FIRST PERIOD: THE LOSS OF THE DIAMOND (1848)
8. CHAPTER VIII
This poor girl--who had puzzled me, as you know already,
at the Shivering Sand--puzzled me more than once again,
in the interval time of which I am now writing. Penelope's notion
that her fellow-servant was in love with Mr. Franklin
(which my daughter, by my orders, kept strictly secret)
seemed to be just as absurd as ever. But I must own that what I
myself saw, and what my daughter saw also, of our second
housemaid's conduct, began to look mysterious, to say the least
For example, the girl constantly put herself in Mr. Franklin's way--very slyly
and quietly, but she did it. He took about as much notice of her as he took
of the cat; it never seemed to occur to him to waste a look on Rosanna's
plain face. The poor thing's appetite, never much, fell away dreadfully;
and her eyes in the morning showed plain signs of waking and crying at night.
One day Penelope made an awkward discovery, which we hushed up on the spot.
She caught Rosanna at Mr. Franklin's dressing-table, secretly removing
a rose which Miss Rachel had given him to wear in his button-hole, and
putting another rose like it, of her own picking, in its place. She was,
after that, once or twice impudent to me, when I gave her a well-meant
general hint to be careful in her conduct; and, worse still, she was not
over-respectful now, on the few occasions when Miss Rachel accidentally spoke
My lady noticed the change, and asked me what I thought about it. I tried
to screen the girl by answering that I thought she was out of health; and it
ended in the doctor being sent for, as already mentioned, on the nineteenth.
He said it was her nerves, and doubted if she was fit for service.
My lady offered to remove her for change of air to one of our farms, inland.
She begged and prayed, with the tears in her eyes, to be let to stop;
and, in an evil hour, I advised my lady to try her for a little longer.
As the event proved, and as you will soon see, this was the worst advice I
could have given. If I could only have looked a little way into the future,
I would have taken Rosanna Spearman out of the house, then and there, with my