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Literature Study GuidesThe MoonstoneSecond Period Fourth Narrative Summary

The Moonstone | Study Guide

Wilkie Collins

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The Moonstone | Second Period, Fourth Narrative : The Discovery of the Truth (1848–1849) | Summary



The Fourth Narrative is subtitled "Extracted from the Journal of Ezra Jennings." On June 15 Jennings asks Rachel Verinder via a letter if they can use the Verinder house for the experiment. She gladly agrees, wanting to do whatever she can to help prove Franklin Blake's innocence. She plans to be there for the experiment but in secret.

Blake reports to Jennings on June 21 that he is having problems sleeping after giving up smoking. They determine that June 25 will be the night they attempt the re-creation. On that night Blake is in his room at 9 p.m. Mr. Mathew Bruff, Rachel, and Mrs. Merridew arrive at 10 p.m. At 11 p.m., Jennings gives Blake the laudanum in the presence of Gabriel Betteredge, and they discuss the Moonstone to re-create Blake's anxiety surrounding the gem.

It is after midnight when the opium begins to affect Blake. He worries aloud about the Moonstone and Rachel's safety. He gets up and goes to Rachel's room, takes the fake Moonstone from the cabinet, and turns to go. Before he can leave, the opium takes full effect and he falls asleep on Rachel's couch.

Rachel and the others witness the proceedings and are convinced of Blake's innocence. But they still do not know what happened to the Diamond after Blake took it. Mr. Mathew Bruff plans to leave for London that morning to continue watching the bank to find out who will meet with Septimus Luker. Rachel and Blake renew their affections.


Ezra Jennings's journal offers a look not only into the preparations surrounding the experiment but into the habits of an opium addict as well. These entries evoke sympathy for Jennings, and perhaps for Wilkie Collins himself. When Jennings describes the vivid dreams he experiences under the drug's effect, it is Collins using his own personal experiences with the drug; Jennings's journal functions as authorial insertion in these instances.

These entries also establish a feeling of sympathy for Jennings—and by extension, for Collins—when he details his struggles with the pain of his illness. He is forced to choose between pain management and the ever-spiraling downward hole of his addiction. The unselfish help he gladly provides to Franklin Blake and Rachel Verinder makes him likable and sympathetic. Jennings is a tragic figure, much like Rosanna Spearman.

Jennings is able to do what Sergeant Cuff wanted to do from the beginning: re-create the events of the night the Moonstone went missing. With the help of Gabriel Betteredge and Rachel Verinder, he and Blake reconstruct the crime scene, thus solving the mystery of how the Moonstone was taken. All these tactics become staples of detective fiction, as the Sherlock Holmes's stories exemplify. Ezra Jennings shares yet another commonality with Holmes. Holmes used his seven-percent solution, some kind of cocaine mixture. They have more in common than just detective skills.

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