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Uncaptioned headnote vignette for "First Period: The Loss of the Diamond (1848), The Events related by Gabriel Betteredge, house-steward in the service of Julia, Lady Verinder." Chapter 13 — initial illustration for the ninth instalment in Harper's Weekly (29 February 1868), p. 133. Wood-engraving, 8.5 x 5.4 cm. [In the ninth headnote vignette, Sergeant Cuff and Betteredge on the beach near Cobb's Hole regard Rosanna Spearman's bootprint in the sand in the fifteenth chapter, a sure indication that she has been on some personal errand, or perhaps has made away with the Moonstone. In fact, Cuff is reasonably sure that the purpose of her clandestine trip is to hide or dispose of the paint-smeared nightgown that will identify the actual thief.]

Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham. [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the person who scanned the image and (2) link your document to this URL.]

Illustrations courtesy of the E. J. Pratt Fine Arts Library, University of Toronto, and the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, University of British Columbia.

Passage suggested by the Headnote Vignette for the Ninth Instalment

"I saw the girl this evening, walking northward along the shore, from Cobb's Hole," said the Sergeant. "Consequently, she must have been walking towards this place. Is Cobb's Hole on the other side of that point of land there? And can we get to it — now it's low water — by the beach?"

I answered, "Yes," to both those questions.

"If you'll excuse my suggesting it, we'll step out briskly," said the Sergeant. "I want to find the place where she left the shore, before it gets dark."

We had walked, I should say, a couple of hundred yards towards Cobb's Hole, when Sergeant Cuff suddenly went down on his knees on the beach, to all appearance seized with a sudden frenzy for saying his prayers.

"There's something to be said for your marine landscape here, after all," remarked the Sergeant. "Here are a woman's footsteps, Mr. Betteredge! Let us call them Rosanna's footsteps, until we find evidence to the contrary that we can't resist. Very confused footsteps, you will please to observe — purposely confused, I should say. Ah, poor soul, she understands the detective virtues of sand as well as I do! But hasn't she been in rather too great a hurry to tread out the marks thoroughly? I think she has. Here's one footstep going FROM Cobb's Hole; and here is another going back to it. Isn't that the toe of her shoe pointing straight to the water's edge? And don't I see two heel-marks further down the beach, close at the water's edge also? I don't want to hurt your feelings, but I'm afraid Rosanna is sly. It looks as if she had determined to get to that place you and I have just come from, without leaving any marks on the sand to trace her by. Shall we say that she walked through the water from this point till she got to that ledge of rocks behind us, and came back the same way, and then took to the beach again where those two heel marks are still left? Yes, we'll say that. It seems to fit in with my notion that she had something under her cloak, when she left the cottage. No! not something to destroy — for, in that case, where would have been the need of all these precautions to prevent my tracing the place at which her walk ended? Something to hide is, I think, the better guess of the two. Perhaps, if we go on to the cottage, we may find out what that something is?" — Chapter 15, — "First Period: The Loss of the Diamond (1848), The Events related by Gabriel Betteredge, house-steward in the service of Julia, Lady Verinder,"​Chapter 15, p. 133.


In the previous instalment's vignette, in which two of the housemaids in the middle of night are knocking at Rosanna Spearman's bedroom door and peering through the keyhole, the figures are wearing black and are in league against Rosanna Spearman, although their mission apparently is to find out whom she trying to protect or with whom she is league. Although Betteredge, the imperceptive narrator, does not yet comprehend why Cuff is tracing Rosanna's steps back to Cobb's Hole, the reader is already reasonably sure that Cuff believes that the second house-maid has taken the stained nightgown there for safe-keeping. In the sand, he finds imprints of Rosanna's boot-heals — going and returning, supporting his theory.

Relevant Chatto & Windus Edition (1890), Charles Scribner's (1908), and Collins' Clear-Type Edition (1910) Illustrations

Left: F. A. Fraser's more detailed realisation of a similar scene in Ch. 19, "The Sergeant pointed to the boot in the footmark, without saying a word." (1890). Centre: Cuff (right) reveals his suspicions to Betteredge (left) and Franklin Blake before tracing Rosanna Spearman's steps, "I suppose you know that you are treading on dangerous ground?" (1910). Right: John Sloan's conception of the scene in Yolland home in Cobb's Hole when Cuff learns what Rosanna bought to hide the nightgown, "Weigh it in your hand, sir," she said to the Sergeant (1908). [Click on the images to enlarge them.]

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Last updated 23 November 2016