+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

liquor in nigh on a tumbler-full of cold water.
A child couldn't have got drunk on itlet alone
a grown man!"

I knew I could depend on his memory, in a
matter of this kind. It was plainly impossible
that I could have been intoxicated. I passed
on to the second question.

"Before I was sent abroad, Betteredge, you
saw a great deal of me when I was a boy?
Now tell me plainly, do you remember anything
strange of me, after I had gone to bed at night?
Did you ever discover me walking in my

Betteredge stopped, looked at me for a
moment, nodded his head, and walked on

"I see your drift now, Mr. Franklin!" he
said. "You're trying to account for how you
got the paint on your nightgown, without
knowing it yourself. It won't do, sir. You're
miles away still from getting at the truth.
Walk in your sleep? You. never did such a
thing in your life!"

Here again, I felt that Betteredge must be
right. Neither at home nor abroad had my life
ever been of the solitary sort. If I had been a
sleep-walker, there were hundreds on hundreds
of people who must have discovered me, and
who, in the interests of my own safety, would
have warned me of the habit, and have taken
precautions to restrain it.

Still, admitting all this, I clungwith
an obstinacy which was surely natural and
excusable, under the circumstancesto one or
other of the only two explanations that I could
see which accounted for the unendurable positiion
in which I then stood. Observing that I
was not yet satisfied, Betteredge shrewdly
adverted to certain later events in the history of
the Moonstone; and scattered both my theories
to the winds at once and for ever.

"Let's try it another way, sir," he said.
"Keep your own opinion, and see how far it
will take you towards finding out the truth. If
we are to believe the nightgownwhich I don't,
for oneyou not only smeared off the paint from
the door, without knowing it, but you also took
the Diamond without knowing it. Is that right,
so far?"

"Quite right. Go on."

"Very good, sir. "We'll say you were
drunk, or walking in your sleep, when you
took the jewel. That accounts for the night
and morning, after the birthday. But how
does it account for what has happened since
that time? The Diamond has been taken to
London, since that time. The Diamond has
been pledged to Mr. Luker, since that time.
Did you do those two things, without knowing
it, too? Were you drunk when I saw you
off in the pony-chaise on that Saturday evening?
And did you walk in your sleep to Mr.
Luker's, when the train had brought you to
your journey's end? Excuse me for saying it,
Mr. Franklin, but this business has so upset
you, that you' re not fit yet to judge for yourself.
The sooner you lay your head alongside of Mr.
Bruff's head, the sooner you will see your way
out of the dead lock that has got you now."

We reached the station, with only a minute
or two to spare.

I hurriedly gave Betteredge my address
in London, so that he might write to me, if
necessary; promising, on my side, to inform
him of any news which I might have to
communicate. This done, and just as I was bidding
him farewell, I happened to glance towards
the book-and-newspaper stall. There was Mr.
Candy's remarkable-looking assistant again,
speaking to the keeper of the stall! Our eyes
met at the same moment. Ezra Jennings
took off his hat to me. I returned the salute,
and got into a carriage just as the train
started. It was a relief to my mind, I suppose,
to dwell on any subject which appeared to be,
personally, of no sort of importance to me.
At all events, I began the momentous journey
back which was to take me to Mr. Bruff,
wonderingabsurdly enough, I admitthat I
should have seen the man with the piebald hair
twice in one day!

The hour at which I arrived in London
precluded all hope of my finding Mr. Bruff at
his place of business. I drove from the railway
to his private residence at Hampstead, and
disturbed the old lawyer dozing alone in his dining-
room, with his favourite pug-dog on his lap,
and his bottle of wine at his elbow.

I shall best describe the effect which my
story produced on the mind of Mr. Bruff by
relating his proceedings when he had heard it to
the end. He ordered lights, and strong tea, to
be taken into his study; and he sent a message
to the ladies of his family, forbidding them to
disturb us on any pretence whatever. These
preliminaries disposed of, he first examined the
nightgown, and then devoted himself to the
reading of Rosanna Spearman's letter.

The reading completed, Mr. Bruff addressed
me for the first time since we had been shut up
together in the seclusion of his own room.

"Franklin Blake," said the old gentleman,
"this is a very serious matter, in more respects
than one. In my opinion, it concerns Rachel
quite as nearly as it concerns you. Her
extraordinary conduct is no mystery now. She
believes you have stolen the Diamond."

I had shrunk from reasoning my own way
fairly to that revolting conclusion. But it had
forced itself on me nevertheless. My resolution
to obtain a personal interview with Rachel,
rested really and truly on the ground just stated
by Mr. Bruff.

"The first step to take in this investigation,"
the lawyer proceeded, "is to appeal to Rachel.
She has been silent all this time, from motives
which I (who know her character) can readily
understand. It is impossible, after what has
happened, to submit to that silence any longer.
She must be persuaded to tell us, or she must
be forced to tell us, on what grounds she bases
her belief that you took the Moonstone. The
chances are, that the whole of this case, serious