The Moonstone

Author: Wilkie Collins  | Date: 1868




Extracted from a family paper

I address these lines- written in India- to my relatives in England.

My object is to explain the motive which has induced me to refuse the right hand of friendship to my cousin, John Herncastle. The reserve which I have hitherto maintained in this matter has been misinterpreted by members of my family whose good opinion I cannot consent to forfeit. I request them to suspend their decision until they have read my narrative. And I declare, on my word of honour, that what I am now about to write is, strictly and literally, the truth.

The private difference between my cousin and me took its rise in a great public event in which we were both concerned- the storming of Seringapatam, under General Baird, on the 4th of May 1799.

In order that the circumstances may be clearly understood, I must revert for a moment to the period before the assault, and to the stories current in our camp of the treasure in jewels and gold stored up in the Palace of Seringapatam.


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Chicago: Wilkie Collins, "Prologue," The Moonstone Original Sources, accessed June 14, 2024,

MLA: Collins, Wilkie. "Prologue." The Moonstone, Original Sources. 14 Jun. 2024.

Harvard: Collins, W, 'Prologue' in The Moonstone. Original Sources, retrieved 14 June 2024, from