The Moonstone (Chapter 6, page 1 of 6)

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Chapter 6

The question of how I am to start the story properly I have tried to
settle in two ways. First, by scratching my head, which led to nothing.
Second, by consulting my daughter Penelope, which has resulted in an
entirely new idea.

Penelope's notion is that I should set down what happened, regularly day
by day, beginning with the day when we got the news that Mr. Franklin
Blake was expected on a visit to the house. When you come to fix your
memory with a date in this way, it is wonderful what your memory will
pick up for you upon that compulsion. The only difficulty is to fetch
out the dates, in the first place. This Penelope offers to do for me by
looking into her own diary, which she was taught to keep when she was
at school, and which she has gone on keeping ever since. In answer to an
improvement on this notion, devised by myself, namely, that she should
tell the story instead of me, out of her own diary, Penelope observes,
with a fierce look and a red face, that her journal is for her own
private eye, and that no living creature shall ever know what is in
it but herself. When I inquire what this means, Penelope says,
"Fiddlesticks!" I say, Sweethearts.

Beginning, then, on Penelope's plan, I beg to mention that I was
specially called one Wednesday morning into my lady's own sitting-room,
the date being the twenty-fourth of May, Eighteen hundred and

"Gabriel," says my lady, "here is news that will surprise you. Franklin
Blake has come back from abroad. He has been staying with his father in
London, and he is coming to us to-morrow to stop till next month, and
keep Rachel's birthday."

If I had had a hat in my hand, nothing but respect would have prevented
me from throwing that hat up to the ceiling. I had not seen Mr. Franklin
since he was a boy, living along with us in this house. He was, out of
all sight (as I remember him), the nicest boy that ever spun a top or
broke a window. Miss Rachel, who was present, and to whom I made
that remark, observed, in return, that SHE remembered him as the most
atrocious tyrant that ever tortured a doll, and the hardest driver of an
exhausted little girl in string harness that England could produce. "I
burn with indignation, and I ache with fatigue," was the way Miss Rachel
summed it up, "when I think of Franklin Blake."

Hearing what I now tell you, you will naturally ask how it was that Mr.
Franklin should have passed all the years, from the time when he was
a boy to the time when he was a man, out of his own country. I answer,
because his father had the misfortune to be next heir to a Dukedom, and
not to be able to prove it.

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