FIRST PERIOD: THE LOSS OF THE DIAMOND (1848)
9. CHAPTER IX
June twenty-first, the day of the birthday, was cloudy and unsettled
at sunrise, but towards noon it cleared up bravely.
We, in the servants' hall, began this happy anniversary,
as usual, by offering our little presents to Miss Rachel,
with the regular speech delivered annually by me as the chief.
I follow the plan adopted by the Queen in opening Parliament--
namely, the plan of saying much the same thing regularly every year.
Before it is delivered, my speech (like the Queen's)
is looked for as eagerly as if nothing of the kind had ever
been heard before. When it is delivered, and turns out not
to be the novelty anticipated, though they grumble a little,
they look forward hopefully to something newer next year.
An easy people to govern, in the Parliament and in the Kitchen--
that's the moral of it. After breakfast, Mr. Franklin and I
had a private conference on the subject of the Moonstone--
the time having now come for removing it from the bank
at Frizinghall, and placing it in Miss Rachel's
Whether he had been trying to make love to his cousin again,
and had got a rebuff--or whether his broken rest, night after night,
was aggravating the queer contradictions and uncertainties in
his character--I don't know. But certain it is, that Mr. Franklin
failed to show himself at his best on the morning of the birthday.
He was in twenty different minds about the Diamond in as many minutes.
For my part, I stuck fast by the plain facts a we knew them.
Nothing had happened to justify us in alarming my lady on the subject
of the jewel; and nothing could alter the legal obligation that
now lay on Mr. Franklin to put it in his cousin's possession.
That was my view of the matter; and, twist and turn it as
he might, he was forced in the end to make it his view too.
We arranged that he was to ride over, after lunch, to Frizinghall,
and bring the Diamond back, with Mr. Godfrey and the two
young ladies, in all probability, to keep him company on the way
This settled, our young gentleman went back to Miss Rachel.