The Woman in White
The Story Continued By Frederick Fairlie
Note: The manner in which Mr. Fairlie's Narrative and other Narratives that are shortly to
follow it, were originally obtained, forms the subject of an explanation which will appear
at a later period.
of myfe that nobody will let me alone.
Why--I ask everybody--why worry ME? Nobody answers that question, and nobody lets
me alone. Relatives, friends, and strangers all combine to annoy me. What have I done? I
ask myself, I ask my servant, Louis, fifty times a day--what have I done? Neither of us
can tell. Most extraordinary!
The last annoyance that has assailed me is the annoyance of being called upon to write
this Narrative. Is a man in my state of nervous wretchedness capable of writing
narratives? When I put this extremely reasonable objection, I am told that certain very
serious events relating to my niece have happened within my experience, and that I am
the fit person to describe them on that account. I am threatened if I fail to exert myself in
the manner required, with consequences which I cannot so much as think of without
perfect prostration. There is really no need to threaten me. Shattered by my miserable
health and my family troubles, I am incapable of resistance. If you insist, you take your
unjust advantage of me, and I give way immediately. I will endeavour to remember what
I can (under protest), and to write what I can (also under protest), and what I can't
remember and can't write, Louis must remember and write for me. He is an ass, and I am
an invalid, and we are likely to make all sorts of mistakes between us. How humiliating!
I am told to remember dates. Good heavens! I never did such a thing in my life--how am
I to begin now?
I have asked Louis. He is not quite such an ass as I have hitherto supposed. He
remembers the date of the event, within a week or two--and I remember the name of the
person. The date was towards the end of June, or the beginning of July, and the name (in
my opinion a remarkably vulgar one) was Fanny.
At the end of June, or the beginning of July, then, I was reclining in my customary state,
surrounded by the various objects of Art which I have collected about me to improve the
taste of the barbarous people in my neighbourhood. That is to say, I had the photographs
of my pictures, and prints, and coins, and so forth, all about me, which I intend, one of
these days, to present (the photographs, I mean, if the clumsy English language will let
me mean anything) to present to the institution at Carlisle (horrid place!), with a view to
improving the tastes of the members (Goths and Vandals to a man). It might be supposed
that a gentleman who was in course of conferring a great national benefit on his
countrymen was the last gentleman in the world to be unfeelingly worried about private
difficulties and family affairs. Quite a mistake, I assure you, in my case.