And Then There Were None: Novel Summary: Chapter XIII

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Summary

The five remaining guests now view each other with deep suspicion. Their baser instincts are come to the surface as they sit and stare at each other. Claythorne seems like a wounded bird, and Armstrong's nerves appear to be shaken. Armstrong notes that they must do something to help themselves and suggests building a bonfire. Blore states that it would be futile given the bad weather. Only one at a time now leaves the room. Lombard offers some hope, suggesting that it's only a matter of time until the weather breaks, and then they can signal or perhaps construct a raft. When Armstrong claims that the one thing they don't have is time, Wargrave notes that if they are very careful they will have enough time. The group eats lunch, standing in the kitchen, carefully watching each other, their thoughts turning into a certain paranoia. Claythorne offers to make tea, and Wargrave suggests that perhaps they should all accompany her. Wargrave again stresses that they must all be very careful. They return to the drawing-room as the sun begins to set. Lombard attempts to turn on the lights, but notes that the electricity won't work because Rogers hadn't been around to start the generator. Lombard offers to go outside and start the generator, but Wargrave suggests that it might be more prudent to use the available candles. Lombard retrieves the candles and each guest lights one.

After six o'clock, Claythorne announces that she is going to bed. She takes her candle and proceeds, alone, to her room. As she enters her room, she perceives an odd, ocean-like smell. The smell triggers a memory of Cyril's death and the sensation that Hugo is in the room with her. A draft from the window extinguishes her candle, and she feels a cold, wet hand about her throat.

Claythorne screams, and the others run to her aid. When the men arrive, Claythorne faints. When she comes to, it is apparent that the cold hand was a ribbon of wet seaweed strung from the ceiling. Claythorne again passes out. When she regains consciousness, she almost accepts a glass of brandy, yet her heightened sense of paranoia keeps her from drinking. Claythorne's paranoia affects Armstrong and Blore, who nearly begin fighting over the assertion that the drink might be poisoned. Lombard brings a fresh bottle of brandy, and Claythorne is persuaded to take a drink. Lombard announces that at least they have foiled one murder plot, but Armstrong comments that he isn't so sure. As she regains her senses, Claythorne asks where Wargrave is. In the confusion, the others failed to notice that Wargrave hadn't accompanied them. The group heads downstairs to the living room, where they find Wargrave dead. A robe, fashioned from the red curtain, has been wrapped around him, and a wig, made from Brent's cloak, has been placed upon his head. Upon examination, Armstrong discovers that Wargrave has died from a gunshot to the head. Lombard laughs as he recites a portion of the nursery rhyme: "Five little Indian boys going in for law; one got in Chancery and then there were four". A distraught Claythorne reminds Lombard that this morning he had claimed Wargrave was the murderer; Lombard simply notes that he was obviously wrong.

Analysis
This chapter suggests that the guests' suspicions are transforming into full-blown paranoia. Their actions reveal that their baser instincts are coming to the surface; in essence, they are beginning to act solely out of the need for self-preservation. The fact that the guests will only leave the room one at a time is further evidence of their deep suspicion of each other.

Armstrong's suggestion that they build a bonfire is a call for the group to band together; of course, their deep suspicions of each other make them unable to carry out the action.

Claythorne's refusal to drink the brandy is reminiscent of Brent's refusal to accept medication from Armstrong. And Armstrong and Blore's argument over the issue illustrates their own mistrust of each other.

Wargrave's ability to direct the others demonstrates that he still maintains some power over them.

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