Asterisk denotes entries on real places.
*Yorkshire. Region in northern England in which Lady Verinder has an estate on the shore of the North Sea. Yorkshire provides atmosphere; its moors and the wildness of the North Sea serve as a forbidding and oppressive setting for many Victorian novels, providing loneliness and desolation as a background. The Verinder estate, at some distance from Frizinghall, the nearest town, stands in isolation, adding to the mysterious nature of the novel. There are a few other farms some miles distant, and the tiny fishing village of Cobb’s Hill marks the boundaries of the estate to prevent a sense of total isolation, even though the manor stands alone in its environment.
Echoing the intensity of the plot, the location rapidly changes back and forth from the deserted estate to London. The trips become more and more frenetic, giving a sense of breathlessness to the atmosphere.
One of the most ominous features of the estate, a large, deep stretch of quicksand locally known as the Shivering Sands, lies along the beach front of the grounds of the manor. The danger of the shoreline itself with its hidden rocks and reefs adds to the ominous nature of the surroundings. In addition to providing an atmosphere of terror and horror, the sea and the quicksand become metaphors for being caught in a mire of overwhelming circumstances beyond human control and reinforce the content of the novel. In this deserted spot, the supernatural curse carried by the stolen diamond and its Indian origins are frequently recalled, causing the foreboding and danger to be amplified by the isolation. An additional benefit to this rural setting can be found in the characterization, as the people are more natural and themselves here than when bound by the rigid social conventions in London.
*London. Capital city of Great Britain, in which Lady Verinder owns a house on Montague Square. Many wealthy and titled people of the novel’s period lived in country houses during the spring and summer seasons and in London homes during the fall and winter seasons. When the novel’s characters are living in London, they find their lives becoming more formal and artificial. London has always been known for its entertainments, society, and royal court.
In contrast, London has another side that is characterized by squalid poverty and crime. This contrast in environments is essential to the progress of the novel, which culminates in London’s slums.
*Brighton. Popular seaside resort in the south of England to which the novel’s setting shifts from London. Brighton has always been a popular retreat because of its climate and healthful atmosphere. In The Moonstone, however, Brighton’s balmy climate is a foil to emotional tempest and cannot sustain its healthful effects.