FIRST PERIOD: THE LOSS OF THE DIAMOND (1848)
17. CHAPTER XVII
"One of the female servants (I won't mention names) spoke to you privately,
sir, last night."
Once more Mr. Franklin cut him short; once more Mr. Franklin answered,
"I have nothing to say."
Standing by in silence, I thought of the movement in the swing-door on
the previous evening, and of the coat-tails which I had seen disappearing
down the passage. Sergeant Cuff had, no doubt, just heard enough,
before I interrupted him, to make him suspect that Rosanna had relieved
her mind by confessing something to Mr. Franklin Blake.
This notion had barely struck me--when who should appear at the end
of the shrubbery walk but Rosanna Spearman in her own proper person!
She was followed by Penelope, who was evidently trying to make her
retrace her steps to the house. Seeing that Mr. Franklin was not alone,
Rosanna came to a standstill, evidently in great perplexity what to do next.
Penelope waited behind her. Mr. Franklin saw the girls as soon as I
saw them. The Sergeant, with his devilish cunning, took on not to have
noticed them at all. All this happened in an instant. Before either
Mr. Franklin or I could say a word, Sergeant Cuff struck in smoothly,
with an appearance of continuing the previous conversation.
"You needn't be afraid of harming the girl, sir," he said to Mr. Franklin,
speaking in a loud voice, so that Rosanna might hear him. "On the contrary,
I recommend you to honour me with your confidence, if you feel any interest in
Mr. Franklin instantly took on not to have noticed the girls either.
He answered, speaking loudly on his side:
"I take no interest whatever in Rosanna Spearman."
I looked towards the end of the walk. All I saw at the distance was
that Rosanna suddenly turned round, the moment Mr. Franklin had spoken.
Instead of resisting Penelope, as she had done the moment before,
she now let my daughter take her by the arm and lead her back to