FIRST PERIOD: THE LOSS OF THE DIAMOND (1848)
2. CHAPTER II
The perturbation in my mind, in regard to thinking about it, being truly
dreadful after my lady had gone away, I applied the remedy which I
have never yet found to fail me in cases of doubt and emergency.
I smoked a pipe and took a turn at ROBINSON CRUSOE. Before I had
occupied myself with that extraordinary book five minutes, I came
on a comforting bit (page one hundred and fifty-eight), as follows:
"To-day we love, what to-morrow we hate." I saw my way clear directly.
To-day I was all for continuing to be farm-bailiff; to-morrow, on
the authority of ROBINSON CRUSOE, I should be all the other way.
Take myself to-morrow while in to-morrow's humour, and the thing
was done. My mind being relieved in this manner, I went to sleep
that night in the character of Lady Verinder's farm bailiff,
and I woke up the next morning in the character of Lady
Verinder's house-steward. All quite comfortable, and all through
My daughter Penelope has just looked over my shoulder to see what I
have done so far. She remarks that it is beautifully written,
and every word of it true. But she points out one objection.
She says what I have done so far isn't in the least what I was
wanted to do. I am asked to tell the story of the Diamond and,
instead of that, I have been telling the story of my own self.
Curious, and quite beyond me to account for. I wonder whether
the gentlemen who make a business and a living out of writing books,
ever find their own selves getting in the way of their subjects,
like me? If they do, I can feel for them. In the meantime,
here is another false start, and more waste of good writing-paper.
What's to be done now? Nothing that I know of, except for you
to keep your temper, and for me to begin it all over again for the