68 pages 2 hours read

John Fowles

The French Lieutenant's Woman

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1969

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Chapters 49-61Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 49 Summary

Charles leaves the church. After a brief conversation with the church’s curate, he reaffirms his belief that organized religion is a thing of the past. He begins to see Sarah’s actions as a test that he has failed. He walks toward the Ship Inn, thinking of how he can make Sarah confess that she loves and needs him. Sam is waiting for him at the inn. After Sam runs a bath, Charles washes and also tries to wash his bloodstained shirt.

After his bath, Charles composes a letter to Sarah. He plans to end his engagement to Ernestina and tells Sarah not to blame herself. Instead, he blames society. Once the engagement is over, he says, he will think about Sarah only. Once finished, Charles puts aside the letter and plans to send it in the morning. He feels as though he no longer knows himself, but he is happy that his actions are correct. The following day, Charles asks Sam to take the letter to the hotel where Sarah is staying. Later, he says, they will continue to Lyme Regis but only for a few hours. Sam is surprised and seeks out more information. He cannot read Charles’s letter because it is sealed with wax.