FIRST PERIOD: THE LOSS OF THE DIAMOND (1848)
12. CHAPTER XII
"This way, sir, if you please."
On our road to the house, I mentioned my name and position
in the family, to satisfy him that he might speak to me
about the business on which my lady was to employ him.
Not a word did he say about the business, however, for all that.
He admired the grounds, and remarked that he felt the sea
air very brisk and refreshing. I privately wondered,
on my side, how the celebrated Cuff had got his reputation.
We reached the house, in the temper of two strange dogs,
coupled up together for the first time in their lives by the
Asking for my lady, and hearing that she was in one of the conservatories,
we went round to the gardens at the back, and sent a servant to seek her.
While we were waiting, Sergeant Cuff looked through the evergreen
arch on our left, spied out our rosery, and walked straight in,
with the first appearance of anything like interest that he had shown yet.
To the gardener's astonishment, and to my disgust, this celebrated
policeman proved to be quite a mine of learning on the trumpery subject of
"Ah, you've got the right exposure here to the south and sou'-west,"
says the Sergeant, with a wag of his grizzled head, and a streak
of pleasure in his melancholy voice. "This is the shape for a rosery--
nothing like a circle set in a square. Yes, yes; with walks
between all the beds. But they oughtn't to be gravel walks
like these. Grass, Mr. Gardener--grass walks between your roses;
gravel's too hard for them. That's a sweet pretty bed of white
roses and blush roses. They always mix well together, don't they?
Here's the white musk rose, Mr. Betteredge--our old English rose
holding up its head along with the best and the newest of them.
Pretty dear!" says the Sergeant, fondling the Musk Rose with
his lanky fingers, and speaking to it as if he was speaking to
This was a nice sort of man to recover Miss Rachel's Diamond,
and to find out the thief who stole it!
"You seem to be fond of roses, Sergeant?" I remarked.