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The woman in white chapter summary

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The Woman in White Summary & Study Guide

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If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? Secrets, mistaken identities, surprise revelations, amnesia, locked rooms and locked asylums, and an unorthodox villain made this mystery thriller an instant success when it first appeared in , and it has continued to enthrall readers ever since.

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Far From the Madding Crowd. Audible Audiobook. The Mayor of Casterbridge. From the hero's foreboding before his arrival at Limmeridge House to the nefarious plot concerning the beautiful Laura, the breathtaking tension of Collin's narrative created a new literary genre of suspense fiction, which profoundly shaped the course of English popular writing. Collins other great mystery, The Moonstone , has been called the finest detective story ever written, but it was this work that so gripped the imagination of the world that Wilkie Collins had his own tombstone inscribed: "Author of The Woman In White.

From the Inside Flap "There in the middle of the broad, bright high-road-there, as if it had that moment sprung out of the earth or dropped from the heaven-stood the figure of a solitary woman, dressed from head to foot in white garments.

Collins other great mystery, "The Moonstone, has been called the finest detective story ever written, but it was this work that so gripped the imagination of the world that Wilkie Collins had his own tombstone inscribed: "Author of "The Woman In White.

Still unsurpassed as a masterpiece of narrative drive and excruciating suspense, 'The Woman in White' is also famous for introducing, in the figure of Count Fosco, the prototype of the suave, sophisticated evil genius.

The first detective novel ever written, it has remained, since its publication in , the most admired example of the genre. William Wilkie Collins was born in London in , the eldest son of a successful painter, William Collins.

He studied law and was admitted to the bar but never practiced his nominal profession, devoting his time to writing instead. His first published book was a biography of his father, his second a florid historical romance. The first hint of his later talents came with Basil , a vivid tale of seduction, treachery, and revenge. In Collins had met Charles Dickens, who would become his close friend and mentor.

His first popular success was The Woman in White , followed by No Name , Armadale , and The Moonstone , whose Sergeant Cuff became a prototype of the detective hero in English fiction. His meticulously plotted, often violent novels are now recognized as the direct ancestors of the modern mystery novel and thriller. He had two mistresses, one of whom bore him three children. His later years were marred by a long and painful eye disease.

His novels, increasingly didactic, declined greatly in quality, but he continued to write by dictating to a secretary until He died in The long hot summer was drawing to a close; and we, the weary pilgrims of the London pavement, were beginning to think of the cloud-shadows on the corn-fields, and the autumn breezes on the sea-shore.

For my own poor part, the fading summer left me out of health, out of spirits, and, if the truth must be told, out of money as well. During the past year, I had not managed my professional resources as carefully as usual; and my extravagance now limited me to the prospect of spending the autumn economically between my mother's cottage at Hampstead, and my own chambers in town.

The evening, I remember, was still and cloudy; the London air was at its heaviest; the distant hum of the street-traffic was at its faintest; the small pulse of the life within me and the great heart of the city around me seemed to be sinking in unison, languidly and more languidly, with the sinking sun.

I roused myself from the book which I was dreaming over rather than reading, and left my chambers to meet the cool night air in the suburbs. It was one of the two evenings in every week which I was accustomed to spend with my mother and my sister. So I turned my steps northward, in the direction of Hampstead.

Events which I have yet to relate, make it necessary to mention in this place that my father had been dead some years at the period of which I am now writing; and that my sister Sarah, and I, were the sole survivors of a family of five children. My father was a drawing-master before me. His exertions had made him highly successful in his profession; and his affectionate anxiety to provide for the future of those who were dependent on his labours, had impelled him, from the time of his marriage, to devote to the insuring of his life a much larger portion of his income than most men consider it necessary to set aside for that purpose.

Thanks to his admirable prudence and self-denial, my mother and sister were left, after his death, as independent of the world as they had been during his lifetime.

I succeeded to his connexion, and had every reason to feel grateful for the prospect that awaited me at my starting in life. The quiet twilight was still trembling on the topmost ridges of the heath; and the view of London below me had sunk into a black gulf in the shadow of the cloudy night, when I stood before the gate of my mother's cottage.

I had hardly rung the bell, before the house-door was opened violently; my worthy Italian friend, Professor Pesca, appeared in the servant's place; and darted out joyously to receive me, with a shrill foreign parody on an English cheer.

On his own account, and, I must be allowed to add, on mine also, the Professor merits the honour of a formal introduction. Accident has made him the starting-point of the strange family story which it is the purpose of these pages to unfold. I had first become acquainted with my Italian friend by meeting him at certain great houses, where he taught his own language and I taught drawing.

All I then knew of the history of his life was, that he had once held a situation in the University of Padua; that he had left Italy for political reasons the nature of which he uniformly declined to mention to anyone ; and that he had been for many years respectably established in London as a teacher of languages.

Without being actually a dwarf-for he was perfectly well-proportioned from head to foot-Pesca was, I think, the smallest human being I ever saw, out of a show-room. Remarkable anywhere, by his personal appearance, he was still further distinguished among the rank and file of mankind, by the harmless eccentricity of his character. The ruling idea of his life appeared to be, that he was bound to show his gratitude to the country which had afforded him an asylum and a means of subsistence, by doing his utmost to turn himself into an Englishman.

Not content with paying the nation in general the compliment of invariably carrying an umbrella, and invariably wearing gaiters and a white hat, the Professor further aspired to become an Englishman in his habits and amusements, as well as in his personal appearance. Finding us distinguished, as a nation, by our love of athletic exercises, the little man, in the innocence of his heart, devoted himself impromptu to all our English sports and pastimes, whenever he had the opportunity of joining them; firmly persuaded that he could adopt our national amusements of the field, by an effort of will, precisely as he had adopted our national gaiters and our national white hat.

I had seen him risk his limbs at a fox-hunt and in a cricket-field; and, soon afterwards, I saw him risk his life, just as blindly, in the sea at Brighton. We had met there accidentally, and were bathing together. If we had been engaged in any exercise peculiar to my own nation, I should, of course, have looked after Pesca carefully; but, as foreigners are generally quite as well able to take care of themselves in the water as Englishmen, it never occurred to me that the art of swimming might merely add one more to the list of manly exercises which the Professor believed that he could learn impromptu.

Soon after we had both struck out from shore, I stopped, finding my friend did not gain on me, and turned round to look for him. To my horror and amazement, I saw nothing between me and the beach but two little white arms, which struggled for an instant above the surface of the water, and then disappeared from view. When I dived for him, the poor little man was lying quietly coiled up at the bottom, in a hollow of shingle, looking by many degrees smaller than I had ever seen him look before.

During the few minutes that elapsed while I was taking him in, the air revived him, and he ascended the steps of the machine with my assistance. With the partial recovery of his animation came the return of his wonderful delusion on the subject of swimming.

As soon as his chattering teeth would let him speak, he smiled vacantly, and said he thought it must have been the Cramp.

When he had thoroughly recovered himself and had joined me on the beach, his warm Southern nature broke through all artificial English restraints, in a moment.

He overwhelmed me with the wildest expressions of affection-exclaimed passionately, in his exaggerated Italian way, that he would hold his life, henceforth, at my disposal-and declared that he should never be happy again, until he had found an opportunity of proving his gratitude by rendering me some service which I might remember, on my side, to the end of my days.

I did my best to stop the torrent of his tears and protestations, by persisting in treating the whole adventure as a good subject for a joke; and succeeded at last, as I imagined, in lessening Pesca's overwhelming sense of obligation to me.

Little did I think then-little did I think afterwards when our pleasant Brighton holiday had drawn to an end-that the opportunity of serving me for which my grateful companion so ardently longed, was soon to come; that he was eagerly to seize it on the instant; and that, by so doing, he was to turn the whole current of my existence into a new channel, and to alter me to myself almost past recognition.

Yet, so it was. If I had not dived for Professor Pesca, when he lay under water on his shingle bed, I should, in all human probability, never have been connected with the story which these pages will relate-I should never, perhaps, have heard even the name of the woman, who has lived in all my thoughts, who has possessed herself of all my energies, who has become the one guiding influence that now directs the purpose of my life. Chapter Two Pesca's face and manner, on the evening when we confronted each other at my mother's gate, were more than sufficient to inform me that something extraordinary had happened.

It was quite useless, however, to ask him for an immediate explanation. I could only conjecture, while he was dragging me in by both hands, that knowing my habits he had come to the cottage to make sure of meeting me that night, and that he had some news to tell of an unusually agreeable kind. We both bounced into the parlour in a highly abrupt and undignified manner. My mother sat by the open window, laughing and fanning herself.

Pesca was one of her especial favourites; and his wildest eccentricities were always pardonable in her eyes. Poor dear soul! My sister Sarah, with all the advantages of youth, was, strangely enough, less pliable. She did full justice to Pesca's excellent qualities of heart; but she could not accept him implicitly, as my mother accepted him, for my sake.

Her insular notions of propriety rose in perpetual revolt against Pesca's constitutional contempt for appearances; and she was always more or less undisguisedly astonished at her mother's familiarity with the eccentric little foreigner. I have observed, not only in my sister's case, but in the instances of others, that we of the young generation are nothing like so hearty and so impulsive as some of our elders.

I constantly see old people flushed and excited by the prospect of some anticipated pleasure which altogether fails to ruffle the tranquillity of their serene grandchildren. Are we, I wonder, quite such genuine boys and girls now as our seniors were, in their time? Has the great advance in education taken rather too long a stride; and are we, in these modern days, just the least trifle in the world too well brought up?

Without attempting to answer those questions decisively, I may at least record that I never saw my mother and my sister together in Pesca's society, without finding my mother much the younger woman of the two. On this occasion, for example, while the old lady was laughing heartily over the boyish manner in which we tumbled into the parlour, Sarah was perturbedly picking up the broken pieces of a teacup, which the Professor had knocked off the table in his precipitate advance to meet me at the door.

Pesca has been half-mad with impatience; and I have been half-mad with curiosity. The Professor has brought some wonderful news with him, in which he says you are concerned; and he has cruelly refused to give us the smallest hint of it till his friend Walter appeared. While these words were being spoken, Pesca, happily and fussily unconscious of the irreparable wrong which the crockery had suffered at his hands, was dragging a large arm-chair to the opposite end of the room, so as to command us all three, in the character of a public speaker addressing an audience.

Having turned the chair with its back towards us, he jumped into it on his knees, and excitably addressed his small congregation of three from an impromptu pulpit. The time has come-I recite my good news-I speak at last. I said that I should never be happy again till I had found the opportunity of doing a good Something for Walter-and I have never been contented with myself till this most blessed day.

Now," cried the enthusiastic little man at the top of his voice, "the overflowing happiness bursts out of me at every pore of my skin, like a perspiration; for on my faith, and soul, and honour, the Something is done at last, and the only word to say now, is-Right-all-right!

The Woman in White Summary & Study Guide

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, published in , is a Victorian sensationalistst fiction novel. Collins might be considered the father of the modern mystery thriller and detective novel genres. Collins, like his friend Charles Dickens, uses the novel to expose social injustices of his time, in particular, the lack of legal rights afforded married women. Collins presents this story as if holding a trial in which characters present their perspective on the events through narrative, diary excerpts and eye-witness accounts. The main story takes place between July, , and August,

The events described in the novel take place in the s in England. A young painter from London, Walter Hartright , secures a position as an art teacher at Limmeridge House in Cumberland, which belongs to Frederick Fairlie.

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The Woman In White

JavaScript seems to be disabled in your browser. For the best experience on our site, be sure to turn on Javascript in your browser. Our story beings with Walter Hartright helpfully telling us that he's about to tell us a story. Glad he gave us that head's up. Walter actually gathered a lot of testimony and letters from people to tell us a dramatic and totally true story. Cue the Law and Order theme song. So Walter is an art teacher who lands a gig teaching two sisters how to draw. Before heading out to the sisters' house, he meets a mysterious woman dressed entirely in white who has just escaped from a lunatic asylum.

The Woman in White Summary

The novel, which predates Sherlock Holmes by decades, is considered to be one of the first mystery novels ever written. The main character and chief narrator, Walter Hartright is a schoolteacher who takes a job at an estate called Limmeridge, teaching two young women how to draw. Walter falls in love with his student, Laura almost immediately and is dismayed when her half-sister, Marian tells him that Laura is already engaged to the villainous Sir Glyde. Walter leaves town and Glyde marries Laura, Marian soon discovers, however that he only married her to obtain her fortune and that he and his cohort, Count Fosco plan to kill Laura off.

The Woman in White is Wilkie Collins 's fifth published novel, written in It is considered to be among the first mystery novels and is widely regarded as one of the first and finest in the genre of " sensation novels ".

Walter Hartright , a young drawing teacher who lives in London, needs a job and an escape from the city for the autumn months. Pesca tells Walter that he has found a job for him teaching art to a pair of young ladies in Cumberland, at a place called Limmeridge House, in the employment of a man named Mr. Walter is somewhat uneasy about the job but accepts. On the road he meets a young woman dressed head to toe in white clothes.

The Woman in White

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Plot Summary: The Woman in White. (from: Wilkie Collins: An Illustrated Guide © Andrew Gasson , used with permission). Walter Hartright, a young.

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