FIRST PERIOD: THE LOSS OF THE DIAMOND (1848)
3. CHAPTER III
Hearing what I now tell you, you will naturally ask how it
was that Mr. Franklin should have passed all the years,
from the time when he was a boy to the time when he was a man,
out of his own country. I answer, because his father had
the misfortune to be next heir to a Dukedom, and not to be able
to prove it.
In two words, this was how the thing happened:
My lady's eldest sister married the celebrated Mr. Blake--
equally famous for his great riches, and his great suit at law.
How many years he went on worrying the tribunals of his
country to turn out the Duke in possession, and to put himself
in the Duke's place--how many lawyer's purses he filled
to bursting, and how many otherwise harmless people he set
by the ears together disputing whether he was right or wrong--
is more by a great deal than I can reckon up. His wife died,
and two of his three children died, before the tribunals could make
up their minds to show him the door and take no more of his money.
When it was all over, and the Duke in possession was left
in possession, Mr. Blake discovered that the only way of being
even with his country for the manner in which it had treated him,
was not to let his country have the honour of educating his son.
"How can I trust my native institutions," was the form in which
he put it, "after the way in which my native institutions have
behaved to ME?" Add to this, that Mr. Blake disliked all boys,
his own included, and you will admit that it could only end
in one way. Master Franklin was taken from us in England,
and was sent to institutions which his father COULD trust,
in that superior country, Germany; Mr. Blake himself,
you will observe, remaining snug in England, to improve his
fellow-countrymen in the Parliament House, and to publish
a statement on the subject of the Duke in possession,
which has remained an unfinished statement from that day
There! thank God, that's told! Neither you nor I need trouble our
heads any more about Mr. Blake, senior. Leave him to the Dukedom;
and let you and I stick to the Diamond.