FIRST PERIOD: THE LOSS OF THE DIAMOND (1848)
3. CHAPTER III
The Diamond takes us back to Mr. Franklin, who was the innocent means
of bringing that unlucky jewel into the house.
Our nice boy didn't forget us after he went abroad. He wrote every
now and then; sometimes to my lady, sometimes to Miss Rachel,
and sometimes to me. We had had a transaction together,
before he left, which consisted in his borrowing of me a ball
of string, a four-bladed knife, and seven-and-sixpence in money--
the colour of which last I have not seen, and never expect to
see again. His letters to me chiefly related to borrowing more.
I heard, however, from my lady, how he got on abroad, as he grew
in years and stature. After he had learnt what the institutions
of Germany could teach him, he gave the French a turn next,
and the Italians a turn after that. They made him among them
a sort of universal genius, as well as I could understand it.
He wrote a little; he painted a little; he sang and played and
composed a little--borrowing, as I suspect, in all these cases,
just as he had borrowed from me. His mother's fortune
(seven hundred a year) fell to him when he came of age,
and ran through him, as it might be through a sieve.
The more money he had, the more he wanted; there was a hole
in Mr. Franklin's pocket that nothing would sew up.
Wherever he went, the lively, easy way of him made him welcome.
He lived here, there, and everywhere; his address (as he used
to put it himself) being "Post Office, Europe--to be left till
called for." Twice over, he made up his mind to come back
to England and see us; and twice over (saving your presence),
some unmentionable woman stood in the way and stopped him.
His third attempt succeeded, as you know already from
what my lady told me. On Thursday the twenty-fifth of May,
we were to see for the first time what our nice boy had grown
to be as a man. He came of good blood; he had a high courage;
and he was five-and-twenty years of age, by our reckoning.
Now you know as much of Mr. Franklin Blake as I did--
before Mr. Franklin Blake came down to our house.
The Thursday was as fine a summer's day as ever you saw:
and my lady and Miss Rachel (not expecting Mr. Franklin
till dinner-time) drove out to lunch with some friends in