Monday, April 30, 2012

Woman in White 4: The Endening

Well, here we are, gang. Here we are.

What a book, and what a read-along. I hardly know what to say... so let's just work through my highlights.

(1) Mrs Catherick continues to be a cold hard slice of awesome. "My hour for tea is half-past five, and my buttered toast waits for nobody." Daaaaaamn. Hartright, like the annoying ninny he is, is "so disgusted... that I was on the point of tearing the letter" -- of course.

(2) Anyone else catch this?
For her sake, I wished to conceal it -- for her sake, still, I tell this story under feigned names.
Hm, tricky detail there Wilks! So the "hero" renames his lady love "Fairlie"? And calls himself "Hartright"? He would.

(3) The Count being a spy and the traitor of a secretive continental brotherhood (those crazy foreigners) was crazier than the gaslighting plot with Laura, and yet it was almost a little underwhelming. What I mean to say is, by this point in the book I guess I was willing to accept that there would be a soooper sekrit society involved, but it seemed a little sad to have the Count's fate handed off, by accident, into third party hands.

The opera-glass in the Count's hand, his careful reading of the bill, and his direction to the cabman, all suggested that he proposed making one of the audience.

(5) I think the Count writing his confession was possibly one of the most entertaining scenes of the book.
"Done, Mr. Hartright!" he announced with a self-renovating thump of his fist on his broad breast. "Done, to my own profound satisfaction—to YOUR profound astonishment, when you read what I have written. The subject is exhausted: the man—Fosco—is not. I proceed to the arrangement of my slips—to the revision of my slips—to the reading of my slips—addressed emphatically to your private ear. Four o'clock has just struck. Good! Arrangement, revision, reading, from four to five. Short snooze of restoration for myself from five to six. Final preparations from six to seven. Affair of agent and sealed letter from seven to eight. At eight, en route. Behold the programme!"

Really, the Count was in good form throughout this section. So fat, so evil.

(6) I thought Marian's being grossed out at the Count's slavish admiration of her was very well done. What an interesting dynamic -- of course he admires her and of course he'd make a big deal of it; and meanwhile, GROSS.

(7) I suppose there's some reason we're supposed to be surprised that little Walter (oy) has inherited Limmeridge? Although that is seriously no excuse for big Walter to be so shocked.

Oh my friends. What a wonderful read-along journey we've had. What an insane book we've discovered.


  1. I also noticed the comment about Walter using feigned names! I actually had it in my blog post but deleted it because my post was overstuffed as it was. But I was also, like, you named yourself Hartright (heart-right)? Of all the things!

    And yeah the Marian / Count dynamic was very interesting.

    And that line from Mrs. Catherick about the toast was awesome. Loved it.

    - Christy

    1. It is by far the best sentence ever written about toast.

  2. I noticed the fake names line, too -- now I'll be over-analyzing all the names. So Percival Glyde isn't a smarmy name by coincidence, hm?

    Walter is surprisingly stupid about the most obvious things. How he ever solved a mystery is beyond me.

    I'm glad Marian was disgusted by the Count. He's already turned the Countess into a sad shell of a woman -- he can't have Marian!

    1. I was almost relieved to find that "Glyde" wasn't a coincidence -- although then "Fosco" seems insufficiently evil.

      Walter is the dopiest hero ever. I choose to believe that's some kind of artistic choice, like Collins was sick and tired of intelligent, brave men getting the spotlight.


      Which you might know because of Latin. I don't know how this stuff works.

    3. I did NOT know that; but I still object because it's not as visceral as "Glyde".


  3. I definitely didn't notice the pseudonyms thing! But now I do, it makes so much sense! Also, I know what you mean about it being sad that Fosco was all killed by the secret society and all (but really, would Walter have been able to do it?!) but I was still just like WTF OMG about that whole plot twist cause I really didn't see it coming!

    I want Marian and Fosco to be married. Seriously. Even though that's impossible now *WEEP*

    1. I will admit... here in the comments... that it would have been a fantastically crazy ending if Collins would have somehow gotten Fosco and Marian together. If anyone could do it, it would be the Wilkster.


    Ugh. to remember...your point about the names is excellent. As is this post in general.

    Did you use that Sarah McLachlan song because of Parks & Rec?

    1. I did not use the song because of P&R; it just sprung to mind when I sat down to write. I can't remember when it was on that show though; was it on recently, when I've been in a foreign country and not watching new TV?

    2. I found a way. And yes, most recent episode, i.e. last Thursday.


    3. I never download illegally, because I'm insufferable and also because HOW TERRIBLE WOULD IT BE if my computer and its 20,000 important research photos got infected. Someday (this summer) I will catch up.

  5. It was a little unsatisfying that Fosco was killed off-camera and fished unceremoniously out of the Seine. But if he HADN'T been killed by the Brotherhood, Walter would have had to duel him...and would most certainly have been slain. So, tidy plot device and all that.

    1. I agree that Walter would probably not have been able to finish off Fosco. In fact, I was not entirely convinced that he was going to pull off that final interview (although of course the laws of fiction dictate that it should be so).