I would just like to preface this post by saying I WAS TOTALLY RIGHT ABOUT GODFREY. I AM VINDICATED (even though no one really disagreed with me).
He was just pretending to love Rachel because he wanted her moneys, putting on a variation of the show he had perfected with the charity ladies. But Rachel (God bless her and forgive me for ever doubting her) refused to marry Godfrey when she found out that he inspected her mother's will. And of course he went right along with calling off the engagement because he knew marrying Rachel wouldn't get him a large enough chunk of money to pay off his debts.
And stupid Clack still thinks he's a religious icon, which contributes to probably the skeeviest scene in the book, when he moons all over her and calls her his "best and dearest of friends" to get back in her good graces and, in so doing, into the coin purse of her wealthy acquaintance on the charity committee.
"He pressed my hands alternately to his lips. Overwhelmed by the exquisite triumph of having got him back among us, I let him do what he liked with my hands. I closed my eyes. I felt my head, in an ecstasy of spiritual self-forgetfulness, sinking on his shoulder. In a moment more I should certainly have swooned away in his arms." (p. 269)
|Oops...I've forgotten myself spiritually.|
And speaking of ulterior motives. Clack is only concerned about redeeming Rachel's soul, right? RIGHT?
"When I had converted her, she would, as a matter of course, have no concealments from Me. I should hear all about the man; I should hear all about the Moonstone." (p. 270)
Which makes it all the more satisfying when Mr. Ablewhite gets all red in the scalp and rages at her. True, he doesn't have much to his credit in this situation, but anyone who can call Clack an "impudent fanatic" and a "Rampant Spinster" gets bonus points . . . at least 5 bonus points for Mr. Ablewhite.
But THEN, as we depart from Clack's narrative at last, Wilkie has to give us a hint that she isn't quite as immune to worldly opinions as she would have us believe. And damn you, Wilkie . . . you made me feel sad for her, for the briefest of moments.
"I was left alone in the room. Reviled by them all, deserted by them all, I was left alone in the room." (p. 280)
|These feelings...they're entirely unwelcome.|
I'm realizing more and more that Rachel is a pretty decent human being. I can get behind a lady who's self-dependent (like a man . . . dare I say, like a Marian?) and puts more stock in her own opinion of herself than in anyone else's opinion of her. And all her earlier bratty behaviors are justified beautifully by her selfless desire to protect Franklin (whom she saw steal the Moonstone WITH HER OWN EYES) and her willingness to bear the burden of everyone's suspicion (including ours at times) as a result. And I think it's important to note that she loved Franklin enough to keep his secret but wouldn't compromise herself by continuing her relationship with him, even as much as she loved him. That's commendable.
And SPEAKING of Franklin, let's talk about Rosanna. HOW disappointed are we that she really IS dead and really WAS pathetically in love with Franklin? I kind of like the guy myself, but she didn't know enough about him to warrant such an all-consuming obsession. Limping Lucy knows what I'm talking about.
"'No,' said the girl, speaking to herself, but keeping her eyes still mercilessly fixed on me. 'I can't find out what she saw in his face. I can't guess what she heard in his voice.'" (p. 318)Poor Franklin. He gets insulted by a bitter Lucy, and then he learns that he's in some way responsible for Rosanna's death. He never meant to hurt her feelings. In fact, he was trying to spare her in every instance when she thought he was shunning her. And then she KILLED herself because of those things he did that she thought meant something they didn't MEAN.
And Rosanna stole Franklin's paint-smudged nightgown and hid it in the same quicksand where she hid herself, which is a little weird. You know what else is weird? The fact that everyone in the house wore the same nightgown and wrote their names inside with Victorian Sharpie. You know what ELSE is weird? I just realized that the Shivering Sand is basically the Swamps of Sadness.
There's more (there's always more), but I'll let everyone who took notice of Ezra Jennings waaaaay long ago talk about the fact that HE'S BACK . . . and suspiciously Indian in appearance.