Vignette: The Laudanum Experiment: Ezra Jennings (left), Rachel Verinder and Mathew Bruff (centre), and Gabriel Betteredge (right) preparing the precise mixture needed to induce sleepwalking in Blake as part of their recreation of the circumstances of the night of 18 June 1848. — uncaptioned vignette for the "The Story. Second Period, Fourth Narrative. Extracted from the Journal of Ezra Jennings." Illustration in the Doubleday (New York) 1946 edition of The Moonstone, p. 395. 6.7 x 10.6 cm. [Although Ezra Jennings is reasonably certain that Dr. Candy secretly administered laudanum to Franklin Blake after dinner because the young man was suffering from nicotine withdrawal and could not sleep, Dr. Candy's medical assistant cannot tell from the physician's delirious ravings exactly what the dosage was.] Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham. [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the person who scanned the image and (2) link your document to this URL.]

Passage Illustrated

"I shall wait in my bedroom — just as I did before. I shall keep the door a little way open. It was a little way open last year. I will watch the sitting-room door; and the moment it moves, I will blow out my light. It all happened in that way, on my birthday night. And it must all happen again in the same way, musn't it?"

"Are you sure you can control yourself, Miss Verinder?"

"In his interests, I can do anything!" she answered fervently.

​One look at her face told me that I could trust her. I addressed myself again to Mr. Bruff.

​"I must trouble you to put your papers aside for a moment," I said.

​"Oh, certainly!" He got up with a start — as if I had disturbed him at a particularly interesting place​— and followed me to the medicine-chest. There, deprived of the breathless excitement incidental to the practice of his profession, he looked at Betteredge — and yawned wearily.

​Miss Verinder joined me with a glass jug of cold water, which she had taken from a side-table. "Let me pour out the water," she whispered. "I must have a hand in it!"

​I measured out the forty minims from the bottle, and poured the laudanum into a medicine glass. "Fill it till it is three parts full," I said, and handed the glass to Miss Verinder. I then directed Betteredge to lock up the medicine chest; informing him that I had done with it now. A look of unutterable relief overspread the old servant's countenance. He had evidently suspected me of a medical design on his young lady! —​"Second Period. Fourth Narrative Extracted from the Journal of Ezra Jennings" in "The Discovery of the Truth (1848-1849)," p. 394.


The figures in the illustration are well-known to the reader by this penultimate stage of the narrative: to the left, Rachel Verinder, dressed in a light-coloured dress, is a mere observer, whereas in the original serial illustration in Harper's Weekly for 25 July 1868 she is seen pouring the water; to the left, the mixed-race physician, Ezra Jennings, with streaked hair and dark complexion, measuring out the proportion of laudanum in a calibrated spoon into a tumbler; and acting as observers the Verinder family attorney, Mr. Bruff (right of centre), and the steward of the Verinder estate, Gabriel Betteredge (right), holding a candle. Shrp establishes the setting as the Verinder country-house by the large windows, valances, a chandelier, and an Elizabethan portrait (upper left).

Relevant Plates from the 1868 Edition

Left: Dr. Jennings' interrogating Franklin Blake about his exposure to some form of heroin such as Laudanum, a derivative widely used in the Victorian period as a palliative, "Have you ever been accustomed to the use of opium?" (4 July 1868, p. 421). Centre: Ezra Jennings prepares the laudanum experiment: "I found Ezra Jennings ready and waiting for me." (11 July 1868, p. 437).Right: The group prepares the draught for Franklin Blake, "Let me pour out the water," she whispered. (25 July 1868). [Click on the images to enlarge them.]


Related Materials


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 many illustrations. First edition. New York: Harper and Brothers, [July] 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. Illustrated by William Sharp. New York: Doubleday, 1946.

_________. The Moonstone: A Romance. With nine illustrations by Edwin La Dell. London: Folio Society, 1951.

Karl, Frederick R. "Introduction." Wilkie Collins's The Moonstone. Scarborough, Ontario: Signet, 1984. Pp. 1-21.

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.

Nayder, Lillian. Unequal Partners: Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, & Victorian Authorship. London and Ithaca, NY: Cornll U. P., 2001.

Peters, Catherine. The King of the Inventors: A Life of Wilkie Collins. London: Minerva, 1991.

Reed, John R. "English Imperialism and the Unacknowledged crime of The Moonstone." Clio 2, 3 (June, 1973): 281-290.

Richardson, Betty. "Prisons and Prison Reform." Victorian Britain: An Encyclopedia, ed. Sally Mitchell. London and New York: Garland, 1988. Pp. 638-640.

Stewart, J. I. M. "Introduction." Wilkie Collins's The Moonstone. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1966, rpt. 1973. Pp. 7-24.

Stewart, J. I. M. "A Note on Sources." Wilkie Collins's The Moonstone. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1966, rpt. 1973. Pp. 527-8.

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.

Winter, William. "Wilkie Collins." Old Friends: Being Literary Recollections of Other Days. New York: Moffat, Yard, & Co., 1909. Pp. 203-219.

Last updated 26 October 2016