"He took the mock Diamond out with his right hand."
F. A. Fraser
13.8 x 8.8 cm
Final illustration for Wilkie Collins's The Moonstone: A Romance in the Chatto and Windus Edition (1890), facing p. 392.
[Click on image to enlarge it.]
Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham.
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He advanced to the middle of the room, with the candle still in his hand: he looked about him— but he never looked back.
I saw the door of Miss Verinder's bedroom, standing ajar. She had put out her light. She controlled herself nobly. The dim white outline of her summer dress was all that I could see. Nobody who had not known it beforehand would have suspected that there was a living creature in the room. She kept back, in the dark: not a word, not a movement escaped her.
It was now ten minutes past one. I heard, through the dead silence, the soft drip of the rain and the tremulous passage of the night air through the trees.
After waiting irresolute, for a minute or more, in the middle of the room, he moved to the corner near the window, where the Indian cabinet stood.
He put his candle on the top of the cabinet. He opened, and shut, one drawer after another, until he came to the drawer in which the mock Diamond was put. He looked into the drawer for a moment. Then he took the mock Diamond out with his right hand. With the other hand, he took the candle from the top of the cabinet.
He walked back a few steps towards the middle of the room, and stood still again.
Thus far, he had exactly repeated what he had done on the birthday night. Would his next proceeding be the same as the proceeding of last year? Would he leave the room? Would he go back now, as I believed he had gone back then, to his bed-chamber? Would he show us what he had done with the Diamond, when he had returned to his own room?
His first action, when he moved once more, proved to be an action which he had notperformed, when he was under the influence of the opium for the first time. He put the candle down on a table, and wandered on a little towards the farther end of the room. There was a sofa there. He leaned heavily on the back of it, with his left hand— then roused himself, and returned to the middle of the room. I could now see his eyes. They were getting dull and heavy; the glitter in them was fast dying out.
The suspense of the moment proved too much for Miss Verinder's self-control. She advanced a few steps — then stopped again. Mr. Bruff and Betteredge looked across the open doorway at me for the first time. The prevision of a coming disappointment was impressing itself on their minds as well as on mine.
Still, so long as he stood where he was, there was hope. We waited, in unutterable expectation, to see what would happen next.
The next event was decisive. He let the mock Diamond drop out of his hand.
It fell on the floor, before the doorway — plainly visible to him, and to everyone. He made no effort to pick it up: he looked down at it vacantly, and, as he looked, his head sank on his breast. He staggered — roused himself for an instant — walked back unsteadily to the sofa— and sat down on it. He made a last effort; he tried to rise, and sank back. His head fell on the sofa cushions. It was then twenty-five minutes past one o'clock. Before I had put my watch back in my pocket, he was asleep.
It was all over now. The sedative influence had got him; the experiment was at an end. —"Second Period, Fourth Narrative, Extracted from the Journal of Ezra Jennings," p. 392-393.
The story now shifts to just a year after the theft of the Moonstone from Rachel Verinder's sitting-room on the night of her birthday dinner. Ezra Jennings, Dr. Candy's medical assistant, convinced from his records of Dr. Candy's delirious ravings that Franklin Blake was acting under the influence of a draft of laudanum secretly administered by the crotchety country doctor, contrives an experiment to test his theory. The illustration therefore telegraphs to the reader that the experiment is successful insofar the drug combined with the physical circumstances of 21 June 1848 (it now being 25 June 1849) is sufficient to induce the same sleepwalking during which Blake took the Diamond from Rachel Verinder's Indian cabinet. However, whereas Jennings is convinced that Blake merely hid the jewel in his own bedroom, Blake believes that somebody has pawned the gem in London with notorious fence Septimus Luker, and that the Moonstone is due to be redeemed from the bank any day. The illustration does not suggest which of the two "theft" narratives is correct. Compare the treatment of this same scene by the original Harper's Weekly illustrators for 25 July 1868 in two complementary illustrations, neither of which actually shows Blake with the surrogate Diamond, Uncaptioned headnote vignette — Franklin Blake, sleepwalking and "Let me pour out the water." — the observers setting the experiment in motion by measuring out the necessary dose of laudanum.
Although the reader is most concerned with how Rachel is reacting to Blake's action, Alfred Pearse allows the reader to see the curious face of a man of advanced middle age (either Bruff or Betteredge) in the background, and another male head behind that. The candlelight illuminates the front of the nightgown, throwing Blake's back into a shadowed chiaroscuro. The composition in all respects resembles that realisation of the same scene by F. A. Fraser drawn twenty years earlier: the positioning of the observers, the stance of the sleepwalker, and juxtaposition of Indian cabinet and Franklin Blake align perfectly. The slight differences lie in the left-handed gesture of the dreamer and in the configuration of the cabinet and chair: in Fraser's He took out the Diamond with his right hand, Blake is turned towards the reader, his left hand near the guttering candle on top of the five-foot-high cabinet with the single, open drawer — the source of illumination for Blake's face, shoulders, and chest being the Moonstone rather than the candle. The wooden-framed chair behind Blake in the 1890 composite wood-engraving is much smaller than its padded counterpart in the 1910 lithograph, which bathes the room in a subtle glow, whereas the 1890 illustration heightens the dramatic nature of the scene by sharpening the contrast between the foregrounded sleepwalker and cabinet and the mysterious background, leaving the observer obscured in darkness and barely discernible. The juxtaposition of text and image is also quite different, as the Fraser illustration faces the text illustrated on page 392 in the "Fourth Narrative," facilitating a simultaneous reading of text and image, as opposed to the proleptic reading of the illustration in the Collins Clear-Type Edition.
Whereas Blake in the British illustrations is wearing a linen nightgown, in the 25 July 1868 American illustration, Headnote vignette: Franklin Blake, sleepwalking in the "Fourth Narrative, extracted from the Journal of Ezra Jennings," as Blake walks down the corridor, he is wearing a dressing-gown and (apparently) pyjamas, perhaps signifying transatlantic differences in men's sleepwear — and perhaps underscoring the American illustrators' disregarding textual details to make the story conform to their readers' expectations.The two illustrations for 25 July 1868 (rather than the customary three) imply a gap or an ellipsis, and are arrayed in reverse chronological order. In other words, the American illustrators show the result of Blake's taking the drug before they show the group (including Rachel Verinder) measuring the drug in proper proportion ready to be diluted in water, leaving the reader to fill in the blank, the critical scene in which Blake opens the cabinet and takes the Diamond. Thus, the American illustrations complement the text but do not pre-empt it in the way that the British illustrations seem to do, and compel the readers to find out for themselves (and picture in the mind's eye) the highly dramatic scene in Rachel's sitting-room that ends the thirtieth of the thirty-two weekly instalments. Moreover, whereas the serial had yet to reveal three significant illustrations in the remaining pair of instalments, the picture of Franklin Blake before the Indian cabinet effectively closes both British narrative-pictorial sequences, leaving the reader to conclude that Collins manages to achieve a happy ending, at least for Franklin Blake and Rachel Verinder.
Relevant Serial (1868) and Collins Clear-Type Edition (1910) Illustrations
Left: The American serial's Headnote vignette (25 July 1868). Centre: The serial's setting up the "experiment," with Bruff and Betteredge observing Rachel Verinder and Ezra Jennings mixing the laudanum draft, "Let me pour out the water" (25 July 1868). Right: Alfred Pearse's reiteration of the Fraser illustration, He took the Diamond (1910). [Click on images to enlarge them.]
- "The Moonstone" and British India (1857, 1868, and 1876)
- Detection and Disruption inside and outside the 'quiet English home' in "The Moonstone"
- "Do you think a young lady's advice worth having?" — p. 94.
- Introduction to the Sixty-six Harper's Weekly Illustrations for The Moonstone (1868)
- The Harper's Weekly Illustrations for Wilkie Collins's The Moonstone (1868)
- The boy became quite stiff, and stood like a statue, looking into the ink in the hollow of his hand. (4 January 1868).
Collins, Wilkie. The Moonstone: A Romance. with sixty-six illustrations. Harper's Weekly: A Journal of Civilization. Vol. 12 (1868), 4 January through 8 August, pp. 5-503.
Collins, Wilkie. The Moonstone: A Romance. All the Year Round. 1 January-8 August 1868.
_________. The Moonstone: A Novel. With 19 illustrations. Second edition. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1874.
_________. The Moonstone: A Romance. Illustrated by George Du Maurier and F. A. Fraser. London: Chatto and Windus, 1890.
_________. The Moonstone. With 19 illustrations. The Works of Wilkie Collins. New York: Peter Fenelon Collier, 1900. Volumes 6 and 7.
_________. The Moonstone: A Romance. With four illustrations by John Sloan. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1908.
_________. The Moonstone: A Romance. Illustrated by A. S. Pearse. London & Glasgow: Collins, 1910, rpt. 1930.
_________. The Moonstone: A Romance. With nine illustrations by Edwin La Dell. London: Folio Society, 1951.
Leighton, Mary Elizabeth, and Lisa Surridge. "The Transatlantic Moonstone: A Study of the Illustrated Serial in Harper's Weekly." Victorian Periodicals Review Volume 42, Number 3 (Fall 2009): pp. 207-243. Accessed 1 July 2016. http://englishnovel2.qwriting.qc.cuny.edu/files/2014/01/42.3.leighton-moonstone-serializatation.pdf
Vann, J. Don. "The Moonstone in All the Year Round, 4 January-8 1868." Victorian Novels in Serial. New York: Modern Language Association, 1985. Pp. 48-50.
Last updated 27 August 2016