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The Moonstone

The Moonstone

by Wilkie Collins

The Moonstone First Period, Chapter 4 Summary

  • Betteredge is still napping in his chair out on the patio at lunchtime when Nancy, one of the housemaids, comes out to complain that Rosanna, another servant girl, is late for lunch. AGAIN.
  • And Nancy doesn't want to have to go find her.
  • Betteredge feels sorry for Rosanna, and doesn't want Nancy to give her a hard time, so he volunteers to go find Rosanna himself.
  • He knows where she's probably gone – Rosanna is a strange, quiet girl, and ever since she came to the house as a servant, she's kept mostly to herself.
  • Rosanna has a deformed shoulder and isn't very pretty. What's more, she used to be a thief.
  • The other servants don't know that, but Betteredge and Lady Verinder do. They believe that Rosanna has reformed and they wanted to give her a chance.
  • Betteredge knows that Rosanna likes to go for walks down to the ocean to watch the change of the tide over the quicksand, which local folks call the "Shivering Sand."
  • Betteredge doesn't like watching the quicksand – he thinks it's creepy, but Rosanna likes it.
  • And sure enough, when he hobbles down to the shore on his cane, he finds Rosanna there, sitting and watching the sand, looking sad.
  • She tells him that she can't stop thinking about her past life, and it depresses her.
  • Betteredge wants her to be more cheerful, and he doesn't think that watching the creepy quicksand is helping matters, so he tells her that she should go back to the house and have lunch.
  • Just then, Franklin Blake walks up!
  • He's several hours early, so Rachel and Lady Verinder still aren't back from their drive.
  • Betteredge hasn't seen him since Franklin was a boy, so he doesn't recognize him at first.
  • The two shake hands and say hello.
  • Franklin always liked Betteredge, his aunt's trusty old servant, and is glad to see him again.
  • Rosanna, meanwhile, blushes a deep red and then hurries away to the house without saying anything, which is kind of rude of her.
  • Betteredge and Franklin don't really think too much about it, though.

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