Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Moonstone Week 3: The Telltale Nightie

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.

Houses in London...houses in Yorkshire...a handsome income.
And then?

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.


  1. Such disappointment about the Rosanna thing! Especially that she was in love with Franklin cause, I just wanted more than that! And for her to be aliiive! Did you notice how Lucy was being all like 'I don't know what she saw in you, evil man!' and Franklin DIDN'T GET that Rosanna loved him til he read the letter- what the hell, Franklin!

    And yesssss, vindication for the Godfrey haters *high fives you* I knew that dude was shady. And yay Rachel! I saw her early Marian potential, you know! :) and FINALLY yay for being able to read the end now!! TOO EXCITED!

  2. Omg, the swamps of sadness! Now I have to skip work & rewatch Neverending Story for the hundredth time. Or not :(

    Yes, the nightgown thing was just weird. They wouldn't have had identical nighties. The sharpie was just to help keep things sorted for the servants/laundresses so Miss Verinder's nightgowns didn't get confused with Lady Verinder's, etc. A gentleman's nightgown wouldn't look like a lady's and hers wouldn't look like a servants, etc.

  3. This was definitely Rachel's week for vindication. I didn't like her before, mainly because she was rude to Detective Cuff, but this week she got major points for being principled and stuff. Also, how many 18-year-olds would go "Oh, I've lost a huge diamond worth millions of dollars? Whatevs, not as important as the reputation of a friend."

    I feel like Ezra Jennings is another red herring. Because anytime Wilkie gives a description of a character so that you think they look suspicious, they turn out to be totally innocent.

  4. YES excellent use of that WHMS scene.

    Actually, I totally thought I won GIF Wars this week, but after that and the panda thing, I don't know, man. I don't know. *faith in self shaken*

    ALSO I've totally forgotten Ezra Jennings being referenced before. When did that happen? Surely he wasn't at the birthday. But he TOTES hypnotized Franklin into stealing the diamond. Also FRANKLIN STOLE THE DIAMOND BUT DIDN'T KNOW IT. I think we threw around like 5000 theories, but I didn't hear that one. Unless it happened in comments.

    You know what else was weird that I forgot to mention? Rosanna WEARING HIS NIGHTGOWN. Hey, stalker, stalk much? I mean, ok, her life was miserable. Fine. But she gave up wayyyy too much info in that letter. Also, for the Victorian era? Daaaaamn, girl, you racy.

    Rachel's pretty cool, but Marian'd teach her some things. We need to get everyone together and have a WiW/Moonstone party. I'll bet Hartright and Franklin'd be buddies.

  5. It is super creepy when Godfrey starts sucking up to Clack after the whole Rachel thing goes sour, but then again I don't think Clack gets much action so at least she seemed to enjoy herself. Even if she does end up insulted and alone in the end.

    FINE, I accept Rachel is pretty awesome. I mean she's no Marian cos Marian would have figured out some way to not out Franklin, not compromise herself by staying with him, AND do it without coming off as a ridiculous stubborn twit. But still, it was good to finally see things from Rachel's POV

  6. Yes, right? Rosanna was just wearing Franklin's nightgown around. Creepy. Maybe if she hadn't offed herself there'd be some mention of her saving his cigar ashes.

  7. I'm still annoyed at Rachel for being such a brat to Cuff but she clearly did have her reasons and I like her now. Maybe that's how Wilkie brings her back to being 18. She does the super noble thing, protecting the relationship of the person she loves but she does it in the most bratty "OMG It's my life! You can't make me do it! *door slam*" way of an obx teenager.


    Marian would have done all those things and more. Because the situation she was in? Like 50 billion times more dangerous. AND SHE STILL MANAGED IT. Omg I love Marian.

  9. Clack probably looks back at that passage in her diary and then closes her eyes and tries to imagine the feel of his lips on her hands. Pooooor Clack. And moving on, because she's not worth more than 5 seconds of our sympathy.

    SO true...Marian would have known JUST what to do.

  10. To whom no one can ever hold a candle. Ever.

    Her situation was MUCH more dangerous...Percival kind of wanted to kill her I think.

  11. You honor me, madame, by suggesting that I could ever beat YOU in GIF Wars. I am but your humble apprentice in the strategic utilization of GIFs.

    People said things about Ezra...but I don't remember whether it was in the posts or the comments. He didn't make an appearance in the earlier narratives, but Betteredge did mention him briefly in association with Doctor Candy. And observant readers went, "Aha! That will be A Thing later." And it appears that they were right!

    Wouldn't Franklin's nightgown be over-large for Rosanna to wear UNDER her clothes? And isn't that a lot like wearing someone's underwear? Creeper.


  12. And her blatant mistreatment of roses! Just tossing out Rachel's and replacing them with her own. Sergeant Cuff would NOT approve.

  13. She has some character elements that fit her young age and some that reflect more maturity, which I think is pretty realistic since she lost her mother and various other things that would make someone grow up quickly. Wilkie is SO good at characters.

    Ezra Jennings would be like the 80th red herring if he turns out to be one. Tricksy Wilkie.

  14. I made MYSELF want to watch that movie again, but then I started thinking about that scene and getting SO SAD, and I changed my mind.

    That's so odd that Wilkie would make the story hinge on something that wasn't really common around that time. Maybe he was depending on some level of willing suspension of disbelief from his readers. He can certainly have MY suspension of disbelief.

  15. Oh, I thought she just wore it at night. Did she somehow wear it under her dress?

    I WANT TO BE RACHEL. If only because I will overdramatically cast myself onto sofas and tables anytime someone speaks to me.

  16. Of course I don't have the book with me to verify this, but I could have sworn she put it on under her clothes while she made arrangements to submerge it, because that was the only way it would be safe from discovery in the meantime. She's a wily one, that Rosanna.

  17. And Fosco! Oh, the dangerous Fosco. Though he did love her almost as much as we did. Do.

  18. Yes, I'm pretty sure she did wear it under her clothes. I would Clack the HECK out of this murder mystery dinner.

  19. I read all the comments and then completely forgot what I was going to write as a comment.

    YAY GIFs! Those are some good 'uns. Also, Rampant Spinster is one of the top five insults I've ever heard.

    So glad Rachel's making more sense. More of her, as we go forward. She and Franklin are definitely still ending up together. It's going to happen.

  20. Wait, is gif wars A Thing? Hm... *plots next week's gif usage*

  21. Can I be Fosco?! I'll just have to rustle up some white mice and a stack of pies...

  22. He is really good at characters... EXCEPT in the case of Rosanna, whose insta-love for Franklin is so ridiculous that I'd sooner believe she was in love with Betteredge. At least she's had a conversation with HIM.

  23. That happens to me ALL the time. Once, I tried commenting before reading the comments, but then I said things other people had already said and it was EMBARRASSING. Blogger problems.

    Rachel and Franklin are so together. It's decided.

  24. YEAH...why DIDN'T she fall in love with Betteredge?!

  25. Now if they don't end up together, there's gonna be a Wilkie revolt.

    ...hah, just kidding; we'll always love Wilkie. Otherwise we'd fail as cult members.


  27. Yessss we need some WiW characters. I think everyone's too intimidated to be Marian, so we can make like, a cardboard cutout of her and prop it up in the living room.

  28. Who'd have thought we'd get so attached to this guy. Wilkie, you have invaded our soul space.

  29. The first rule of the Cult of Wilkie is "Love the Wilkie unconditionally." Check.

  30. That's RIGHT, Alice. *pats your hand*

  31. Not even a cardboard cutout would be safe from our advances, I fear.

  32. YES. I would totally hit on a cardboard cutout of Marian.

  33. Alice: "How YOU doin'?"
    Cardboard Marian: " . . . "