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nervous irritation, and you slept wretchedly at
night.  On the night of the birthday, however,
there was an exception to the rule-- you slept
soundly.  Am I right, so far?"

"Quite right."

"Can you assign any cause for your nervous
suffering, and your want of sleep?"

"I can assign no cause.  Old Betteredge
made a guess at the cause, I remember.  But
that is hardly worth mentioning."

"Pardon me. Anything is worth mentioning
in such a case as this.  Betteredge attributed
your sleeplessness to something.  To

"To my leaving off smoking."

"Had you been an habitual smoker?"


"Did you leave off the habit suddenly?"


"Betteredge was perfectly right, Mr. Blake.
When smoking is a habit, a man must have no
common constitution who can leave it off
suddenly without some temporary damage to his
nervous system.  Your sleepless nights are
accounted for, to my mind.  My next question
refers to Mr. Candy.  Do you remember having
entered into anything like a dispute with him
at the birthday dinner, or afterwardson the
subject of his profession?"

The question instantly awakened one of my
dormant remembrances, in connection with the
birthday festival. The foolish wrangle which
took place, on that occasion, between Mr.
Candy and myself, will be found, described at
much greater length than it deserves, in the
tenth chapter of Betteredge' s Narrative. The
details there presented of the disputeso little
had I thought of it afterwardsentirely failed
to recur to my memory.  All that I could now
recal, and all that I could tell Ezra Jennings
was, that I had attacked the art of medicine at
the dinner-table, with sufficient rashness and
sufficient pertinacity to put even Mr. Candy
out of temper for the moment.  I also remembered
that Lady Verinder had interfered to
stop the dispute, and that the little doctor and
I had "made it up again," as the children say,
and had become as good friends as ever, before
we shook hands that night.

"There is one thing more," said Ezra Jennings,
"which it is very important that I should
know. Had you any reason for feeling any
special anxiety about the Diamond, at this time
last year?"

"I had the strongest reasons for feeling
anxiety about the Diamond. I knew it to be
the object of a conspiracy; and I was warned
to take measures for Miss Verinder's protection,
as the possessor of the stone."

"Was the safety of the Diamond the subject
of conversation between you and any other
person, immediately before you retired to rest on
the birthday night?"

"It was the subject of a conversation,
between Lady Verinder and her daughter—"

"Which took place in your hearing?"


Ezra Jennings took up his notes from the
table, and placed them in my hands.

"Mr. Blake," he said, "if you read those
notes now, by the light which my questions and
your answers have thrown on them, you will
make two astounding discoveries, concerning
yourself.  You will find:—First, that you
entered Miss Verinder's sitting-room and took
the Diamond, in a state of trance, produced
by opium.  Secondly, that the opium was given
to you by Mr. Candy- without your own
knowledgeas a practical refutation of the opinions
which you had expressed to him at the birthday

I sat, with the papers in my hand, completely

"Try, and forgive poor Mr. Candy," said the
assistant gently. "He has done dreadful
mischief, I own; but he has done it innocently.
If you will look at the notes, you will see that
but for his illnesshe would have returned
to Lady Verinder's the morning after the party,
and would have acknowledged the trick that
he had played you.  Miss Verinder would
have heard of it, and Miss Verinder would have
questioned himand the truth which has laid
hidden for a year, would have been discovered
in a day."

I began to regain my self-possession. "Mr.
Candy is beyond the reach of my resentment,"
I said angrily.  "But the trick that he played
me is not the less an act of treachery, for all
that.  I may forgive, but I shall not forget it."

"Every medical man commits that act of
treachery, Mr. Blake, in the course of his
practice.  The ignorant distrust of opium (in
England) is by no means confined to the lower
and less cultivated classes.  Every doctor in
large practice finds himself, every now and then,
obliged to deceive his patients, as Mr. Candy
deceived you.  I don't defend the folly of playing
you a trick under the circumstances.  I
only plead with you for a more accurate and
more merciful construction of motives."

"How was it done?" I asked.  "Who gave
me the laudanum, without my knowing it

"I am not able to tell you.  Nothing relating
to that part of the matter dropped from Mr.
Candy's lips, all through his illness.  Perhaps,
your own memory may point to the person to be
suspected ?"


"It is useless, in that case, to pursue the
inquiry.  The laudanum was secretly given to
you in some way.  Let us leave it there, and go
on to matters of more immediate importance.
Read my notes, if you can.  Familiarise your
mind with what has happened in the past.  I
have something very bold and very startling
to propose to you, which relates to the future."

Those last words roused me.

I looked at the papers, in the order in which
Ezra Jennings had placed them in my hands.
The paper which contained the smaller quantity
of writing was the uppermost of the two.  On
this, the disconnected words, and fragments of