FIRST PERIOD: THE LOSS OF THE DIAMOND (1848)
17. CHAPTER XVII
"What is it?"
"Please to let me go on with my work."
Penelope followed her, and offered to help her.
She answered, "No. I want to do my work. Thank you, Penelope."
She looked round at me. "Thank you, Mr. Betteredge."
There was no moving her--there was nothing more to be said.
I signed to Penelope to come away with me. We left her,
as we had found her, sweeping the corridor, like a woman in
"This is a matter for the doctor to look into," I said.
"It's beyond me."
My daughter reminded me of Mr. Candy's illness, owing (as you may remember)
to the chill he had caught on the night of the dinner-party. His assistant--
a certain Mr. Ezra Jennings--was at our disposal, to be sure. But nobody
knew much about him in our parts. He had been engaged by Mr. Candy under
rather peculiar circumstances; and, right or wrong, we none of us liked him
or trusted him. There were other doctors at Frizinghall. But they were
strangers to our house; and Penelope doubted, in Rosanna's present state,
whether strangers might not do her more harm than good.
I thought of speaking to my lady. But, remembering the heavy weight
of anxiety which she already had on her mind, I hesitated to add
to all the other vexations this new trouble. Still, there was a
necessity for doing something. The girl's state was, to my thinking,
downright alarming--and my mistress ought to be informed of it.
Unwilling enough, I went to her sitting-room. No one was there.
My lady was shut up with Miss Rachel. It was impossible for me to see her
till she came out again.
I waited in vain till the clock on the front staircase struck
the quarter to two. Five minutes afterwards, I heard my name called,
from the drive outside the house. I knew the voice directly.
Sergeant Cuff had returned from Frizinghall.