Literature Study GuidesThe MoonstoneFirst Period Chapters 19 20 Summary

The Moonstone | Study Guide

Wilkie Collins

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The Moonstone | First Period, Chapters 19–20 : The Loss of the Diamond (1848) | Summary

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Summary

Chapter 19

Sergeant Cuff gets word that Rosanna Spearman was seen running toward the shore. Cuff goes to the Shivering Sand. Betteredge joins him when the inspector asks for one of Rosanna's boots to compare prints. He follows the footsteps to the South Spit, a rocky outcrop. He searches but finds no sign of footsteps leading away. They conclude Rosanna committed suicide by throwing herself into the Shivering Sand.

As they return from the beach, a servant meets them with a note. Penelope Betteredge found it in Rosanna's room and sent it to Betteredge. Rosanna thanks him for his kindness and writes, "I have found my grave where my grave was waiting for me."

Chapter 20

Word of Rosanna's suicide has already reached the house when Cuff and Betteredge return. Lady Julia Verinder blames Cuff and orders him to leave. Cuff asks her to give him half an hour. She agrees.

Cuff meets with Penelope and Gabriel Betteredge and asks Penelope why Rosanna would kill herself. She tells him of Rosanna's love for Franklin Blake; they all agree to keep that information from Blake to spare him further guilt.

Analysis

Rosanna Spearman's foreshadowing comments reach their conclusion in Chapter 19. She commits suicide over her love of Franklin Blake. Rosanna's is the first death after the arrival of the Moonstone. The Shivering Sand is indeed her grave and was waiting for her all along. At the same time, readers see further mirroring between Rosanna and Rachel Verinder. Rachel departs the Verinder estate to stay with the Ablewhites, while Rosanna leaves to kill herself.

Even though Rachel is still alive at the end of these chapters, she does experience a kind of social death. She has been all but accused of stealing her own Diamond and refuses to speak about it. Gossip is raging around her, marring her reputation, which is all a lady had in Victorian England (besides her fortune). They both love the same man but cannot be with him. Rachel is a member of the upper class within The Moonstone, and so her "death" is one of reputation. Rosanna is a servant and a former criminal: her death is real.

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