Study Guide

The Moonstone Second Period, Narrative 1, Chapter 1

By Wilkie Collins

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Second Period, Narrative 1, Chapter 1

Second Period: The Discovery of the Truth (1848-1849), The Events related in several Narratives. Narrative 1: Contributed by Miss Clack, niece of the late Sir John Verinder

  • Miss Clack, the new narrator, is a single lady whose mother was related to Sir John Verinder, Lady Verinder's dead husband.
  • She informs us that she's always kept a diary, so she can easily look up dates and events that related to the Moonstone.
  • She says that Franklin Blake offered to pay her for her contribution to the evidence about the Moonstone, and, being rather poor, she accepted.
  • She clearly doesn't think very highly of Franklin Blake.
  • She consults her diary, and then begins her narrative.
  • On Monday, July 3, 1848, she is passing by her aunt's house in London, and happens to notice that the shades are up and the lights are on, so she decides to knock and see what's going on.
  • Penelope answers the door, and says that Lady Verinder and Miss Rachel arrived in London a week ago and plan to stay for a while.
  • Miss Clack doesn't want to bother them (of course), but sends a note upstairs asking them if she can be "of any use."
  • Lady Verinder sends a message down inviting Miss Clack to lunch the next day.
  • Miss Clack offers Penelope a religious tract titled, "A word with you on your cap ribbons," because she thinks that Penelope wears too many frills.
  • Penelope declines the tract, but Miss Clack pops it through the mail slot after leaving the house.
  • Miss Clack is a member of a lot of different charitable societies of questionable usefulness.
  • One of them, the "Mothers'-Small-Clothes-Conversion-Society," has a meeting that night, and Godfrey Ablewhite will be there.
  • Miss Clack looks forward to telling him that their Aunt, Lady Verinder, is in town.
  • (We should pause here to point out that Miss Clack is related on Sir John Verinder's side of the family, while Godfrey Ablewhite is related through Lady Verinder. The family tree can be a bit confusing.)
  • But Godfrey Ablewhite doesn't show up, to Miss Clack's obvious disappointment (she seems to have a crush on him).
  • Apparently, Godfrey had been mugged that day! The other ladies at the charity tell Miss Clack the story:
  • He had accidentally bumped into a stranger in the street, and that stranger had been Mr. Luker. They exchanged apologies, and went their separate ways.
  • Then Godfrey received a letter from a little boy.
  • The letter, from a stranger, asked him to come to a house that he didn't know.
  • The writer claimed to be interested in donating money to one of Godfrey's many charities, so of course he went.
  • On arrival, Godfrey was ushered into an empty room.
  • He stood there, waiting, and then suddenly he was attacked from behind!
  • He had only enough time to notice that the arm of one of his attackers was fairly dark before they blindfolded him and tied him up.
  • The strangers rifled through his pockets, speaking to each other in a language he didn't recognize.
  • Then they left him there.
  • A while later, the landlord came in and helped him out.
  • The landlord had seen Godfrey go in, but hadn't seen him leave.
  • Godfrey was surprised to find that none of his things – wallet, keys, watch, etc. – had been taken.
  • They decided that the Indian strangers must have mistaken him for someone else.
  • Even more strange, Godfrey discovered that the same thing had happened earlier to Mr. Septimus Luker.
  • And that's where the story ends. Miss Clack goes to lunch the next day, promptly at the hour she was invited.
  • She is shocked by what she calls Rachel's carelessness of manners – mostly because Rachel isn't particularly polite or attentive to her.
  • Lady Verinder then tells Miss Clack the whole story of the diamond, and concludes by saying that the doctor has advised Rachel to amuse herself to keep her mind off of it.
  • Godfrey Ablewhite arrives.

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