FIRST PERIOD: THE LOSS OF THE DIAMOND (1848)
4. CHAPTER IV
I am truly sorry to detain you over me and my beehive chair.
A sleepy old man, in a sunny back yard, is not an interesting object,
I am well aware. But things must be put down in their places,
as things actually happened--and you must please to jog on a little
while longer with me, in expectation of Mr. Franklin Blake's arrival
later in the day.
Before I had time to doze off again, after my daughter Penelope
had left me, I was disturbed by a rattling of plates and dishes
in the servants' hall, which meant that dinner was ready.
Taking my own meals in my own sitting-room, I had nothing to do
with the servants' dinner, except to wish them a good stomach to it
all round, previous to composing myself once more in my chair.
I was just stretching my legs, when out bounced another woman on me.
Not my daughter again; only Nancy, the kitchen-maid, this time.
I was straight in her way out; and I observed, as she asked
me to let her by, that she had a sulky face--a thing which,
as head of the servants, I never allow, on principle, to pass me
"What are you turning your back on your dinner for?" I asked.
"What's wrong now, Nancy?"
Nancy tried to push by, without answering; upon which I rose up,
and took her by the ear. She is a nice plump young lass,
and it is customary with me to adopt that manner of showing
that I personally approve of a girl.
"What's wrong now?" I said once more.
"Rosanna's late again for dinner," says Nancy. "And I'm sent to fetch
her in. All the hard work falls on my shoulders in this house.
Let me alone, Mr. Betteredge!"
The person here mentioned as Rosanna was our second housemaid.
Having a kind of pity for our second housemaid (why, you shall
presently know), and seeing in Nancy's face, that she would fetch
her fellow-servant in with more hard words than might be needful
under the circumstances, it struck me that I had nothing particular
to do, and that I might as well fetch Rosanna myself; giving her
a hint to be punctual in future, which I knew she would take kindly