FIRST PERIOD: THE LOSS OF THE DIAMOND (1848)
11. CHAPTER XI
When the last of the guests had driven away, I went back into
the inner hall and found Samuel at the side-table, presiding
over the brandy and soda-water. My lady and Miss Rachel came
out of the drawing-room, followed by the two gentlemen.
Mr. Godfrey had some brandy and soda-water, Mr. Franklin
took nothing. He sat down, looking dead tired; the talking
on this birthday occasion had, I suppose, been too much
My lady, turning round to wish them good-night, looked hard
at the wicked Colonel's legacy shining in her daughter's dress.
"Rachel," she asked, "where are you going to put your Diamond to-night?"
Miss Rachel was in high good spirits, just in that humour
for talking nonsense, and perversely persisting in it as if it
was sense, which you may sometimes have observed in young girls,
when they are highly wrought up, at the end of an exciting day.
First, she declared she didn't know where to put the Diamond.
Then she said, "on her dressing-table, of course, along with
her other things." Then she remembered that the Diamond
might take to shining of itself, with its awful moony light
in the dark--and that would terrify her in the dead of night.
Then she bethought herself of an Indian cabinet which stood
in her sitting-room; and instantly made up her mind to put
the Indian diamond in the Indian cabinet, for the purpose of
permitting two beautiful native productions to admire each other.
Having let her little flow of nonsense run on as far as that point,
her mother interposed and stopped her.
"My dear! your Indian cabinet has no lock to it," says my lady.
"Good Heavens, mamma!" cried Miss Rachel, "is this an hotel?
Are there thieves in the house?"
Without taking notice of this fantastic way of talking, my lady
wished the gentlemen good-night. She next turned to Miss Rachel,
and kissed her. "Why not let ME keep the Diamond for you to-night?"