The Moonstone HTML version
Contributed by Gabriel Betteredge
I am the person (as you remember no doubt) who led the way in these pages,
and opened the story. I am also the person who is left behind, as it were, to close
the story up.
Let nobody suppose that I have any last words to say here concerning the Indian
Diamond. I hold that unlucky jewel in abhorrence--and I refer you to other
authority than mine, for such news of the Moonstone as you may, at the present
time, be expected to receive. My purpose, in this place, is to state a fact in the
history of the family, which has been passed over by everybody, and which I
won't allow to be disrespectfully smothered up in that way. The fact to which I
allude is-- the marriage of Miss Rachel and Mr. Franklin Blake. This interesting
event took place at our house in Yorkshire, on Tuesday, October ninth, eighteen
hundred and forty-nine. I had a new suit of clothes on the occasion. And the
married couple went to spend the honeymoon in Scotland.
Family festivals having been rare enough at our house, since my poor mistress's
death, I own--on this occasion of the wedding--to having (towards the latter part
of the day) taken a drop too much on the strength of it.
If you have ever done the same sort of thing yourself you will understand and feel
for me. If you have not, you will very likely say, "Disgusting old man! why does he
tell us this?" The reason why is now to come.
Having, then, taken my drop (bless you! you have got your favourite vice, too;
only your vice isn't mine, and mine isn't yours), I next applied the one infallible
remedy--that remedy being, as you know, ROBINSON CRUSOE. Where I
opened that unrivalled book, I can't say. Where the lines of print at last left off
running into each other, I know, however, perfectly well. It was at page three
hundred and eighteen--a domestic bit concerning Robinson Crusoe's marriage,
"With those Thoughts, I considered my new Engagement, that I had a Wife "--
(Observe! so had Mr. Franklin!)--"one Child born"--(Observe again! that might yet
be Mr. Franklin's case, too!)--"and my Wife then"--What Robinson Crusoe's wife
did, or did not do, "then," I felt no desire to discover. I scored the bit about the
Child with my pencil, and put a morsel of paper for a mark to keep the place; "Lie
you there," I said, "till the marriage of Mr. Franklin and Miss Rachel is some
months older--and then we'll see!"
The months passed (more than I had bargained for), and no occasion presented
itself for disturbing that mark in the book. It was not till this present month of
November, eighteen hundred and fifty, that Mr. Franklin came into my room, in
high good spirits, and said, "Betteredge! I have got some news for you!
Something is going to happen in the house, before we are many months older."
"Does it concern the family, sir?" I asked.