Study Guide

The Luminaries Part 2, Chapter 9

By Eleanor Catton

Part 2, Chapter 9

Cardinal Earth (18 February 1866)

  • The narrative returns to Moody, who is just about to get to his room and open his trunk.
  • When he opens the door to his room, though, he realizes he's received the wrong trunk. He actually received Lauderback's.
  • He decides to go through the trunk before sending it over to Lauderback.
  • He finds the bill of sale for the Godspeed, noting that Francis signed his name in a way that could be read either as "Francis Wells" or "C. Francis Wells."
  • After pondering all that, Moody makes another discovery—there are some letters hidden in the lining of the lid. They are letters from Crosbie Wells to Lauderback. It seems that he was Lauderback's illegitimate brother.
  • Wells wrote Lauderback a ton of letters chronicling his poverty, and then his wealth (when he struck gold), and then his poverty again when his fortune got stolen. He also mentions having married and then, later, being estranged from his wife.
  • In his last letter, Crosbie suggested that Lauderback come by to see him while he was riding into Hokitika to campaign.
  • So, Moody realizes that the money Carver used to blackmail Lauderback was stolen from Crosbie—and that this whole situation was the "twinkle" Carver had had on Lauderback. Also, he reflects that Lauderback thought that Carver and Wells might have been brothers as well through their mother.
  • Moody is kind of floored by everything he's just read, but he knows he has to call attention to the mix-up in trunks soon in order for it not to look suspicious. So, he hides the letters back in there and rings for the maid to clear up the mistake.

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