by Wilkie Collins
The Moonstone Literature and Writing Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Collins doesn't use traditional chapters in The Moonstone, so the citations are a little trickier than in other Victorian novels. Citations follow this format: (Period.Narrative.Chapter.Paragraph).
'There can be no doubt that this strange family story of ours ought to be told. And I think, Betteredge, Mr Bruff and I together have hit on the right way of telling it.' (18.104.22.168)
Franklin Blake tells us on the first page of the novel that the "strange family story" – the plot of The Moonstone – is a story that "ought to be told." And they've found the "right way of telling it." This is good news for readers of The Moonstone. We're told on the very first page that the novel is worth reading and that it's being told in the best possible way. Thank goodness for that!
I am not superstitious; I have read a heap of books in my time; I am a scholar in my own way. Though turned seventy, I possess an active memory, and legs to correspond. You are not to take it, if you please, as the saying of an ignorant man, when I express my opinion that such a book as Robinson Crusoe never was written, and never will be written again. (22.214.171.124)
Gabriel Betteredge wants to assure the readers that his eccentric reliance on Robinson Crusoe, a novel by Daniel Defoe, for comfort and guidance is not at all eccentric. He wants us to realize that he knows what he's talking about!
Still, this don't look much like starting the story of the Diamond—does it? I seem to be wandering off in search of Lord knows what, Lord knows where. We will take a new sheet of paper, if you please, and begin over again, with my best respects to you. (126.96.36.199)
Gabriel Betteredge ends the first chapter of his narrative with an apology. He says that he's been rambling, and will "begin over again." But if he's been rambling, why include that first chapter? Why not crumple it up and "begin over again" for real? Well, of course the first chapter is important – Wilkie Collins wants us to know why the novel is constructed the way it is, and Franklin Blake tells us why on the very first page. And the first chapter also introduces us to Gabriel Betteredge, our first narrator and one of the most important characters of the novel.