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And Then There Were None

Agatha Christie

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And Then There Were None | Chapter 2 | Summary



All the guests meet at Oakbridge and later take taxis to the boat launch. They introduce themselves to each other, and the conversations are slightly uncomfortable. It seems odd that none of these people know each other, and the general thinks there's something a little "off" with Philip Lombard. Lombard thinks it's strange Vera Claythorne has been hired to be a secretary, but Vera says she is a substitute for a secretary who became ill. No one appears to have actually met their hosts, U.N. Owens and his wife. Ex-Inspector Blore tells everyone his name is Mr. Davis, from Natal, South Africa. Lombard evades Vera's question about their hosts by pretending there's a wasp on her arm and swatting it away.

Fred Narracott, the boat driver, remarks to himself that this crowd in the boat is not like the guests he took to the island when the millionaire owned it. He thinks Anthony Marston, who screeches up to the launch in his expensive sports car, is the "right kind" of person, "born to money." Everyone else looks at Marston as if he were a god, a handsome golden boy, full of life, who impresses everyone who sees him. The narrator says everyone will remember that moment later. Fred tells his passengers the island cannot be reached during a storm, and they are all a little nervous about so many people in such a small boat.

When they reach the island, they meet Rogers, the butler, and his wife, Ethel Rogers, the cook, who lead them to their rooms. Vera Claythorne talks with Mrs. Rogers, noticing that she is a woman who looks like she is always afraid, and Vera wonders why she and her husband have not yet met their employer. Vera is amused to notice a copy of the nursery rhyme "Ten Little Indians" on the wall in her room. She begins to think about how one could drown in the sea, and tries to get that thought out of her head. Dr. Armstrong arrives on the island late, and realizes he knows Justice Wargrave from having testified in front of him in court. General Macarthur continues to think there's something wrong about Lombard, while Miss Brent reads a passage in her Bible about God's judgment and gets ready for dinner.


The guests haven't even arrived at the island and they already view each other with suspicion. General Macarthur immediately notices there's something off about Philip Lombard, who was also an army man, but of the kind who are not always honest about what they're doing. The "right kind of people" remark that Fred makes to himself about Anthony Marston is also an example of the theme of class. One's station in life makes an impression on people, and the more money and seniority one has, the more trustworthy one is. The exception is Justice Wargrave, who has a presence that puts him automatically in charge, but doesn't make him more trustworthy. Dr. Armstrong knows his reputation for being a "hanging judge" and doesn't like him. The narrator's description of Wargrave as "reptilian" makes him a character the reader is not encouraged to like either.

Fred's remark about the island being unreachable in a storm brings up the symbol of the storm as an isolating, dangerous force that surrounds the island. This symbol serves to foreshadow not only the actual storm that will come up the next day, but the emotional storm that will arise when people realize why they are on the island.

The statement that all the guests will remember Anthony Marston's godlike presence later foreshadows that Marston's good luck is about to end. "Panther-like," is the description Christie gives Philip Lombard, which doesn't bode well for his character's trustworthiness. Miss Brent's pursed lips and her choice to read a biblical passage about the "wicked" being "turned into hell," reflect her holier-than-thou attitude. Vera's sudden reflection on drowning challenges her good humor. This brings up a memory she wants to push away, a foreshadowing of the revelation of a terrible event she's trying to hide. No one has accused her of anything yet, but guilt grows in Vera's thoughts.

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