The Moonstone (Chapter 2, page 1 of 2)

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Chapter 2

So, as told in our camp, ran the fanciful story of the Moonstone. It
made no serious impression on any of us except my cousin--whose love
of the marvellous induced him to believe it. On the night before the
assault on Seringapatam, he was absurdly angry with me, and with others,
for treating the whole thing as a fable. A foolish wrangle followed; and
Herncastle's unlucky temper got the better of him. He declared, in
his boastful way, that we should see the Diamond on his finger, if
the English army took Seringapatam. The sally was saluted by a roar of
laughter, and there, as we all thought that night, the thing ended.

Let me now take you on to the day of the assault. My cousin and I were
separated at the outset. I never saw him when we forded the river; when
we planted the English flag in the first breach; when we crossed the
ditch beyond; and, fighting every inch of our way, entered the town.
It was only at dusk, when the place was ours, and after General Baird
himself had found the dead body of Tippoo under a heap of the slain,
that Herncastle and I met.

We were each attached to a party sent out by the general's orders to
prevent the plunder and confusion which followed our conquest. The
camp-followers committed deplorable excesses; and, worse still, the
soldiers found their way, by a guarded door, into the treasury of the
Palace, and loaded themselves with gold and jewels. It was in the court
outside the treasury that my cousin and I met, to enforce the laws of
discipline on our own soldiers. Herncastle's fiery temper had been, as
I could plainly see, exasperated to a kind of frenzy by the terrible
slaughter through which we had passed. He was very unfit, in my opinion,
to perform the duty that had been entrusted to him.

There was riot and confusion enough in the treasury, but no violence
that I saw. The men (if I may use such an expression) disgraced
themselves good-humouredly. All sorts of rough jests and catchwords were
bandied about among them; and the story of the Diamond turned up
again unexpectedly, in the form of a mischievous joke. "Who's got
the Moonstone?" was the rallying cry which perpetually caused the
plundering, as soon as it was stopped in one place, to break out in
another. While I was still vainly trying to establish order, I heard a
frightful yelling on the other side of the courtyard, and at once ran
towards the cries, in dread of finding some new outbreak of the pillage
in that direction.

I got to an open door, and saw the bodies of two Indians (by their
dress, as I guessed, officers of the palace) lying across the entrance,

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