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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES
As Emily Brent and Vera Claythorne walk up the hill to watch for the boat, Miss Claythorne asks the older woman if she really believes the Rogers murdered the lady in their care. From their nervous manner, Miss Brent says, she was sure they were guilty. Yet she adds that some of the accusations, including her own, cannot possibly be true. She shares with Vera the details of her case: An unmarried girl working for her became pregnant and, refusing to condone that behavior, Miss Brent banished her from her home. The destitute girl then committed suicide, but Miss Brent refuses to accept any responsibility since the girlís shameful conduct was what drove her to her fate. This story makes Vera see Miss Brent as a dreadful old woman.
Meanwhile, Dr. Armstrong decides to discuss the situation with Philip Lombard. They confer that two suicides so close together seems unlikely, and that Rogersí murder of his wife seems implausible paired with Anthony Marstonís death just hours earlier. The doctor tells Lombard of the two missing Indian figures and the correspondence between the Indians poem and the manner of the two deaths so far, and Lombard is convinced of foul play in both cases. They decide they must quietly search out U.N. Owen on the island, and enlist Mr. Bloreís help for the task.
In this chapter, for the first time, some of the characters admit to each other that the unknown host has already murdered two and is trying to kill them all. The symbolic significance of the china Indian figures and the "Ten Little Indians" poem is also explicitly acknowledged.
Dr. Armstrong, Lombard, and Blore begin methodically searching the island, with Lombardís revolver as protection. They come across General Macarthur sitting alone, staring out to the sea. When they address him, he responds in anger that time is running out and he needs to be left in peace. Dr. Armstrong begins to suspect that the general is mentally unstable, and could possibly be the crazy murderer. As they complete their search on the side of a cliff, the three despair that even a fire signal would likely be ignored by the townspeople under prior explanation from U.N. Owen. Blore tells Dr. Armstong that Lombardís possession of a revolver is not normal behavior and therefore suspect.
Meanwhile, Vera Claythorne takes a walk and finds the general still gazing at the horizon. He explains that he is waiting for the end to come, since he is convinced of the conspiracy to have them all killed. He admits to murdering his wifeís lover and talks of his loneliness afterward; death will only be a relief for him. Vera responds irritatingly that she cannot understand what he is talking about.
The search team determines that the house is the only remaining hiding place, but discover that the modern structure has no possible secret chambers. Hearing quiet footsteps in the servantsí room, they burst in to find Rogers moving his things out. The men are forced to admit that the island holds no one besides the eight remaining characters.
Even while Lombard, Dr. Armstrong, and Blore are combing the island for the unknown killer, everyone continues to view each other suspiciously. The doctor doubts General Macarthurís sanity, Blore suspects Lombard for bringing a gun to the island, and Blore dislikes how furtively Rogers moved from being outside to tiptoeing around his dead wifeís bedroom. In this way, the characters set the stage for the inevitable conclusion that one of them must be the murderer.