Study Guide

The Luminaries Part 1, Chapter 11

By Eleanor Catton

Part 1, Chapter 11

Conjunctions (27 January 1866)

  • Now we're back with Reverend Cowell in the dining room at the Palace Hotel. He decided to leave and walk up to the Hokitika via the Seaview terrace.
  • While walking, he realized someone was walking after him. It turned out to be Te Rau Tauwhare.
  • After introducing themselves, they discussed Crosbie Wells, since Devlin knew they were friends.
  • Devlin asked Te Rau if he knew Francis Carver, and Te Rau remembered giving Carver information about Wells's whereabouts, thinking it would do no harm—men ask after other men all the time. He had had no idea he was putting Crosbie in danger, but he felt super guilty about it.
  • Devlin asked if Carver and Crosbie were brothers, and Te Rau was just puzzled.
  • Then the men walked to Crosbie's grave together. Te Rau considered confessing his role in Crosbie's death to Devin.
  • Then the narrative zooms over to what Ben Löwenthal was doing at that same time. Frost came to visit him to discuss what had happened in Chinatown that afternoon.
  • Frost explained that they were assembling a list of suspects, and they were meeting at the Crown Hotel that night to discuss them. So far, the group included Quee, Frost, Clinch, Pritchard, and Nilssen. Frost wanted Ben to come as well.
  • Ben agreed and said they should add Balfour to the list.
  • Ben seemed to mistrust Frost, so things got a bit icy when Frost balked at Balfour's trustworthiness.
  • Eventually, they said their goodbyes, with Ben promising to go ask Tom himself.
  • Meanwhile, Dick Mannering, when he got back from Kaniere, had gone to see Edgar Clinch to tell him about the meeting that evening.
  • Clinch told him that Lydia Wells had come by to fetch Anna, explaining that they knew each other (although Mannering had already known that—he had frequented Lydia's House of Many Wishes back in Dunedin.
  • Clinch started ranting about how Anna and Lydia were in on something together. This time, Mannering had no idea what he was talking about. Clinch explained they were in on whatever was going on with Anna's dresses—but when he realized Mannering wasn't in the loop on the gold in the dresses (much less the mastermind, as he had thought originally), he quickly tried to backtrack and cover what he had actually meant.
  • Apparently, Lydia had paid up Anna's debt to Clinch. Mannering hadn't yet been paid, and apparently Anna had given up the profession, so …
  • … Mannering was furious. However, Clinch then told him that Anna had said that Mannering should go ask Aubert Gascoigne for the money, which was hidden under his bed.
  • So, both men were annoyed, but eventually they turned back to the topic of the meeting that evening and the details surrounding it, speculating on who was responsible for the strange events taking place lately.
  • Then the narrative changes positions yet again and follows what Sook and Quee had done after the meeting in Kaniere. Apparently, they had hit the road to Hokitika.
  • On the way, they chatted about the mysteries surrounding Crosbie and the gold. Quee told Sook that he had never thought the gold had belonged to Anna, and they talked about whether what Quee did was theft.
  • Then they talked about Emery Staines and whether he was a thief.
  • This section ends with Sook about to launch into the story of his relationship with Carver—but the narrative switches yet again before we get to hear it.
  • Instead, we skip over to Harald Nilssen's office, where he was writing that note to Pritchard. He asked Albert to deliver it.
  • He then thought about his promise to George Shepard from earlier that day and considered whether he would tell the group about their agreement that night at the meeting. He was convinced Shepard knew a lot more than he was saying.
  • Ultimately, he decided that he would share the intel with the group.
  • He finished thinking about all that in time for Albert's return with Pritchard's reply.
  • Albert asked Nilssen to come to Mannering's new play that night, but Nilssen (because of the secret meeting) had to refuse.
  • When Albert left, he read Pritchard's return note. It mentioned vaguely the weird pistol action in Anna's room earlier that evening.
  • We then move (yet again) to another location. Now we're back with Thomas Balfour, who had gone back to the Crown to look for Devlin. Not finding him there, Balfour wandered around for hours until, just has he was ready to give up, he found the holy man on Revell-street. He was still with Te Rau.
  • Balfour went up to them. He mentioned that he had met with Ben Löwenthal earlier, and they had been discussing Devlin—and, in particular, his interest in Emery Staines's whereabouts. Devlin resisted telling Balfour about the deed with Staines's name on it, which was the reason for his interest.
  • Aware of the fact that he hadn't been terribly nice to Te Rau or Devlin earlier, Balfour was eager to make nice with them. So, he invited them for a meal, and they agreed. So, they ended up in Maxwell's, where Ben came upon them a bit later.
  • Ben invited all three men to the Crown that night, including Te Rau (after hearing that he was Crosbie's best friend).
  • Then we leave the men at Maxwell's and scoot over to Aubert Gascoigne's house. Apparently, Mannering went there to see about this supposed bag of gold under his bed.
  • He asked Gascoigne for the money, explaining it was for Anna's debt, but Gascoigne refused to hand it over without hearing the request straight from Anna.
  • However, Gascoigne did explain how that gold came to be under his bed—i.e., the story of the gold in her corset.
  • Mannering was a bit confused by that tale. They had some more words after that, but then there was a knock at the door—it was Nilssen.
  • Nilssen was reluctant to speak about the matter he had come to discuss in front of Mannering. Mannering asked if it was about "the widow" or "the gold," which confused Nilssen, since he thought Mannering meant the Wells fortune.
  • As a result of all this confusion, even though it wasn't their original intention, Nilssen and Mannering ended up inviting Gascoigne to the council that night.

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