The Woman in White – 8 Mr Fairlie’s quotes true for people who are sick of the world

Some quotes deserve to be framed and hanged on your wall. Literary characters define life so accurately you can’t help but stop reading, stare at the wall in wonder at how someone who doesn’t exist can understand your situation so well.

Here are some of Mr Fairlie’s quotes that describe the life of everyone who can no more deal with this world’s BS.

When the world just won’t leave you alone

It is the grand misfortune of my life that nobody will let me alone. Why – I ask everybody – why worry me? Nobody answers that question and nobody lets me alone. Relatives, friends, and strangers all combine to annoy me. What have I done?

When the world takes advantage of your shattered nerves

…I am incapable of resistance. If you insist, you take your unjust advantage of me, and I give way immediately.

And then force you to exercise your memory! Where is the humanity, I ask you?!

I am told to remember dates. Good heavens! I never did such a thing in my life – how am I to begin now?

When you’re calmly trying to solve world problems from your chair but the world doesn’t care

It might by supposed that a gentleman who was in course of conferring a great national benefit on his countrymen was the last gentleman in the world to be unfeelingly worried about private difficulties and family affairs. Quite a mistake, I assure you, in my case.

But where Mr Fairlie’s wisdom truly shines is when he reflects on the dilemma of being single in this cold, harsh world that is full of married people

Nothing, in my opinion, sets the odious selfishness of mankind in such a repulsively vivid light as the treatment, in all classes of society, which the Single people receive at the hands of the Married people.

When the world doesn’t appreciate your ‘sacrifice’ of remaining single

When you have once shown yourself too considerate and self-denying to add a family of your own to an already overcrowded population, you are vindictively marked out by your married friends, who have no similar consideration and no similar self-denial.


Husbands and wives talk of the cares of matrimony, and bachelors and spinsters bear them.

Truer words have not been spoken

I am bound, in the harmless character of a single man, to relieve my married connections of all their own troubles. Poor single people! Poor human nature!

Also read: Saving Sophie by Sam Carrington – a review

The Woman in White is a mystery/suspense novel by Wilkie Collins that caused a sensation amongst readers when it was published in 1859. The narrative is written from different characters’ point of views, including that of Mr Fairlie’s, who contrary to popular opinion is one of my favourite characters. The book is full of suspense and cliffhangers and will keep you glued till the end. I’d rate it 4.5/5. Would have rated it 5 if the story hadn’t dragged at some points.

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