I continue to read The Moonstone with great enjoyment. Part of my enjoyment I know is from having recently watched Downton Abbey on PBS. I keep interchanging those characters of the show with the characters in The Moonstone as I read this book. The first part of the story is narrated by the head butler, Mr. Betteredge and the setting is an English estate much like the one in Downton Abbey. I can’t seem to separate his physiognomy from Carson, the head butler in Downton Abbey.
The Moonstone Betteredge has just as much affection for ‘his young lady’ as Carson does in Downton Abbey. Mr. Betteredge has read the book Robinson Crusoe many, many times and finds it to be a soothing comfort in his life. That fact is woven in and out of the story and pops its head up when you see bleak circumstances.
“I kept my spirits from sinking by sticking fast to my pipe and my Robinson Crusoe.”
I have grown fond of Mr. Betteredge and his insights into humanity that surface now and again. In particular, his observations on the female temperament and how a man ought to deal with women constantly have me chuckling. The following excerpt was a response to a theory about women made by ‘his lady’s nephew’.
“Give me a light, Betteredge. Is it conceivable that a man can have smoked as long as I have, without discovering that there is a complete system for treatment of women at the bottom of his cigar-case? Follow me carefully, and I will prove it in two words. You chose a cigar, you try it, and it disappoints you. What do you do upon that? You throw it away and try another. Now observe the application! You choose a woman, you try her, and she breaks your heart. Fool! take a lesson from your cigar-case. Throw her away and try another!
I shook my head at that. Wonderfully clever I dare say, but my own experience was dead against it. “In the time of the late Mrs. Betteredge,” I said, “I felt pretty often inclined to try your philosophy, Mr. Franklin. But the law insists on your smoking your cigar, sir when you have chosen it.” I pointed that observation with a wink.
The life of living on a English country estate is richly painted and is easy to visualize as one reads the book. The characters are rich. The unsolved crime in the book is still a mystery. Unlike Mr. Betteredge on a Sunday evening I’m not falling asleep reading this book and haven’t found it in the least bit dull.
The Sunday evening was, if possible, duller even than the Saturday evening. We ended the day of rest, as hundreds of thousands of people end it regularly, once a week, in these islands – that is to say, we all anticipated bedtime, and fell asleep in our chairs.
As you can see I am just about finished with the Peerie Flooer hat, short of weaving in a thousand ends. There were two versions to pick from, either a beanie or a slouchy version and I chose the latter. It is a little too long on my head but I’ll make it work. Although I had seriously contemplated ripping back and eliminating the last half repeat my common sense took over and said it wasn’t really worth it. Lots of little flowers growing here on this sweet hat. It reminds me of something a little girl might have worn in the 1940’s.