The Big Read V: The Woman in White -- Wilkie Collins The Story Continued by Marian Halcombe
The First Epoch: The Story Continued by Marian Halcombe
I. Limmeridge House: In which Laura's behavior threatens to MAKE ME CRAZY.
• "There was too much colour in her cheeks, too much energy in her manner, too much firmness in her voice." Really? What else? Too much life in her body? You'd prefer the usual wilting flower?
• While I think it's crap that Laura's going to throw away her entire life and future happiness to follow through on her dead father's wishes, I think her decision to Tell Sir Percival All shows more bravery than she's shown thus far. Though maybe it's just that she's so miserable that she wants to make herself more miserable. I dunno.
• "...I saw the little book of Hartright's drawings half hidden under her pillow, just in the place where she used to hide her favourite toys when she was a child." Yeesh.
• AHA! Walter IS being followed. Poor guy. He was already on the edge. I wish Marian was a bit more paranoid -- then maybe she'd realize that ALL OF THIS STUFF IS, HELLO, RELATED, instead of assuming that Walter's brain broke when his heart did.
• BAH. If she'd told Sir Percival that her money was gone, I bet he'd have been out of there faster than the Road Runner. As it was, I'd have LOVED to see the expression on his face when she was confessing. Was he smirking? Smolderingly angry? Biting his nails? What? I want to know!
• Now that he HASN'T taken her up on breaking it off and she's all upset, I can't really feel bad for her anymore -- if you try to get someone to do your dirty work for you and they don't take you up on it, you can't get all upset. Criminy. If she felt that strongly about it -- and as she'd pressed her Resolute Button and everything, why not go whole hog and take action? Wow, I go back and forth about Laura. Now that I see she's capable of some strength, I want to shake her. Then again, if she had called it all off, it probably would have messed up Wilkie's plotting.
• "I was so conscious of my unreasonable prejudice against him—so conscious of an unworthy suspicion that he might be speculating on my impulsively answering the very questions which he had just described himself as resolved not to ask—that I evaded all reference to this part of the subject with something like a feeling of confusion on my own part." STICK TO YOUR GUNS, MARIAN. TRUST. YOUR. FREAKING. INSTINCTS.
• I've been fantasizing about stabbing Mr. Fairlie. I am a bad person.
• "She used to be pliability itself, but she was now inflexibly passive in her resignation—I might almost say in her despair." Her resigned passivity is WAY more maddening than her previous behavior. But I already went on and on about that. GRRRR.
• Walter is headed to Central America for the next eighteen months, and Marian is bringing Laura to Yorkshire. SIGH. I almost wish she'd just start bullying Laura. Marian's bossiness would eventually win out over Laura's stubbornness, wouldn't it? Or she could just conk her on the head and spirit her away.
II. Polesdean Lodge, Yorkshire: In which nothing happens.
III. Limmeridge House: In which Marian flirts with the Dark Side.
• Do people not know the state Sir Percival's finances are in? I got the impression from Mr. Gilmore that it was common knowledge that he had no money. So is he borrowing against the money he'll have access to once he's married? And why has no-one but Mr. Gilmore realized that he has mercenary motives? God, he's a dirtbag.
• So far, this bit has been my only respite from my rage in this chapter:
If, as soon as I got into the passage, I could have transported Mr. Fairlie and Sir Percival Glyde to the uttermost ends of the earth by lifting one of my fingers, that finger would have been raised without an instant's hesitation.
My thoughts exactly.
For once my unhappy temper now stood my friend. I should have broken down altogether and burst into a violent fit of crying, if my tears had not been all burnt up in the heat of my anger. As it was, I dashed into Mr. Fairlie's room—called to him as harshly as possible, "Laura consents to the twenty-second"—and dashed out again without waiting for a word of answer. I banged the door after me, and I hope I shattered Mr. Fairlie's nervous system for the rest of the day.
I hope it did, too.
• THIS HAD BETTER NOT BE FORESHADOWING:
But there is danger in my keeping the letter. The merest accident might place it at the mercy of strangers. I may fall ill—I may die. Better to burn it at once, and have one anxiety the less.
• He's bringing Laura to Italy? Is that where Count Fosco is? Are they a Tag Team of Titled Evil?
• What happened to make Marian decide to stop distrusting Sir Percival?
• "No, I cannot dispute it, and I will not dispute it—Sir Percival is a very handsome and a very agreeable man. There! I have written it down at last, and I am glad it's over." Try to convince yourself, much, Marian? And he's mean to the servants? COME ON! BAD MAN!
• "Considering that he can only have acted from motives of pure charity, his conduct, under the circumstances, shows unusual good feeling and deserves extraordinary praise." OH, I'M SO SURE.
• AHA! He DOES know Count Fosco. (I really have no reason for being down on the Count. He's probably a perfectly nice man. It's just that, you know -- he's a Count. AND he's "the most intimate friend" of Sir Percival, which obviously makes him sketchy.)
• PHEW. She hates him again. The world is no longer atilt.
• I hope Sir Percival dies of consumption.
• And they are married. DAMN IT.
The First Epoch of the Story closes here.
The Reading Schedule
The First Epoch: The Story Begun by Walter Hartright, Chapters I-VIII
The First Epoch: The Story Begun by Walter Hartright, Chapters IX-XV
The First Epoch: The Story Continued by Vincent Gilmore
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