Superior to Reason

Gabriel Betteredge has been our only real source of information about the mystery of the Moonstone, except for the prologue written by the cousin of John Herncastle.  He has always been conscious of his story telling, constantly jilting the reader out of the comfort of being immersed into the mystery.  His opinions many of the other characters lead the reader to second-guess his reliability, as he lavishes praise on some that do not charm the reader in quite the same way (Godfrey Ablewhite is one example).

After reading this passage, I found myself more charmed by Betteredge than I had been after the first 76 pages, even while I was at times questioning his reliability. His absolute loyalty to the family is an endearing contrast to his initial air of arrogance over other servants.  Sergeant Cuff provides completely convincing evidence against Rachel, and puts the blame on her for stealing the diamond. Betteredge still confesses to the reader his allegiance to his employers: “It was downright frightful to hear him piling up proof after proof against Miss Rachel, and to know, while was longing to defend her, that there was no disputing the truth of what he said. I am (thank God!) constitutionally superior to reason. This enabled me to hold firm to my lady’s view, which was my view also” (174). Whether he is just stating this to the reader because he is conscious of having an audience (as his job could rely on his allegiance to her in his recount) or if he truly believes in Rachel’s innocence because of his high opinion of her.

Betteredge references this family trait again when talking about Penelope’s blind belief in unrequited love as the basis of Rosanna’s suicide: “The truth is, my daughter inherits my superiority to reason—and in respect to that accomplishment, has got a long way ahead of her own father” (189). Gabriel acknowledges his daughter’s obstinacy, which shows that he recognizes the trait in himself as well. I’m still unsure of how I feel about Betteredge’s honesty, even with all of his appealing traits.  Sergeant Cuff calls him as “transparent as a child” (185) as a compliment, yet we don’t know how much to truly trust him since we only have his narrative authority so far.

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