|Chapter Number||First Period: XVI-(Continued) - XIX|
|Newspaper Title||The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939)|
|Trove Title||The Moonstone|
CHAPTER XVI.— (Continued.)
BY WILKIE COLLINS. Author of "The Woman in White," "No Name," etc
NOT feeling sure that I had really seen the sergeant, —and not desiring to make needless mischief, where, Heaven knows, there was mis- <*> chief enough going on already—I told Mr.
Franklin that I thought one of the dogs had got into the house —and then hegged him to describe what had happeaed between Rosanna and himself. " Were you passing through the hall, Sir ?" I asked. " Did you meet her accidentally, when she spoke to you ?" Mr. Franklin pointed to the billiard-table. " I was knocking the balls about," he said, " and trying to get this miserable business of the diamond out of my mind. I happened to look np —and there stood Rosanna Spearman at the side of me, like a ghost! Her stealing on me in that way was so strange that I hardly knew what to do at first. Seeing a very anxious expression in her face I asked her if she wished to speak to me. She answered, ' Yes, if I dare.' Knowing what suspicion attached to her I could only put one construction to such language as that. I confess it made me uncomfortable. I had no wish to invite the girl's confidence. At the same time, in the difficulties that now beset us, I could hardly feel justified in refusing to listen to her, if she was really bent on speaking to me. It was an awkward position ; and I dare say I got out of it awkwardly enough. I said to her, ' I don't quite understand you. Is there anything you want me to do?' Mind, Betteredge, I didn't speak unkindly! The poor girl can't help being ugly—l felt that at the time. The cue was still in my hand, and I went on knocking the balls about, to take off the-awkwardness of the thing. As it turned out I only made matters worse still. I'm afraid"l mortified her without meaning it! She suddenly turned away. 'He looks at the billiard-balls/1 heard her say. ' Anything rather than look at me!' Before I could stop her she had left the halL lam not quite eaßy about it, Betteredge. Would you mind telling Rosanna that I meant no unkindness ? I have been a little hard on her, perhaps, in my own thoughts —I hare almost hoped that the loss of the dia mond might be traced to her. Not from any ill-will to the poor girl; but—" He stopped there, and going back to the billiard-table, began to knock the balls about once more. After what had passed between the sergeant and me I knew what it was that he had left un spoken as well as he knew it himself. Nothing but the tracing of the Moonstone to our second house-maid could now raise Miss Rachel above the infamous suspicion that rested on her in the mind of Sergeant Cuff. It was no longer a question of quieting my young lady's nervous excitement; it was a question of prov ing her innocence. If Rosanna had done nothing to compromise herself, the hope which Mr. Franklin confessed to having felt would have been bard enough on her in all conscience. But this was not the case. She had pretended to be ill and had gone secretly to Frizinghall. She had been up all night, making something, or destroying something, in private. And she had been at the Shivering Sand that evening under circumstances which were highly suspicious, to •ay the least of them. For all these reasons (sorry as I was for Rosanna) I could not but think that Mr. Franklin's way of looking at the matter was neither unnatural nor unreasonable, in Mr. Franklin's position. I said a word to him to that effect. "Yes, yes!" he said, in return. " But there is just a chance—a very poor one, certainly— that Bosanna's eondnct may admit of some ex planation which we don't see at present. I hate hurting a woman's feelings, Betteredge! Tell the poor creature what I told you to tell her. And if she want's to speak to me—l don't care whether I get into a scrape or not—send her to me. in the library." With those kind words he laid down the cue and left me. Inquiry at the servants' offices informed me that Bosanna had retired to her own room. She had declined all offers of assistance with thanks, and had only asked to be left to rest in quiet. Here, therefore, was an end of any confession on her part (supposing she really had a con fession to nuke) for that night. I reported the result to Mr. Franklin, who, thereupon, left the library, and went up to bed. I was putting the lights out, and making the windows fast, when Samuel came in with news of the two guests whom I had left in my room. The argument about the white moss-rose had apparently come to an end at last. The gar dener had gone home, and Sergeant Cuff was nowhere to be found in the lower regions of the house. I looked into my room. Quite true—nothing was to be discovered there but a couple of empty tumblers and a strong smell of hot grog. Had the sergeant gone of his own accord to the bed-chamber that was prepared for him ? I went up stain to see. After reaching the second landing I thought I heard, a sound of quiet and regular breathing on my left-hand side. My left-hand side led to the corridor which communicated with Miss Ra chel's room. I looked in, and there, coiled up on three chairs placed right across the passage— there, with a red handkerchief tied round his grizzled head, and his respectable black coat rolled up for a pillow, lay and slept Sergeant Caff! He woke, instantly and quietly, like a dog the moment I approached him. "Good-night, Mr. Betteredge," he Baid. " And mind, if you ever take to growing roses, the white moss-rose is all the better for not being budded on the. dog-rose, whatever the gardener may say to the contrary !" "What are you doing here?" I asked. " Why are you not in your proper bed ?" "I am not in my proper bed," answered the sergeant, " because I am one of the many peo ple in this miserable world who can't earn their money honestly and easily at the same time. There web a coincidence, this evening, between the period of Bosauna Spearman's return from the Sands and the period when Miss Verinder took her resolution to leave the bouse. What ever Rosanna may hare hidden, it's clear to my mind that your young lady couldn't go away un til she knew that it was hidden. The two mußt have communicated privately once already to night. If they try to communicate again, when the house is quiet, I want to be in the way, and atop it. Don't blame me for upsetting your Bleeping arrangements, Mr. Betteredge—blame the diamond." " I wish to God the diamond had never found if* way into this house!" I broke oat.
Sergeant Cuff looked with a rueful face at the three chairs on which he had condemned him self to pass the night. "So do I," he said, gravely. Chapter XVII. Nothing happened in the night; and (I am happy to add) no attempt at communication be tween Miss Rachel and Rosanna rewarded the vigilance of Sergeant Cuff. I had expected the sergeant to set off for Frizinghall the first thing in the morning. He j waited about, however, as if he had something \ else to do first. I left him to his own devices; j and going into the grounds shortly after met j Mr. Franklin on his favorite walk by the shrub- ; bery side. Before we had exchanged two words the Ser geant unexpectedly joined us. He made up to j Mr. Franklin, who received him, I must own, [ haughtily enough. "Haveyou anything to say j to me ?" was all the return he got for politely j wishing Mr. Franklin good-morning. | " I have something to say to you, sir," an- J swered the Bergeant, "on the subject of the in- i quiry lam conducting here. You detected the ! turn that inquiry was really taking yesterday. Naturally enough, in your position, you are shocked and distressed. Naturally enough, also you visit your own angry sense of your own family scandal upon me." " What do you want ?" Mr. Franklin broke in, sharply enough. " I want to remind you, sir," that I have at any rate, thus far, not been proved to be wrong. Bearing that in mind, be pleased to remember, at the same time, that I am an officer of the law acting here under the sanction of the mistress of the house. Under these circumstances, is it, or is it not, your duty as a good citizen to assist me with any special information which you may happen to possess ?" " I possess no special information," says Mr- Franklin. Sergeant Cuff put that answer by him, as if no answer had been made. "You may save my time, sir, from being wasted on an inquiry at a distance," he went on, "if you choose to understand me and speak out." "I don't understand you," answered Mr. Franklin ; " and I have nothing to say." " One of the female servants (I won't mention names) spoke to you privately, sir, last night." Once more Mr. Franklin out him short; once more Mr. Franklin answered, " I have nothing to say." Standing by in silence, I thought of the move ment in the swing-door, on the previous evening, and of the coat-tails which I had seen disappear ing down the passage. Sergeant Cuff had, no doubt, just heard enough before I interrupted him to make him suspect that Rosanna had re lieved her mind by confessing something to Mr. Franklin Blake. This notion had barely struck me—when who should appear at the end of the shrubbery walk but Rosanna Spearman in her own proper per son ! She was followed by Penelope, who was evidently trying to make her retrace her steps to the house. Seeing that Mr. Franklin was not alone Rosanna came to a stand-still, evidently in great perplexity what to do next. Penelope waited behind her. Mr. Franklin saw the girls as soon as I saw them. The Bergeant, with his devilish cunning, took on not to have noticed them at all. All this happened in an instant. Before either Mr. Franklin or I could Bay a word Sergeant Cuff struck in smoothly, with an appear ance of continuing previous conversation, " You needn't be afraid of harming the girl sir," he said, to Mr. Franklin, speaking in a loud voice, so that Rosanna might hear him. "On the contrary, I recommend you to honor me with your confidence, if you feel any interest in Rosanna Spearman." Mr. Franklin instantly took on not to have noticed the girls either. He answered, speaking loudly ob his side : " I take no interest whatever in Rosanna Spearman." I looked toward the end of the walk. All I saw at the distance was that Rosanna suddenly turned round the moment Mr. Franklin had spoken. Instead of resisting Penelope, as she had done the moment before, she now let my daughter take her by the arm and lead her back to the house. The breakfast-bell rang as the two girls disappeared—and even Sergeant Cuff was now obliged to give it up as a bad job! He said to me quietly, "I shall go to Frizinghall, Mr. Betteredge j and I shall be back before 2." He went his way without a word more—and for some few hours we were well rid of him. "You must make it right with Rosanna," Mr. Franklin said to me when we were alone. " I seem to be fated to say or do something awkward before that unlucky girl. You must have seen yourself that Sergeant Cuff laid a trap for both of us. If he could confuse me, or irritate her into breaking out. either she or I might have said something which would answer his purpose. On the spur of the moment I saw no better way out of it than the way I took. It stopped the girl from Baying any thing, and it showed the sergeant that I saw through him. He was evidently listening, Betteredge, when I was speaking to you last night," He had done worse than listen, as I privately thought to myself. He had remembered my telling him that the girl was in love with Mr. Franklin ; and he had calculated on that when he appealed to Mr. Franklin's interest in Ro sanna—in Rosanna's hearing. "As to listening, sir," I remarked (keeping the other point to myself), " we shall all be row ing in the same boat if this sort of thing goes on much longer. Prying and peeping and listen ing are the natural occupations of people situated as we are. In another day or two, Mr. Frank lin, we shall all be struck dumb together—for this reason that we shall all be listening to sur prise each other's secrets, and all know it. Ex cuse my breaking out, sir. The horrid mystery hanging over us in this house gets into my head like liquor and makes me wild. ' I won't forget whit you have told me. I'll take the first opportunity of making it right with Rosanna Spearman." " You haven't said anything to her yet about last night, have you ?" Mr. Franklin asked. " No, sir." " Then say nothing now. I had better not invite the girl's confidence, with the sergeant on the look-ofe^to surprise us together. My con duct is not very" consistent, Betteredge—is it ? I see no way out of this business which isn't dread ful to think of unless the diamond is traced to Rosanna. And yet I can't and won't help Ser geant Cuff to find the girl out." Unreasonable enough, no doubt. But it was my state of mind as well. I thoroughly under stood him. If you will, for once in you life, remember that you are mortal perhapß you will thoroughly understand him too.
The state of things, indoors and out, while Sergeant Cuff was on his way to Frizinghall, was briefly this: Miss Rachel waited for the time when the carriage «ras to take her to her aunt's, still obstinately shut up in her own room. My lady and Mr. Franklin breakfasted together. After breakfast Mr. Franklin took one of his sudden resolutions and went out precipitately to quiet his mind by a long walk. I was the only person who saw him go; and he told me he should be | back before the sergeant returned. The change . in the weather, foreshadowed overnight, had j come. Heavy rain had been followed, soon I after dawn, by high wind. It was blowing freßh 'as the day got on. But though the clouds threatened more than once the rain still held off. It was not a bad day for a walk, if you j were young and strong, and could breast the i great gusts of wind which came sweeping in | from the sea. j I attended my lady after breakfast, and as- I sisted her in the settlement of our household ' accounts. She only once alluded to the matter | of the Moonstone, and that was in the way of ; forbidding any present mention of it between us. "Wait till that man comes back," she | said, meaning the Bergeant. "We must speak of it then: we are not obliged to speak of it now." After leaving my mistress I found Penelope waiting for me in my room. " I wish, father, you would come and speak to Roßanna," she said. "I am very uneasy about her." I suspected what was the matter readily enough. But it is a maxim of mine that men (being superior creatures) are bound to improve women—if they can. When a woman wants me to do anything (my daughter or not, it doesn't matter), I always insist on knowing why. The oftener you make them rummage their own minds for a reason, the more manageable you will find them in all the relations of life. It isn't their fault (poor wretches !) that they act first, and think afterward; it's the fault of the fools who humor them. Penelope's reason why, on this occasion, may be given in her own words, " I'm afraid, father," she said, " Mr. Franklin has hurt Rosanna cruelly without intending it." " What took Rosanna into the shrubbery walk?" I asked. " Her own madness," says Penelope; "lean call it nothing else. She was bent on speaking to Mr. Franklin this morning, come what might of it. I did my best to stop her; you saw that. If I could only have got her away before she heard those dreadful words—" "There! there!" I said, "don't lose your head. I can't call to mind that anything hap pened to alarm Rosanna." "Nothing to alarm her, father. But Mr. Franklin said he took no interest whatever in her —and, oh, he said it in such a cruel voice." "He said it to stop the sergeant's mouth," I answered. " I told her that," cays Penelope. "But you see, father (though Mr. Franklin isn't to blame), he's been mortifying and disappointing her for weeks and weeks past; and now this comes on the top of it all! She has no right, of course, to expect him to take any interest in her. It's quite monstrous that she should forget herself and her station in that way. But she seems to have lost pride and proper feeling and everything. She frightened me, father, when Mr. Franklin said those words. They seemed to turn her into stone. A sudden quiet came over her, and she has gone about her work ever since like a woman in a dream." I began to feel a little uneasy. There was something in the way Penelope pat it which silenced my superior sense. I called to mind, now my thoughts were directed that way, what had passed between Mr. Franklin and Rosanna over-night. She looked cut to the heart on that occasion; and now, as ill-luck would have it, she had been unavoidably stung again, poor soul, on the tender place. Sad! sad!—all the more sad because the girl had no reason to justify her, and no right to feel it. I had promised Mr. Franklin to speak to Rosanna, and this seemed the fittest time for keeping my word. We found the girl sweeping the corridor out side the bedrooms, pale and composed, and neat as ever in her modest print dress. I noticed a curious dimness and dullness in her eyes—not as if she had been crying, but as if Bhe had been looking at something too long. Possibly it was a misty something raised by her own thoughts. There was certainly no object about her to look at which she had not seen already hundreds on hundreds of times. " Cheer up, Rosanna!" I said. " You musn't fret over your own fancies. I have got some thing to say to you from Mr. Franklin." I thereupon put the matter in the right view before her, in the friendliest and most comfort ing words I could find. My principles, in regard to the other sex, are, as you may have noticed, very severe. But somehow or other when I come face to face with the women my practice (1 own) is not conformable. " Mr. Franklin is very kind and considerate. Please to thank him." That waß all the answer she made me. My daughter had already noticed that Ro sanna went about her work like a woman in a dream. I now added to this observation that she also listened and spoke like a woman in a dream. I doubted if her mind was in a fit con dition to take in what I had said to her. " Are you quite sure, Rosanna, that you un derstand me ?" I asked. " Quite sure," She echoed me, not like a living woman, but like a creature moved by machinery. She went on sweeping all the time. I took away the broom as gently and as kindly as I could. " Come, come, my girl!" I said, " this is not like yourself. You have got something on your mind. I'm your friend—and I'll stand your friend, even if you have done wrong. Make a clean breast of it, Rosanna—make a clean breast of it!" The time had been, when my speaking to her in that way would have brought the tears into her eyes. I could see no change in them now. "Yes," she said, "I'll make a clean breast of it." " To my lady ?" I asked. "No." " To Mr. Franklin ?" " Yes; to Mr. Franklin." I hardly knew what to say to that. She was in no condition to understand the caution against speaking to him in private, which Mr. Franklin had directed me to give her. Feeling my way, little by little, I only told her Mr. Franklin had gone out for a walk. "It doesn't matter," she answered. " I sha'n't trouble Mr. Franklin to-day." "Why not speak to my lady," I said. " The way to relieve your mind is to speak to the <
merciful and Christian mistress who has always been kind to you." She looked at me for a momeut with a grave and steady attention, a 9 if she.was fixing what I said in her mind. Then she took the broom out of my hands, and moved off with it slowly, a ! little way down the corridor. ! " No," she said, going on with her sweeping, and speaking to herself; " I know a better way . of relieving my mind than that." • ; " What is it ?" i " Please to let me go on with my work." ] Penelope followed her, and offered to help her. ! She answered, "No. I want to do my work. ! Thank you, Penelope." She looked round at me. "Thank you, Mr. Betteredge." ! There was no moving her—there was nothing more to be said. I signed to Penelope to come away with me. We left her, as we had found her, sweeping the corridor like a woman in a dream. " This is a matter for the doctor to look into," I said. " It's beyond me." . My daughter reminded me of Mr. Candy's j illness, owing (as you may remember) to the ' chill he had caught on the night of the dinner party. His assistant—a certain Mr. Ezra Jen nings—was at our disposal, to be sure. But no- I body knew much about him in our parts. He i had been engaged by Mr. Candy under rather peculiar circumstances; and, right or wrong, we none of us liked him or trusted him. There were other doctors at Frizinghall. But they were strangers to our house; and Penelope doubted, in Rosanna's present state, whether strangers might not do her more harm than good. I thought of speaking to my lady. But, re membering the heavy weight of anxiety whicb she already had on her mind, I hesitated to add to all the other vexations this new trouble. Still there was a necessity for doing something. The girl's state was, to my thinking, downright alarm ing—and my mistress ought to be informed of it. Unwillingly enough I went to her sitting room. No one was there. My lady was shut up with Miss Rachel. It was impossible for me to see her till she came out again. I waited in vain till the clock on the front staircase struck the quarter to 2. Five minutes afterward I heard my name called from the drive outside the house. I knew the voice di rectly. Sergeant Cuff had returned from Fri zinghall. Chapteb XVIII. Going down to the front-door I met the ser geant on the steps. It went against the grain with me, after what had passed between us, to shew him that I felt any sort of interest in his proceedings. In spite of myself, however, I felt an interest that there was no resisting. My sense of dignity sank from under me, and out came the words : " What news from Frizinghall ?" " I have seen the Indians," answered Sergeant Cuff. " And I have found out what Bosanna bought privately in the town on Thursday last. The Indians will be set free on Wednesday in next week. There isn't a doubc on my mind, and there isn't a doubt on Mr. Murthwaite's mind, that they came to this place to steal the Moonstone. Their calculations were all thrown out, of course, by what happened in the house on Wednesday night; and they have no more to do with the actual loss of the jewel than you have. But I can tell you one thing, Mr. Better edge—if we don't find the Moonstone, they will. You have not heard the last of the three jugglers yet." ' . Mr. Franklin came back from his walk as the sergeant said those startling words. Governing his curiosity better than I had governed mine, he passed us without a word, and went on into the house. As for me, having already dropped my dignity, I determined to have the whole benefit of the sacrifice. "So much for the Indians," I said. "What about Rosanna, next?" Sergeant Cuff shook his head. " The mystery in that quarter is thicker than ever," he eaid. " I have traced her to a shop at Frizinghall, keptby a linen-draper named Maltby. She bought nothing whatever at any of the other drapers' shops, or at any milliners' or tailors' shops; and she bought nothing at Maltby's but a piece of long cloth. She was very particular in choosing a certain quality. As to quantity, she bought enough to make a eight gown." " Whose night-gown ?" I asked " Her own, to be sure. Between twelve and three, on the Thursday morning, she must have slipped down to your young lady's room, to settle the hiding of the Moonstone while all the rest of you were in bed. In going back to her own room her night-gown must have brushed the wet paint on the door. She couldn't wash out the stain; and she couldn't safely destroy the night-gown—without first providing another like it, to make the inventory of her linen com plete." " What proves that it was Rosanna's night gown ?" I objected. ''The material Bhe bought for making the substitute dreßs," answered the sergeant. "If it had been Miss Verinder's night-gown, she would have had to buy lace, and frilling, and Lord knows what besides ; and she wouldn't have had time to make it in one night. Plain long cloth means a plain servant's night-gown. No, no, Mr. Betteredge—all that is clear enough. The pinch of the question is—why, after having provided the substitute dress, does she hide the smeared n;ght-gown, instead of destroying it ? If the girl won't speak out, there is only one way of settling the difficulty. The hiding-place at the Shivering Sand must be searched—and the true state of the case will be discovered there." " How are you to find the place ?" I inquired. " I am sorry to disappoint you," said the ser geant —" but that's a secret which I mean to keep to myself." (Not to irritate your curiosity, as he irritated mine, I may here inform you that he had come back from Frizinghall, provided with a search warrant. His experience in such matters told him that Rosanna was in all probability carry ing about her a memorandum of the hiding place, to guide her, in case she returned to it, under changed circumstances and after a lapse of time. Possessed of this memorandum, the sergeant would be furnished with all that he oould desire.) "Now, Mr. Betteredge," he went on, "sup pose we drop speculation, and get to business. I told Joyce to have an eye on Bosanna. Where is Joyce ?" Joyce was the Frizinghall policeman, who had been left by Superintendent Seegrave at Ser geant Cuff's disposal. The clock struck 2as he put the question, and, punctual to the moment, the carriage came round to take Miss Bachel to her aunt's.
" One thing at a time," said the sergeant, stopping me as I was about to send in search of Joyce. " I must attend to Mißs Verinder first." As the rain was still threatening, it was the close carriage that had been appointed to take Miss Rachel to Frizinghall. Sergeant Cuff beckoned Samuel to come down to him from tho rumble behind. , " You will see a friend of mine waiting among i the trees, on this side of the lodge gate," he said. j " My friend, without stopping the carriage, will j get up into the rumble with you. You have . nothing to do but hold your tongue, and shut ? your eyes. Otherwise you will get into trouble." j With that advice he sent the footman back to his place. What Samuel thought I don't know. i It was plain, to my mind, that Miss Bachel was to be privately kept in vL w from the time she left our house—if she did leave it. A watch set on my jouug lady! A spy behind her in the rumble of her mother's carriage ! I could have cut my own tongue out for having forgotten myself so far as to speak to Sergeant Cuff. The first person to come out of the house was j my lady. She stood aside, on the top step, post- I ing herself there to see what happened. Not a word did she say, either to the sergeant or to me. With her lips closed, and her arms folded I in the light garden cloak which she had wrapped j round her on coming into the air, there she stood, as still as a statue, waiting for her daughter to appear. | In a minute more Miss Bachel came down j stairß, very nicely dressed iv some soft yellow stuff that set off her dark complexion, and clipped her tight (in the form of a jacket) round the waist. She had a smart little straw-hat on her head, with a white veil twisted round it. She had primrose-colored gloves that fitted her hands like a second skin. Her beautiful black hair looked as smooth as satin under her hat. Her little ears were like rosy shells—they had a pearl dangling from each of them. She came swiftly out to us, as straight as a lilly on its stem, and as lithe and supple in every movement she made as a young cat. Nothing that I could discover was altered in her pretty face but her eyes and her lips. Her eyes were brighter and fiercer than I liked to see j and her lips had so completely lost their and their smile that I hardly knew them again. She kissed her mother in a hasty and sudden manner on the cheek. She said, " Try to forgive me, mamma"—and then pulled down her veil over her face so vehemently that she tore it. In another moment she had run down the steps, and had rushed into the carriage as if it was a hiding-place. Sergeant Cuff was just as quick on his side. He put Samuel back, and stood before Miss Rachel, with the open carriage-door in his hand, at the instant when she settled herself in her place. "What do you want?" says Miss Bachel, from behind her veil. "I want to say one word to you, miss," answered the sergeant, " before you go. I can't presume to stop your paying a visit to your aunt. I can only venture to say that your leav ing us, as things are now, puts an obstacle in the way of my recovering your diamond. Please to understand that; and now decide for your self whether you go or stay." M^ss Bachel never even answered him. " Drive on, James!" she called out to the coach man. Without another word the sergeant shut the carriage-door. Just as he closed it Mr. Frank lin came running down the steps. " Good-by, Bachel," he said, holding out his hand. " Drive on!" cried Miss Bachel, louder than ever, and taking no more notice of Mr. Franklin than she had taken of Sergeant Cuff. Mr. Franklin stepped back thunderstruck, as well he might be. The coachman, not knowing what to do, looked toward my lady, still stand ing immovable on the top step. My lady, with anger and sorrow and shame all struggling to gether in her face, made him a sign to start the horses, and then turned back hastily into the house. Mr. Franklin, recovering the use of his speech, called after her, as the carriage drove off, " Aunt! you were quite right. Accept my thanks for all your kindness—and let me go." My lady turned as though to speak to him. Then, as if distrusting herself, waved her hand kindly. " Let me see you before you leave us, Franklin," she said, in a broken voice—and went on to her own room. "Do me a last favor, Betteredge," says Mr. Franklin, turning to me, with the tears in his eyes. " Get me away to the train as soon as you can!" He too went his way into the house. For the moment Miss Bachel had completely unmanned him. Judge from that how fond he must have been of her! Sergeant Cuff and I were left face to face at the bottom of the steps. The sergeant stood with his face set toward a gap in the trees, com manding a view of one of the windings of the drive which led from the house. He had his hands in his pockets, and he was softly whistling the Last Rose of Summer to himself. "There's a time for everything," I said, savagely enough. " This isn't a time for whist ling." At that moment the carriage appeared in the distance, through the gap, on its way to the lodge-gate. There was another man besides Samuel plainly visible in the rumble behind. "All right!" said the sergeant to himself. He turned round to me. " It's no time for whutling, Mr. Betteredge, as you say. It's time to take this business in hand now without sparing anybody. We'll begin with Bosanna Spearman. Where is Joyce ?" We both called for Joyce, and received no answer. I sent one of the stable boys to look for him. " You heard what I said to Miss Verinder ?" remarked the sergeant, while we were waiting. " And you saw how she received it ? I tell her plainly that her leaving us will be an obstacle in the way of my recovering her diamond—and she leaves, in the face of that statement! Your young lady has got a travelling companion in her mother's carriage, Mr. Betteredge—and the name of it is The Moonstone." I said nothing. I only held on like death to my belief in Miss Bachel. The stable boy came back, followed—very un willingly, as it appeared to me—by Joyce. " Where is Bosanna Spearman ?" asked Ser geant Cuff. " I can't account for it, sir," Joyce began; "and I am very sorry. But somehow or other—" " Before I went to Frizinghall," said the ser geant, cutting him short, " I told you to keep your eye on Boßanna Spearman, without allow ing her to discover that she was being watched. Do you mean to tell me that you have let her give you the Blip ?" " I am afraid, sir," says Joyce, beginning to tremble, "that I was perhaps a little too care ful not to let her discover me. There are such
a many passages in the lower parts of this house—" " How long is it since you missed her ?" " Nigh on an hour since, sir." " You can go back to your regular business at Frizinghall," said the sergeant, speaking just as composedly as ever, in his usual quiet and dreary way. « I don't think your talents are at all in our line, Mr. Joyce. Your present form of employment is a trifle beyond you. Good morning." The man slunk off. I find it very difficult to describe how I was affected by the discovery that Rosanna Spearman was missing. I seemed to be in fifty different minds about it, all at the same time. In that state I stood staring at Sergeant Cuff—and my powers of language quite failed me. " No, Mr. Betteredge," said the sergeant, as if he had discovered the uppermost thought in me, and was pricking it out to be answered, before all the rest. " Your young friend, Ro sanna, won't slip through my fingers so easily as you think. As long as I know where Miss Verinder is, I have the means at my disposal of tracing Miss Verinder's accomplice. I pre vented them from communicating last night. Very good. They will get together at Frizing hall instead of getting together here. The pre sent inquiry must be simply shifted (rather sooner than I had anticipated) from this house to the house at which Miss Verinder is visiting. In the meantime, I'm afraid I must trouble you to call the servants together again." I went round with Him to the servants' hall. It is very disgraceful, but it is none the less true, that I had another attack of the detective fever when he said those last words. I forgot that I hated Sergeant Cuff. I seized him confidentially by the arm. I said, " For good neßs sake, tell us what you are going to do with the servants now f" The great Cuff stood stock-still, and addressed himself in a kind of melancholy rapture to the empty air. " If this man," said the sergeant (apparently meaning me), »• only understood the growing of roses, he would be the most completely perfect character on the face of creation!" After that strong expression of feeling he sighed, and put his arm through mine. " This is how it stands," he said, dropping down again to business. " Rosanna had done one of two things. She has either gone direct to Frizinghall (before I can get there), or-she has gone first to visit her hiding-place at the Shivering Sand. The first thing to find out is, which of the servants saw the last of her before, she left the house." On instituting this inquiry, it turned out that the last person who had set eyes on Rosanna was Nancy, the kitchen-maid. Nancy had seen her slip out with a letter in her hand, and stop the butcher's man who had just been delivering some meat at the backdoor. Nancy had heard her ask the man to post the letter when he got back to Frizinghall. The man had looked at the address, and had said it was a roundabout way of delivering a letter, di rected to Cobb's Hole, to post it at Frizinghall —and that, moreover, on a Saturday, which would prevent the letter from getting to its destination until Monday morning. Rosanna had answered that the delivery of the letter being delayed till Monday was of no import ance. The only thing she wished to-be sure of was that the man would do what she told him. The man had promised to do it and had driven away. Nancy had been called back to her work in the kitchen. And no other person had seen anything afterward of Rosanna Spearman. " Well ?" I asked, when we were alone again. "Well," says^the sergeant. " I must go to Frizinghall." "About the letter, sir?" "Yes. The memorandum of the hiding place is in that letter, I must see tho address at the post office. If it is the address I suspect, I shall pay our friend Mrs. Yolland another visit on Monday next." I went with the sergeant to order the pony chaise. In the stable yard we got a new light thrown on the missing girl. Chapteb XIX. The news of Rosanna's disappearance had, as it appeared, spread among the out-of-door ser vants. They too had made their inquiries; and they had just laid hands on a quick little imp, nicknamed "Duffy"—who was occasionally employed in weeding the garden, and who had seen Rosanna Spearman as lately as half an hour since. Duffy was certain that the girl had passed him in the fir-plantation, not walking, but running, in the direction of the sea-shore. " Does this boy know the coast hereabouts ?' asked Sergeant Cuff. " He has been born and bred on the coast," I answered. " Duffy !" says the sergeant, " do you want to earn a shilling ? If you do, come along with me. Keep the pony-chaise ready, Mr. Better edge, till I come back." He started for the Shivering Sand, at a rate I that my legs (though well enough preserved for my time of life) had no hope of matching. Little Duffy, as the way is with the young savages in our parts when they are in high spirits, gave a howl, and trotted off at the sergeant's heels. Here, again, I find it impossible to give any thing like a clear account of the state of my mind in the interval after Sergeant Cuff had left us. A curious and stupefying restlessness got possession of me. I did a dozen different need less things in and out of the house, not one of which I can now remember. I don't even know how long it was after the sergeant had gone to the sands when Duffy came running back with a message for me. Sergeant Cuff had given the boy a leaf torn out of his pocket-book, on which was written in pencil, " 3end me one of Rosanna Spearman's boots, and be quick about it." I dispatched the firßt woman-servant I could find to Rosanna's room; and I sent the boy back to say that I myself would follow him with the boot. This, I am well aware, was not the quickest way to take of obeying the directions which I had received. But I was resolved to see for myself what new mystification was going on, before I trusted Rosanna's boot in the ser geant's hands. My old notion of screening the girl if I could seemed to have come back on me again at tho eleventh hour. This state of feel ing (to cay nothing of the detective-fever) hurried me off, as soon as the boot was put in my hands, at the nearest approach to a run which a man turned seventy can reasonably hope to make. As I got near the shore the clouds gathered black and the rain came down, drifting in great white sheets of water before tho wind. I heard the thunder of the sea on the sandbank, at the mouth of the bay. A little further on I passed the boy crouching for shelter under the lee of the sand hills. Then I saw the raging sea, and the rollers tumbling in on the sandbank, and the driven rain sweeping over the waters like a flying garment, and the yellow wilderness of the beach with one solitary black figure standing on it the figure of Sergeant Cuff. He waved his hand toward the north when he first saw me. " Keep on that side !" he shouted. " And come on down here to me !" I went down to him, choking for breath, with my heart leaping as if it was like to leap out of me. I was past speaking. I had a hundred questions to put to him; and not one of them would pass my lips. His face frightened me. I saw a look in his eyes which was a look of horror. He snatched the boot out of my hand, and set it in a footmark on the sand, bearing south from us as we stood, and pointing straight
toward the rocky ledge called the ?outh Spit. The mark was not yet blurred out by the rain— and the girl's boot fitted it to a hair. The sergeant pointed to the boot in the foot mark, without saying a word. I caught at bis arm and tried to speak to him, and failed as I had faded when I tried before! He went on. following the footsteps down and down to where the rocks and the sand joined. lhe South Spit was just awash with the flowine tide ; the waters heaved over the hidden face of the ShiTering Sand. Now this way and now that, with an obstinate silence that fell on you like lead, with an obstinate patience that was dreadful to »cc, Sergeant Cuff tried the boot in the footsteps, and always found it pointing the same way—straight to the rocks. Hunt as he might, no sign could he find anywhere of the footsteps walking from them. He gave it up at last. He looked again at me; and then he looked out at the waters be fore us, heaving in deeper and deeper over the hidden face of the Shivering Sand. I looked where he looked—and I saw his thought in his face. A dreadful dumb trembling crawled all over me on a sudden. I fell upon my knees on the sand. " She has been back at the hiding-place," I heard the sergeant say to himself! " Some fatal^ accident has happened to her on those The girl's altered looks, and words, and ac tions-the numbed deadened way in which «he listened to me and spoke to me, when I had found her sweeping the corridor but a few hours since, rose up in my mind and warned me, even as he sergeant spoke, that his guess was wide of the dreadful truth. I tried to tell him of the fear that had frozen me up. I tried to say, Ihe death she has died, sergeant, was a death of her own seeking." No! the words wouldn't come. The dumb trembling held me in its grip. I couldn't feel the driving rain. I couldn't see the rising tide. As in the vision of a dream the poor lost creature came back before me. I saw her again as I had seen her in the past time—on the morning when I went to fetch her into the house. I heard her again, tell ing me that the Shivering Sand Beemed to draw her to it against her will, and wondering whether her grave was waiting for her there. The horror of it struck me, in some unfathomable way, through my own child. My girl was just her age. My girl, tried as Rosanna was tried, might have lived that miserable life, and died this dreadful death. The sergeant kindly lifted me up, and turned me away from the sight of the place where she had perished. With that relief I began to fetch my breath again, and to see things about me as things really were. Looking toward the sand hills,.l saw the men-servants from out-of-doors and the fisherman named Yolland, all running down to us together; and all having taken the alarm, calling out to know if the girl had been found. In the fewest words the sergeant showed them the evidence of the footmarks, and told them that a fatal accident must have happened to her. He then picked out the fisherman from the rest, and put a question to him, turning about again toward the sea: " Tell me this," he said. " Could a boat hare taken her oft" from that ledge of rock where her footmarks stop ?" The fisherman pointed to the rollers tumbling in on the sandbank, and to the great waves leaping up in clouds of foam against the head lands on either side of us. " No boat that ever was built," he answered, " could have got to her through that." Sergeant Cuff looked for the last time at the footmarks on the sand, which the rain was now fast blurring out. " There," he said, " is the evidence that she can t have left this place by land. And here," he went on, looking at the fisherman, "is the evidence that she cau't have got away by sea." He stopped and considered for a minute. " She was seen ruuning toward this place, half an hour before I got here from the house," he said to Yolland. "Some time has passed since then. Call it all altogether an hour ago. How high would the water be at that time on this side of the rocks?" He pointed to the south side— otherwise, the side which was not filled up by the quicksand. "As the tide makes to-day," B aid the fisher man, " there wouldn't have been water enough to drown a kitten on that side of the spit an hour since." Sergeant Cuff turned about northward toward the quicksand. " How much on this side ?" he asked. "Less still," answered Yolland. "The Shiver ing Sand would have been just awasb." The sergeant turned to me, and said that the accident must have happened on the side of the quicksand.. My tongue was loosened at that. "No accident!" I told him. " Whan she came to this place she came, weary of her life, to end it here." He started back from me. " How do you know?" he asked. The rest of them crowded round. The sergeant recovered himself in stantly. He put them back fiom me ; he said I was an old man; he said the discovery had shaken me; he said, " Let him alone a little." Then he turned to Yolland and asked," Is there any chance of finding her when the tide ebbs again?" And Yolland answered, "None. What the Sand gets the Sand keeps for ever." Having said that, the fisherman came a step nearer and Addressed himself to me. " Mr. Betteredge," he said, «I have a word to say to you about the young woman's death. Four foot out, broadwise, along the side of the Spit, there's a shelf of rock about half fathom down under the sand. My question is why didn't she strike that ? If she slipped, by acci dent, from off the Spit, she fell in, where there's foothold at the bottom, at a depth that would barely cover her to the waist. She must have waded out, or jumped out, into the Deeps be yond—or she wouldn't be missing now. No ac cident, sir! The Deeps of the Quioksand have got her. And they have got her by her own act." After that testimony from a man whose know ledge was to be relied on the sergeant was silent. The rest of us, like him, held our peace. With one accord we all turned back up the slope of the beach. At the sand-hillocks we were met by Samuel, running to us from the house. The lad is a good lad, and has an honest respect for me. He handed me a little note, with a decent sorrow in his face. " Penelope found this, Mr. Better edge," he Baid, " in Rosanna's room." It was her last farewell word to the old man who had done his best—thank God, always done his best—to befriend her. " You have often forgiven me, Mr. Betteredge, in past times. When you next see the Shivering Sand try to forgive me one? more. I have found my grave where my grave was waiting for me. I have lived, and died, sir, grateful for your kind ness." There was no more than that. Little as it was, I hadn't manhood enough to hold up against it. Your tears come easy, when you're young, and beginning the world. Your tears come easy, when you're old, and leaving it. I burst out crying. Sergeant Cuff took a step nearer to me—mean ing kindly, I don't doubt. I shrank baok from him. " Don't touch me," I said. " It's the dread of you that has driven her to it." "You are wrong, Mr. Betteredge," he answered, quietly. " But there will be time enough to speak of it when we are all indoors again." I followed the rest of them with the help of Samuel's arm. Through the driving rain we went back—to meet the trouble and the terror that were waiting for us at the house. [to bk continued.]
A Rich Maobi Chief.—A New Zealand contemporary gives the following account of a lucky Maori chief:—" The result of the gold dis coveries, and of the agreement which, after some difficulty, was arrived at with the native* of the Thames district is very interesting. The Government officials collect the licenses, and these, amounting at present to £10,000 per annum, are handed over to the Chief Taipairi. The chief is a highly intelligent man, and keeps up a handsome establishment, with a good retinue of servants. He keeps his carriage and a good stud. His wife is tatooed from the forehead to the chin, but he is not. He has a daughter who is tolerably good looking and rapidly approaching womanhood. If the settlement extends as it at present promises to do, the income of this lucky chief will in another year be not less than at the rate of £20,000 per annum."