And Then There Were None: Novel Summary: Chapter XI

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Summary

Though Lombard awakens several times, he doesn't leave his room until well after nine o'clock the next morning. He knocks on Blore's door and asks whether Blore has been called or if he has received any tea. When Blore answers no, Lombard asserts that Rogers must be missing. Blore suggests that Rogers may be somewhere out on the island. Blore dresses and the two check the others' rooms. Armstrong is getting dressed, Wargrave is up, and Claythorne is dressed. However Brent isn't in her room. The group examines Mr. Rogers' room and determines that he slept in his bed and arose the next morning. Armstrong suggests that he may be walking about the island. The group shortly encounters Brent, who informs them that she has been out walking. She notes that the sea is very rough and suggests that no boat will be able to reach them today. When Blore chides her for going off alone, Brent replies that she kept her wits about her. She admits that she hasn't seen Rogers. As they move to the dining room, Wargrave notes that the places have been set, and Lombard suggests that Rogers may have done the work last evening. Claythorne notes that there are only six figurines on the table.

Rogers' body is discovered in a small wash-house across from the main house. It is evident that he was chopping wood and was killed with an ax.

As the group debates Rogers' death, Wargrave asks Armstrong if the blow would have required a good deal of strength. Armstrong catches his meaning and notes that a woman could have killed him. Blore comments that the ax had been wiped clean of fingerprints. Claythorne laughs hysterically and asks if there are any bees on the island. When the others stare at her for the odd comment, she reminds them of the next line of the rhyme, which refers to "Six little Indian boys playing with a hive". Claythorne again laughs, hysterically, and Armstrong slaps her to bring her back to her senses. The men collect some wood to start the kitchen fire and Claythorne and Brent prepare breakfast.

Blore tells Lombard that Rogers' death reminds him of a murder case in America, where a respected daughter killed her parents with an ax. He then suggests that though Claythorne's hysteria was to be expected, Brent's unusual calm was suspicious. Lombard states that her demeanor is no proof of her guilt. But Blore presses the point, noting that if she hadn't committed the crime, she would have been too frightened to go off wandering this morning. Lombard admits that it's a good point. When Lombard states that he's glad Blore no longer considers him to be the murderer, Blore admits that although he initially suspected Lombard, he has changed his mind. Lombard replies that he doesn't believe Blore has the imagination to orchestrate such a plot; he then questions whether Blore, as stated in the gramophone recording, committed perjury. Blore then admits that Landor was innocent and that he was able to get Landor placed in prison. However, he had no idea that Landor would die there. Lombard notes that it's a pity for him, because he is likely to die as a result of the case. Blore proclaims that he's not going to die like Rogers because he's going to be watching the others very carefully. Lombard comments that despite Blore's intentions he will be an easy target because he lacks imagination. Blore is angered by Lombard's remark, and notes that he has been in tight spots before and that he will get out of this one too.

As she cooks breakfast, Claythorne wonders how she could have become so hysterical, particularly since she had been praised for her composure during the investigation of Cyril's death. All had praised her except for Hugo, who had simply turned away. She wonders where Hugo is, what he's doing, and whether or not he's married. When Brent pulls Claythorne back to reality, noting that she's burning the bacon, Claythorne asks how Brent can remain so calm. Brent replies that as a child she was taught to "never make a fuss". Claythorne sees this as evidence of Brent's severely repressed personality. When Claythorne asks if Brent is afraid of dying, Brent falls deep in thought, noting that while the others may die, she isn't about to. She recalls how some people, like Beatrice Taylor, give up on life. Brent remembers a dream she had last night, in which Taylor was outside her window and begged to be let in. Of course, Brent couldn't let Taylor in, or something terrible would happen. Brent notices that Claythorne is staring at her, so she states that they should serve breakfast.

At breakfast the remaining guests are very civil toward each other, yet their thoughts are on other matters.

Analysis
The guests' morning activities suggest that they are beginning to function as a group; however, this cohesion will not last.

The chapter includes considerable evidence that the guests' minds are being adversely affected by the mental strain of the situation. Claythorne's hysterical laughter and unusual behavior, Blore's comment that he won't die like Rogers because he is going to closely observe the others, and Brent's recollection of her dream are all evidence that the guests are becoming deeply rattled psychologically.

The guests' civil behavior toward each other during breakfast demonstrates the stoic grace-under-pressure attitude commonly attributed to the English, particularly during periods of great pressure. It also serves as a stark contrast to the mental turmoil each is experiencing.

Blore's reference to the famous American ax murder case is likely an allusion to the Lizzy Borden case. (Lizzy Borden was a Massachusetts woman accused of murdering her father and stepmother with an ax in 1892.) Considering his next comment, which stresses that Claythorne's hysteria was normal but Brent's calm was not, Blore is offering an indictment against Brent.

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