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The Moonstone

Wilkie Collins

Second Period, Third Narrative, Chapters V–VII

Second Period, Third Narrative, Chapters I–IV

Second Period, Third Narrative, Chapters VIII–X

Summary

Second Period, Third Narrative, Chapter V

Jennings has briefly made an impression on Franklin. Meanwhile, Betteredge turns back to Rosanna's letter and finishes reading it in silence.

Rosanna describes how she then tried to speak with Franklin several more times. She hid in the shrubbery to wait for him, but she saw him notice her and then turn and walk the other way. Here Franklin includes a footnote stating that, indeed, Rosanna was mistaken—he never saw her. Rosanna's letter continues, stating how she was questioned by Sergeant Cuff and then how she realized she had to hide the nightgown. She went to the Yollands' to write this letter and gather the materials to hide the gown. The letter ends by saying that she will try to speak to Franklin once more before he leaves the house, and if he is still cruel then she will commit suicide.

Betteredge spares Franklin the guilt he will feel as a result of the end of Rosanna's letter and tells him only that she states no more clues. Betteredge gives Franklin the letter to read later and warns him that it will be distressing. Franklin, at the time of writing, has read the letter and feels remorse at having (unknowingly) repelled the advances she had made toward him.

Second Period, Third Narrative, Chapter VI

On the way to the railroad station, Franklin asks Betteredge two questions: "Was I drunk on the night of Rachel's Birthday?"; and "Did you ever discover me walking in my sleep [as a boy]?" Betteredge answers no to both questions, realizing that Franklin is trying to account for how he could have taken the diamond without knowing it. Betteredge reminds Franklin that the diamond has been pledged to Mr. Luker in London and that Franklin couldn't have done all of that without remembering he had done so.

At the station, Franklin notices Ezra Jennings at a newspaper stand. The two men raise hats to each other as Franklin gets on the train to London. In London, Franklin takes the letter to Mr. Bruff, who reads it and reasons that Rachel, too, believes Franklin has stolen the diamond. Bruff resolves that Rachel must finally be questioned. Bruff suspects, that if Rachel suspects Franklin on the evidence of the nightgown only, Rosanna Spearman has framed him. Bruff asks Franklin if he had done anything to make his character seem questionable to Rachel, and Franklin confesses that a creditor had sought him out at Lady Verinder's and made his debts seem worse than they were. Rachel had overheard and chastised him.

Bruff and Franklin decide that Bruff will set up a visit for Rachel to his house, and Franklin will meet with her then and question her about her suspicions of him. Two days later, Bruff calls on him to tell him the visit has been arranged for the afternoon. In the meantime, Franklin opens a letter from Betteredge, stating that Ezra Jennings had reported seeing Franklin in the rail station and that Mr. Candy had expressed a desire to speak with him.

That afternoon, Franklin lets himself into Bruff's house the back way and enters the room in which Rachel is.

Second Period, Third Narrative, Chapter VII

Rachel looks shocked to see Franklin. She approaches him trembling ,and Franklin embraces her and begins kissing her face. Rachel recovers and shoves him away, calling him a coward for taking advantage of her weakness for him. Franklin asks what he has done to deserve this insult, and Rachel is indignant, stating that she has "suffered the consequences of concealing" his crime.

Franklin explains his discovery of the nightgown to her and asks her if Rosanna showed her the nightgown. Rachel is angry at what she perceives as his pretended innocence—she reveals that she saw him take the diamond with her own eyes. Franklin protests that he does not remember and asks her to describe the scene. Rachel explains that she was out of bed and going into her sitting room for a book, when she saw Franklin come into the sitting room with bright eyes and a guilty expression. She saw him take the diamond, think for a few minutes, then leave. The next morning, Rachel had written Franklin a letter offering him a loan for his debts. Before she could deliver it, the theft of the diamond was discovered, and Rachel heard news that Franklin was leading the search to find it. Rachel made up her mind that Franklin was a false man, audaciously intent on pretending innocence. Rachel adds that she does not believe Franklin now in his assertions of his innocence.

Franklin is nearly unable to control himself and his anger. Instead, he tries to leave, but Rachel holds him back. She admits that she "can't tear [him] out of [her] heart, even now!" and that she "despises" herself as much as him. Franklin vows to prove his innocence and walks out. Rachel calls after him that she forgives him and asks for his forgiveness. Franklin is unable to speak and turns only to show her this before he leaves.

Analysis

Ezra Jennings is a remarkably strange character and is introduced at a remarkably strange time—in the middle of Franklin's and Betteredge's reading of Rosanna's letter. This, combined with the strong impression that Jennings makes on Franklin, should indicate to us that Jennings will be a recurring and important upcoming character. His reappearance at the railroad station only reinforces this impression. Finally, his connection to Mr. Candy, who was a guest at Rachel's birthday dinner the evening the diamond was stolen, suggests that he may figure in the solving of the mystery.

Although he did not continue reading it at the time, Franklin reproduces Rosanna's letter for us in the text as Betteredge reads it silently to himself. Franklin, as the editor, has eventually read the letter and reproduces it in a contradictory footnote, much in the same way that Franklin contradictorily footnoted Miss Clack's narrative. Here, the dispute is over Rosanna's recounting of a scene in which she was hiding in the shrubbery for Franklin. Franklin informs us that he really didn't see her at all but simply remembered at that precise moment that he had to meet with Lady Verinder. This type of unlucky misunderstanding seems to have characterized all of the interactions between Rosanna and Franklin and to have led to Rosanna's eventual tragedy. This type of blatant coincidence or misunderstanding stands out as particularly random and tragic in a detective novel, in which, eventually, each effect will be neatly traced to its cause.

Going into these several chapters, Franklin holds out two possibilities for his innocence, the first being that he took the diamond unknowingly, and the second being that Rosanna Spearman has framed him to Rachel. The meeting with Rachel removes the possibility of at least the second of these theories and confirms the thief just over halfway through the novel.

This meeting, in which Rachel confesses that she has been covering for Franklin, makes Rachel's reticent position throughout the first half of the novel understandable. Once we realize that she has been shielding Franklin from suspicion, we can recognize this dynamic as a dominant character trait in Rachel. Betteredge's description of Rachel back in Chapter VIII of the First Period as being unable to tell on a playmate as a child seems specific to events of the novel, not simply a random account of Rachel's characteristics. Similarly, Rachel's treatment of Godfrey, by which she did not tell anyone, even Godfrey himself, of her knowledge of his mercenary intent in asking her to marry him, seems to be the same principle by which Rachel has been dealing with Franklin. As a main character, Franklin is quite ambiguous, and we begin to see that Rachel, too, has a certain type of ambiguity to her. Rachel's character, up to this moment in the plot, has been defined mainly by the withholding of information. She thus has seemed as mysterious as the crime itself.

Here, in Franklin's narrative, we have a longer interaction that features Rachel—longer, even, than the Rachel sections of Miss Clack's narrative. Though Rachel reveals her secret and seems less mysterious for having revealed it, some basic ambiguity still plagues her character. This remaining ambiguity seems a product of her conflicting feelings toward Franklin. Rachel still loves Franklin but must also listen to the evidence of her senses, which tell her that Franklin is a thief and a liar. Rachel's behavior toward Franklin in their interview is accordingly contradictory—she approaches him and retreats, seems angry then hopeful.

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