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The Moonstone

22
My mistress having left us, I had leisure to think of Sergeant Cuff. I found him
sitting in a snug corner of the hall, consulting his memorandum book, and curling
up viciously at the corners of the lips.
"Making notes of the case? " I asked.
"No," said the Sergeant. "Looking to see what my next professional engagement
is."
"Oh!" I said. "You think it's all over then, here?"
"I think," answered Sergeant Cuff, "that Lady Verinder is one of the cleverest
women in England. I also think a rose much better worth looking at than a
diamond. Where is the gardener, Mr. Betteredge?"
There was no getting a word more out of him on the matter of the Moonstone. He
had lost all interest in his own inquiry; and he would persist in looking for the
gardener. An hour afterwards, I heard them at high words in the conservatory,
with the dog-rose once more at the bottom of the dispute.
In the meantime, it was my business to find out whether Mr. Franklin persisted in
his resolution to leave us by the afternoon train. After having been informed of
the conference in my lady's room, and of how it had ended, he immediately
decided on waiting to hear the news from Frizinghall. This very natural alteration
in his plans-- which, with ordinary people, would have led to nothing in particular-
- proved, in Mr. Franklin's case, to have one objectionable result. It left him
unsettled, with a legacy of idle time on his hands, and, in so doing, it let out all
the foreign sides of his character, one on the top of another, like rats out of a
bag.
Now as an Italian-Englishman, now as a German-Englishman, and now as a
French-Englishman, he drifted in and out of all the sitting-rooms in the house,
with nothing to talk of but Miss Rachel's treatment of him; and with nobody to
address himself to but me. I found him (for example) in the library, sitting under
the map of Modern Italy, and quite unaware of any other method of meeting his
troubles, except the method of talking about them. "I have several worthy
aspirations, Betteredge; but what am I to do with them now? I am full of dormant
good qualities, if Rachel would only have helped me to bring them out!" He was
so eloquent in drawing the picture of his own neglected merits, and so pathetic in
lamenting over it when it was done, that I felt quite at my wits' end how to console
him, when it suddenly occurred to me that here was a case for the wholesome
application of a bit of ROBINSON CRUSOE. I hobbled out to my own room, and
hobbled back with that immortal book. Nobody in the library! The map of Modern
Italy stared at ME; and I stared at the map of Modern Italy.
I tried the drawing-room. There was his handkerchief on the floor, to prove that
he had drifted in. And there was the empty room to prove that he had drifted out
again.
 
 
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