FIRST PERIOD: THE LOSS OF THE DIAMOND (1848)
1. CHAPTER I
The events related by GABRIEL BETTEREDGE, house-steward
in the service of JULIA, LADY VERINDER
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.