And Then There Were None: Novel Summary: Chapter IV

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Summary

Wargrave produces and reads his letter from Constance Culmington, noting that it is very similar to what the others received. He suggests that from the evidence the author knows a great deal about all of them and has gone to great lengths to get them to the island. Several of the guests proclaim that the accusations are nonsense or lies, which prompts Wargrave to tell the tale of the man he supposedly murdered. Wargrave was the judge in the case of Edward Seton; he states that Seton's defense was effective and that Seton had impressed the jury, even though he was clearly guilty. Wargrave's summation swayed the jury, and, as a result, a guilty verdict was returned. Wargrave then did his duty and sentenced Seton to death.

Armstrong remembers the case, recalling that he had spoken with one of Seton's lawyers, who had told him that Seton would surely be acquitted, and that Wargrave had turned the jury around. He recalls feeling that Wargrave must have had something against Seton. Impulsively, Armstrong asks Wargrave if he had known Seton personally, and the judge denies it. Armstrong feels that Wargrave is lying.

Claythorne is the next to tell her story. She notes that she was the nursery governess to Cyril Hamilton. Though Hamilton was forbidden to swim out into deep water, one day when she was distracted he had done so. She immediately swam after him but could not reach him in time. She adds that she was exonerated in the case and bursts into tears. Macarthur attempts to calm her and stresses that their host is surely a madman.

Macarthur then launches into his own story, claiming that there's no truth to it at all. He asserts that while he did send Arthur Richmond out on a reconnaissance mission, Richmond's death was a natural result of war. He calls his wife the best woman in the world and resents the slurs that were made against her.

Lombard admits that the accusation about him is true. He abandoned a group of natives in the wilderness and left them to die, but he insists that they were left behind purely out of the need for self-preservation.

Marston surmises that the two people mentioned in the recording may have been a couple he accidentally hit with his car, noting that it was "beastly bad luck". When Wargrave asks whose bad luck it was, Marston at first replies that it was his. He again stresses that it was a simple accident.

Mr. Rogers is the next to speak. He tells the group that there isn't any truth to the accusation, stressing that he and his wife were Miss Brandy's caretakers, were completely devoted to her, and were present when she died. When Blore suggests that perhaps they gained an inheritance following her death, Rogers admits that it's true but reiterates that they had been her faithful servants.

Lombard then asks Blore about his story, and Blore notes that Landor, the man named in the recording, was a bank robber. Wargrave recalls that Blore was a police officer at the time and that his evidence had convicted Landor. Blore confirms Wargrave's point, and Wargrave adds that Landor had received a life sentence but had died in prison only a year after the trial. When Blore insists that he was only "doing his duty". Lombard laughs and sarcastically states that with the exception of himself all of them seem to be law-abiding citizens. Lombard then turns to Armstrong, suggesting that perhaps his offense was a botched abortion.

Armstrong states that he has no idea who the woman identified in the recording is. He asserts that it is certainly possible that a patient in his care died, but that such people usually turn to medicine when it's too late. However, Armstrong silently notes that years before he had operated on a woman while he was drunk and the woman had died. He questions who could have known about an event that happened so long ago.

When the group's attention is turned to Brent, she states that she has led a morally upright life and that she has nothing to say. Wargrave quips that she must be reserving her defense.

With each guest's story told, Wargrave asks Rogers who else is on the island and is told no one. Wargrave again asserts that their host may be mad and suggests that they should leave the island as soon as possible; however, Rogers notes that there is no boat, adding that the only transportation is a boat from the mainland, piloted by Narracott, who arrives every morning. Wargrave states that since this is the case they should leave in the morning. All are in agreement except Marston, who suggests that it would be "unsporting" to leave before solving such a great mystery. Wargrave states that he is too old for such adventures, which prompts Marston to quip that he's "all for crime" and to down the last of his drink. Marston immediately chokes and falls to the floor.

Analysis
As subsequent events make clear, Wargrave's letter from Constance Culmington is another instance of deliberate deception. Armstrong's reaction to Wargrave's version of the Seton case furthers the theme of mistrust, but Armstrong's refusal to openly voice his thoughts reflects the fact that the characters do not yet feel threatened by each other. It is also an illustration of the importance of shared information, as well as the characters' inability to effectively communicate with each other.

The guests' denial of the accusation of murder demonstrates how adept they have become at concealing their secrets. It also develops the theme of public deception.

Mr. Rogers' revelation that the boat is the only means of transportation to and from the island enhances the theme of isolation.

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