5. CHAPTER V
This was the story told by your cousin (under pressure of necessity)
to Mr. Luker.
Mr. Luker believed the story to be, as to all main essentials, true--on this
ground, that Mr. Godfrey Ablewhite was too great a fool to have invented it.
Mr. Bruff and I agree with Mr. Luker, in considering this test of the truth
of the story to be a perfectly reliable one.
The next question, was the question of what Mr. Luker would do
in the matter of the Moonstone. He proposed the following terms,
as the only terms on which he would consent to mix himself
up with, what was (even in HIS line of business) a doubtful
and dangerous transaction.
Mr. Luker would consent to lend Mr. Godfrey Ablewhite the sum
of two thousand pounds, on condition that the Moonstone was
to be deposited with him as a pledge. If, at the expiration
of one year from that date, Mr. Godfrey Ablewhite paid three
thousand pounds to Mr. Luker, he was to receive back the Diamond,
as a pledge redeemed. If he failed to produce the money at
the expiration of the year, the pledge (otherwise the Moonstone)
was to be considered as forfeited to Mr. Luker--who would,
in this latter case, generously make Mr. Godfrey a present
of certain promissory notes of his (relating to former dealings)
which were then in the money-lender's possession.
It is needless to say, that Mr. Godfrey indignantly refused
to listen to these monstrous terms. Mr. Luker thereupon,
handed him back the Diamond, and wished him good night.
Your cousin went to the door, and came back again. How was he to be sure
that the conversation of that evening would be kept strictly secret between
his friend and himself?
Mr. Luker didn't profess to know how. If Mr. Godfrey had accepted
his terms, Mr. Godfrey would have made him an accomplice,
and might have counted on his silence as on a certainty.
As things were, Mr. Luker must be guided by his own interests.
If awkward inquiries were made, how could be he expected to
compromise himself, for the sake of a man who had declined to deal