The Moonstone HTML version

Chapter I
The events related by GABRIEL BETTEREDGE, house-steward in the service of
In the first part of ROBINSON CRUSOE, at page one hundred and twenty-nine,
you will find it thus written:
"Now I saw, though too late, the Folly of beginning a Work before we count the
Cost, and before we judge rightly of our own Strength to go through with it."
Only yesterday, I opened my ROBINSON CRUSOE at that place. Only this
morning (May twenty-first, Eighteen hundred and fifty), came my lady's nephew,
Mr. Franklin Blake, and held a short conversation with me, as follows:--
"Betteredge," says Mr. Franklin, "I have been to the lawyer's about some family
matters; and, among other things, we have been talking of the loss of the Indian
Diamond, in my aunt's house in Yorkshire, two years since. Mr. Bruff thinks as I
think, that the whole story ought, in the interests of truth, to be placed on record
in writing--and the sooner the better."
Not perceiving his drift yet, and thinking it always desirable for the sake of peace
and quietness to be on the lawyer's side, I said I thought so too. Mr. Franklin
went on.
"In this matter of the Diamond," he said, "the characters of innocent people have
suffered under suspicion already--as you know. The memories of innocent
people may suffer, hereafter, for want of a record of the facts to which those who
come after us can appeal. There can be no doubt that this strange family story of
ours ought to be told. And I think, Betteredge, Mr. Bruff and I together have hit on
the right way of telling it."
Very satisfactory to both of them, no doubt. But I failed to see what I myself had
to do with it, so far.
"We have certain events to relate," Mr. Franklin proceeded; "and we have certain
persons concerned in those events who are capable of relating them. Starting
from these plain facts, the idea is that we should all write the story of the
Moonstone in turn-- as far as our own personal experience extends, and no
farther. We must begin by showing how the Diamond first fell into the hands of
my uncle Herncastle, when he was serving in India fifty years since. This
prefatory narrative I have already got by me in the form of an old family paper,
which relates the necessary particulars on the authority of an eye-witness. The
next thing to do is to tell how the Diamond found its way into my aunt's house in
Yorkshire, two years ago, and how it came to be lost in little more than twelve
hours afterwards. Nobody knows as much as you do, Betteredge, about what