FIRST PERIOD: THE LOSS OF THE DIAMOND (1848)
17. CHAPTER XVII
Nothing happened in the night; and (I am happy to add)
no attempt at communication between Miss Rachel and Rosanna
rewarded the vigilance of Sergeant Cuff.
I had expected the Sergeant to set off for Frizinghall the first thing
in the morning. He waited about, however, as if he had something else
to do first. I left him to his own devices; and going into the grounds
shortly after, met Mr. Franklin on his favourite walk by the shrubbery side.
Before we had exchanged two words, the Sergeant unexpectedly joined us.
He made up to Mr. Franklin, who received him, I must own, haughtily enough.
"Have you anything to say to me?" was all the return he got for politely
wishing Mr. Franklin good morning.
"I have something to say to you, sir," answered the Sergeant,
"on the subject of the inquiry I am conducting here.
You detected the turn that inquiry was really taking, yesterday.
Naturally enough, in your position, you are shocked and distressed.
Naturally enough, also, you visit your own angry sense of your own
family scandal upon Me."
"What do you want?" Mr. Franklin broke in, sharply enough.
"I want to remind you, sir, that I have at any rate, thus far,
not been PROVED to be wrong. Bearing that in mind, be pleased
to remember, at the same time, that I am an officer of the law
acting here under the sanction of the mistress of the house.
Under these circumstances, is it, or is it not, your duty as a
good citizen, to assist me with any special information which you
may happen to possess?"
"I possess no special information," says Mr. Franklin.
Sergeant Cuff put that answer by him, as if no answer had been made.
"You may save my time, sir, from being wasted on an inquiry at a distance,"
he went on, "if you choose to understand me and speak out."
"I don't understand you," answered Mr. Franklin; "and I have nothing to say."