Literature Study GuidesThe MoonstoneSecond Period First Narrative Chapters 5 6 Summary

The Moonstone | Study Guide

Wilkie Collins

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The Moonstone | Second Period, First Narrative, Chapters 5–6 : The Discovery of the Truth (1848–1849) | Summary

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Summary

First Narrative, Chapter 5

Rachel Verinder meets with Godfrey Ablewhite. Miss Drusilla Clack stays hidden and listens to their conversation. Ablewhite confesses he's still in love with Rachel Verinder. She tells him she loves a man unworthy of her, and though she has tried to get over him, she cannot. Ablewhite proposes again. She reluctantly accepts as Miss Clack watches, stunned. Rachel asks that the engagement be kept secret until her mother feels better.

The two notice the drawn curtain behind which Miss Clack is hiding. Before they can investigate further, a servant calls that Lady Julia Verinder has fainted. Miss Clack escapes downstairs in the commotion. Ablewhite finds her and sends her to help Rachel, while he goes to fetch the doctor.

Lady Verinder dies an hour later. Miss Clack mourns that her aunt died without reading any of the Christian passages in her letters or giving Clack the legacy she'd mentioned.

First Narrative, Chapter 6

Miss Clack writes a series of letters to Franklin Blake during the time she's composing her narrative. She wants to include certain Christian passages relative to Lady Verinder's death. Blake refuses.

Miss Clack then asks if she can include information in her narrative that she knows now but which she did not know then. Blake again refuses, stating he wants all the narratives limited to what the narrators knew at the time. Clack sends another letter, asking if she can include these letters and his responses in her narrative. Blake agrees, only if this is the last letter she sends him.

Analysis

Chapter 5 offers another view of Miss Drusilla Clack's hypocrisy as she eavesdrops on Rachel Verinder and Godfrey Ablewhite. She also functions again as an amateur detective as she listens in on their private conversation. Sergeant Cuff listened in on Gabriel Betteredge's conversation in his narrative. While she hoped to find out Rachel's secret, she instead watches in silent disapproval as her idol proposes to a woman she deems his spiritual inferior.

Miss Clack's selfishness is highlighted upon word of Lady Julia Verinder's death. Clack's last words on the subject were not sorrow for the woman's passing or concern for Rachel; instead, she mourns that she was unable to save the woman's soul, and did not get her legacy that Lady Verinder had mentioned to her. This concern for the legacy reiterates her money woes from earlier that compel her to take Franklin Blake's money for her part in the Diamond's narrative.

The letters also serve to remind readers of Miss Clack's money issues. Blake is paying her for her narrative; money she clearly needs. For all her protestations of living a modest life and being above such mundane things, Miss Clack is motivated by money.

The letters of Chapter 6 also set out the parameters of the narrative. She must only write what she knew at the time and may not include her thoughts or feelings on future events. She remarks on the difficulty of the assignment, echoing something Betteredge brought up in his own narrative.

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