nly smiled sceptically; for had he not in his possession a dozen such ill-omened jewels?
His Alexandrian emerald had, thousands of years ago, placed a Pharaoh in the bankruptcy court, and only a few weeks before had procured the ill-advised burglar who had tried to steal it ten years' penal servitude. Indeed, so great was Battersby's faith in the malignant influences of this remarkable stone, that he used to let it stray all over the house at its own sweet will, and when he found one of his housemaids wearing it in her Sunday bonnet, only cautioned her mildly that it was a dangerous addition to her native charms . His opals, too, were a particularly unlucky set, for Battersby would not touch an opal that had not killed its man, whilst his black pearl had humbled the proudest house of England to the dust.
So you may understand it took a great deal to upset Battersby.