- Oct 2020
i love how Robinson Crusoe is such a running bit through throughout the entire story. also interesting word choice of "superstitious" on betteredge here right considering all he's been telling jennings about how he believes their experiment (which struck me as rather scientific) to be hocus pocus/trickery. the typical demarcation of superstition as part of an Indian worldview is now blurred
“Mr. Jennings, do you happen to be acquainted with Robinson Crusoe?”
That cinches it. Betteredge is my favorite character.
Mr. Jennings, do you happen to be acquainted with Robinson Crusoe?
Hahahaha this is Betteredge's missionary moment. Earlier I thought Robinson Crusoe was a good metaphor for the difference between personal religion and organized religion, with Clack and her tracts representing the hypocrisy of that, but now Betteredge is attempting his own little conversion to steer Ezra down the right path. At least it seems less like Betteredge thinks he's better than Ezra and more that he is worried about what Ezra wants to do.
Speaking as a servant, I am deeply indebted to you. Speaking as a man, I consider you to be a person whose head is full of maggots, and I take up my testimony against your experiment as a delusion and a snare
Hahahahahahahha. Loyalty to the Verinder family really is Betteredge's primary motivation at all times, even when he completely disagrees with what he's being asked to do. It also makes me wonder that like, Ezra based this experiment off of his personal experience with opium as well as a medical book right? Why is everyone taking it as some kind of superstitious magic? Like Betteredge himself here says something along the lines of he can't approve of this as he's a good Christian.
page one hundred and seventy-eight
I don't know why it's caught my attention, but I find it funny that it's always page one hundred and something, as if nothing's going on in the first hundred pages (or anywhere else)... Assuming the guy has perused the book through and through as he purports to, it's just odd to me that we keep getting information from the same, narrow range of pages.
It's a wild guess here, but maybe this is Collins trying to portray Betteredge's character as one who claims to be a know-it-all (Robinson Crusoe, women, the house affairs, etc.) but, really, has such a narrow and restricted view on life that he will always be surprised or caught wrong; that there isn't that much wisdom in him after all.
“Mr. Jennings, do you happen to be acquainted with Robinson Crusoe?”
Hilarious. Reminds me of Ms. Clack and her tracts..
But she died a dreadful death, poor soul–and I feel a kind of call on me, Mr. Franklin, to humour that fancy of hers
Aww Betteredge. Even though he's got detective fever he wants to do right by Rosanna's last request. I really like how this chapter lets us see an outside perspective of Betteredge, and how he really is the good guy I thought he was.
the hospitable impulse was the uppermost impulse
Earlier in this passage, Franklin made it clear that he objects to Betteredge's 'overdrawn' account of his (Franklin's) character. This quote, is a nice reversal of Betteredge's use of 'uppermost'.
- Sep 2020
exercise your poor carnal reason
another comparison to Betteredge, who says "Cultivate a superiority to reason, and see how you pare the claws of all the sensible people when they try to scratch you for your own good!" Betteredge beholds reason while Clack describes it as "carnal" and prefers faith. However, regardless of which they hold in higher regard, Collins seems to ridicule both of them
had habits of order
interesting way of introducing one's self. could be already an indicator that her voice will be drastically different from Betteredge (who often meanders)
But the law insists on your smoking your cigar, sir, when you have once chosen it.
So this is clearly a joke based on Franklin's response, but isn't it also like basically Betteredge's view on women/his marriage? He didn't explicitly say he stayed with her because the law forbid him from leaving, but he didn't really paint a loving picture of his marriage either. Like is this just the victorian equivalent of the "I hate my wife" joke, because it seems to at least be true for Betteredge.
I went round with him to the servants’ hall. It is very disgraceful, but it is not the less true, that I had another attack of the detective-fever, when he said those last words. I forgot that I hated Sergeant Cuff. I seized him confidentially by the arm. I said, “For goodness’ sake, tell us what you are going to do with the servants now?”
I can't help but think the detective fever stuff is a little incongruous with Betteredge's character. Clearly Betteredge holds authority in high regard, and takes pride in being useful, but he also struck me as someone who does not like complications, especially those that involve the people he feels most loyal to. Even in his own personal life he seemed to prefer a cool detachment, opting for (in his old age, perhaps) the least complicated answers to troubling questions.
The image in my mind of him was something like the thin mustachioed butler character that I vaguely remember from old looney tunes cartoons.
A more complete opposite to Superintendent Seegrave than Sergeant Cuff, and a less comforting officer to look at, for a family in distress, I defy you to discover, search where you may.
Betteredge's intensity in describing the visual appearance of characters is a little striking. Though the immediate judgments he makes based on them often seem to be disproven in reality (i.e. Seegrave and Cuff). Doesn't seem to be a great judge of character and complicates the narration by making him somewhat unreliable
I beg to inform your ladyship,” I said, “that I never, to my knowledge, helped this abominable detective business, in any way, from first to last; and I summon Sergeant Cuff to contradict me, if he dares!”
Betteredge....you spent the last few chapters following him around and playing detective yourself. I guess his devotion to the family is so strong he's willing to contradict himself this hard, despite claiming to be a good Christian right before this.
But it is a maxim of mine that men (being superior creatures) are bound to improve women–if they can
Once again Betteredge frames femininity through male action. it is the responsibility of the man to improve his woman. It's an interesting sort of twist though where although he places the moral superiority and power in the hands of the men, the men are working to improve the character of the women apparently for the sake of the women themselves. He doesn't say it's so that they may make better wives or are better suited for men, he just leaves it at improving.
The Indians had gone clean out of my head (as they have, no doubt, gone clean out of yours)
Interesting meta comment because at least personally no, they haven't. While the current theory is that Rachel has stolen her own diamond, it's clear the Indians are still somehow involved. I wonder if this is meant to throw the audience off by making us think we have the answer already, or to show how Betteredge isn't as good of a detective as he thinks he is
my superior sense
This is the second time in not-so-long that Betteredge is mentioning or implying his superiority. It might be that the interaction with Sergeant Cuff appears to him as derogatory in nature (since he's often wrong or impulsive and Cuff is often right and calm), and his standing in the house, as well as perception of intelligence and good judgment, is compromised. And now, he is trying to boost his confidence back by being blatantly sexist and pejorative.
We all got excited and impatient as the time drew near for the appearance of this renowned and capable character.
I love how, on only Mr. Franklin's word, Betteredge goes straight into hyperbole.
he appeared to think that Miss Rachel–if the suspense about the Moonstone was not soon set at rest–might stand in urgent need of the best medical advice at our disposal.
That Mr. Betteredge seems to give practically equal weight to Mr. Candy being sick as he does to Rosanna (possibly) being seen by the baker's man, is very suspect! is he being facetious while indulging himself in taking knocks at Mr. Candy? was his judgment clouded by his apparent affection for Rosanna?
I think it likely that Betteredge, writing well after these events took place, might be trying to come off as naive while using his wit as a smokescreen, as to not implicate himself too harshly in any nefarious business. But who knows? Maybe the fact that Mr. Candy is sick is an important bit of foreshadowing.
for Rosanna, as you know, had been all the Thursday afternoon ill up-stairs in her room.
It's interesting to see that Betteredge's infinite confidence and sense of "what you see is all there is" when it comes to household matters forbid him from developing any suspicion. Upon reading this hasty refutation, I found myself very discontented with the lack of any additional information to support it -- not even a naive exhibition of blind trust in her, let alone factual evidence that displays the impossibility of this event.
Even if he's right and she is to be trusted, I'm starting to feel that his complacency allows things to slip under his nose without his knowing.
and I keep up with the modern way
Here we can clearly observe Betteredge's double standard. Just a few lines above, he ascribes a contradictory behavior to women, and now he exhibits it gloriously himself. It's very apparent throughout the story that Betteredge cares a great deal about whether someone is "a Dustman or a Duke." He never fails to talk highly about people of rank, and scarcely about people of no particular hereditary rank. It even manifests itself in the way he values himself (albeit with some insecurity), as opposed to his servants. But here, he so blatantly declares himself free of any prejudicial behavior... This is one of various instances in which his hypocrisy is showing face.
Add one thing more to this, and I have done.
It strikes me now just how much rank is deeply interwoven with Betteredge's relationship with women. He's rambling here three lengthy paragraphs about Miss Rachel, his lady's daughter, describing anything but the color of her back teeth, while designating about two dry sentences to describing his previous wife, Selina, and same for his own daughter!
It can also be seen in the way he unfailingly refers to Rachel as Miss Rachel, whereas to his female servants (even Rosanna, who's 25!) as "girl."
Mr. Franklin, whose clear head I had confidently counted on to advise us, seemed to be as helpless as his cousin when he heard the news in his turn
I find Mr, Betteredge to be a confounding character. On one hand he is a kind of buffoonish everyman, who, by way of idiomatic expressions--both, often, sexist, and xenophobic--seems capable of explaining away any complications in the world around him (except perhaps, for Rachel, and Rosanna). On the other hand, however, he is overwhelmingly sardonic, showing a highly developed sense of sarcasm and irony, which sharply contrasts, his hokey, populist, kind of wisdom.
I don’t want to force my opinion on you
This is false. Betteredge himself confesses during this conversation that his thoughts were "muddled" until "Mr. Franklin took them in hand, and pointed out what they ought to see". Furthermore, wasn't it Franklin who pushed Betteredge to write his recollection in the first place? Franklin's influence on the Betteredge is apparent, putting into question the reliability of his narrative as well as Franklin's motives.
It again brings up the dichotomy of opinion versus fact, subjective versus objective. This reminds me of "In a Grove" by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, which was adapted into the film "Rashomon" by Akira Kurosawa. Very similar themes and narrative structure.
to put the Person before the Thing, which is but common politeness
The capitalization of "Person" along with "Thing" leads me to believe that Rosanna may be a key character, especially as Betteredge describes her in great detail compared to the other characters he has introduced thus far. It's interesting that he quips it is "common politeness" to "put the Person before the Thing", when looking at the narrative as a whole, it is the "Thing" which comes before all else. This juxtaposition sets up a dichotomy of the personal versus the objective, which given the format of multiple narrators makes sense.
Also establishes Betteredge as someone who values social etiquette while subtly hinting that those who are obsessed with the Diamond are somehow indecent. Could that be a jab at the audience as well?
Betteredge, your edge is better than ever
Hilarity aside, it's interesting that Franklin makes such an obvious pun at Betteredge's name. Is this simply a wink and a nudge from Collins, or is he trying to hint that the character names carry some meaning? Alternatively, could it be that Betteredge is actually a bumbling buffoon who has no clue of what's going on? This pun serves to remind the reader to keep an eye out for clues and double meanings that may be hidden within the lines.
I can’t do without Gabriel Betteredge
This is such a strong remark, and I assume that it’s intentional and purposeful as we learn more about Betteredge’s role (beyond his butler role?) in this story. On another note, this also brings up the social norms in the Victorian era, especially the power dynamic between servants and their employers.
Not quite sure if this place exists in real life, but I think Collins using this name for the specific scene with Betteredge, Spearman, and Blake was brilliant. The site itself foreshadows a sense of frightening thoughts and shocking news--the kind of conversation Betteredge would have with the two characters.
- looney tunes
- Betteredge and women
- Power dynamic
- point of view
- detective fever
- double standard
- Victorian era