Literature Study GuidesThe MoonstoneFirst Period Chapters 13 14 Summary

The Moonstone | Study Guide

Wilkie Collins

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The Moonstone | First Period, Chapters 13–14 : The Loss of the Diamond (1848) | Summary

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Summary

Chapter 13

Sergeant Cuff meets with Lady Julia Verinder and states that he believes the Diamond to be lost, not stolen. He asks to search the house for the paint-stained garment. When Lady Verinder protests, Cuff says everyone staying in the house that night will have his or her wardrobe searched, starting with Lady Verinder. The servants will be much less likely to protest if they see everyone being subjected to the same search. Lady Verinder consents.

Cuff recognizes Rosanna Spearman from her time in prison when she used to bring him the washing-book. Gabriel Betteredge is concerned she might fall under suspicion, but Cuff reassures him. Lady Verinder asks Rachel Verinder for the keys to her rooms so that Sergeant Cuff can examine her wardrobe; Rachel refuses. Cuff calls off the search, saying "We must examine all the wardrobes in the house or none," for the sake of fairness.

Chapter 14

Cuff notices Rosanna Spearman's strange behavior and asks Betteredge. He informs Cuff of her crush on Franklin Blake. Cuff asks Betteredge to send the servants to him, one at a time, so he can question them privately. Cuff then tells Betteredge to inform him if Rosanna leaves the house.

Rosanna does leave, and Cuff follows her. Betteredge speaks to some of the servants and learns they had found Rosanna's door locked and the keyhole stopped up so they couldn't look inside. They went back later and saw light under the door and heard the crackling of a fire, an odd occurrence for June.

Betteredge tells Blake what he discovered from the maids, as well as where Sergeant Cuff went. Blake takes this news, combined with the word of the baker's boy from earlier, and reaches the conclusion that Rosanna must have stolen the Diamond. He vows to tell Lady Julia Verinder, but Cuff stops him. Rachel's strange behavior is still in question, and Cuff warns, "Because, sir, if you tell her ladyship, her ladyship will tell Miss Verinder." Blake gets angry and leaves. Cuff asks Betteredge to take him to the Shivering Sands.

Analysis

Rachel Verinder begins to really emerge as a suspect for the first time in these chapters. Her refusal to have her room searched, her strange behavior toward Franklin Blake despite their earlier closeness, and her shutting herself away in her room and refusing to answer questions add another layer to the mystery of the Moonstone. Rachel would be the best person to know what happened to the gem—it was in her room, after all. But she refuses to answer any questions on the matter.

As Sergeant Cuff investigates, he too is struck by Rachel's odd behavior. She doesn't even say she was sleeping and so did not see or hear anything; she refuses to speak at all. The only words she shares with Cuff warn him not to allow Blake in on the investigation. She is obviously blocking Cuff's efforts, but to what purpose? The mystery of Rachel's behavior keeps readers engaged as the search for the Moonstone continues.

Gabriel Betteredge still worries for Rosanna Spearman, so Cuff placates him. Cuff appears sympathetic to Rosanna's lovesick plight rather than being concerned she stole the Diamond. Cuff displays an innate empathy and compassion that was lacking in Seegrave, another reason he is the superior detective. When Blake hears about Rosanna's suspicious actions, he jumps to the conclusion she's the thief and prepares to go to Lady Julia Verinder with his accusation. It is Cuff who stops him, stating that her guilt is still questionable. While Seegrave allowed class distinctions to influence his investigative techniques, insisting the servants be the only ones to search, Cuff does not let the social hierarchy stop him.

Cuff goes on to suspect Rachel. He implies that telling Rachel will compromise the success of the investigation. His suspicion angers both Blake and Betteredge, and eventually, Lady Verinder. This splinters the cohesive unit of the investigation, with Cuff determining to get to the bottom of the Moonstone's disappearance and the other three wanting to protect Rachel. Cuff's unconventional methods do have consequences when he appears to step out of his place.

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