1. CHAPTER I
Contributed by MATHEW BRUFF, Solicitor, of Gray's Inn
My fair friend, Miss Clack, having laid down the pen, there are two reasons
for my taking it up next, in my turn.
In the first place, I am in a position to throw the necessary light on
certain points of interest which have thus far been left in the dark.
Miss Verinder had her own private reason for breaking her marriage engagement--
and I was at the bottom of it. Mr. Godfrey Ablewhite had his own private
reason for withdrawing all claim to the hand of his charming cousin--
and I discovered what it was.
In the second place, it was my good or ill fortune, I hardly know which,
to find myself personally involved--at the period of which I am now writing--
in the mystery of the Indian Diamond. I had the honour of an interview,
at my own office, with an Oriental stranger of distinguished manners,
who was no other, unquestionably, than the chief of the three Indians.
Add to this, that I met with the celebrated traveller, Mr. Murthwaite,
the day afterwards, and that I held a conversation with him on the subject
of the Moonstone, which has a very important bearing on later events.
And there you have the statement of my claims to fill the position which I
occupy in these pages.
The true story of the broken marriage engagement comes first in point
of time, and must therefore take the first place in the present narrative.
Tracing my way back along the chain of events, from one end to the other,
I find it necessary to open the scene, oddly enough as you will think,
at the bedside of my excellent client and friend, the late Sir
Sir John had his share--perhaps rather a large share--of the more
harmless and amiable of the weaknesses incidental to humanity.
Among these, I may mention as applicable to the matter in hand,
an invincible reluctance--so long as he enjoyed his usual
good health--to face the responsibility of making his will.
Lady Verinder exerted her influence to rouse him to a sense
of duty in this matter; and I exerted my influence. He admitted
the justice of our views--but he went no further than that,
until he found himself afflicted with the illness which ultimately
brought him to his grave. Then, I was sent for at last,
to take my client's instructions on the subject of his will.
They proved to be the simplest instructions I had ever received in
the whole of my professional career.