FIRST PERIOD: THE LOSS OF THE DIAMOND (1848)
23. CHAPTER XXIII
"My plans for the future are as well settled as they can be.
My present idea is to take Rachel to London--partly to relieve her mind
by a complete change, partly to try what may be done by consulting
the best medical advice. Can I ask you to meet us in town?
My dear Franklin, you, in your way, must imitate my patience,
and wait, as I do, for a fitter time. The valuable assistance
which you rendered to the inquiry after the lost jewel is still an
unpardoned offence, in the present dreadful state of Rachel's mind.
Moving blindfold in this matter, you have added to the burden
of anxiety which she has had to bear, by innocently threatening
her secret with discovery, through your exertions. It is impossible
for me to excuse the perversity that holds you responsible for
consequences which neither you nor I could imagine or foresee.
She is not to be reasoned with--she can only be pitied.
I am grieved to have to say it, but for the present, you and Rachel
are better apart. The only advice I can offer you is, to give
I handed the letter back, sincerely sorry for Mr. Franklin,
for I knew how fond he was of my young lady; and I saw
that her mother's account of her had cut him to the heart.
"You know the proverb, sir," was all I said to him.
"When things are at the worst, they're sure to mend.
Things can't be much worse, Mr. Franklin, than they
Mr. Franklin folded up his aunt's letter, without appearing to be much
comforted by the remark which I had ventured on addressing to him.
"When I came here from London with that horrible Diamond,"
he said, "I don't believe there was a happier household in England
than this. Look at the household now! Scattered, disunited--
the very air of the place poisoned with mystery and suspicion!
Do you remember that morning at the Shivering Sand, when we
talked about my uncle Herncastle, and his birthday gift?
The Moonstone has served the Colonel's vengeance, Betteredge, by means
which the Colonel himself never dreamt of!"
With that he shook me by the hand, and went out to the pony chaise.