A splash of fresh joy in reading ‘The Moonstone’

Anter years reading works from Victorian Era that mostly talk about feminism, gender gap, poverty, societal mockery and romance, savoring ‘The Moonstone’ has so far becoming a very rare pleasure for me.
Dubbed as the first detective story in world literature, ‘The Moonstone’ is a smart, witty, silly and yes, funny as hell. The core of the fiction lays on a valuable jewel namely the moonstone coming from the 11th century of the Christian era. It isn’t only a grand, precious metal but it carries stories about religions, legends, superstitions held by its believers for centuries.
The main protagonist of the novel is Gabriel Betteredge, a 70 something old man, who works as the servant head of the Verrinder family. His role in the fiction is greater than what a top servant does for he knows about the costly stone for decades. He comprehends what happens with the stone after it is stolen by one of the Verrinder’s family members until how it reaches the hands of Ms. Rachel Verrinder on her 18th birthday.
The moonstone draws much attention from many people, especially Indian jugglers, the country from where the stone originates. So when the stone goes missing a day after the party, everyone in the house is suspected to have taken it. By the page of 110, two police officers come to the house to investigate the missing stone and so far none is proven to have stolen it.
Wilkie Collins invites me to read his work in full concentration not because his words are wrapped in layers or it conveys deep meaning behind the story but due to his fast-paced plot. Certainly, ‘The Moonstone’ isn’t the type of Victorian novels written by his peers who explore much about emotions and interactions. Collins certainly does sell riddles here.
In this book, Collins also brings forth unique characters, those who are strange, stupid and comical. I love the way Collins injects spontaneous element here and there. The figure of Betteredge himself is an interesting person to explore. Of course, his heart is very kind and attentive to people around him. He learns so much about the inhabitants of the residence. As an old man as he is, Betteredge has eyes and ears all around the mansion. He has only one daughter, Penelope, who also works in the house as the caretaker of Ms Rachel. He is a trustworthy person yet insensible to women’ feelings.
When I come to the page of 110, I am puzzled by the behavior of the young lady of the house, who is Ms Rachel. Well, from the start, her description raises my eyebrow. Unlike most young girls at her age who loves sharing stories with her friends, Rachel is the sort of person who completely depends on herself. In shorter words, she knows about herself so much that it seems she doesn’t need anyone from whom she will gain perspectives or advices.
As firm as she is, I am so surprised to have known she looks hysterical when the stone is gone. She locks herself inside her room and doesn’t want to talk with the officers. Her countenance looks pale when she faces her servants talking about the moonstone. In my words, I can conclude ‘the moonstone absorbs Rachel’s independence so she highly depends on the jewel that she doesn’t know what to face the life anymore’.
Those are only two brief descriptions on the two characters that catch my attention most. As I previously say, I love the way Wilkie Collins inserts spontaneity in many parts of the story. I think this what makes the fiction runs unexpectedly and completely entertaining. In-between spontaneous acts, he puts jokes too, which stimulates my laughter while reading it.
For instance, Collins mentions a lot of Rosanna Spearman, one of the servants who used to be a thief. The woman has a crush on Mr. Franklin Blake, the cousin of Miss Rachel, but the gentleman doesn’t share the same feeling. Rosanna acts so weird just to attract Mr. Franklin’s attention, from taking roses from the room of Miss Rachel (because Mr. Franklin and Miss Rachel loves each other) to spying on him around a shrubbery in the complex of the house, a spot where which Mr. Franklin frequently visits. I pity on Rosanna’s attitude but also I can’t help laughing while imagining her actions when such acts take part.
Another thing that sticks on my mind is when Gabriel Betteredge suggests Mr. Candy to take a carriage on his way home from the birthday party. But the young doctor refuses the advice saying a doctor’s skin is waterproof, LOL! The next day, the doctor is sick.
I look forward reading, and hopefully, finding more sudden, funny acts in the book since it has been really long I hadn’t read such a comical book like ‘The Moonstone’. Very good job, Mister Wilkie Collins! I am the huge fan of ‘The Moonstone’.

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