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TRUTH. (18481849.)




HAVING told me the name of Mr. Candy's
assistant, Betteredge appeared to think that
we had wasted enough of our time on an
insignificant subject. He resumed the perusal of
Rosanna Spearman's letter.

On my side, I sat at the window, waiting
until he had done. Little by little, the
impression produced on me by Ezra Jenningsit
seemed perfectly unaccountable, in such a
situation as mine, that any human being should have
produced an impression on me at all!—faded
from my mind. My thoughts flowed back into
their former channel. Once more, I forced
myself to look my own incredible position
resolutely in the face. Once more, I reviewed in
my own mind the course which I had at last
summoned composure enough to plan out for
the future.

To go back to London that day; to put the
whole case before Mr. Bruff; and, last and
most important, to obtain (no matter by what
means or at what sacrifice) a personal interview
with Rachelthis was my plan of action,
so far as I was capable of forming it at the
time. There was more than an hour still to
spare before the train started. And there was
the bare chance that Betteredge might
discover something in the unread portion of
Rosanna Spearman's letter, which it might be
useful for me to know before I left the house
in which the Diamond had been lost. For that
chance I was now waiting.

The letter ended in these terms:

"You have no need to be angry, Mr. Franklin,
even if I did feel some little triumph at
knowing that I held all your prospects in life
in my own hands. Anxieties and fears soon
came back to me. With the view Sergeant
Cuff took of the loss of the Diamond, he would
be sure to end in examining our linen and our
dresses. There was no place in my room
there was no place in the housewhich I could
feel satisfied would be safe from him. How to
hide the nightgown so that not even the
Sergeant could find it? and how to do that without
losing one moment of precious time?—
these were not easy questions to answer. My
uncertainties ended in my taking a way that
may make you laugh. I undressed, and put
the nightgown on me. You had worn itand
I had another little moment of pleasure in
wearing it after you.

"The next news that reached us in the
servants' hall showed that I had not made
sure of the nightgown a moment too soon.
Sergeant Cuff wanted to see the washing-

"I found it, and took it to him in my lady's
sitting-room. The Sergeant and I had come
across each other more than once in former
days. I was certain he would know me again
and I was not certain of what he might do
when he found me employed as servant in a
house in which a valuable jewel had been
lost. In this suspense, I felt it would be
a relief to me to get the meeting between
us over, and to know the worst of it at

"He looked at me as if I was a stranger,
when I handed him the washing-book; and he
was very specially polite in thanking me for
bringing it. I thought those were both bad
signs. There was no knowing what he might
say of me behind my back; there was no knowing
how soon I might not find myself taken in
custody on suspicion, and searched. It was
then time for your return from seeing Mr.
Godfrey Ablewhite off by the railway; and I
went to your favourite walk in the shrubbery,
to try for another chance of speaking to you
the last chance, for all I knew to the contrary,
that I might have.

"You never appeared; and, what was worse
still, Mr. Betteredge and Sergeant Cuff passed
by the place where I was hidingand the
Sergeant saw me.

"I had no choice, after that, but to return to
my proper place and my proper work, before
more disasters happened to me. Just as I was
going to step across the path, you came back
from the railway. You were making straight
for the shrubbery, when you saw meI am
certain, sir, you saw meand you turned away