Betteredge is the steward of Lady Verinder’s household, and has served her since she was young. He has a lot of respect for his mistress, and is dutiful and diligent about his role as head of the servants. He is around 70 years old at the start of the story, and has a daughter named Penelope. He has a religious attachment to his favorite novel Robinson Crusoe, and frequently references it by flipping to a random page and using that to predict the future. Betteredge tells the majority of the First Period: the Loss of the Diamond, as he was in a good position to observe the things that took place at Lady Verinder’s house. He has high opinions of both Franklin and Rachel. He is Sergeant Cuff’s main aid during the officer’s investigations, and while he is angry that Cuff suspects Rachel, he still thinks highly of him. Sergeant Cuff is also fond of him, as he appreciates the honesty and practicality of the old servant. Betteredge’s tone as narrator is rather straightforward and very observational. He often makes subjective psychological analyses of those around him, and goes at length to describe situations and physical environments. He realizes that his attention often wavers, and he starts and restarts several times at the beginning of his narration.
Franklin is the man who put together the story of The Moonstone, by gathering evidence from various narratives. Asterisks often denote his editorial presence, and he also narrates several times in the Second Period: Discovery of the Truth (Third Narrative and Fifth Narrative). He is Lady Verinder’s nephew and Rachel’s cousin. His arrival at the Yorkshire estate marks the beginning of the First Period narrative. He was educated on the European Continent, in countries like France, Germany, and Italy, and this education influences him subconsciously and consciously. He is known for having bad spending habits while he was on the continent, and even received a business visit while at Lady Verinder’s. He and Rachel fall in love during his stay at the Verinders’. His narration is direct and action-focused.
Rachel is Lady Verinder’s daughter. She is turning 18 at the start of the story, with the delivery of her uncle’s Diamond as the defining moment of the conflict. She is described as being independent and capable of keeping secrets to herself, something that is viewed as being very rare in women and more of traits found in men. She is also very beautiful and elegant, and almost too thin. While disliked by some, usually out of jealousy, such as Rosanna and Miss Clack, Rachel is generally well liked by her peers. Ezra Jennings describes her as remarkably kind. She and Franklin fall in love, although she knows that her other cousin Godfrey is also interested in her.
Lady Verinder is the respected and well-liked mistress of the family and estate around which the story revolves. She had poor relations with her brother John Herncastle, and denied him entry at one of Rachel’s earlier birthday celebrations. This incident most likely caused him to send her daughter the Diamond as a gift of ill will. Lady Verinder has one daughter, Rachel, and is a widow from her husband, Sir John Verinder, who left her everything after his death. In the middle of the story, it is revealed that Lady Verinder is suffering from some sort of illness and she dies while in London with Rachel. Her lawyer, Mr. Bruff, and her niece, Miss Clack, witness her will. Like her daughter, she is also described as being very ladylike but possessing firm and resolute qualities usually reserved for men.
Sergeant Cuff is a famed detective from London, called in after Superintendent Seegrave proves to be incompetent. He is old and carries with him a grave presence. He is very sharp and intelligent, and capable of manipulating conversations and has a keen eye. He takes up companionship with Gabriel Betteredge, whose earnestness he appreciates, remarking that Betteredge reminds him of an honest child. He suspects Rosanna and Rachel of working together, which angers Betteredge and Lady Verinder. In fact, Lady Verinder dislikes him: she feels as though he is bringing misery to her home. He has a special interest in the growth and care of roses, and starts up a comical argument with Lady Verinder’s gardener about how to grow them. He is known for humming a song about roses whenever he makes a significant discovery. Although his initial suspicions prove false, he later correctly suspects Godfrey Ablewhite. His narration is distinct in its straightforward delivery and organized composition.
He is most likely based off of the real-life Detective Inspector Whicher, who was one of the original members of the newly formed Detective Branch at Scotland Yard in London in the mid-1800s. Well-known, Whicher investigated the infamous Constance Kent (Road Hill House) Murder in 1860, which also involved a missing bloody nightgown.
Godfrey Ablewhite is another relative, a cousin of Rachel Verinder’s. He is a barrister by profession, but also speaks for ladies’ charities and does an incredible amount of philanthropic work. He is noted for being tall, appearing noble, and smooth of tongue. In the public sphere, he is noted for his generosity and being a gentleman. He is also interested in Rachel, and proposes to her twice; rejected the first time, he is later agreed to the second time, even though Rachel then breaks off this engagement. It is revealed, later, that he leads a double life that is the opposite of the one that appears in public. He tried to marry Rachel for money, and pocketed the Diamond in order to pay back his debts. The Indians kill him at the end of the story.
The Three Indian Priests
Charged by their Vishnu and their Moon God to constantly follow the Diamond, the Three Brahmin Indian Priests follow the Moonstone from India to England and back to India. They give up their high caste, and even disguise themselves as entertainers in order to get in to the Verinders’ estate. They are a constant presence from the beginning with their suspicious clairvoyance activity, appearing at the birthday party, trailing people in London, and finally killing Godfrey Ablewhite before journeying back to India with their Diamond finally secured.
Mr. Candy is the doctor in the Yorkshire region where Lady Verinder lives. He is not a very good conversationalist. He and Franklin get into an argument over modern medicine at Rachel’s party, and as a practical joke, he puts laudanum into Franklin’s night drink (through Godfrey) to have him sleep better. He goes home in a rush after the party, and gets sick in the rain, and never fully recovers.
Ezra Jennings is Mr. Candy’s assistant, noted for his striking appearance. He is not fully of Caucasian descent, and is noted for looking like a “gypsy.” He has strange piebald hair. He is not introduced into the story until rather late in the Discovery of the Truth, when Betteredge and Franklin meet over Rosanna’s letter. While distrusted by Betteredge and many others in the area, he makes an impression on Franklin, who eventually becomes friends with him. Franklin realizes that Ezra Jennings is a very quality person, although he has a false accusation on his head, which eventually catches up to him no matter where he is employed. It has not yet caught up to him at Yorkshire, but Ezra Jennings says he will be dead by the time it arrives. He suffers from a terminal illness, and is familiar with opium because he takes it regularly to ease the pain. He is the one who proposes the reenactment experiment to Franklin, and grows to be dear friends with Franklin and Rachel before his death. He narrates part of the Second Period: Discovery of the Truth (Fourth Narrative) through use of his journal entries, and reveals himself to be a sensitive individual. He is writing a book, and after his death, leaves the unfinished materials to Franklin Blake.
Mr. Matthew Bruff
Mr. Bruff is the Verinders’ lawyer. He and Franklin together came up with the idea of the various narratives, and helps him put it together. He narrates part of the Second Period: Discovery of the Truth (Second Narrative). He was the witness and executor of Sir John Verinder’s will, and then also for his wife. He is a fatherly figure for Rachel Verinder.
Colonel John Herncastle
Lady Verinder’s brother, Colonel John Herncastle is the original taker of the Diamond from Tippoo’s palace in Seringapatam, when he was a soldier in the British army. Upon return, his wickedness estranged him from his family, especially his sister. Franklin’s father was Colonel Herncastle’s executor. He has the Diamond delivered for Rachel’s 18th birthday as a wish of ill will to his sister.
Rosanna is the second housemaid in Lady Verinder’s house. Only a young woman, Rosanna was formerly incarcerated for major theft in London. She was put into a Reformatory, before Lady Verinder took her in and gave her a second chance. She is described as being more lady-like than the other maids, refusing to engage in useless gossip, but is also scorned for being aloof. Out of the servants, only the Betteredges are truly nice to her, although she has a good friend in Lucy Yolland from the nearby fishing village. She is plain and has a deformed shoulder, and is very conscious of it. She falls in love with Franklin, and mistakenly believes him to be the true thief of the Diamond, even going at lengths to help protect him. After her miserable life and her unrequited life, Rosanna commits suicide in the Shivering Sand.
A friend of the Verinders’, Mr. Murthwaite is a well-traveled adventurer who has been to India several times. Although described as being quiet, he tells Betteredge and Franklin that the Indian entertainers are not as they seem—they are high caste priests in disguise. He knows the language of the Indians. He narrates the third piece of the Epilogue, having returned to India and witnessed the return of the Diamond to its original place.
Miss Drusilla Clack
Miss Clack is a niece of the later Sir John Verinder; she stays with her aunt while Lady Verinder is in London. She is a hypocritical pious Christian, and tries many times to convert her aunt. She dislikes Rachel, viewing her boldness as unladylike; she admires Godfrey Ablewhite who often speaks at the charity committees she is a part of, and is eventually kicked out of the Ablewhites’ residence for being a nuisance. She is the second witness to Lady Verinder’s Will. She views many, such as Mr. Bruff, as being too “worldly”; she dislikes Franklin for many reasons, but particularly loathes him for being rich and paying her to write her narrative. She narrates part of the Second Period: Discovery of the Truth (First Narrative), and her narration style is best described as ridiculous and over the top. She is constantly condemning those she disapproves of, and steps sometimes into her “Sunday School tone,” where she seems to be sermonizing.
Gabriel’s daughter, Penelope is around Rachel’s age, and is Rachel’s own maid. Superintendent Seegrave initially suspects her, since she is the first person in Rachel’s room in the morning.
A fisherman family that lives at Cobb’s Hole further down the Yorkshire coast. Their daughter, Limping Lucy, is Rosanna Spearman’s best friend, and they frequently host the other girl at their home. Mrs. Yolland sells Rosanna some materials, without knowing what they are for; Rosanna gives Lucy a letter to give to Franklin Blake, which Lucy does, although with anger and sadness.
Godfrey’s parents and two sisters are marginally involved in the story. The Bouncers, his sisters, as dubbed by Betteredge, are faux friends of Rachel’s. Mrs. Ablewhite is Lady Verinder’s sister. Mr. Ablewhite becomes infuriated when Rachel breaks off the wedding engagement with his son, while his son himself is actually indifferent, having found out that marrying Rachel would not give him the money he needs anyway.
The head of the local police from Frizinghall, Seegrave is rather incompetent as his job, and by accusing Penelope sets all the servants in the house on edge.
Octavius Guy (Gooseberry)
One of Mr. Bruff’s assistants, the boy has funny eyes that seem to pop out of his head. Mr. Bruff describes him as one of the sharpest boys in London, and Sergeant Cuff later commends him as well. During the final chase for the Diamond, Gooseberry is the only person to follow the right suspect – the tall, dark sailor who is actually Godfrey Ablewhite. He shows a morbid fascination with the death scene of Godfrey Ablewhite.
Mr. Septimus Luker
An infamous pawnbroker in London, Septimus Luker is at the top of the usury trade; he pawns the Diamond for a year for Godfrey. Mr. Bruff describes him as being a disgusting creature.
The Moonstone Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The Moonstone is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.