as he is an author much studied by Prince Bismarck, you
will, at the worst, lose your time in good society."
"Sir," said the Curate, "I am infinitely obliged by
"You have already more than repaid me," returned
" How ? " inquired Simon.
" By the novelty of your request," replied the gentle-
man ; and with a polite gesture, as though to ask per-
mission, he resumed the study of the Fortnightly Review.
On his way home Mr. Rolles purchased a work on
precious stones and several of Gaboriau's novels. These
NEW ARABIAN NIGHTS
last he eagerly skimmed until an advanced hour in the
morning; but although they introduced him to many
new ideas, he could nowhere discover what to do with
a stolen diamond. He was annoyed, moreover, to find
the information scattered amongst romantic story-tell-
ing, instead of soberly set forth after the manner of a
manual; and he concluded that, even if the writer had
thought much upon these subjects, he was totally lack-
ing in educational method. For the character and at-
tainments of Lecoq, however, he was unable to contain
"He was truly a great creature," ruminated Mr.
Rolles. " He knew the world as I know Paley's Evi-
dences. There was nothing that he could not carry
to a termination with his own hand, and against the
largest odds. Heavens!" he broke out suddenly, "is
not this the lesson ? Must I not learn to cut diamonds
It seemed to him as if he had sailed at once out of his
perplexities; he remembered that he knew a jeweller,
one B. Macculloch, in Edinburgh, who would be glad
to put him in the way of the necessary training; a few
months, perhaps a few years, of sordid toil, and he
would be sufficiently expert to divide and sufficiently
cunning to dispose with advantage of the Rajah's Dia-
mond. That done, he might return to pursue his re-
searches at leisure, a wealthy and luxurious student,
envied and respected by all. Golden visions attended
him through his slumber, and he awoke refreshed and
light-hearted with the morning sun.
Mr. Raeburn's house was on that day to be closed by
the police, and this afforded a pretext for his departure.
THE RAJAH'S DIAMOND
He cheerfully prepared his baggage, transported it to
King's Cross, where he left it in the cloak-room, and
returned to the club to while away the afternoon and
" If you dine here to-day, Rolles," observed an ac-
quaintance, "you may see two of the most remarkable
men in England Prince Florizel of Bohemia, and old
"I have heard of the Prince," replied Mr. Rolles; "and
General Vandeleur I have 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 most acute
diplomatists in Europe. Have you never heard of his
duel with the Due de Val d'Orge ? of his exploits and
atrocities when he was Dictator of Paraguay ? of his dex-
terity in recovering Sir Samuel Levy's jewelry ? nor of
his services in the Indian Mutiny services by which
the Government profited, but which the Government
dared not recognise ? You make me wonder what we
mean by fame, or even by infamy ; for Jack Vandeleur
has prodigious claims to both. Run down stairs," he
continued, "take a table near them, and keep your ears
open. You will hear some strange talk, or I am much
" But how shall I know them ? " inquired the clergy-
"Know them!" cried his friend; "why, the Prince
is the finest gentleman in Europe, the only living crea-
ture who looks like a king; and as for Jack Vandeleur,
if you can imagine Ulysses at seventy years of age, and
with a sabre-cut across his face, you have the man be-
NEW ARABIAN NIGHTS
fore 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 remark-
able force of body, and obviously broken to the most
difficult exercises. He had neither the carriage of a
swordsman, nor of a sailor, nor yet of one much inured
to the saddle; but something made up of all these, and
the result and expression of many different habits and
dexterities. His features were bold and aquiline; his
expression arrogant and predatory; his whole appear-
ance that of a swift, violent, unscrupulous man of ac-
tion ; and his copious white hair and the deep sabre-cut
that traversed his nose and temple added a note of sav-
agery to a head already remarkable and menacing in
In his companion, the Prince of Bohemia, Mr. Rolles
was astonished to recognise the gentleman who had
recommended him the study of Gaboriau. Doubtless
Prince Florizel, who rarely visited the club, of which,
as of most others, he was an honorary member, had
been waiting for John Vandeleur when Simon accosted
him on the previous evening.
The other diners had modestly retired into the angles
of the room, and left the distinguished pair in a certain
isolation, but the young clergyman was unrestrained by
any sentiment of awe, and, marching up, took his place
at the nearest table.
The conversation was, indeed, new to the student's
ears. The ex-Dictator of Paraguay stated many extraor-
dinary experiences in different quarters of the world;
THE RAJAH'S DIAMOND
and the Prince supplied a commentary which, to a man
of thought, was even more interesting than the events
themselves. Two forms of experience were thus brought
together and laid before the young clergyman ; and he
did not know which to admire the most the desper-
ate 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 suf-
fered nothing. The manner of each aptly fitted with his
part in the discourse. The Dictator indulged in brutal-
ities alike of speech and gesture; his hand opened and
shut and fell roughly on the table; and his voice was
loud and heady. The Prince, on the other hand, seemed
the very type of urbane docility and quiet; the least
movement, the least inflection, had with him a weightier
significance than all the shouts and pantomime of his
companion; and if ever, as must frequently have been
the case, he described some experience personal to him-
self, it was so 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
"As a Vandeleur," replied the Dictator, "your High-
ness may imagine my dissent."
" I speak on grounds of public policy," pursued the
Prince. "Jewels so valuable should be reserved for the
collection of a Prince or the treasury of a great nation.
To hand them about among the common sort of men is
to set a price on Virtue's head ; and if the Rajah of Kash-
gar a Prince, I understand, of great enlightenment
NEW ARABIAN NIGHTS
desired vengeance upon the men of Europe, he could
hardly have gone more efficaciously about his purpose
than by sending us this apple of discord. There is no
honesty too robust for such a trial. I myself, who have
many duties and privileges of my own I myself, Mr.
Vandeleur, could scarcely handle the intoxicating crystal
and be safe. As for you, who are a diamond hunter by
taste and profession, I do not believe there is a crime in
the calendar you would not perpetrate I do not believe
you have a friend in the world whom you would not
eagerly betray I do not know if you have a family, but
if you have I declare you would sacrifice your children
and all this 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 now
and again to open a safe and look at it as one looks at a
"It is true," replied Vandeleur. "I have hunted
most things, from men and women down to mosquitos ;
I have dived for coral ; I have followed both whales and
tigers; and a diamond is the tallest quarry of the lot.
It has beauty and worth ; it alone can properly reward
the ardours of the chase. At this moment, as your High-
ness may fancy, I am upon the trail ; I have a sure knack,
a wide experience; I know every stone of price in my
brother's collection as a shepherd knows his sheep; and
I wish I may die if I do not recover them every one! "
' ' 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 the Vandeleurs will. Thomas or John Peter
or Paul we are all apostles."
THE RAJAH'S DIAMOND
"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 at the door.
Mr. Rolles glanced at the clock, and saw that he also
must be moving ; and the coincidence struck him sharply
and unpleasantly, for he desired to see no more of the
Much study having somewhat shaken the young
man's nerves, he was in the habit of travelling in the
most luxurious manner; and for the present journey he
had taken a sofa in the sleeping carriage.
"You will be very comfortable," said the guard;
"there is no one in your compartment, 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-pas-
senger ushered by several porters into his place; cer-
tainly, there was not another man in the world whom
he would not have preferred for it was old John Van-
deleur, the ex-Dictator.
The sleeping carriages on the Great Northern line
were divided into three compartments one at each
end for travelers, and one in the centre fitted with the
conveniences of a lavatory. A door running in grooves
separated each of 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 without defence. 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 lay
NEW ARABIAN NIGHTS
open to attack as if he had been lying in the fields. This
situation caused him some agony of mind. He recalled
with alarm the boastful statements of his fellow-traveller
across the dining-table, and the professions of immo-
rality which he had heard him offering to the disgusted
Prince. Some persons, he remembered to have read,
are endowed with a singular quickness of perception
for the neighbourhood of precious metals ; through
walls and even at considerable distances they are said
to divine the presence of gold. Might it not be the
same with diamonds ? he wondered ; and if so, who
was more likely to enjoy this transcendental sense than
the person who gloried in the appellation of the Diamond
Hunter ? From such a man he recognised that he had
everything to fear, and longed eagerly for the arrival of
In the meantime he neglected no precaution, concealed
his diamond in the most internal pocket of a system of
great-coats, and devoutly recommended himself to the
care of Providence.
The train pursued its usual even and rapid course;
and nearly half the journey had been accomplished be-
fore slumber began to triumph over uneasiness in the
breast of Mr. Rolles. For some time he resisted its in-
fluence; but it grew upon him more and more, and a
little before York he was fain to stretch himself upon one
of the couches and suffer his eyes to close ; and almost
at the same instant consciousness deserted the young
clergyman. His last thought was of his terrifying
When he awoke it was still pitch dark, except for the
flicker of the veiled lamp ; and the continual roaring and
THE RAJAH'S DIAMOND
oscillation testified to the unrelaxed velocity of the train.
He sat upright in a panic, for he had been tormented by
the most uneasy dreams; it was some seconds before he
recovered his self-command ; and even after he had re-
sumed a recumbent attitude sleep continued to flee him,
and he lay awake with his brain in a state of violent
agitation, and his eyes fixed upon the lavatory door.
He pulled his clerical felt hat over his brow still farther
to shield him from the light ; and he adopted the usual
expedients, such as counting a thousand or banishing
thought, by which experienced invalids are accustomed
to woo the approach of sleep. In the case of Mr. Rolles
they proved one and all vain; he was harassed by a
dozen different anxieties the old man in the other end
of the carriage haunted him in the most alarming shapes ;
and in whatever attitude he chose to lie the diamond in
his pocket occasioned him a sensible physical distress.
It burned, it was too large, it bruised his ribs ; and there
were infinitesimal fractions of a second in which he had
half a mind to throw it from the window.
While he was thus lying, a strange incident took
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 in the lavatory
was unshaded, and in the lighted aperture thus disclosed,
Mr. Rolles could see the head of Mr. Vandeleur in an at-
titude of deep attention. He was conscious that the
gaze of the Dictator rested intently on his own face; and
the instinct of self-preservation moved him to hold his
breath, to refrain from the least movement, and keeping
his eyes lowered, to watch his visitor from underneath
NEW ARABIAN NIGHTS
the lashes. After about a moment, the head was with-
drawn and the door of the lavatory replaced.
The Dictator had not come to attack, but to observe ;
his action was not that of a man threatening another,
but that of a man who was himself threatened ; if Mr.
Rolles was afraid of him, it appeared that he, in his turn,
was not quite easy on the score of Mr. Rolles. He had
come, it would seem, to make sure that his only fellow-
-traveller was asleep; and, when satisfied on that point,
he had at once withdrawn.
The clergyman leaped to his feet. The extreme of
terror had given place to a reaction of foolhardy daring.
He reflected that the rattle of the flying train concealed
all other sounds, and determined, come what might, to
return the visit he had just received. Divesting himself
of his cloak, which might have interfered with the free-
dom of his action, he entered the lavatory and paused
to listen. As he had expected, there was nothing to be
heard above the roar of the train's progress ; and laying
his hand on the door at the farther side, he proceeded
cautiously to draw it back for about six inches. Then
he stopped, and could not contain an ejaculation of sur-
John Vandeleur wore a fur travelling cap with lappets
to protect his ears; and this may have combined with
the sound of the express to keep him in ignorance of
what was going forward. It is certain, at least, that he
did not raise his head, but continued without interrup-
tion to pursue his strange employment. Between his
feet stood an open hat-box; in one hand he held the
sleeve of his sealskin great-coat; in the other a formi-
dable knife, with which he had just split up the lining of
THE RAJAH'S DIAMOND
the sleeve. Mr. Rolles had read of persons carrying
money in a belt; and as he had no acquaintance with
any but cricket-belts, he had never been able rightly to
conceive how this was managed. But here was a
stranger thing before his eyes; for John Vandeleur, it
appeared, carried diamonds 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 distinguishable either 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 after considerable ma-
noeuvring that he extricated a large tiara of diamonds
from the lining, and held it up for some seconds' exami-
nation before he placed it with the others in the hat-box.
The tiara was a ray of light to Mr. Rolles ; he immediately
recognised it for a part of the treasure stolen from Harry
Hartley by the loiterer. There was no room for mistake ;
it was exactly as the detective had described it; there
were the ruby stars, with a great emerald in the centre;
there were the interlacing crescents; and there were the
pear-shaped pendants, each a single stone, which gave a
special value to Lady Vandeleur's tiara.
Mr. Rolles was hugely relieved. The Dictator was
as deeply in the affair as he was; 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 become choked and his throat dry during
his previous suspense, the sigh was followed by a cough.
Mr. Vandeleur looked up; his face contracted with
NEW ARABIAN NIGHTS
the blackest and most deadly passion ; his eyes opened
widely, and his under jaw dropped in an astonishment
that was upon the brink of fury. By an instinctive move-
ment he had covered the hat-box with the coat. For half
a minute the two men stared upon each other in silence.
It was not a long interval, but it sufficed for Mr. Rolles ;
he was one of those who think swiftly on dangerous oc-
casions ; he decided on a course of action of a singularly
daring nature ; and although he felt he was setting his 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 of perfect self-possession. ' ' Two
connoisseurs should be acquainted. I have here a trifle of
my own which may perhaps serve for an introduction."
And so saying, he quietly took the case from his
pocket, showed the Rajah's Diamond to the Dictator
for an instant, and replace d it in security.
" It was once your brother's," he added.
John Vandeleur continued to regard him with a look
of almost painful amazement ; but he neither spoke nor
" I was pleased to observe," resumed the young man,
"that we have gems from the same collection."
The Dictator's surprise overpowered him.
" I beg your pardon," he said ; " I begin to perceive that
I am growing old ! I am positively not prepared for little in-
cidents like this. But set my mind at rest upon one point :
do my eyes deceive me, or are you indeed a parson ?"
THE RAJAH'S DIAMOND
" I am in holy orders," answered Mr. Holies.
"Well," cried the other, "as long as I live I will never
hear another word against the cloth! "
"You flatter me," said Mr. Rolles.
' ' Pardon me, " replied Vandeleur ; ' ' pardon me, young
man. You are no coward, but it still remains to be
seen whether you are not the worst of fools. Per-
haps," he continued, leaning back upon his seat, "per-
haps you would oblige me with a few particulars. I
must suppose you had some object in the stupefying im-
pudence of your proceedings, and I confess I have a
curiosity to know it."
"It is very simple," replied the clergyman; " it pro-
ceeds from my great inexperience of life."
" I shall be glad to be persuaded," answered Vande-
Whereupon Mr. Rolles told him the whole story of
his connection with the Rajah's Diamond, from the time
he found it in Raeburn's garden, to the time when he
left London in the Flying Scotchman. He added a brief
sketch of his feelings and thoughts during the journey,
and concluded in these words :
"When I recognised the tiara I knew we were in the
same attitude towards Society, and this inspired me with
a hope, which I trust you will say was not ill-founded,
that you might become in some sense my partner in the
difficulties and, of course, the profits of my situation.
To one of your special knowledge and obviously great
experience the negotiation of the diamond would give
but little trouble, while to me it was a matter of impos-
sibility. On the other part, I judged that I might lose
nearly as much by cutting the diamond, and that not
NEW ARABIAN NIGHTS
improbably with an unskilful hand, as might enable me
to pay you with proper generosity for your assistance.
The subject was a delicate one to broach ; and perhaps
I fell short in delicacy. But I must ask you to remem-
ber that for me the situation was a new one, and I was
entirely unacquainted with the etiquette in use. I be-
lieve without vanity that I could have married or bap-
tised you in a very acceptable manner; but every man
has his own aptitudes, and this sort of bargain was not
among the list of my accomplishments."
"I do not wish to flatter you," replied Vandeleur;
" but upon my word you have an unusual disposition
for a life of crime. You have more accomplishments
than you imagine; and though I have encountered a
number of rogues in different quarters of the world, I
never met with one so unblushing as yourself. Cheer
up, 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 a little
matter for my brother ; and once that is concluded, I re-
turn to Paris, where I usually reside. If you please, you
may accompany me thither. And before the end of a
month I believe I shall have brought your little business
to a satisfactory conclusion."
(At this point, contrary to all the canons of his art, our
Arabian Author breaks off the STORY OF THE YOUNG
MAN IN HOLY ORDERS. / regret and condemn such
practices ; but / must follow my original, and refer the
reader for the conclusion of Mr. Rolles' s adventures to
the next number of the cycle, the STORY OF THE HOUSE
WITH THE GREEN BLINDS.)
THE STORY OF THE HOUSE WITH THE
FRANCIS SCRYMGEOUR, a clerk in the Bank of Scotland
at Edinburgh, had attained the age of twenty-five in a
sphere of quiet, creditable, and domestic life. His mother
died while he was young; but his father, a man of sense
and probity, had given him an excellent education at
school, and brought him up at home to orderly and frugal
habits. Francis, who was of a docile and affectionate
disposition, profited by these advantages with zeal, and
devoted himself heart and soul to his employment. A
walk upon Saturday afternoon, an occasional dinner with
members of his family, and a yearly tour of a fortnight
in the Highlands or even on the continent of Europe,
were his principal distractions, and he grew rapidly in
favour with his superiors, and enjoyed already a salary
of nearly two hundred pounds a year, with the prospect
of an ultimate advance to almost double that amount.
Few young men were more contented, few more willing
and laborious than Francis Scrymgeour. Sometimes at
night, when he had read the daily paper, he would play
upon the flute to amuse his father, for whose qualities
he entertained a great respect.
One day he received a note from a well-known firm
of Writers to the Signet, requesting the favour of an im-
NEW ARABIAN NIGHTS
mediate interview with him. The latter was marked
"Private and Confidential," and had been addressed to
him at the bank, instead of at home two unusual cir-
cumstances which made him obey the summons with
the more alacrity. The senior member of the firm, a
man of much austerity of manner, made him gravely
welcome, requested him to take a seat, and proceeded
to explain the matter in hand in the picked expressions
of a veteran man of business. A person, who must re-
main nameless, but of whom the lawyer had every
reason to think well a man, in short, of some station
in the country desired to make Francis an annual al-
lowance of five hundred pounds. The capital was to be
placed under the control of the lawyer's firm and two
trustees who must also remain anonymous. There were
conditions annexed to this liberality, but he was of
opinion that his new client would find nothing either
excessive or dishonourable in the terms ; and he repeated
these two words with emphasis, as though he desired
to commit himself to nothing more.
Francis asked their nature.
"The conditions, " said the Writer to the Signet, ' ' are,
as I have twice remarked, neither dishonourable nor ex-