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kev67
03-10-2015, 06:48 PM
There appears to be a humungous plot error regarding The Woman in White. I had heard that there was one. I gather the plot pivots around a marriage settlement that Laura Fairlie's solicitor, Mr Gilmore, is unable to alter. Mr Gilmore wants the settlement to state that Laura will be able to leave a sum of 20,000 to her friends and relatives (such as Miss Halcombe, her half-sister) if she dies without children. This money is special because it is not specified as a life-interest, like the estate and another sum of 10,000. Sir Percival Glyde (through his solicitor) refuses the clause and insists that the 20,000 should come to him. Mr Gilmore tells Laura's guardian (uncle Frederick) that any respectable solicitor would want to draft the marriage settlement so that the wife would retain control of her money. However, this appears to be incorrect. According to the notes in the back of the book, until the Married Woman's Property Act of 1882, all of a woman's wealth and possessions became her husband's on marriage.

Maybe it is not a major plot error, just some poetic licence. Sir Percival is obviously marrying Laura for her money. The chapters about the marriage settlement just make that clear. I am somewhat concerned for Laura's future.

Btw, what an old queen Frederick Fairlie is! He sounds like a cross between acid-tongued art critic, Brian Sewell, and Charles Hawtry, the camp skinny one out of the Carry On films.

Jackson Richardson
03-10-2015, 06:58 PM
Btw, what an old queen Frederick Fairlie is! He sounds like a cross between acid-tongued art critic, Brian Sewell, and Charles Hawtry, the camp skinny one out of the Carry On films.

Coo. I'd forgotten about the camp uncle. I must re-read. Is he camper than Dorothea's uncle in Middlemarch?

kev67
03-11-2015, 02:50 AM
I did not regard Mr Brooke as particularly camp. He just seemed like an amiable, old duffer. Mr Fairlie otoh is very arch.

kev67
03-13-2015, 03:01 PM
There is a comparison to be made with Dorothea's marriage to Casaubon. Both Laura and Dorothea marry for the wrong reasons to men much older than they are. Both have bachelor uncles as guardians, when presumably their fathers would have refused to allow the weddings to go ahead, the girls not having reached the age of majority. There are differences however. Dorothea actually wanted to marry Casaubon, while Laura dreads marrying Sir Percival Glyde. Dorothea's uncle has unsound judgement, although he is well-meaning. Laura's uncle is really very selfish and irresponsible.

Reading the lead up to the wedding was rather like reading to the lead up of an execution.