3. CHAPTER III
As the question passed his lips, I penetrated the motive of the Indian's
visit to my office at last!
"I see it!" I exclaimed. "The Indians take it for granted, as we do,
that the Moonstone has been pledged; and they want to be certainly
informed of the earliest period at which the pledge can be redeemed--
because that will be the earliest period at which the Diamond can be removed
from the safe keeping of the bank!"
"I told you you would find it out for yourself, Mr. Bruff,
if I only gave you a fair chance. In a year from the time
when the Moonstone was pledged, the Indians will be on the watch
for their third chance. Mr. Luker's own lips have told them
how long they will have to wait, and your respectable authority
has satisfied them that Mr. Luker has spoken the truth.
When do we suppose, at a rough guess, that the Diamond found
its way into the money-lender's hands?"
"Towards the end of last June," I answered, "as well as I can reckon it."
"And we are now in the year 'forty-eight. Very good.
If the unknown person who has pledged the Moonstone can redeem
it in a year, the jewel will be in that person's possession
again at the end of June, 'forty-nine. I shall be thousands
of miles from England and English news at that date.
But it may be worth YOUR while to take a note of it, and to arrange
to be in London at the time."
"You think something serious will happen?" I said.
"I think I shall be safer," he answered, "among the fiercest
fanatics of Central Asia than I should be if I crossed
the door of the bank with the Moonstone in my pocket.
The Indians have been defeated twice running, Mr. Bruff.
It's my firm belief that they won't be defeated a third time."
Those were the last words he said on the subject. The coffee came in;
the guests rose, and dispersed themselves about the room; and we joined
the ladies of the dinner-party upstairs.