Study Guide

The Woman in White Part 3, Section 4, Chapter 1

By Wilkie Collins

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Part 3, Section 4, Chapter 1

The Count's Narrative

  • So remember all those things we thought the count did over the course of the novel? Steal Marian's diary; drug Fanny, Anne, and Laura; open people's mail; steal people's letters; use his wife as a spy; develop a creepy crush on Marian; and commit some sort of crime against a political society?
  • Well, it turns out he did all of those things.
  • Except he had a totally good reason for all of it: he needed to show off his own power and he needed some quick cash.
  • Fosco's narrative doesn't give us many new details, but it's probably the most entertaining chapter in the entire novel, because the count is flamboyant, crazy, and ridiculous.
  • The count developed his (half-)sister swap plan after Marian fell ill and he had a very fortunate encounter with Anne and Mrs. Clements.
  • The plan happened as Walter and Marian suspected:
  • The count lured Anne to London, but she died ahead of schedule.
  • He then hustled Laura to London, drugged her to the gills, and dropped her off at the friendly neighborhood asylum.
  • The count then attended Laura's funeral in Cumberland and happily accepted his share of the money from Percival.
  • But he's really not a bad guy, he says.
  • He admits to psychologically manipulating his wife until she acted like a marionette, and he admits that he'd have killed Anne if she hadn't conveniently died on her own.
  • But basically he never committed a serious crime, and anybody else would have totally done the same thing.
  • And thus, Fosco signs off. So long, crazy.

The Woman in White Part 3, Section 4, Chapter 1 Study Group

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