The Moonstone

The Moonstone Summary and Analysis of Second Period: The Discovery of the Truth (First Narrative, Chapters 1-8)


In London, Lady Verinder’s niece Miss Clack is passing through London and passes her aunt’s house. She knocks, and is invited by Lady Verinder to have lunch with her the next day. A member of Ladies’ Charities and other religious affiliations, Miss Clack tries to give Penelope a tract, and is handed it back. At a Committee meeting, Godfrey Ablewhite, who is usually present, is absent. They learn of an outrage in London regarding Mr. Septimus Luker as well as Godfrey Ablewhite.

Godfrey was cashing a check (also “cheque”) at the bank when he bumped into a stranger, who happened to be Septimus Luker. When he returned home, a little boy gave him a letter from an old lady whom he did not know; Godfrey was to go to a house where he had never been before. Thinking it had to do with his charities, he went there and was observing an ancient Oriental manuscript in the waiting room when he was suddenly assaulted. He was blindfolded and gagged and searched by dark-skinned hands. The same thing happened to Luker at another property, except that one of his papers was taken from him.

At lunch, Clack, who dislikes Rachel, notes her loud and strained behavior. Lady Verinder tells Clack the story of the Diamond. Rachel has already requested to have Godfrey come over. She leaves lunch early, and while Clack and Lady Verinder are still talking, Godfrey Ablewhite arrives. Rachel asks him to tell his personal account of the incident of the assault; Godfrey says he is tired of retelling it but as Rachel pushes him, he reveals that many people think that he is guilty of taking and pawning the Moonstone. The paper that was stolen from Luker was a receipt for a gem deposited in the bank. Godfrey says that he and Luker never knew each other before the assaults happened. Rachel screams and declares that Godfrey is innocent, and that she knows who took the Moonstone. Lady Verinder secretly takes medicine while Rachel is distracted. Later, she reveals to Clack that she is very sick and needs Clack to be witness to her will, along with her lawyer, Mr. Bruff.

Clack tries numerous times, unsuccessfully, to feed Christian readings to her dying aunt. Clack witnesses to Lady Verinder’s Will. Clack reminds Bruff that Franklin might be guilty. Lady Verinder says she will give something to Clack before she passes away.

One day in the parlor, Clack is about to leave when a visitor comes into the room; she hides behind the curtain instead. It is Godfrey Ablewhite, and Rachel comes to join him. Clack overhears Godfrey propose to Rachel; Rachel accepts, after declaring that her heart is broken because the man she loves is completely unworthy of her. Rachel is about to open the curtains (and discover Clack), before they are called down. Lady Verinder has died downstairs.

Mr. Bruff and the lazy Aunt Ablewhite take care of Rachel after her mother’s death; Mr. Bruff takes Rachel aside one day and tells her something which appears as bad news from Clack’s perspective. When asked, Rachel says it was news she was interested in hearing; Clack asks if it has to do with her fiancé Godfrey, to which Rachel declares she will never marry him. Godfrey is expected at the house that day, and Rachel says that Clack will see.

When Godfrey comes, he seems completely happy and at peace, and even “flirts” with Clack (Clack insists they did not). He says that he is completely okay with Rachel breaking off the engagement. Mr. Ablewhite, however, is infuriated, and yells at Mr. Bruff and Rachel. Clack foolishly tries to intercept, and Mr. Ablewhite’s rage is turned on to her. As they are currently in the Ablewhites’ house, Mr. Ablewhite says Rachel is no longer welcome to stay here; Mrs. Ablewhite tells Clack to leave as well. Rachel leaves to stay with Mr. Bruff’s family.


Drusilla Clack is the most extreme and caricature-like of Collins’s characters. This “grotesque” character has been likened to the ridiculous characters of Charles Dickens’s novels, and her presence can likely be attributed to Collins’s close friendship with the older author. Clack’s commentary on the other characters is counter to everything else that readers are told by other narrators. She condemns Franklin, Betteredge, Rachel—and practically everyone else—except Godfrey Ablewhite, whom she holds up and reveres. Before beginning her narrative, she delivers a preface concerning how she came about with the content of her narrative (she keeps an extremely detailed diary) and why she is doing this (Franklin has paid her; Clack is poor, and lives in constant contempt of her state). As a result, she ends this preface section with a note against Franklin Blake: “It will be easy for Mr. Blake to suppress what may not prove to be sufficiently flattering in these pages to the person chiefly concerned in them” (235). By “the person chiefly concerned in them,” Miss Clack means Rachel. In response, Franklin makes a footnote that says that he has not made any alterations to Clack’s narrative. In this footnote, he says that Rachel also adds her opinion, that Clack’s own personality shines through in her writing, and is a testament to Clack’s own broken, narrow-minded character.

Miss Clack is also a negative tribute to religion. Pious and religiously observant, Clack is nevertheless one of the most unpleasant characters. Constantly trying to convert her aunt and bring others to church, Clack is immature, ill mannered, and downright annoying. Furthermore, her own jealousy and biases for and against people—and not true Christian beliefs—actually shape her views. For example, when Miss Clack talks about her private talk with Godfrey after Rachel has rejected his hand in marriage, she attempts to paint a chaste picture. However, acute readers will suspect that Miss Clack has a bit of a crush on Godfrey. As though trying to hide something, she says, “I have an indistinct remembrance that he was very affectionate. I don’t think he put his arm round my waist to support me – but I am not sure. I was quite helpless, and his ways with ladies were very endearing” (296). Clack ends with three statements concerning Rachel Verinder: that the girl has her forgiveness for insulting her; that the girl has had her prayerful good wishes; and that when Miss Clack dies, Rachel will have one of her annoying tracts left as a legacy. The third item in this trinity of promises is a befitting end for Clack’s narrative; she is more concerned with distributing tracts than she really is with saving souls.