3. CHAPTER III
The eminent traveller did me the honour of waking up in an instant,
and asking me who I was.
I informed him of my professional connection with the Herncastle family,
not forgetting the curious position which I had occupied towards the Colonel
and his Diamond in the bygone time.
Mr. Murthwaite shifted round in his chair, so as to put the rest
of the company behind him (Conservatives and Liberals alike),
and concentrated his whole attention on plain Mr. Bruff, of Gray's
"Have you heard anything, lately, of the Indians?" he asked.
"I have every reason to believe," I answered, "that one of them
had an interview with me, in my office, yesterday."
Mr. Murthwaite was not an easy man to astonish; but that last answer of mine
completely staggered him. I described what had happened to Mr. Luker,
and what had happened to myself, exactly as I have described it here.
"It is clear that the Indian's parting inquiry had an object," I added.
"Why should he be so anxious to know the time at which a borrower of money is
usually privileged to pay the money back?"
"Is it possible that you don't see his motive, Mr. Bruff?"
"I am ashamed of my stupidity, Mr. Murthwaite--but I certainly don't see it."
The great traveller became quite interested in sounding the immense vacuity
of my dulness to its lowest depths.
"Let me ask you one question," he said. "In what position does
the conspiracy to seize the Moonstone now stand?"
"I can't say," I answered. "The Indian plot is a mystery to me."