The Reverend Mr. Simon Rolles had distinguished himself in the Moral Sciences, and was more than usually proficient in the study of Divinity. His essay "O_he Christian Doctrine of the Social Obligations" obtained for him, at th_oment of its production, a certain celebrity in the University of Oxford; an_t was understood in clerical and learned circles that young Mr. Rolles had i_ontemplation a considerable work - a folio, it was said - on the authority o_he Fathers of the Church. These attainments, these ambitious designs, however, were far from helping him to any preferment; and he was still i_uest of his first curacy when a chance ramble in that part of London, th_eaceful and rich aspect of the garden, a desire for solitude and study, an_he cheapness of the lodging, led him to take up his abode with Mr. Raeburn, the nurseryman of Stockdove Lane.
It was his habit every afternoon, after he had worked seven or eight hours o_t. Ambrose or St. Chrysostom, to walk for a while in meditation among th_oses. And this was usually one of the most productive moments of his day. Bu_ven a sincere appetite for thought, and the excitement of grave problem_waiting solution, are not always sufficient to preserve the mind of th_hilosopher against the petty shocks and contacts of the world. And when Mr.
Rolles found General Vandeleur's secretary, ragged and bleeding, in th_ompany of his landlord; when he saw both change colour and seek to avoid hi_uestions; and, above all, when the former denied his own identity with th_ost unmoved assurance, he speedily forgot the Saints and Fathers in th_ulgar interest of curiosity.
"I cannot be mistaken," thought he. "That is Mr. Hartley beyond a doubt. Ho_omes he in such a pickle? why does he deny his name? and what can be hi_usiness with that black-looking ruffian, my landlord?"
As he was thus reflecting, another peculiar circumstance attracted hi_ttention. The face of Mr. Raeburn appeared at a low window next the door; and, as chance directed, his eyes met those of Mr. Rolles. The nurseryma_eemed disconcerted, and even alarmed; and immediately after the blind of th_partment was pulled sharply down.
"This may all be very well," reflected Mr. Rolles; "it may be all excellentl_ell; but I confess freely that I do not think so. Suspicious, underhand, untruthful, fearful of observation - I believe upon my soul," he thought, "th_air are plotting some disgraceful action."
The detective that there is in all of us awoke and became clamant in the boso_f Mr. Rolles; and with a brisk, eager step, that bore no resemblance to hi_sual gait, he proceeded to make the circuit of the garden. When he came t_he scene of Harry's escalade, his eye was at once arrested by a broke_osebush and marks of trampling on the mould. He looked up, and saw scratche_n the brick, and a rag of trouser floating from a broken bottle. This, then, was the mode of entrance chosen by Mr. Raeburn's particular friend! It wa_hus that General Vandeleur's secretary came to admire a flower-garden! Th_oung clergyman whistled softly to himself as he stooped to examine th_round. He could make out where Harry had landed from his perilous leap; h_ecognised the flat foot of Mr. Raeburn where it had sunk deeply in the soi_s he pulled up the Secretary by the collar; nay, on a closer inspection, h_eemed to distinguish the marks of groping fingers, as though something ha_een spilt abroad and eagerly collected.
"Upon my word," he thought, "the thing grows vastly interesting."
And just then he caught sight of something almost entirely buried in th_arth. In an instant he had disinterred a dainty morocco case, ornamented an_lasped in gilt. It had been trodden heavily underfoot, and thus escaped th_urried search of Mr. Raeburn. Mr. Rolles opened the case, and drew a lon_reath of almost horrified astonishment; for there lay before him, in a cradl_f green velvet, a diamond of prodigious magnitude and of the finest water. I_as of the bigness of a duck's egg; beautifully shaped, and without a flaw; and as the sun shone upon it, it gave forth a lustre like that of electricity, and seemed to burn in his hand with a thousand internal fires.
He knew little of precious stones; but the Rajah's Diamond was a wonder tha_xplained itself; a village child, if he found it, would run screaming for th_earest cottage; and a savage would prostrate himself in adoration before s_mposing a fetish. The beauty of the stone flattered the young clergyman'_yes; the thought of its incalculable value overpowered his intellect. He kne_hat what he held in his hand was worth more than many years' purchase of a_rchiepiscopal see; that it would build cathedrals more stately than Ely o_ologne; that he who possessed it was set free for ever from the primal curse, and might follow his own inclinations without concern or hurry, without let o_indrance. And as he suddenly turned it, the rays leaped forth again wit_enewed brilliancy, and seemed to pierce his very heart.
Decisive actions are often taken in a moment and without any consciou_eliverance from the rational parts of man. So it was now with Mr. Rolles. H_lanced hurriedly round; beheld, like Mr. Raeburn before him, nothing but th_unlit flower-garden, the tall tree-tops, and the house with blinded windows; and in a trice he had shut the case, thrust it into his pocket, and wa_astening to his study with the speed of guilt.
The Reverend Simon Rolles had stolen the Rajah's Diamond.
Early in the afternoon the police arrived with Harry Hartley. The nurseryman, who was beside himself with terror, readily discovered his hoard; and th_ewels were identified and inventoried in the presence of the Secretary. A_or Mr. Rolles, he showed himself in a most obliging temper, communicated wha_e knew with freedom, and professed regret that he could do no more to hel_he officers in their duty.
"Still," he added, "I suppose your business is nearly at an end."
"By no means," replied the man from Scotland Yard; and he narrated the secon_obbery of which Harry had been the immediate victim, and gave the youn_lergyman a description of the more important jewels that were still no_ound, dilating particularly on the Rajah's Diamond.
"It must be worth a fortune," observed Mr. Rolles.
"Ten fortunes - twenty fortunes," cried the officer.
"The more it is worth," remarked Simon shrewdly, "the more difficult it mus_e to sell. Such a thing has a physiognomy not to be disguised, and I shoul_ancy a man might as easily negotiate St. Paul's Cathedral."
"Oh, truly!" said the officer; "but if the thief be a man of any intelligence, he will cut it into three or four, and there will be still enough to make hi_ich."
"Thank you," said the clergyman. "You cannot imagine how much you_onversation interests me."
Whereupon the functionary admitted that they knew many strange things in hi_rofession, and immediately after took his leave.
Mr. Rolles regained his apartment. It seemed smaller and barer than usual; th_aterials for his great work had never presented so little interest; and h_ooked upon his library with the eye of scorn. He took down, volume by volume, several Fathers of the Church, and glanced them through; but they containe_othing to his purpose.
"These old gentlemen," thought he, "are no doubt very valuable writers, bu_hey seem to me conspicuously ignorant of life. Here am I, with learnin_nough to be a Bishop, and I positively do not know how to dispose of a stole_iamond. I glean a hint from a common policeman, and, with all my folios, _annot so much as put it into execution. This inspires me with very low idea_f University training."
Herewith he kicked over his book-shelf and, putting on his hat, hastened fro_he house to the club of which he was a member. In such a place of mundan_esort he hoped to find some man of good counsel and a shrewd experience i_ife. In the reading-room he saw many of the country clergy and an Archdeacon; there were three journalists and a writer upon the Higher Metaphysic, playin_ool; and at dinner only the raff of ordinary club frequenters showed thei_ommonplace and obliterated countenances. None of these, thought Mr. Rolles, would know more on dangerous topics than he knew himself; none of them wer_it to give him guidance in his present strait. At length in the smoking-room, up many weary stairs, he hit upon a gentleman of somewhat portly build an_ressed with conspicuous plainness. He was smoking a cigar and reading th_ORTNIGHTLY REVIEW; his face was singularly free from all sign o_reoccupation or fatigue; and there was something in his air which seemed t_nvite confidence and to expect submission. The more the young clergyma_crutinised his features, the more he was convinced that he had fallen on on_apable of giving pertinent advice.
"Sir," said he, "you will excuse my abruptness; but I judge you from you_ppearance to be pre-eminently a man of the world."
"I have indeed considerable claims to that distinction," replied the stranger, laying aside his magazine with a look of mingled amusement and surprise.
"I, sir," continued the Curate, "am a recluse, a student, a creature of ink- bottles and patristic folios. A recent event has brought my folly vividl_efore my eyes, and I desire to instruct myself in life. By life," he added,
"I do not mean Thackeray's novels; but the crimes and secret possibilities o_ur society, and the principles of wise conduct among exceptional events. I a_ patient reader; can the thing be learnt in books?"
"You put me in a difficulty," said the stranger. "I confess I have no grea_otion of the use of books, except to amuse a railway journey; although, _elieve, there are some very exact treatises on astronomy, the use of th_lobes, agriculture, and the art of making paper flowers. Upon the les_pparent provinces of life I fear you will find nothing truthful. Yet stay,"
he added, "have you read Gaboriau?"
Mr. Rolles admitted he had never even heard the name.
"You may gather some notions from Gaboriau," resumed the stranger. "He is a_east suggestive; and as he is an author much studied by Prince Bismarck, yo_ill, at the worst, lose your time in good society."
"Sir," said the Curate, "I am infinitely obliged by your politeness."
"You have already more than repaid me," returned the other.
"How?" inquired Simon.
"By the novelty of your request," replied the gentleman; and with a polit_esture, as though to ask permission, he resumed the study of the FORTNIGHTL_EVIEW.
On his way home Mr. Rolles purchased a work on precious stones and several o_aboriau's novels. These last he eagerly skimmed until an advanced hour in th_orning; but although they introduced him to many new ideas, he could nowher_iscover what to do with a stolen diamond. He was annoyed, moreover, to fin_he information scattered amongst romantic story-telling, instead of soberl_et forth after the manner of a manual; and he concluded that, even if th_riter had thought much upon these subjects, he was totally lacking i_ducational method. For the character and attainments of Lecoq, however, h_as unable to contain his admiration.
"He was truly a great creature," ruminated Mr. Rolles. "He knew the world as _now Paley's Evidences. There was nothing that he could not carry to _ermination with his own hand, and against the largest odds. Heavens!" h_roke out suddenly, "is not this the lesson? Must I not learn to cut diamond_or myself?"
It seemed to him as if he had sailed at once out of his perplexities; h_emembered that he knew a jeweller, one B. Macculloch, in Edinburgh, who woul_e glad to put him in the way of the necessary training; a few months, perhap_ few years, of sordid toil, and he would be sufficiently expert to divide an_ufficiently cunning to dispose with advantage of the Rajah's Diamond. Tha_one, he might return to pursue his researches at leisure, a wealthy an_uxurious student, envied and respected by all. Golden visions attended hi_hrough his slumber, and he awoke refreshed and light-hearted with the mornin_un.
Mr. Raeburn's house was on that day to be closed by the police, and thi_fforded a pretext for his departure. He cheerfully prepared his baggage, transported it to King's Cross, where he left it in the cloak-room, an_eturned to the club to while away the afternoon and dine.
"If you dine here to-day, Rolles," observed an acquaintance, "you may see tw_f the most remarkable men in England - Prince Florizel of Bohemia, and ol_ack Vandeleur."
"I have heard of the Prince," replied Mr. Rolles; "and General Vandeleur _ave even met in society."
"General Vandeleur is an ass!" returned the other. "This is his brother John, the biggest adventurer, the best judge of precious stones, and one of the mos_cute diplomatists in Europe. Have you never heard of his duel with the Duc d_al d'Orge? of his exploits and atrocities when he was Dictator of Paraguay?
of his dexterity in recovering Sir Samuel Levi's jewellery? nor of hi_ervices in the Indian Mutiny - services by which the Government profited, bu_hich the Government dared not recognise? You make me wonder what we mean b_ame, or even by infamy; for Jack Vandeleur has prodigious claims to both. Ru_ownstairs," he continued, "take a table near them, and keep your ears open.
You will hear some strange talk, or I am much misled."
"But how shall I know them?" inquired the clergyman.
"Know them!" cried his friend; "why, the Prince is the finest gentleman i_urope, the only living creature who looks like a king; and as for Jac_andeleur, if you can imagine Ulysses at seventy years of age, and with _abre-cut across his face, you have the man before you! Know them, indeed!
Why, you could pick either of them out of a Derby day!"
Rolles eagerly hurried to the dining-room. It was as his friend had asserted; it was impossible to mistake the pair in question. Old John Vandeleur was of _emarkable force of body, and obviously broken to the most difficul_xercises. He had neither the carriage of a swordsman, nor of a sailor, no_et of one much inured to the saddle; but something made up of all these, an_he result and expression of many different habits and dexterities. Hi_eatures were bold and aquiline; his expression arrogant and predatory; hi_hole appearance that of a swift, violent, unscrupulous man of action; and hi_opious white hair and the deep sabre-cut that traversed his nose and templ_dded a note of savagery to a head already remarkable and menacing in itself.
In his companion, the Prince of Bohemia, Mr. Rolles was astonished t_ecognise the gentleman who had recommended him the study of Gaboriau.
Doubtless Prince Florizel, who rarely visited the club, of which, as of mos_thers, he was an honorary member, had been waiting for John Vandeleur whe_imon accosted him on the previous evening.
The other diners had modestly retired into the angles of the room, and lef_he distinguished pair in a certain isolation, but the young clergyman wa_nrestrained by any sentiment of awe, and, marching boldly up, took his plac_t the nearest table.
The conversation was, indeed, new to the student's ears. The ex- Dictator o_araguay stated many extraordinary experiences in different quarters of th_orld; and the Prince supplied a commentary which, to a man of thought, wa_ven more interesting than the events themselves. Two forms of experience wer_hus brought together and laid before the young clergyman; and he did not kno_hich to admire the most - the desperate actor or the skilled expert in life; the man who spoke boldly of his own deeds and perils, or the man who seemed, like a god, to know all things and to have suffered nothing. The manner o_ach aptly fitted with his part in the discourse. The Dictator indulged i_rutalities alike of speech and gesture; his hand opened and shut and fel_oughly on the table; and his voice was loud and heavy. The Prince, on th_ther hand, seemed the very type of urbane docility and quiet; the leas_ovement, the least inflection, had with him a weightier significance than al_he shouts and pantomime of his companion; and if ever, as must frequentl_ave been the case, he described some experience personal to himself, it wa_o aptly dissimulated as to pass unnoticed with the rest.
At length the talk wandered on to the late robberies and the Rajah's Diamond.
"That diamond would be better in the sea," observed Prince Florizel.
"As a Vandeleur," replied the Dictator, "your Highness may imagine m_issent."
"I speak on grounds of public policy," pursued the Prince. "Jewels so valuabl_hould be reserved for the collection of a Prince or the treasury of a grea_ation. To hand them about among the common sort of men is to set a price o_irtue's head; and if the Rajah of Kashgar - a Prince, I understand, of grea_nlightenment - desired vengeance upon the men of Europe, he could hardly hav_one more efficaciously about his purpose than by sending us this apple o_iscord. There is no honesty too robust for such a trial. I myself, who hav_any duties and many privileges of my own - I myself, Mr. Vandeleur, coul_carce handle the intoxicating crystal and be safe. As for you, who are _iamond hunter by taste and profession, I do not believe there is a crime i_he calendar you would not perpetrate - I do not believe you have a friend i_he world whom you would not eagerly betray - I do not know if you have _amily, but if you have I declare you would sacrifice your children - and al_his for what? Not to be richer, nor to have more comforts or more respect, but simply to call this diamond yours for a year or two until you die, and no_nd again to open a safe and look at it as one looks at a picture."
"It is true," replied Vandeleur. "I have hunted most things, from men an_omen down to mosquitos; I have dived for coral; I have followed both whale_nd tigers; and a diamond is the tallest quarry of the lot. It has beauty an_orth; it alone can properly reward the ardours of the chase. At this moment, as your Highness may fancy, I am upon the trail; I have a sure knack, a wid_xperience; I know every stone of price in my brother's collection as _hepherd knows his sheep; and I wish I may die if I do not recover them ever_ne!"
"Sir Thomas Vandeleur will have great cause to thank you," said the Prince.
"I am not so sure," returned the Dictator, with a laugh. "One of th_andeleurs will. Thomas or John - Peter or Paul - we are all apostles."
"I did not catch your observation," said the Prince with some disgust.
And at the same moment the waiter informed Mr. Vandeleur that his cab was a_he door.
Mr. Rolles glanced at the clock, and saw that he also must be moving; and th_oincidence struck him sharply and unpleasantly, for he desired to see no mor_f the diamond hunter.
Much study having somewhat shaken the young man's nerves, he was in the habi_f travelling in the most luxurious manner; and for the present journey he ha_aken a sofa in the sleeping carriage.
"You will be very comfortable," said the guard; "there is no one in you_ompartment, and only one old gentleman in the other end."
It was close upon the hour, and the tickets were being examined, when Mr.
Rolles beheld this other fellow-passenger ushered by several porters into hi_lace; certainly, there was not another man in the world whom he would no_ave preferred - for it was old John Vandeleur, the ex-Dictator.
The sleeping carriages on the Great Northern line were divided into thre_ompartments - one at each end for travellers, and one in the centre fitte_ith the conveniences of a lavatory. A door running in grooves separated eac_f the others from the lavatory; but as there were neither bolts nor locks, the whole suite was practically common ground.
When Mr. Rolles had studied his position, he perceived himself withou_efence. If the Dictator chose to pay him a visit in the course of the night, he could do no less than receive it; he had no means of fortification, and la_pen to attack as if he had been lying in the fields. This situation cause_im some agony of mind. He recalled with alarm the boastful statements of hi_ellow- traveller across the dining-table, and the professions of immoralit_hich he had heard him offering to the disgusted Prince. Some persons, h_emembered to have read, are endowed with a singular quickness of perceptio_or the neighbourhood of precious metals; through walls and even a_onsiderable distances they are said to divine the presence of gold. Might i_ot be the same with diamonds? he wondered; and if so, who was more likely t_njoy this transcendental sense than the person who gloried in the appellatio_f the Diamond Hunter? From such a man he recognised that he had everything t_ear, and longed eagerly for the arrival of the day.
In the meantime he neglected no precaution, concealed his diamond in the mos_nternal pocket of a system of great-coats, and devoutly recommended himsel_o the care of Providence.
The train pursued its usual even and rapid course; and nearly half the journe_ad been accomplished before slumber began to triumph over uneasiness in th_reast of Mr. Rolles. For some time he resisted its influence; but it gre_pon him more and more, and a little before York he was fain to stretc_imself upon one of the couches and suffer his eyes to close; and almost a_he same instant consciousness deserted the young clergyman. His last though_as of his terrifying neighbour.
When he awoke it was still pitch dark, except for the flicker of the veile_amp; and the continual roaring and oscillation testified to the unrelaxe_elocity of the train. He sat upright in a panic, for he had been tormented b_he most uneasy dreams; it was some seconds before he recovered his self- command; and even after he had resumed a recumbent attitude sleep continued t_lee him, and he lay awake with his brain in a state of violent agitation, an_is eyes fixed upon the lavatory door. He pulled his clerical felt hat ove_is brow still farther to shield him from the light; and he adopted the usua_xpedients, such as counting a thousand or banishing thought, by whic_xperienced invalids are accustomed to woo the approach of sleep. In the cas_f Mr. Rolles they proved one and all vain; he was harassed by a doze_ifferent anxieties - the old man in the other end of the carriage haunted hi_n the most alarming shapes; and in whatever attitude he chose to lie th_iamond in his pocket occasioned him a sensible physical distress. It burned, it was too large, it bruised his ribs; and there were infinitesimal fraction_f a second in which he had half a mind to throw it from the window.
While he was thus lying, a strange incident took place.
The sliding-door into the lavatory stirred a little, and then a little more, and was finally drawn back for the space of about twenty inches. The lamp i_he lavatory was unshaded, and in the lighted aperture thus disclosed, Mr.
Rolles could see the head of Mr. Vandeleur in an attitude of deep attention.
He was conscious that the gaze of the Dictator rested intently on his ow_ace; and the instinct of self-preservation moved him to hold his breath, t_efrain from the least movement, and keeping his eyes lowered, to watch hi_isitor from underneath the lashes. After about a moment, the head wa_ithdrawn and the door of the lavatory replaced.
The Dictator had not come to attack, but to observe; his action was not tha_f a man threatening another, but that of a man who was himself threatened; i_r. Rolles was afraid of him, it appeared that he, in his turn, was not quit_asy on the score of Mr. Rolles. He had come, it would seem, to make sure tha_is only fellow-traveller was asleep; and, when satisfied on that point, h_ad at once withdrawn.
The clergyman leaped to his feet. The extreme of terror had given place to _eaction of foolhardy daring. He reflected that the rattle of the flying trai_oncealed all other sounds, and determined, come what might, to return th_isit he had just received. Divesting himself of his cloak, which might hav_nterfered with the freedom of his action, he entered the lavatory and pause_o listen. As he had expected, there was nothing to be heard above the roar o_he train's progress; and laying his hand on the door at the farther side, h_roceeded cautiously to draw it back for about six inches. Then he stopped, and could not contain an ejaculation of surprise.
John Vandeleur wore a fur travelling cap with lappets to protect his ears; an_his may have combined with the sound of the express to keep him in ignoranc_f what was going forward. It is certain, at least, that he did not raise hi_ead, but continued without interruption to pursue his strange employment.
Between his feet stood an open hat-box; in one hand he held the sleeve of hi_ealskin great-coat; in the other a formidable knife, with which he had jus_lit up the lining of the sleeve. Mr. Rolles had read of persons carryin_oney in a belt; and as he had no acquaintance with any but cricket-belts, h_ad never been able rightly to conceive how this was managed. But here was _tranger thing before his eyes; for John Vandeleur, it appeared, carrie_iamonds in the lining of his sleeve; and even as the young clergyman gazed, he could see one glittering brilliant drop after another into the hat-box.
He stood riveted to the spot, following this unusual business with his eyes.
The diamonds were, for the most part, small, and not easily distinguishabl_ither in shape or fire. Suddenly the Dictator appeared to find a difficulty; he employed both hands and stooped over his task; but it was not until afte_onsiderable manoeuvring that he extricated a large tiara of diamonds from th_ining, and held it up for some seconds' examination before he placed it wit_he others in the hat-box. The tiara was a ray of light to Mr. Rolles; h_mmediately recognised it for a part of the treasure stolen from Harry Hartle_y the loiterer. There was no room for mistake; it was exactly as th_etective had described it; there were the ruby stars, with a great emerald i_he centre; there were the interlacing crescents; and there were the pear- shaped pendants, each a single stone, which gave a special value to Lad_andeleur's tiara.
Mr. Rolles was hugely relieved. The Dictator was as deeply in the affair as h_as; neither could tell tales upon the other. In the first glow of happiness, the clergyman suffered a deep sigh to escape him; and as his bosom had becom_hoked and his throat dry during his previous suspense, the sigh was followe_y a cough.
Mr. Vandeleur looked up; his face contracted with the blackest and most deadl_assion; his eyes opened widely, and his under jaw dropped in an astonishmen_hat was upon the brink of fury. By an instinctive movement he had covered th_at-box with the coat. For half a minute the two men stared upon each other i_ilence. It was not a long interval, but it sufficed for Mr. Rolles; he wa_ne of those who think swiftly on dangerous occasions; he decided on a cours_f action of a singularly daring nature; and although he felt he was settin_is life upon the hazard, he was the first to break silence.
"I beg your pardon," said he.
The Dictator shivered slightly, and when he spoke his voice was hoarse.
"What do you want here?" he asked.
"I take a particular interest in diamonds," replied Mr. Rolles, with an air o_erfect self-possession. "Two connoisseurs should be acquainted. I have here _rifle of my own which may perhaps serve for an introduction."
And so saying, he quietly took the case from his pocket, showed the Rajah'_iamond to the Dictator for an instant, and replaced it in security.
"It was once your brother's," he added.
John Vandeleur continued to regard him with a look of almost painfu_mazement; but he neither spoke nor moved.
"I was pleased to observe," resumed the young man, "that we have gems from th_ame collection."
The Dictator's surprise overpowered him.
"I beg your pardon," he said; "I begin to perceive that I am growing old! I a_ositively not prepared for little incidents like this. But set my mind a_est upon one point: do my eyes deceive me, or are you indeed a parson?"
"I am in holy orders," answered Mr. Rolles.
"Well," cried the other, "as long as I live I will never hear another wor_gainst the cloth!"
"You flatter me," said Mr. Rolles.
"Pardon me," replied Vandeleur; "pardon me, young man. You are no coward, bu_t still remains to be seen whether you are not the worst of fools. Perhaps,"
he continued, leaning back upon his seat, "perhaps you would oblige me with _ew particulars. I must suppose you had some object in the stupefyin_mpudence of your proceedings, and I confess I have a curiosity to know it."
"It is very simple," replied the clergyman; "it proceeds from my grea_nexperience of life."
"I shall be glad to be persuaded," answered Vandeleur.
Whereupon Mr. Rolles told him the whole story of his connection with th_ajah's Diamond, from the time he found it in Raeburn's garden to the tim_hen he left London in the Flying Scotchman. He added a brief sketch of hi_eelings and thoughts during the journey, and concluded in these words:-
"When I recognised the tiara I knew we were in the same attitude toward_ociety, and this inspired me with a hope, which I trust you will say was no_ll-founded, that you might become in some sense my partner in th_ifficulties and, of course, the profits of my situation. To one of you_pecial knowledge and obviously great experience the negotiation of th_iamond would give but little trouble, while to me it was a matter o_mpossibility. On the other part, I judged that I might lose nearly as much b_utting the diamond, and that not improbably with an unskilful hand, as migh_nable me to pay you with proper generosity for your assistance. The subjec_as a delicate one to broach; and perhaps I fell short in delicacy. But I mus_sk you to remember that for me the situation was a new one, and I wa_ntirely unacquainted with the etiquette in use. I believe without vanity tha_ could have married or baptized you in a very acceptable manner; but ever_an has his own aptitudes, and this sort of bargain was not among the list o_y accomplishments."
"I do not wish to flatter you," replied Vandeleur; "but upon my word, you hav_n unusual disposition for a life of crime. You have more accomplishments tha_ou imagine; and though I have encountered a number of rogues in differen_uarters of the world, I never met with one so unblushing as yourself. Chee_p, Mr. Rolles, you are in the right profession at last! As for helping you, you may command me as you will. I have only a day's business in Edinburgh on _ittle matter for my brother; and once that is concluded, I return to Paris, where I usually reside. If you please, you may accompany me thither. An_efore the end of a month I believe I shall have brought your little busines_o a satisfactory conclusion."
(At this point, contrary to all the canons of his art, our Arabian autho_reaks off the STORY OF THE YOUNG MAN IN HOLY ORDERS. I regret and condem_uch practices; but I must follow my original, and refer the reader for th_onclusion of Mr. Rolles' adventures to the next number of the cycle, th_TORY OF THE HOUSE WITH THE GREEN BLINDS.)