Another thing is next to certain. The marks from the smear on the door must be on some artiole of dreßß belonging to somebody in this house. We must discover that article of dress before we go a step further." " And that discovery," remarked my mistress, "implies, I presume, the discovery of the thief?" " I beg your ladyship's pardon—l don't say the diamond is stolen. 1 only say, at present, that the diamond is missing. The discovery of the stained dress may lead the way to finding it." Her ladyship looked at me. "Do you under stand this ?" she said. " Sergeant Cuff understands it, my lady," I answered. " How do you propose to discover the stained dress ?" inquired my mistress, addressing herself once more to the sergeant. "My good servants, who have been with me for years, have, I am ashamed to say, had their boxes and room s searched already by the other officer. I can't and won't permit them to be insulted in that way a second time!" (There was a mistress to serve! There was a woman in ten thousand, if you like!) " That is the very point I was about to put to your ladyship," said the sergeant. " The other officer has done a world of harm to this inquiry by letting the servants see that he suspected them. If I give them cause to think themselves suspected a second time, there's no knowing what obstacles they may not throw in my way—the women especially. At the same time their boxes must be searched again—for this plain reason, that the first investigation only looked for the diamond, and that the second investigation must look for the stained dress. I quite agree with you, my lady, that the servants' feelings ought to be consulted. But I am equally clear that the servants' wardrobes ought to be searched." This looked very like a dead lock. My lady said so, in choicer language than mine. " I have got a plan to meet the difficulty," said Sergeant Cuff, "if your ladyship will con. sent to it. I propose explaining the case to the servants." " The women will think themselves suspected directly," I said, interrupting him. "The women won't,Mr.Betteredge," answered the sergeant, "if I can tell them I am going to examine the wardrobes of everybody—from her ladyship downward—who slept in the house on Wednesday night. It's a mere formality," he added, with a side look at my mistress; " but the servants will accept it as even dealing be* tween them and their betters; and, instead of hindering the investigation, they will make a point of honor of assisting it." I saw the truth of that. My lady, after her first surprise was over, saw the truth of it also. " You are certain the investigation is neces sary ?" she said. " It's the shortest way that I can see, my lady, to the end we have in view." My mistress rose to ring the bell for her maid. " You shall speak to the servants," she said, "with the keys of my wardrobe in your hand." Sergeant Cuff stopped her by a very unex pected question. " Hadn't we better make sure first," he asked, "that the other ladies and gentlemen in the house will consent, too ?" " The only other lady in the house is Miss Verinder," answered my mistress, with a look of surprise. " The only gentlemen are my nephews, Mr. Blake and Mr. Ablewhite. There is not the least fear of a refusal from any of the three." I reminded my lady here that Mr. Godfrey was going away. As I said the words Mr. God frey himself knocked at the door to say good-bye, and was followed in by Mr. Franklin, who was going with him to the station. My lady ex plained the difficulty. Mr. Godfrey settled it directly. He called to Samuel, through the window, to take his portmanteau up stairs again, and he then put the key himself into Sergeant Cuff's hand. "My luggage can follow me to London," he said, " when the inquiry is over." The sergeant received the key with a becoming apology. "I am sorry to put you to any incon venience, sir, for a mere formality; but the ex ample of their betters will do wonders in recon ciling the servants to this enquiry." Mr. God frey, after taking leave of my lady in a most sympathising manner, left a farewell message for Miss Rachel, the terms of which made it clear to my mind that he had not taken " No " for an an swer, and that he meant to put the marriage question to her once more, at the next oppor tunity. Mr. Franklin, on following his cousin out, informed the sergeant that all his clothes were open to examination, and that nothing he possessed was kept under lock and key. Ser geant Cuff made his best acknowledgment*. His views, you will observe, had been met with the utmost readiness by my lady, by Mr. Godfrey, and by Mr. Franklin. There was only Miss Rachel now wanting to follow their lead, before we called the servants together, and began the search for the stained dress. My lady's unaccountable objection to the sergeant seemed to make our conference more distasteful to her than ever, as .soon as we were left alone again. "HI send you down Miss Verinder's keys," she said to him, " I presume

I shall have done all you want of me for the present." "I beg your ladyship's pardon," said Ser geant Cuff. " Before we begin, I should like, if convenient, to have the washing-book. The stained article of drees may be an article of linen. If the search leads to nothing, I want to be able to account next for all the linen in the house and all the linen sent to wash. If there is an article missing, there will be at least a presumption that it has got the paint-stain on it, and that it has been purposely made away with, yesterday or to-day, by the person owning it. Superintendent Seegrave," added the Sergeant, turning to me, " pointed the attention of the women-servants to the smear, when they all crowded into the room on Thursday morning. That may turn out, Mr. Betteredge, to have been one more of Superin tendent Seegrave's many mistakes." My lady desired me to ring the bell and order the washing-book. She remained with us until it was produced, in case Sergeant Cuff had any further request to make of her after looking at it. The washing-book was brought in by Rosanna Spearman. The girl had come down to break fast that morning miserably pale and haggard, but sufficiently recovered from her illness of the previous day to do her usual work. Sergeant Cuff looked attentively at our second house maid—at her face, when she came in; at her crooked shoulder, when she went out. " Have you anything more to say to me ?' asked my lady, still as eager as ever to be out of the sergeant's society. The great Cuff opened the washing-book, un derstood it perfectly in half a minute, and shut it up again. " I venture to trouble your lady ship with one last question," he said. " Has the young woman who brought us this book been in your employment as long as the other servants ?" " Why do you ask ?" said my lady. " The last time I saw her," answered the ser geant, " she was in prison for theft." After that there was no help for it but to tell him the truth. My mistress dwelt strongly on Rosanna's good conduct in her service, and on the high opinion entertained of her by the matron at the reformatory. " You don't sus pect her, I hope ?" my lady added, in conclu sion, very earnestly. " I have already told your ladyship that I don't suspect any person in the house of thiev ing, up to the present time." After that answer, my lady rose to go up stairs, and ask for Miss Rachel's keys. The sergeant was beforehand with me in opening the door for her. He made a very low bow. My lady shuddered as she passed him. We waited, and waited, and no keys ap peared. Sergeant Cuff made no remark to me. He turned his melancholy face to the window ; he put his lanky hands into his pockets, and he whistled The Last Rose of Summer drearily to himself. At last Samuel came in, not with the keys, but with a morsel of paper for me. I got at my spectacles, with some fumbling and diffi culty, feeling the sergeant's dismal eyes fixed on me all the time. There were two or three lines on the paper, written in pencil by my lady. They informed me that Miss Rachel flatly re fused to have her wardrobe examined. Asked for her reasons, she had burst out crying. Asked again, she had said: " I won't, because I won't. I must yield to force if you use it, but I will yield to nothing else." I understood my lady's disinclination to face Sergeant Cuff with such an answer from her daughter as that. If I had not been too old for the amiable weak nesses of youth, 1 believe I should have blushed at the notion of facing him myself. " Any news of Miss Yerinder's keys ?" asked the sergeant. " My young lady refuses to have her wardrobe examined." " Ah!" said the sergeant. His voice was not quite in such a perfect state of discipline as his face. When he said " Ah!" he said it in the tone of a man who had heard something which he expected to hear. He half angered and half-frightened me —why, I couldn't tell, but he did it. " Must the search be given up ?" I asked. "Yes," said the sergeant, " the search must be given up, because your young lady refuses to submit to it like the rest. We must examine all the wardrobes in the house or none. Send Mr. Ablewhite's portmanteau to London by the next train, and return the washing-book, with my compliments and thanks, to the young woman who brought it in." He laid the washing-book on the table, and, taking out his penknife, began to trim his nails. " You don't seem to be much disappointed," I said. "No," said Sergeant Cuff; "I'm not much disappointed." I tried to make him explain himself. " Why should Miss Rachel put an obstacle in your way ?" I inquired. " Isn't it her interest to help you ?" "Wait a little, Mr. Betteredge—wait a little." Cleverer heads than mine might have seen his drift. Or a person less fond of Miss Rachel than I was might have seen this drift! My lady's horror of him might (as I have since thought) have meant that she saw his drift (as the Scripture says) "in a glass darkly." I didn't see it yet—that's all I know. " What's to be done next ?" I asked. Sergeant Cuff finished the nail on which he was then at work, looked at it for a moment with a melancholy interest, and put up bis penknife. " Come out into the garden," he said, " and let's have a look at ihe roses." Chapteb XTV. The nearest way to the garden, on going out of my lady's sitting-room, was by the shrubbery path, which you already know of. For the sake of your better understanding of what is now to come, I may add to this, that the shrubbery path was Mr. Franklin's favorite walk. When he was out in the grounds, and when we failed to find him anywhere else, we generally found him here. I am afraid I must own that I am rather an obstinate old man. The more firmly Sergeant Cuff kept his thoughts Bhut up from me the more firmly I persisted in trying to look in at them. As we turned into the shrubbery path I attempted to circumvent him in another way. "As things are now," I said, " if I was in your place I should be at my wit's end." " If you were in my place," answered the ser geant, " you would have formed an opinion— and, as things are now, any doubt you might previously have felt about your own conclusions would be completely set at rest. Never mind, for the present, what those conclusions are, Mr. Betteredge. I haven't brought 70a oat here to '

draw me like a badger; I hare brought yon out here to ask for some information. You might have given it to me, no doubt, in the house, instead of out of it. But doors and listeners have a knack of getting together, and, in my line of life, we sometimes cultivate a healthy taste for the open air." Who was to circumvent this man ? I gave in—and waited as patiently as I could to hear what was coming next. " We won't enter into your young lady's mo tives," the sergeant went on ; "we will only say it's a pity she declines to assist me, because, by so doing, she makes this investigation more difficult than it might otherwise have been. We must now try to solve the mystery of the smear on the door —which, you may take my word for it, means the mystery of the diamond also—in some other way. I have decided to see the servants, and to search their thoughts and ac tions, Mr. Betteredge, instead of searching their wardrobes. Before I begin, however, I want to ask you a question or two. You are an ob servant man—did you notice anything strange in any of the servants (making due allowance, of course, for fright and fluster) after the loss of the diamond was found out ? Any parti cular quarrel among them ? Any one of them not in his or her usual spirits ? Unexpectedly out of temper, for instance ? or unexpectedly taken ill?" I had just time to think of Rosanna Spear man's sudden illness at yesterday's dinner—but not time to make any answer—when I saw Ser geant Cuff's eyes suddenly turn aside toward the shrubbery ; and I heard him say softly to himself, «Hullo!" "What's the matter?" I asked. " A touch of the rheumatics in my back," said the sergeant, in a loud voice, as if he wanted some third person to hear us. "We shall have a change in the weather before long." A few steps further brought us to the corner of the house. Turning off sharp to the right, we entered on the terrace, and went down, by the steps in the middle, into the garden below. Sergeant Cuff stopped there, in the open space, where we could see round us on every side. " About that young person, Rosanna Spear man ?" he said. "It isn't very likely, with her personal appearance, that she has got a lover. But, for the girl's own sake, I must ask you at once, whether she has provided herself with a sweetheart, poor wretch, like the rest of them ?'" What on earth did he meaa, under present circumstances, by putting such a question to me as that ? I stared at him instead of answer ing him. "I saw Rosanna Spearman hiding in the shrubbery as we went by," said the sergeant. " When you Baid 'Hullo ?' " "Yes—when I said, 'Hullo.' If there's a sweetheart in the case, the hiding doesn't much matter. If there isn't—as things are in this house —the hiding is a highly Buspicious circum stance, and it will be my painful duty to act on it accordingly." What, in God's name, was I to say to him ? I knew the shrubbery was Mr. Franklin's favorite walk. I knew he would most likely turn that way when he came back from the sta tion ; I knew that Penelope had over and over again caught her fellow-servant hanging about there, and had always declared to me that Ro sanna's object was to attract Mr. Franklin's at tention. If my daughter was right, she might well have been laying in wait for Mr. Franklin's return when the sergeant noticed her. I was put between the two difficulties of mentioning Penelope's fanciful notion as if it was mine, or of leaving an unfortunate creature to suffer the consequences, the very serious consequences, of exciting the suspicion of Sergeant Cuff. Out of pure pity for the girl—on my soul and my char acter, out of pure pity for the girl—l gave the sergeant the necessary explanations, and told him that Roeanna had been mad enough to set her heart on Mr. Franklin Blake. Sergeant Cuff never laughed. On the few occasions when anything amused him he curled up a little at the corners of the lips, nothing more. He curled up now. " Hadn't you better say she's mad enough to be an ugly girl and only a servant ?" he asked. " The falling in love with a gentleman of Mr. Franklin Blake's manners and appearance doesn't seem to me to be the maddest part of her conduct by any means. However, I'm glad the thing is cleared up. Yes, I'll keep it a secret, Mr. Betteredge. . I like to be tender to human infirmity—though I don't get many chances of exercising that virtue in my line of life. You think Mr. Franklin Blake hasn't got a suspicion of the girl's fancy for him ? Ah! he would have found it out fast enough if she had been nice looking. The ugly women have a bad time of it in this world; let's hope it will be made up to them in another. You have got a nice garden there, and a well-kept lawn. See for yourself how much better the flowers look with grass about them instead of gravel. No, thank you. I won't take a rose. It goes to my heart to break them off the stem. Just as it goes to your heart, you know, when there's something wrong in the servants' hall. Did you notice anything you couldn't account for in any of the servants when the loss of the dia mond was first found out ?" I had got on very fairly well with Sergeant Cuff so far. But the slyness with which he slipped in that last question put me on my guard. In plain English, I didn't at all relish the notion of helping his inquiries, when those inquiries took him (in the capacity of snake in the grass) among my fellow-servants. " I noticed nothing," I said, " except that we all lost our heads together, myself included." " Oh," says the sergeant," that's all you have to tell me, is it ?" I answered, with (as I flattered myself) an unmoved countenance, " That is all." Sergeant Cuff's dismal eyes looked me hard in the face. " Mr. Betteredge," he said, " have you any objection to oblige me by shaking hands? I have taken an extraordinary liking to you." (Why he should have chosen the exact mo ment when I was deceiving him to give me that proof of his good opinion is beyond all compre hension! I felt a little proud—l really did feel a little proud of having been one too many at last for the celebrated Cuff!) We went back to the house ; the sergeant re questing that I would give him a room to him self, and then Bend in the servants (the indoor servants only), one after another, in the order of their rank, from first to last. I showed Sergeant Cuff into my own room, and then called the serrant3 together in the hall. Rosanna Spearman appeared among them, much as usual. She was as quick in her way as the sergeant in his, and I suspect she had heard what he said to me about the servants in general, just before he discovered her. There she was, at any rate, looking as if she had never heard of such a place as the shrubbery in her life.

I sent them in, one by one, as desired. The cook was the first to enter the Court of Justice, otherwise my room. She remained but a short time. Report, on coming out: " Sergeant Cuff is depressed in spirits j but Sergeant Cuff is a perfect gentleman." My lady's own maid fol lowed. Remained much longer. Report, on coming out: »If Sergeant Cuff doesn't believe a respectable woman, he might keep his opinion to himself, at any rate!" Penelope went next. Remained only a moment or two. Report, on coming out: "Sergeant Cuff is much to be pitied. He must have been crossed in love, father, when he was a young man." The first housemaid followed Penelope. Remained like my lady's maid, a long time. Report, on com ing out j " I didn't enter her ladyship's service, Mr. Betteredge, to be doubted to my face by a low police-officer!" Rosanna Spearman went next. Remained longer than any of them. No report on coming out—dead silence, and lips as pale as ashes. Samuel, the footman, followed Rosanna. Remained a minute or two. Re port, on coming out: "Whoever blacks Ser geant Cuff's boots ought to be ashamed of him self." Nancy, the kitchen-maid, went last. Remained a minute or two. Report, oncoming out: " Sergeant Cuff has a heart; he doesn't cut jokes, Mr. Betteredge, with a poor hard working girl." Going into the Court ol Justice, when it was all over, to hear if there were any further com mands for me, I found the sergeant at his old triek —looking out of the window and whistling The Last Rose of Summer to himself. " Any discoveries, sir ?" I inquired. " If Rosanna Spearman asks leave to go out," said the sergeant, " let the poor thing go ; but let me know first." I might as well have held my tongue about Rosarna and Mr. Franklin! It was plain enough; the unfortunate girl had fallen under Sergeant Cuffs suspicions, in spite of all I could do to prevent it. " I hope you don't think Rosanna is con cerned in the loss of the diamond ?" I ventured to say. The corners of the sergeant's melancholy mouth curled up, and he looked hard in my face; just as he had looked in the garden. " I think I had better not tell you, Mr. Bet teredge," he said. " You might lose your head, you know, for the second time." I began to doubt whether I had been one too many for the celebrated Cuff, after all! It was rather a relief to me that we were interrupted here by a knock at the door and a message from the cook. Rosanna Spearman had asked to go out, for the usual reason, that her head was bad, and she wanted a breath of fresh air. At a sign from the sergeant, I said, Yes. " Which is the servants' way out?" he asked, when the messenger had gone. I showed him the ser vants' way out. " Lock the door of your room," says the sergeant; " and if anybody asks for me, say I'm in there, composing my mind." He curled up again at the corners of the lips, and disappeared. Left alone, under those circumstances, a de vouring curiosity pushed me on to make some discoveries for myself. It was plain that Sergeant Cuff's suspicions of Roaanna bad been roused by something that be had found out at his examination of the ser vants in my room. Now, the only two ser vants (excepting Rosanna herself) who had re mained under examination for any length of time were my lady's own maid and the first house-maid, those two being also the women who had taken the lead in persecuting their un fortunate fellow-servant from the first. Reach ing these conclusions, I looked in on them, casually as it might be, in the servants' hall, and, finding tea going forward, instantly invited myself to that meal. (For, nota iene, a drop of tea is, to a woman's tongue, what a drop of oil is to a wasting lamp). My reliance on the tea-pot as an ally did not go unrewarded. In lees than half an hour I knew as much as the sergeant himself. My lady's maid and the house-maid, had, it appears, neither of them believed in Rosanna's illness of the previous day. These two devils— I ask your pardon ; but how else can you de scribe a couple of spiteful women ?—bad stolen up stairs, at intervals during the Thursday after noon ; had tried Roaanna's door, and found it locked; had knocked, and not been answered; had listened, and not heard a sound inside. When the girl hod come down to tea, and had been sent up, still out of sorts, to bed again, the two devils aforesaid had tried her door once more, and found it locked; had looked at the keyhole, and found it stopped up ; had seen a light under the door at midnight, and had heard the crackling of a fire (a fire in a servant's bed room in the month of June!) at 4in the morn ing. All thia they had told Sergeant Cuff, who, in return for their anxiety to enlighten him, had eyed them with bout and auspicious looks, and had shown them plainly that he didn't be lieve either one or the other. Hence the un favorable reports of him which these two women had brought out with them from the examina tion. Hence, also (without reckoning the in fluence of the tea-pot), their readiness to let their tongues run to any length on the subject of the sergeant's ungracious behaviour to them. Having had some experience of the great Cuff's roundabout ways, and having last seen him evi dently bent on following Rosanna privately when she went out for her walk, it seemed clear to me that he had thought it unadvisable to let the lady's maid and the house-maid know how ma terially they had helped him. They were just the sort of women, if he had treated their evi dence as trustworthy, to have been puffed up by it, and to have said or done something which would have put Rosanna Spearman on her guard. I walked out in the fine summer evening, very sorry for the poor girl, and very uneasy in my mind, generally, at the turn things had taken. Drifting towards the shrubbery, there I met Mr. Franklin in his favorite walk. He had been back some time from the station, and had been with my lady, holding a long conversation with her. She had told him of Miss Rachel's unaccount able refusal to let her wardrobe be examined, and had put him in such low spirits about my young lady that he seemed to shrink from speak ing on the subject. The family temper appeared in his face that evening for the first time in my experience of him. " Well, Betteredge," he said, " how does the atmosphere of mystery and suspicion in which we are all living now agree with you ? Do you remember that morning when I first came here with the Moonstone ? I wish to God we had thrown it into the quicksand!" After breaking out in that way, he abstained from speaking again until he had composed himself. We walked silently, side by side, for a minute or two, and then he asked me what had become of Sergeant Cuff. It was im possible to put Mr. Franklin off with the excuse of the sergeant being in my room, composing

his mind. I told him exactly what had happened, mentioning prrticularly what my lady's maid and the house-maid had said about Boßanna i Spearman. Mr. Franklin's clear head saw the turn the sergeant's suspicions had taken, in the twinkling of an eye. 11 Didn't you tell me this morning," he said, " that one of the tradespeople declared he had met Rosanna yesterday, on the foot-way to Fri zinghall, when we supposed her to be ill in her room ?" "Yes, sir." "If my aunt's maid and the other woman have spoken the truth, you may depend upon it the tradesman did meet her. The girl's attaok of illness was a blind to deceive us. She had some guilty reason for going to the town seoretly. The paint-stained dress is a dress of hers; and the Ere heard crackling in her room at 4 in the morning was a fire lit to destroy it. Roaanna Spearman has stolen the diamond. I'll go in directly, and tell my aunt the turn thiugs have taken." "Not just yet, if you please, air," said a me lancholy voice behind us. We both turned about, and found ourselves face to face with Sergeant Cuff. " Why not just yet ?" asked Mr. Franklin. " Because, sir, if you tell her ladyship, her ladyship will tell Miss Verinder." "Suppose she does. What then?" Mr. Franklin said those words with a sudden heat and vehemence, as if the sergeant had mortally offended him. "Do you think it's wise, sir," said Sergeant Cuff, quietly, " to put such a question as that to me—at such a time as this ?" There was a moment's Bilence between them : Mr. Franklin walked close up to the sergeant. The two looked each other straight in the face. Mr. Franklin spoke first; dropping his voice at suddenly as he had raised it. "I suppose you know, Mr. Cuff," he said, " that you are treading on delicate ground P" "It isn't the first time, by a good many hun dreds, that I find myself treading on delicate ground," answered the other just as immovable as ever." "I am to understand that you forbid me to tell my aunt what has happened?" " You are to understand, if you please, sir, that I throw up the case, if you tell Lady Ve rinder, or tell anybody, what has happened until I give you leave." That settled it. Mr. Franklin had no choice but to submit. He turned away in anger, and left us. I had stood there listening to them, all in a tremble; not knowing whom to suspect, or what to think next. In the midst of my confusion, two things, however, were plain to me. First, that my young lady was, in some unaccountable manner, at the bottom of the sharp speeches that had passed between them. Second, that they thoroughly understood each other without having previously exchanged a word of expla nation on either side. " Mr. Betteredge," said the sergeant, "you have done a very foolish thing in my absenoe. You have done a little detective business on your own account. For the future, perhaps you will be so obliging as to do your detective busi ness along with me." He took me by the arm, and walked me away with him along the road by which he had come. I dare say I had deserved his reproof—but I was not going to help him to set traps for Bo sanna Spearman for all that. Thief or no thief, legal or not legal, I don't care—l pitied her. " What do yon want of me ?" I asked, shaking him off, and stopping short. " Only a little information about the country round here," said the sergeant. I couldn't well object to improve Sergeant Cuff in his geography. " Is there any path, in that direction, leading from the sea beach to this house ?" asked the sergeant. He pointed, as he spoke, to the fir plantation which led to the Shivering band. " Yea," I said ; " there is a path." "Show it to me." Side by side, in the grey of the summer even ing, Sergeant Cuff and I set forth for the Shivering Sand. [TO BE CONTINUED.]

The New Testament word mote is well explained by a passage in Cotgrave (a.d. 1611) j —" Tiles. —The small moait of dust appearing, and waving vp and downe, in the sunne-beames which come into the roome at the crannies, or holes of walls," &o. Rbv. Miss Chapin.—Another lady divine is reported. A writer from Mount Pleasant, lowa, tells a pleasant story of a lady minister there, Rev. Miss Chapin, formerly of Michigan. He says she is about twenty-eight years of age, medium height, has a large development of chest, round throat, florid complexion. Her head is large, and eminently developed in the anterior and coronal. In a clear and Well modulated voice she read the hymn. Her prayer waa short and earnest. She discoursed on the immorality of the soul. She was logical, and a more finiehed elocution and grace of dicton I have not heard in any Christian church. —Ac» York Revolution. Collkct Before Sbbmon.—ln reply to the question why, in some churches, the collect be fore the sermon is omitted, a correspondent of the Church News of Tasmania, says :—" The reason is that it is not commanded in the Prayer-book. If you consult the rubrics which follow the Nicene Creed, you will find that the Sermon forms a part of the Communion Service, and the clergyman has no more right to intro duce a prayer in that than he has in any other portion of the service. So far with regard to the morning sermon. In the evening the preach ing of a sermon is quite arbitrary, the Prayer book not containing any directions on the sub ject. As, however, it is customary to address the congregation after erening prayer, and as the service is generally ended with a hymn, I think with you that it is a custom equally decent and beautiful that such address should be in augurated by prayer." "Shirking" at Eton.—The abolition of this strange usage is, we believe, the only one of the numerous recommendations of the commis sion that has been, as yet, effectively carried out. Although defunct, it deserves recording, as a specimen of what Eton boys, and masters too, once thought " right and honorable." This) was a shirking : If a boy was seen by a master out of bounds, or going into any prohibited place, or doing any prohibited act, and he, see ing the master, avoided him, if only in the ostrich-fashion by hiding his head behind a furze-bush or post, while his legs were all the while visible—he " shirked " the master, and the latter by a legal fiction did not " see " the boy ; and what was perhaps still more amusing (if it was amusing at all), waa that if the boj honestly and courageously went forward to meet the master, he got punished for disrespect. The master would say, " What do you mean by this impertinence in not shirking me?"—that is, " as the assumption is that you have a right to do wrong, why don't you avail yourself of it?" One of the masters gave it as hit de liberate testimony that this practice was at the bottom of a great deal of evil at Eton, inas much as " a boy might do what was wrong, but the fault often seemed to consist in his

found out."