The Moonstone (Chapter 5, page 1 of 4)


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Chapter 5

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 for ever.

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 were together.

Seeing that my lady took an interest in the out-of-door work, and the
farms, and such like, I took an interest in them too--with all the more
reason that I was a small farmer's seventh son myself. My lady got me
put under the bailiff, and I did my best, and gave satisfaction, and got
promotion accordingly. Some years later, on the Monday as it might be,
my lady says, "Sir John, your bailiff is a stupid old man. Pension him
liberally, and let Gabriel Betteredge have his place." On the Tuesday
as it might be, Sir John says, "My lady, the bailiff is pensioned
liberally; and Gabriel Betteredge has got his place." You hear more than
enough of married people living together miserably. Here is an
example to the contrary. Let it be a warning to some of you, and an
encouragement to others. In the meantime, I will go on with my story.

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