The Moonstone HTML version

I spoke of my lady a line or two back. Now the Diamond could never have been
in our house, where it was lost, if it had not been made a present of to my lady's
daughter; and my lady's daughter would never have been in existence to have
the present, if it had not been for my lady who (with pain and travail) produced
her into the world. Consequently, if we begin with my lady, we are pretty sure of
beginning far enough back. And that, let me tell you, when you have got such a
job as mine in hand, is a real comfort at starting.
If you know anything of the fashionable world, you have heard tell of the three
beautiful Miss Herncastles. Miss Adelaide; Miss Caroline; and Miss Julia--this
last being the youngest and the best of the three sisters, in my opinion; and I had
opportunities of judging, as you shall presently see. I went into the service of the
old lord, their father (thank God, we have got nothing to do with him, in this
business of the Diamond; he had the longest tongue and the shortest temper of
any man, high or low, I ever met with)--I say, I went into the service of the old
lord, as page-boy in waiting on the three honourable young ladies, at the age of
fifteen years. There I lived till Miss Julia married the late Sir John Verinder. An
excellent man, who only wanted somebody to manage him; and, between
ourselves, he found somebody to do it; and what is more, he throve on it and
grew fat on it, and lived happy and died easy on it, dating from the day when my
lady took him to church to be married, to the day when she relieved him of his
last breath, and closed his eyes for ever.
I have omitted to state that I went with the bride to the bride's husband's house
and lands down here. "Sir John," she says, "I can't do without Gabriel
Betteredge." "My lady," says Sir John, "I can't do without him, either." That was
his way with her--and that was how I went into his service. It was all one to me
where I went, so long as my mistress and I were together.
Seeing that my lady took an interest in the out-of-door work, and the farms, and
such like, I took an interest in them too-- with all the more reason that I was a
small farmer's seventh son myself. My lady got me put under the bailiff, and I did
my best, and gave satisfaction, and got promotion accordingly. Some years later,
on the Monday as it might be, my lady says, "Sir John, your bailiff is a stupid old
man. Pension him liberally, and let Gabriel Betteredge have his place." On the
Tuesday as it might be, Sir John says, "My lady, the bailiff is pensioned liberally;
and Gabriel Betteredge has got his place." You hear more than enough of
married people living together miserably. Here is an example to the contrary. Let
it be a warning to some of you, and an encouragement to others. In the
meantime, I will go on with my story.
Well, there I was in clover, you will say. Placed in a position of trust and honour,
with a little cottage of my own to live in, with my rounds on the estate to occupy
me in the morning, and my accounts in the afternoon, and my pipe and my
ROBINSON CRUSOE in the evening--what more could I possibly want to make