Study Guide

The Moonstone Second Period, Narrative 1, Chapter 8

By Wilkie Collins

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Second Period, Narrative 1, Chapter 8

  • He tells Miss Clack that his proposal to Rachel was like a dream – he doesn't know why he did it, or why he stopped caring about his charities.
  • He was already regretting the engagement on his way to Brighton, and when he arrived, he was delighted to find that Rachel had changed her mind, too.
  • Miss Clack is so glad to have him back that she can hardly respond.
  • Then he has to run to catch the train.
  • He mentions that his father will be disappointed, since Mr. Ablewhite was happy about the engagement.
  • He leaves, and Miss Clack goes into the dining room for lunch.
  • Rachel is sitting there with Mrs. Ablewhite.
  • Miss Clack wonders who Rachel is really in love with, and what happened to the Moonstone.
  • She comforts herself with the thought that once she has converted Rachel to her branch of Christianity, Rachel will tell her everything.
  • The next day, Mr. Ablewhite shows up with Mr. Bruff hot on his heels.
  • Mr. Ablewhite is surprised to see Mr. Bruff.
  • Mr. Bruff says that he decided to come to Brighton from London at the last minute, thinking that he might be of some use, and so he hopped on the train right before the doors closed and had no time to find Mr. Ablewhite on the train.
  • Mr. Ablewhite says that he wants to have a private word with Rachel.
  • Rachel says that he can speak to her in front of her relatives and in front of Mr. Bruff, who was her mother's trusted old friend.
  • Mr. Ablewhite asks her whether she and Godfrey have had a fight, and she says no. But she did propose breaking off the engagement, and he agreed to it.
  • Mr. Ablewhite is furious.
  • He demands to know why she's breaking it off with Godfrey, and she tells him what she told Godfrey. She decided that it was a hasty decision that they would both grow to regret, and that they had better break it off.
  • Mr. Ablewhite is convinced that Rachel thinks she's too good for Godfrey, and he totally loses his temper.
  • Rachel is about to leave the room with Mr. Bruff, when Miss Clack interrupts by jumping in with one of her religious tracts about the sin of anger.
  • Then Mr. Ablewhite really loses it – he calls Miss Clack a "Rampant Spinster" and asks who invited her here, anyway.
  • Rachel says that Miss Clack is there as her guest, and Mr. Ablewhite says that she has no right to invite guests, since it's his house, not hers.
  • Of course, he rented the house as Rachel's guardian, so that's not strictly true.
  • Mr. Bruff reminds him of this, and Mr. Ablewhite says that maybe he doesn't want to be Rachel's guardian after all.
  • Mr. Ablewhite storms out of the room.
  • Mrs. Ablewhite apologizes for her husband's bad temper, although she is angry at Miss Clack for having contributed to the blow-up.
  • Mrs. Ablewhite leaves the room to calm her husband, leaving Mr. Bruff, Rachel, and Miss Clack.
  • Mr. Bruff asks Rachel if she will accept an invitation from his wife, Mrs. Bruff, to stay at their house until they have chosen a new guardian for her.
  • Rachel accepts gratefully.
  • Miss Clack jumps in and begs Rachel to live with her in London.
  • Rachel is astonished.
  • She thanks Miss Clack, but says that she had better stay with Mr. Bruff.
  • Miss Clack is so agitated that she almost frightens Rachel.
  • Miss Clack tells her that she has been trying to save Rachel's soul, as she was unable to save Lady Verinder's before her death.
  • Rachel asks for an explanation, and Miss Clack explains.
  • Rachel is horrified – Miss Clack tells her that she thinks Lady Verinder went to hell because she hadn't adopted Miss Clack's branch of Christianity.
  • Of course, Rachel doesn't believe this – her mother was a generous, good woman – but she's obviously furious with Miss Clack.
  • Rachel tells Penelope to pack her things, and then leaves the house with Mr. Bruff.
  • And that's the end of Miss Clack's narrative!

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