FIRST PERIOD: THE LOSS OF THE DIAMOND (1848)
22. CHAPTER XXII
Now as an Italian-Englishman, now as a German-Englishman, and now
as a French-Englishman, he drifted in and out of all the sitting-rooms
in the house, with nothing to talk of but Miss Rachel's treatment of him;
and with nobody to address himself to but me. I found him (for example)
in the library, sitting under the map of Modern Italy, and quite
unaware of any other method of meeting his troubles, except the method
of talking about them. "I have several worthy aspirations, Betteredge;
but what am I to do with them now? I am full of dormant good qualities,
if Rachel would only have helped me to bring them out!" He was so eloquent
in drawing the picture of his own neglected merits, and so pathetic
in lamenting over it when it was done, that I felt quite at my wits'
end how to console him, when it suddenly occurred to me that here was
a case for the wholesome application of a bit of ROBINSON CRUSOE.
I hobbled out to my own room, and hobbled back with that immortal book.
Nobody in the library! The map of Modern Italy stared at ME; and I stared
at the map of Modern Italy.
I tried the drawing-room. There was his handkerchief on the floor,
to prove that he had drifted in. And there was the empty room
to prove that he had drifted out again.
I tried the dining-room, and discovered Samuel with a biscuit
and a glass of sherry, silently investigating the empty air.
A minute since, Mr. Franklin had rung furiously for a little
light refreshment. On its production, in a violent hurry,
by Samuel, Mr. Franklin had vanished before the bell
downstairs had quite done ringing with the pull he had given
I tried the morning-room, and found him at last. There he was at the window,
drawing hieroglyphics with his finger in the damp on the glass.