One day in the last week of October Cousin Jimmy began to plough the hil_ield, Emily found the lost legendary diamond of the Murrays,* and Aun_lizabeth fell down the cellar steps and broke her leg.
*See _Emily of New Moon._
Emily, in the warm amber of the afternoon, stood on the sandstone front step_f New Moon and looked about her with eyes avid for the mellow loveliness o_he fading year. Most of the trees were leafless, but a little birch, still i_olden array, peeped out of the young spruces—a birch _Danae_ in thei_hadows—and the Lombardies down the lane were like a row of great golde_andles. Beyond was the sere hill field scarfed with three bright re_ibbons—the "ridges" Cousin Jimmy had ploughed. Emily had been writing all da_nd she was tired. She went down the garden to the little vine-hung summe_ouse—she poked dreamily about; deciding where the new tulip bulbs should b_lanted. Here—in this moist rich soil where Cousin Jimmy had recently prie_ut the mouldering old side-steps. Next spring it should be a banquet boar_aden with stately chalices. Emily's heel sank deeply into the moist earth an_ame out laden. She sauntered over to the stone bench and daintily scraped of_he earth with a twig. Something fell and glittered on the grass like _ewdrop. Emily picked it up with a little cry. There in her hand was the Los_iamond—lost over sixty years before, when Great-aunt Miriam Murray had gon_nto the summer house.
It had been one of her childish dreams to find the Lost Diamond—she and Ils_nd Teddy had hunted for it scores of times. But of late years she had no_hought about it. And here it was—as bright, as beautiful, as ever. It mus_ave been hidden in some crevice of the old side-steps and fallen to the eart_hen they had been torn away. It made quite a sensation at New Moon. A fe_ays later the Murrays had a conclave about Aunt Elizabeth's bed to decid_hat should be done with it. Cousin Jimmy said stoutly that finding wa_eeping in this case. Edward and Miriam Murray were long since dead. They ha_eft no family. The diamond by rights was Emily's.
"We are all heirs to it," said Uncle Wallace judicially. "It cost, I've heard,
a thousand dollars sixty years ago. It's a beautiful stone. The fair thing i_o sell it and give Emily her mother's share."
"One shouldn't sell a family diamond," said Aunt Elizabeth firmly.
This seemed to be the general opinion at bottom. Even Uncle Wallac_cknowledged the sway of _noblesse oblige._ Eventually they all agreed tha_he diamond should be Emily's.
"She can have it set as a little pendant for her neck," said Aunt Laura.
"It was meant for a ring," said Aunt Ruth, just for the sake of disagreeing.
"And she shouldn't wear it, in any case, until she is married. A diamond a_ig as that is in bad taste for a young girl."
"Oh, married!" Aunt Addie gave a rather nasty little laugh. It conveyed he_pinion that if Emily waited for that to wear the diamond it was just possibl_he might never wear it. Aunt Addie had never forgiven Emily for refusin_ndrew. And here she was at twenty-three—well, nearly—with no eligible beau i_ight.
"The Lost Diamond will bring you luck, Emily," said Cousin Jimmy. "I'm gla_hey've left it with you. It's rightly yours. But will you let me hold i_ometimes, Emily,—just hold it and look into it. When I look into anythin_ike that I—I—find myself. I'm not simple Jimmy Murray then—I'm what I woul_ave been if I hadn't been pushed into a well. Don't say anything about it t_lizabeth, Emily, but just let me hold it and look at it once in awhile."
"My favourite gem is the diamond, when all is said and done," Emily wrote t_lse that night. "But I love gems of all kinds—except turquoise. Them _oathe—the shallow, insipid, soulless things. The gloss of pearl, glow o_uby, tenderness of sapphire, melting violet of amethyst, moonlit glimmer o_cquamarine, milk and fire of opal—I love them all."
"What about emeralds?" Ilse wrote back—a bit nastily, Emily thought, no_nowing that a Shrewsbury correspondent of Ilse's wrote her now and then som_nreliable gossip about Perry Miller's visits to New Moon. Perry did come t_ew Moon occasionally. But he had given up asking Emily to marry him an_eemed wholly absorbed in his profession. Already he was regarded as a comin_an and shrewd politicians were said to be biding their time until he shoul_e old enough to "bring out" as a candidate for the Provincial House.
"Who knows? You may be 'my lady' yet," wrote Ilse, "Perry will be Sir Perr_ome day."
Which Emily thought was even nastier than the scratch about the emerald.