Study Guide

The Luminaries Part 2, Chapter 10

By Eleanor Catton

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Part 2, Chapter 10

A Month Without A Moon (18 February 1866)

  • Mannering arrives early at Lydia Wells's house in the hopes of getting to chat with Anna, but he is disappointed—it seems that Anna won't be coming down for the party at all; she's just going to be at the séance.
  • Instead, he ends up bantering with Lydia—and things are a bit, er, tense.
  • He discovers that Sook and Quee are already there and wearing makeup.
  • When Mannering makes a stink about Anna's absence, Lydia suggests that he leave. He refuses, pouring himself a drink.
  • More people soon arrive, and we get snatches of their conversations. Pritchard reminds Frost to watch Lydia constantly, as Nilssen is apparently going to be watching Anna.
  • Nilssen, meanwhile, asks Balfour if he had anything to do with Lauderback finding out about Nilssen's arrangement with Shepard. Balfour denies it.
  • They talk about the letter Lauderback has written as a rebuttal, which mentions Lauderback's affair with Lydia. Nilssen admits that he was the one who told Shepard about that. However, he says he did not tell Shepard about the blackmail or the gowns.
  • At the end of their chat, it seems like Nilssen may have realized that Balfour wasn't quite telling the truth about not having told Lauderback about the arrangement …
  • Then we get snatches of a conversation between Te Rau and Clinch. Te Rau asks him why he had bought Crosbie's house.
  • Clinch explains that he was hoping to use a claim as a cover for the gold he was going to try to get off of Anna's dresses—but the dresses had been stripped before he had had a chance.
  • Löwenthal interrupts them to talk to Clinch. After saying hello to Te Rau, he pulls Edgar away to ask about how he knew the paternity of Anna's baby. Ben explains that Anna may not have been honest on that front.
  • Elsewhere, Moody and Lydia Wells are introduced. They banter a bit about the notions of truth, knowing, and luck.

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