Franklin Blake, a genial young man, Lady Verinder’s nephew. According to the terms of John Herncastle’s will, he is given temporary charge of the Moonstone, a diamond that Herncastle had taken during the storming of Seringapatam and that is to be given to his niece, Rachel Verinder, on her birthday following her uncle’s death. Of great religious significance in the worship of Brahma and Vishnu, the stone, which is worth about thirty thousand pounds, is supposed to bring ill fortune to any but worshipers of the Moon-God from whose forehead it had been stolen. After presenting the stone to Rachel, Blake, who has been suffering from insomnia, is given secretly a dose of laudanum. In his partly drugged state, he goes to Rachel’s sitting room during the night and takes the stone from a cabinet. Rachel witnesses the act but, being in love with Blake and thinking he is taking the stone because he needs money, she does not tell what she has seen. A year later, after the stone has been located and the details of its disappearance are cleared, Blake and Rachel are married.
Rachel Verinder, his cousin. In keeping the secret of the lost gem, she suffers the accusations of officials, servants, and friends. Thinking Blake does not love her, she vents her unhappiness on others. During Blake’s absence from England, she promises to marry Godfrey Ablewhite, but she suddenly breaks the engagement. She and Blake are married after the mystery has been solved.
Godfrey Ablewhite, a handsome young Londoner who, seeing that Blake is semiconscious when he takes the diamond, removes the gem from Blake’s hand. Godfrey delivers the gem at once to a London moneylender for safe keeping. After a year, he redeems the diamond with the intention of selling it in Amsterdam in order to pay his debts. In the maneuver to get aboard ship, he disguises himself as a sailor. His dead body is found in a waterfront lodging house, but the stone is missing; it has been reclaimed by its Hindu owners.
Lady Julia Verinder
Lady Julia Verinder, Rachel’s mother and the sister of John Herncastle, who brought the diamond from India. A gentlewoman, she is unnerved by having the police in her home. She goes to London, where she dies of a heart ailment.
Gabriel Betteredge, the venerable house steward to Lady Julia Verinder; he narrates much of the story. His life is guided by philosophies he combs...
(The entire section is 1048 words.)