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but I must say the partition of spoil was not fair.

The fellow who got the diamond-unless-Jackson, where is that Featherstone diamond?" Then Sweepstone would have declared that he had an additional reason for his favourite theory about the shedding of blood and the suspicious-looking tints in the agate.

Another circumstance which made me unwilling to say anything about my former connection with Rumford Featherstone's family was that Woodrough, the private secretary, was in Millchester. I met him one day when I was walking from the school to the station. He was startled to see me; but for that I should not have noticed him. When I knew him at Rumford Hall he was closely shaven; but he was beginning to grow a beard and moustache, which seemed likely in a short time to disguise him effectually.

As far as I could remember, nothing was really proved against Woodrough, and I was puzzled at the moment how I ought to treat him; but when I am uncertain what to do, I invariably, and from impulse, follow the course which seems kindest at the moment; so I put out my hand to him as if nothing had happened which was discreditable to his good name.

He seemed very grateful, and told me that he had obtained a subordinate position in the office of Sheet & Piece, a well-known firm of shippers. Mr. Sheet was a friend of his father, the Rev. Stephen Woodrough, a minister near London.

"But he stipulated that I should be known here as Stephens," said Woodrough; "and, therefore, I have lost my good name in more senses than one."

It was grim humour. But I believed in the young fellow, especially when I remembered that the Featherstone diamond was worth at least ten thousand pounds.

"If he had that diamond he would not be toiling at Millchester," I reflected. "Poor Woodrough !"

So there were several reasons why I did not care to tell Bowman and Sweepstone about what they called my Champion Paper-knife.

II.

Rumford Featherstone was a very eccentric man. It was said that the only way in which he could be managed was to take no notice of him; rather a peculiar kind of management, I must confess. Brayshaw, my pupil, acted on that principle, and the experiment appeared to be successful.

"Uncle meddles with everything and everybody, but he would be surprised if you attended to any of his suggestions. I never do." Remarks like that were often made by the lad, in a jovial manner. Weakness and pain had not made him petulant, but he was ready to joke about his own infirmities.

"There are worse things in this world than a weak constitution," he said, "if it is not too weak. I have been spoiled, and I like it.” Fun must have been very difficult in the presence of Rumford Featherstone, who was a grim-looking man of sixty-five. He had a face which looked incapable of smiling, and I never knew him try the experiment. His nephew was constantly making absurd remarks, but none of them appeared to affect the uncle, who glared under his heavy brow at the venturesome youngster who was bold enough even to make puns in that forbidding presence.

Rumford Featherstone professed to trust nobody. His opinions about human nature were as unfavourable as possible; but in practice, he was the most unsuspicious of men, and he might have been robbed with impunity. He locked up scarcely anything. He denounced the worthlessness of humanity and the dishonesty of society, while he left valuable articles about as if he had perfect confidence in his fellow-men.

He was known to have a splendid collection of gems, and some of them were of great value. The Featherstone diamond especially was one of the famous stones which have been honoured with distinctive names, and it was known far and wide.

"If you want to be remembered as long as the world stands," he said to me when first he showed me his treasures, "you must procure a stone like this and call it after yourself. This will be the Featherstone diamond when all the monuments which have been reared in this generation are carted away for rubbish, and when all the books which have been written during this century are forgotten." "It may have half a dozen different names before the end of time," exclaimed Brayshaw. "In the year ten-thousand-and-one it may be called the Ching Chow diamond, if the Chinese rule the roast, as they are expected to do. 'Rule the roast pig,' Charles Lamb would have said."

Featherstone looked angry; and as nobody cared to laugh at Brayshaw's remark, he laughed himself, repeating:

"It will be the Ching Chow diamond, formerly the Pah Pah diamond of New Zealand. There is time for many changes before the year ten-thousand-and-one."

The Featherstone diamond was famous for its perfect colour and

matchless lustre. It had been cut to the best advantage, and weighed thirty-five carats. If there had been nothing extraordinary in its appearance it would have been worth ten thousand pounds; but with precious stones value is enhanced by fame, and it was impossible to say what a stone like that might have fetched in the open market. Some people said it was the only thing in the world which its owner really loved.

"He is a little more than indifferent to his sister," was a remark often made, "and he does not positively hate that nephew of his ; but he loves nothing but his diamond."

In the library a massive safe stood, having the most recent improvements, including a time-lock, and in that safe the precious stones were kept.

Woodrough was called the private secretary, but his duties had more connection with the jewels of his employer than with books and papers. He had a key to the safe, and he generally set the time-lock

at night.

I liked Woodrough, and so did my pupil. He was a quiet fellow, fond of reading and attached to his employer. "Mr. Featherstone is not difficult to please," he said to me in confidence. "All you have to do is to find out what he is likely to want and then act as if he had told you. Very likely he will complain, but that does not matter. He is magnanimous enough not to expect me to say I am wrong when I know I am right. I have to watch that safe continually, and, when I am going out, I generally set the time-lock; then nobody can open it. He has stormed a few times about my doing so, when he has wanted something later than usual; but I say nothing and do the same thing again. I have known him to leave the safe open, with half the gems on the library table. It is not fair to the servants. I remember the first time I discovered things in that condition I told him I should not consider myself responsible for the safe-keeping of his treasures if some reasonable precautions were not aken to protect them."

'How did he like that?" I asked.

Well, he made himself rather offensive," was the reply.

I looked at Woodrough, and I suppose he understood me to ignify that I was surprised to find him still there.

"Oh, I did not eat much mud, I can tell you," he answered. “I said I considered that our engagement was at an end, and I would go and put my things together. That surprised him. He apologised handsomely, however, and so the dispute ended. The only danger of a rupture between us since has arisen when he has told me not to

set the time-lock on the safe, because he intended to open it late at night. He always promises to set it himself, but as often as not he forgets. I have come down into the library at two or three o'clock in the morning and found that he had simply locked it."

"What does it matter?" I asked.

"It matters just this," he said. "If burglars broke into the Hall they would be sure to get his keys or mine, for it would be an organised gang which would do it; then they could open the safe and take everything. We are known to have chronometer-locks, and that is our chief safeguard. Let it be discovered, however, that we do not use them regularly, and the cracksmen will think it worth their while to pay us a visit."

The Featherstone diamond and several of the richest gems were generally kept in a small case, of which Woodrough had no key.

"I cannot show them in Mr. Featherstone's absence," he said, "and I am very glad. Sometimes he tells people to call and look at his 'baubles'; but if he is out they have to call again."

The circumstances attending Rumford Featherstone's death were very painful, because of the suspicion which was thrown on Woodrough. As I have said already, nothing was proved against him, but he was ruined, and he had to commence life again in a subordinate position and under an assumed name.

These are the particulars, as I learnt them at the time.

Rumford Featherstone was discovered by Woodrough in his library at two o'clock in the morning, dead.

The secretary had been requested by Featherstone not to set the time-lock on the safe.

"I awoke just before two o'clock," Woodrough said afterwards. "I had been in bed then about three hours. Just as I was going to sleep again I thought I heard a noise. This roused me at once, and I suddenly remembered that I had left Mr. Featherstone in the library and that the time-lock had not been set. I got out of bed, put on a dressing-gown, seized my revolver, and went down-stairs. as quietly as possible. There was no sign of disturbance anywhere, and all was still. I opened the library door; the lamp was burning, and Mr. Featherstone was lying on the floor. I glanced round the room and saw that the safe was shut, then I hurried to Mr. Featherstone and tried to rouse him, but he was dead.

"There was a scene of commotion after that. The servants were called and a messenger was sent on horseback to Waringborough, the nearest town, for medical assistance. When Dr. Pitchford arrived it was too late to be of any use. Mr. Featherstone had died

of apoplexy, he said, and death must have been almost instan

taneous.

"Brayshaw had gone to Oxford at that time, but he and his mother were at Rumford Hall before noon. The family lawyer was there also, and the safe was opened to make sure that all the gems were safe. The Featherstone diamond could not be found."

Woodrough said that he had not seen it for some days, but he thought it was in the special case all right. Nothing had been said about it, and he was not aware that it had been sent away for any purpose. Careful search was made, and letters of inquiry were sent to the persons who were likely to have been taken into Featherstone's confidence in reference to the stone. No intelligence could be gained concerning it, and suspicion was directed towards Woodrough.

III.

• Woodrough was never formally charged with having stolen the diamond, though I believe that was in consequence of Mrs. Brayshaw's attitude. The executors were very angry, and great publicity was given to the affair, so that the name of Woodrough was commented on very unfavourably at the time. They would have charged him with theft, and they might have succeeded in convicting him on circumstantial evidence. Even if they had failed, his disgrace would have been more complete. But I remember Bowman saying that he wished he had the case in hand, and he showed how all the facts were dead against the suspected man.

I did not acknowledge that I had any personal acquaintance with Rumford Featherstone or with Woodrough; but I sided with the secretary in the discussions, much to Bowman's disgust, who laboured under the impression, which is not uncommon among a certain class of men, that an intimate knowledge of ancient classics is detrimental to a right understanding of modern life.

Sweepstone was not inclined to blame Woodrough much, if he had purloined the diamond.

"Rather awkward stuff to sell," he remarked. "Something like a stolen bank-note for a thousand pounds or the famous Gainsborough picture. If that fellow had been as sharp as some people are, he would have laid his fingers on something which might have been turned into cash more easily."

My own opinion was that one of the servants had found Featherstone before Woodrough did, and that the diamond was lying on

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