FIRST PERIOD: THE LOSS OF THE DIAMOND (1848)
13. CHAPTER XIII
After that, there was no help for it, but to tell him the truth.
My mistress dwelt strongly on Rosanna's good conduct in her service,
and on the high opinion entertained of her by the matron at the reformatory.
"You don't suspect her, I hope?" my lady added, in conclusion,
"I have already told your ladyship that I don't suspect any person
in the house of thieving--up to the present time."
After that answer, my lady rose to go up-stairs, and ask
for Miss Rachel's keys. The Sergeant was before-hand with me
in opening the door for her. He made a very low bow.
My lady shuddered as she passed him.
We waited, and waited, and no keys appeared. Sergeant Cuff made
no remark to me. He turned his melancholy face to the window;
he put his lanky hands into his pockets; and he whistled "The Last
Rose of Summer" softly to himself.
At last, Samuel came in, not with the keys, but with a morsel of paper
for me. I got at my spectacles, with some fumbling and difficulty,
feeling the Sergeant's dismal eyes fixed on me all the time.
There were two or three lines on the paper, written in pencil by my lady.
They informed me that Miss Rachel flatly refused to have her
wardrobe examined. Asked for her reasons, she had burst out crying.
Asked again, she had said: "I won't, because I won't. I must
yield to force if you use it, but I will yield to nothing else."
I understood my lady's disinclination to face Sergeant Cuff with such
an answer from her daughter as that. If I had not been too old
for the amiable weaknesses of youth, I believe I should have blushed
at the notion of facing him myself.
"Any news of Miss Verinder's keys?" asked the Sergeant.
"My young lady refuses to have her wardrobe examined."
"Ah!" said the Sergeant.