by Wilkie Collins
The Moonstone Society and Class 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).
That was the point of view I looked at it from. Economy—with a dash of love. I put it to my mistress, in duty bound, just as I had put it to myself. […] My lady burst out laughing, and said she didn't know which to be more shocked at—my language or my principles. Some joke tickled her, I suppose, of the sort that you can't take unless you are a person of quality. (22.214.171.124-7)
Betteredge feels the need to ask his employer's permission to get married. And when he explains his reasoning to her, she laughs. He explains to her that it's cheaper to marry Selina Goby than to continue paying for her to clean his house – after all, as his wife, she'll have to clean his house for free! It actually makes a certain amount of sense, if you think about it. But Lady Verinder is a member of the upper class, and she can afford the luxury of marrying for love…so she finds Betteredge's unromantic reasons for marrying to be funny.
Rosanna Spearman had been a thief, and not being of the sort that get up Companies in the City, and rob from thousands, instead of only robbing from one, the law laid hold of her, and the prison and the reformatory followed the lead of the law. (126.96.36.199)
Betteredge suggests that rich people steal, too, but they get away with it. He's talking about investment companies that "rob from thousands." He says that Rosanna Spearman only stole from individuals, but she got in more trouble. He is making a sly political statement about the inequalities in the justice system.
I follow the plan adopted by the Queen in opening Parliament—namely, the plan of saying much the same thing regularly every year. Before it is delivered, my speech (like the Queen's) is looked for as eagerly as if nothing of the kind had ever been heard before. When it is delivered, and turns out not to be the novelty anticipated, though they grumble a little, they look forward hopefully to something newer next year. An easy people to govern, in the Parliament and in the Kitchen—that's the moral of it. (188.8.131.52)
Another sly socio-political remark by Gabriel Betteredge. He implicitly compares the servants of the "Kitchen" to members of Parliament (the British legislative body, like the American Congress) and himself to the Queen.