Skip over navigation

The Moonstone

Wilkie Collins

Second Period, Seventh Narrative–Epilogue

Second Period, Fifth Narrative–Sixth Narrative

Important Quotations Explained

Summary

Second Period, Seventh Narrative

The Seventh Narrative is a reproduction of a letter from Mr. Candy to Franklin, which reports that Ezra Jennings has died. Jennings has left Franklin the pages from his diary which concern Franklin. Candy reports that Jennings requested that the rest of his papers be buried with him and that his tomb be unmarked. Mr. Candy congratulates Franklin upon his upcoming marriage to Rachel.

Second Period, Eighth Narrative

The eighth narrative is Betteredge's, and he reports that Rachel and Franklin were married on Tuesday, October 9, 1849. On the occasion of the marriage, Betteredge consulted Robinson Crusoe and found the section where Crusoe records his own marriage and the birth of his first child. Betteredge underlined the "child" part and waited patiently until this November, 1850 when Franklin tells Betteredge that Rachel is pregnant. Betteredge produces Robinson Crusoe, points out the underlined passage, and Franklin proclaims his belief in the prophetic powers of that book.

Epilogue

Chapter I is a statement from Sergeant Cuff's colleague, which explains how he tracked the Indians to the steamer bound for Bombay.

Chapter II is a statement from the Captain of the steamboat, "Bewley Castle." The captain reports that the steamer had been delayed off the coast of India because of overly calm weather. The captain eventually noticed that one of the small rowboats was missing and so were the Indians, who seemed to have rowed ashore. The Captain did not hear of the reason for the Indians' escape until he reached the shore.

Chapter III is a letter from Mr. Murthwaite to Mr. Bruff, dated 1850. Murthwaite has been wandering in India and visited Somnauth, a Hindu shrine. Murthwaite passed himself off as a Hindu-Buddhist from another province and joined many Hindus in watching a ceremony in honor of the moon god. At the ceremony, the three Indians appeared and a spectator explained that they were Brahmins who had "forfeited their caste, in service of the god." That night the three men would be sent to be purified through pilgrimage, each in a different direction, for the rest of their lives. Murthwaite watched as the three Indians parted ways, and the crowd parted for them. After the Indians are out of sight, a curtain draws to reveal the shrine of the god of the Moon with the yellow Moonstone in its forehead. Murthwaite confirms that "the Moonstone looks forth once more, over the walls of the sacred city in which its story first began You have lost sight of it in England, and (if I know anything of this people) you have lost sight of it for ever."

Analysis

The death of Ezra Jennings marks the last in the series of deaths connected to the theft of the Moonstone from the Verinder house: first Rosanna, then Lady Verinder, then Godfrey, and now Ezra Jennings. The multiple deaths, not all of them directly connected to the Moonstone, still lend a sense of bad luck and cursedness to the mystery of the stone. Jennings's death does seem to be a merciful release from the physical and emotional pain of his life, though. With Jennings dead, the running counterparts of Rachel and Franklin in Rosanna and Jennings has come to an end.

With the wrapping up of the subplot involving their less lucky counterparts, Rachel and Franklin are now ready to marry. The Moonstone has maintained two plots throughout: the conventional marriage plot between Rachel and Franklin and the mystery plot revolving around the diamond. Betteredge's narrative, telling us of their marriage and the conception of their first child, wraps up the marriage plot, giving the novel a conventional end. The epilogue then wraps up the mystery plot.

The epilogue commences with the reports from Sergeant Cuff's man and the steamboat captain regarding their respective failures to apprehend the Indians and the diamond. Yet these failures seem unimportant once we read Mr. Murthwaite's concluding narrative, which depicts the diamond's return to India as a just homecoming. Murthwaite is back in India, as a spy of sorts—he pretends to be a fellow Indian Hindu—and reports back to England on the events and people there. His narrative ensures that the story of the theft of the Moonstone is framed on either side with a narrative that places the Moonstone in India. This larger frame narrative encourages us to see the theft of the Moonstone by Godfrey Ablewhite as a replication of the theft of the Moonstone from India by John Herncastle in 1799. This last theft can then also be read as a miniature version of the greater exploitation of India by the English crown. These thefts of the Moonstone can also be read as simply part of the long, dangerous history of the valuable stone. The city in which Murthwaite watches the stone restored is the same city from which the diamond was first stolen in the eleventh century by "the Mohammedan conqueror, Mahmond of Ghizni," as both the prologue and epilogue attest.

The ceremony which Murthwaite witnesses is not only the celebration of the restoration of the Moonstone to the Hindu idol of the Moon god, but also the dramatization of the sacrifice that the three Hindu high-caste Brahmins made to retrieve the diamond. Because they abandoned their high-caste, the Brahmins must face cleansing—a cleansing which will last the rest of their lives. They have become permanent exiles, sent to wander on pilgrimage in separate directions. The selfless sacrifice made by the Indians is part of a larger theme of self-sacrifice in The Moonstone, which also includes Rachel's sacrifice of her reputation for Franklin, and Jennings's sacrifices for Mr. Candy, Franklin, and Rachel.

More Help

Previous Next

Readers' Notes allow users to add their own analysis and insights to our SparkNotes—and to discuss those ideas with one another. Have a novel take or think we left something out? Add a Readers' Note!

Follow Us