Study Guide

The Luminaries Part 2, Chapter 2

By Eleanor Catton

Part 2, Chapter 2

Aries in the Third House (18 February 1866)

  • We pick up with Te Rau, who is visiting Löwenthal at the West Coast Times. Apparently these two haven't seen each other since the night they all met in their council.
  • Te Rau says he has been in the north.
  • Ben assumes he is back for a séance Lydia Wells is holding, but this is the first Te Rau is hearing about it.
  • So, Ben shows Te Rau the ad Lydia had placed announcing the event. It seems she plans to summon the spirit of Emery Staines, who is still missing. It is limited to seven attendees—and Charlie Frost and Harald Nilssen have managed to score tickets.
  • There is also to be a party before the actual séance. Ben thinks that all the dudes in the town are going to be eager to go to get an audience with Anna, who's been pretty much AWOL since she started living with/working for Lydia.
  • Then Te Rau tells Ben why he's there: he wants to advertise for work. He's looking to find people who want a guide.
  • In addition to agreeing to run the ad, he suggests that Te Rau go down to Gibson Quay, where they have dragged the Godspeed out of the water and men are needed to unload the cargo. Ben thinks this is a really great idea, since it would give Te Rau work and make sure they had a "Crown man" on the ground for sorting through the barque's cargo. However, Te Rau refuses, and relations between the two men get pretty icy from there. Te Rau also says he doesn't want to attend the séance party.
  • The chapter ends with Ben suggesting that perhaps Te Rau owed his friend Crosbie a good turn, so he should suck it up and go sort through the cargo (which could be helpful in clearing up the mysteries surrounding Crosbie's death).

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