The Moonstone HTML version
Contributed by Mathew Bruff, Solicitor, of Gray's Inn Square
My fair friend, Miss Clack, having laid down the pen, there are two reasons for
my taking it up next, in my turn.
In the first place, I am in a position to throw the necessary light on certain points
of interest which have thus far been left in the dark. Miss Verinder had her own
private reason for breaking her marriage engagement-- and I was at the bottom
of it. Mr. Godfrey Ablewhite had his own private reason for withdrawing all claim
to the hand of his charming cousin-- and I discovered what it was.
In the second place, it was my good or ill fortune, I hardly know which, to find
myself personally involved--at the period of which I am now writing-- in the
mystery of the Indian Diamond. I had the honour of an interview, at my own
office, with an Oriental stranger of distinguished manners, who was no other,
unquestionably, than the chief of the three Indians. Add to this, that I met with the
celebrated traveller, Mr. Murthwaite, the day afterwards, and that I held a
conversation with him on the subject of the Moonstone, which has a very
important bearing on later events. And there you have the statement of my
claims to fill the position which I occupy in these pages.
The true story of the broken marriage engagement comes first in point of time,
and must therefore take the first place in the present narrative. Tracing my way
back along the chain of events, from one end to the other, I find it necessary to
open the scene, oddly enough as you will think, at the bedside of my excellent
client and friend, the late Sir John Verinder.
Sir John had his share--perhaps rather a large share--of the more harmless and
amiable of the weaknesses incidental to humanity. Among these, I may mention
as applicable to the matter in hand, an invincible reluctance--so long as he
enjoyed his usual good health--to face the responsibility of making his will. Lady
Verinder exerted her influence to rouse him to a sense of duty in this matter; and
I exerted my influence. He admitted the justice of our views--but he went no
further than that, until he found himself afflicted with the illness which ultimately
brought him to his grave. Then, I was sent for at last, to take my client's
instructions on the subject of his will. They proved to be the simplest instructions
I had ever received in the whole of my professional career.
Sir John was dozing, when I entered the room. He roused himself at the sight of
"How do you do, Mr. Bruff?" he said. "I sha'n't be very long about this. And then
I'll go to sleep again." He looked on with great interest while I collected pens, ink,
and paper. "Are you ready?" he asked. I bowed and took a dip of ink, and waited
for my instructions.
"I leave everything to my wife," said Sir John. "That's all." He turned round on his
pillow, and composed himself to sleep again.