THE DISCOVERY OF THE TRUTH (1848-1849)
The events related in several narratives.
First Narrative Contributed by Miss Clack; niece of the late Sir John Verinder
I am indebted to my dear parents (both now in heaven) for having had habits of
order and regularity instilled into me at a very early age.
In that happy bygone time, I was taught to keep my hair tidy at all hours of the
day and night, and to fold up every article of my clothing carefully, in the same
order, on the same chair, in the same place at the foot of the bed, before retiring
to rest. An entry of the day's events in my little diary invariably preceded the
folding up. The "Evening Hymn" (repeated in bed) invariably followed the folding
up. And the sweet sleep of childhood invariably followed the "Evening Hymn."
In later life (alas!) the Hymn has been succeeded by sad and bitter meditations;
and the sweet sleep has been but ill exchanged for the broken slumbers which
haunt the uneasy pillow of care. On the other hand, I have continued to fold my
clothes, and to keep my little diary. The former habit links me to my happy
childhood--before papa was ruined. The latter habit-- hitherto mainly useful in
helping me to discipline the fallen nature which we all inherit from Adam--has
unexpectedly proved important to my humble interests in quite another way. It
has enabled poor Me to serve the caprice of a wealthy member of the family into
which my late uncle married. I am fortunate enough to be useful to Mr. Franklin
I have been cut off from all news of my relatives by marriage for some time past.
When we are isolated and poor, we are not infrequently forgotten. I am now
living, for economy's sake, in a little town in Brittany, inhabited by a select circle
of serious English friends, and possessed of the inestimable advantages of a
Protestant clergyman and a cheap market.
In this retirement--a Patmos amid the howling ocean of popery that surrounds us-
-a letter from England has reached me at last. I find my insignificant existence
suddenly remembered by Mr. Franklin Blake. My wealthy relative--would that I
could add my spiritually-wealthy relative!--writes, without even an attempt at
disguising that he wants something of me. The whim has seized him to stir up the
deplorable scandal of the Moonstone: and I am to help him by writing the account
of what I myself witnessed while visiting at Aunt Verinder's house in London.
Pecuniary remuneration is offered to me--with the want of feeling peculiar to the
rich. I am to re-open wounds that Time has barely closed; I am to recall the most
intensely painful remembrances--and this done, I am to feel myself compensated
by a new laceration, in the shape of Mr. Blake's cheque. My nature is weak. It