Literature Study GuidesThe MoonstoneSecond Period Sixth Narrative Summary

The Moonstone | Study Guide

Wilkie Collins

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

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Summary

The Sixth Narrative, divided into five chapters, is subtitled "Contributed by Sergeant Cuff" and is composed of a series of five numbered notes to Franklin Blake. In the first, he expresses to Blake his hope to have his account of the Moonstone investigation finished shortly.

Cuff provides his report. He states that Godfrey Ablewhite died by smothering, likely performed by the Indians with a pillow. They entered the room via a trap door and left behind a golden thread, traceable to India. The Indians were then tracked to a steamboat that departed for Rotterdam on June 27.

Cuff's report continues. He discovered "Godfrey Ablewhite's life had two sides to it." As a trustee, Ablewhite had been siphoning money out of a minor's trust fund. He needed to replace the money he'd spent before the minor's 18th birthday in February of 1850. Having no money of his own, he proposed to Rachel Verinder on her birthday in the hope of securing her fortune, but she turned him down. Later that evening Mr. Candy asked Ablewhite for his help to administer the laudanum to Franklin Blake unnoticed, and he agreed.

In a statement from Septimus Luker, Cuff learns how Ablewhite came by the Diamond. Ablewhite watched Blake enter Rachel's room and waited. When Blake left, he noticed Ablewhite, handed him the Moonstone, and requested it be placed in Mr. Ablewhite's bank in Frizinghall. When the next morning dawned with Blake having no memory of what he'd done, Ablewhite kept the gem for himself.

Luker's statement continues. He agreed to lend Ablewhite the money, taking the Moonstone as collateral. It could be redeemed in a year's time with the payment of £3,000. With the legacy left to him by a wealthy charity woman, Ablewhite was able to reclaim the Moonstone. He planned to take it to Amsterdam and have it cut into smaller stones and sold. Before he could leave London, he was killed by the Indians. They currently have the Moonstone, traveling on a boat due to dock in Bombay. Cuff has notified the authorities.

Analysis

Indian men have regained the Moonstone they have sought for generations. The depths of Godfrey Ablewhite's duplicitous nature are revealed, and he has paid for his crimes with his life. Justice for the three guards John Herncastle cut down in his hunt for the Moonstone has been achieved by the three Brahmins. Throughout the novel, Wilkie Collins has used characters as mirrors or foils for other characters; this is a minor instance.

The Moonstone's curse is also resolved with the death of Ablewhite. The stone is back in the rightful hands of the priests, with the British perpetrator dead. This can be read as an anti-Imperialist stance, with Collins on the side of the Indians. It was the English who murdered and betrayed and lied and stole, for both land and artifacts. Indeed, the Indians behave nobly in the novel, unless confronted by the thieves. John Herncastle and Godfrey Ablewhite are far less sympathetic characters than the Brahmins, especially when contrasted with the Indians' sacrifice of their high caste.

Finally, Cuff provides another trope in detective fiction. He fills in the gaps in the narrative, explains his methods, adds the details of the antagonist's past, and wraps up the loose ends of the case.

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