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The Moonstone

23
I had kept the pony chaise ready, in case Mr. Franklin persisted in leaving us by
the train that night. The appearance of the luggage, followed downstairs by Mr.
Franklin himself, informed me plainly enough that he had held firm to a resolution
for once in his life.
"So you have really made up your mind, sir?" I said, as we met in the hall. "Why
not wait a day or two longer, and give Miss Rachel another chance?"
The foreign varnish appeared to have all worn off Mr. Franklin, now that the time
had come for saying good-bye. Instead of replying to me in words, he put the
letter which her ladyship had addressed to him into my hand. The greater part of
it said over again what had been said already in the other communication
received by me. But there was a bit about Miss Rachel added at the end, which
will account for the steadiness of Mr. Franklin's determination, if it accounts for
nothing else.
"You will wonder, I dare say" (her ladyship wrote), "at my allowing my own
daughter to keep me perfectly in the dark. A Diamond worth twenty thousand
pounds has been lost--and I am left to infer that the mystery of its disappearance
is no mystery to Rachel, and that some incomprehensible obligation of silence
has been laid on her, by some person or persons utterly unknown to me, with
some object in view at which I cannot even guess. Is it conceivable that I should
allow myself to be trifled with in this way? It is quite conceivable, in Rachel's
present state. She is in a condition of nervous agitation pitiable to see. I dare not
approach the subject of the Moonstone again until time has done something to
quiet her. To help this end, I have not hesitated to dismiss the police-officer. The
mystery which baffles us, baffles him too. This is not a matter in which any
stranger can help us. He adds to what I have to suffer; and he maddens Rachel if
she only hears his name.
"My plans for the future are as well settled as they can be. My present idea is to
take Rachel to London--partly to relieve her mind by a complete change, partly to
try what may be done by consulting the best medical advice. Can I ask you to
meet us in town? My dear Franklin, you, in your way, must imitate my patience,
and wait, as I do, for a fitter time. The valuable assistance which you rendered to
the inquiry after the lost jewel is still an unpardoned offence, in the present
dreadful state of Rachel's mind. Moving blindfold in this matter, you have added
to the burden of anxiety which she has had to bear, by innocently threatening her
secret with discovery, through your exertions. It is impossible for me to excuse
the perversity that holds you responsible for consequences which neither you nor
I could imagine or foresee. She is not to be reasoned with--she can only be
pitied. I am grieved to have to say it, but for the present, you and Rachel are
better apart. The only advice I can offer you is, to give her time."
I handed the letter back, sincerely sorry for Mr. Franklin, for I knew how fond he
was of my young lady; and I saw that her mother's account of her had cut him to
 
 
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