Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Aww yeah. You thought I was out of it, didn't you? You thought I wasn't participating in the Wilkie Collins Moonstone read-along hosted by Alice, and all because I missed the first post. "She couldn't get it together to even write a throw-away introduction post," you said. "She's finished." NOPE. I was sick and things last week, WHATEVER. I am following my dreams, and reaching for the stars, and in it to win it like a Chinese race walker.


1. So apparently the "moonstone" is not in fact a moonstone but a yellow diamond?

I feel like he's doing this just to be annoying.

2. Once again we have the "various narratives" thing along with the "laborious explanation of the various narratives" thing.
I beg it to be understood that what I write here about my cousin (unless some necessity should arise for making it public) is for the information of the family only.
How titillating must this have been for a society that was so precise about who was allowed to know and communicate what types of information to and about whom.

Powerless to recover their lost treasure by open force, the three guardian priests followed and watched it in disguise. The generations succeeded each other; the warrior who had committed the sacrilege perished miserably; the Moonstone passed (carrying its curse with it) from one lawless Mohammedan hand to another; and still, through all chances and changes, the successors of the three guardian priests kept their watch, waiting the day when the will of Vishnu the Preserver should restore to them their sacred gem.
Wait, you mean like

4. This bit kinda made me happy:
He brought the invaluable faculty, called common sense, to bear on the Colonel's letter. The whole thing, he declared, was simply absurd. Somewhere in his Indian wanderings, the Colonel had picked up with some wretched crystal which he took for a diamond. As for the danger of his being murdered, and the precautions devised to preserve his life and his piece of crystal, this was the nineteenth century, and any man in his senses had only to apply to the police.

5. We find out that the Moonstone is "as large, or nearly, as a plover's egg!" Setting aside the fact that "a plover's egg" is not a particularly helpful unit of measurement, Wilkie, this was disappointing to me because I had been picturing it as the size of a bar of soap. Yeah, I know that's not very realistic, but I was also picturing it as a moonstone rather than a yellow diamond. So... basically a shiny opalescent soap-like rock.

Here is an equally unhelpful visual aid. "Oh, so it's less than half the size of a swan egg!"

6. Wilkie, Wilkie, Wilkie. Where other authors describe women as "plain" or whatever, Wilkie's just all Daaaayyymn, that girl was ugg-lee!
"It isn't very likely, with her personal appearance, that she has got a lover."
The ugly women have a bad time of it in this world; let's hope it will be made up to them in another.
Rosanna doesn't seem likely to be quite as awesome as Marian, though. In fact, I don't see a lot of especially strong women so far in this book at all; although we keep being told that Lady V is so awesome, and Penelope isn't too shabby.

7. "Sergeant Cuff"? There is one thing Dickens does better, and Collins needs to stop trying to compete.

8. What happened to us in the 20th century that we lost so much type-setting awesomeness?
"Can you guess yet," inquired Mr Franklin, "who has stolen the Diamond?"
     "NOBODY HAS STOLEN THE DIAMOND," answered Sergeant Cuff.
C'mon, that's fantastic.

(NOTA BENE - I translate Mrs Yolland out of the Yorkshire language into the English language.)
Amen/thank you.

The biggest question mark floating over my head right now is whether the diamond will actually turn out to have a curse on it, or whether Wilkie will debunk all the supernatural stuff. My inclination is toward the latter but I'm looking forward to seeing how he does it. After the Woman in White read-along, I think we all know the depths of insanity to which this author is willing to go (goodie goodie).

I also can't wait to get on to another narrator. I have a vague memory that Walter Hartright did go on this long at first but still, the fun really begins when we get a new viewpoint SO...


  1. YES I was HOPING someone would delve into what a plover's egg is. However unhelpful that chart might be.

    ARE YOU AWARE OF INSPECTOR BUCKET IN BLEAK HOUSE? Because that's his name. Inspector Bucket.

    Dude, this narrator happens for so long. SO LONG. But then it'll be really fun to hear other people after you're used to him. Kind of a neato jarring effect.

    1. This always makes me think of Dark City and those creepy guys named Mr. Hand, Mr. Book, Mr. Wall, etc. *shudder*

  2. YES Indiana Jones reference. Also can Wilkie please come up with non-egg based size comparisons? Because I still have no idea how big this is.

    I'm hoping we'll get a Marian-like character once we switch narrators. Betteredge does not like the ladies so much. Or at least thinks they're less than the men.

  3. I was definitely thinking of a bigger diamond... I mean, not that I'm sure what size it is even now, but I was picturing something MASSIVE- like really huge, which is actually stupid cause Rachel was wearing it and all... Hmm.

    I feel that the curse thing is so going to be debunked, cause Wilkie likes to do that. Sets up the big creepy, then it all turns out to be because some guy was in a secret society or something... Awesomeness.

  4. I was thinking that the diamond was super-sized, think like what super-sized did to the McD french fries. That Plover's egg is nuthin'! But the darn thing is missing so I guess it doesn't matter what size it is now.

  5. The wiki page on plovers doesn't mention how big they are and the picture is just of the eggs in the nest with no context. UNHELPFUL, WIKIPEDIA!

    But my roommate raises poultry, and two turkeys just hatched, so I can tell you authoritatively that a turkey egg is about 3.5" from end to end. And that baby turkeys are very chill and like to cuddle.

    You know what bugs me about the set-up here? Hinduism are NOT the same thing, WILKIE! The Mohammedans don't give a fuck about a Hindooooooo idol except maybe to tear it down because hello, no images of deities allowed. /headshake

    1. I love that you have baby turkeys on hand for cuddling purposes. Points for that.

  6. Ahem. That's "Islam and Hinduism are NOT..." Dammit, a good rant killed by cut/paste.

    1. Also I thought it was Sikh's and not Hindu's that wear turbans. What I'm saying is, as awesome as Wilkie is I think he thinks all brown people are the same...

  7. I was annoyed by the plover's egg thing too, but it my head I pictured it about as small as a robin's egg. Which in terms of diamonds is still pretty freaking huge.

    "He brought the invaluable faculty, called common sense, to bear on the Colonel's letter." LOL I loved that part :)

    And I like how Wilkie enjoys describing the women, both the ugly ones and the va-va-voom ones. And I'm kind of hoping that his opium-addled mind keeps the supernatural "diamond is cursed" thing, but you're probably right and he'll probably write it off some other way. Le sigh.

  8. Wait, so a plover produces an egg (of an indeterminate size)... but what exactly is a plover?

    I'm assuming it's a species of bird, but the word looks like plower to me, so I imagine some kind of plowing farm machinery. Which, I'm sure, is very helpful to your investigations about this egg size business.

    1. I went to find pictures of plovers, and there is MORE THAN ONE KIND OF PLOVER, all different sizes. So far, I've found five. Description FAIL, Wilkie...fail.

  9. Thanks for digging up that size chart - you'd think that the moonstone would be the size of the moon or something but it disappoints. Big time. Not only is it NOT the size of the moon, but it's not even a moonstone. Sighhh.
    Your point #6 killed me, HAHA! Wilkie is BRUTAL. I thought he was harsh when he described Marian in 'woman in white', but Betteredge's and Franklin's discussion of how particularly fugly Rosanna was took it to a whole other level!

  10. Yes to moving on to another narrator. Though I've liked spending time with Betteredge more than Hartright, I'm excited for someone else.

    That egg chart is fantastic - crazy internet with all your treasures.

  11. EVERY time you write a readalong post, I'm like *smacks head* why didn't I think of ANY of this? And I didn't give up on you! I knew you would come through even though you didn't write an intro post. I held fast in my beliefs.

    Poor, plain Rosanna. I think Cuff basically even says, "She's way too ugly to have a lover, but is there maybe someone she's creepily stalking? Because I just saw her hiding in a bush."