FIRST PERIOD: THE LOSS OF THE DIAMOND (1848)
21. CHAPTER XXI
The first words, when we had taken our seats, were spoken by my lady.
"Sergeant Cuff," she said, "there was perhaps some excuse
for the inconsiderate manner in which I spoke to you half
an hour since. I have no wish, however, to claim that excuse.
I say, with perfect sincerity, that I regret it, if I
The grace of voice and manner with which she made him that atonement had its
due effect on the Sergeant. He requested permission to justify himself--
putting his justification as an act of respect to my mistress.
It was impossible, he said, that he could be in any way responsible
for the calamity, which had shocked us all, for this sufficient reason,
that his success in bringing his inquiry to its proper end depended on
his neither saying nor doing anything that could alarm Rosanna Spearman.
He appealed to me to testify whether he had, or had not, carried that
object out. I could, and did, bear witness that he had. And there,
as I thought, the matter might have been judiciously left to come to
Sergeant Cuff, however, took it a step further, evidently (as you shall
now judge) with the purpose of forcing the most painful of all possible
explanations to take place between her ladyship and himself.
"I have heard a motive assigned for the young woman's suicide,"
said the Sergeant, "which may possibly be the right one. It is a
motive quite unconnected with the case which I am conducting here.
I am bound to add, however, that my own opinion points the other way.
Some unbearable anxiety in connexion with the missing Diamond,
has, I believe, driven the poor creature to her own destruction.
I don't pretend to know what that unbearable anxiety may have been.
But I think (with your ladyship's permission) I can lay my hand
on a person who is capable of deciding whether I am right
"Is the person now in the house?" my mistress asked, after waiting a little.
"The person has left the house," my lady.