FIRST PERIOD: THE LOSS OF THE DIAMOND (1848)
2. CHAPTER II
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
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