The Devil in the White City

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Summary

Part III: In the White City (Chapters 43-47)

Summary Part III: In the White City (Chapters 43-47)

Holmes insures Benjamin Pitezel’s life and goes to Fort Worth, Texas with both Pitezel and Georgiana Yoke. He plans to build another castle on Minnie’s land.

Summary: Chapter 46: Nightfall

Attendance rises as the end of the Fair approaches. For Closing Day, Millet plans a huge celebration with a reenactment of Columbus’ discovery of America. First is American Cities Day, attended by 5,000 mayors and city councilmen. Mayor Harrison announces that the rumors are true, and he will marry the young Miss Annie Howard in November. He gives a rousing speech about the success of the Fair and Chicago. He proposes that if the White City cannot be preserved for another year, they should burn it down.

Prendergast feels humiliated by his visit to the Corporation Counsel’s office. He believes (by delusion) that Harrison has promised him the job, but nobody responds to his postcards or takes him seriously. On American Cities Day, he purchases a gun for $4. He keeps one chamber empty in case of an accidental discharge. Prendergast is denied entrance to the governor’s office in the Unity Building because his behavior seems odd.

Harrison returns from his speech around seven o’clock. While eating dinner with his children, his parlor maid, Mary Hanson, answers the door to a strange man who looks ill, asking for Harrison. Night callers are not unusual, and Mary tells him to come back in a half-hour.

After dinner, Harrison falls asleep and his children retire. The same man rings again. Then, Harrison’s son hears gunshots. Harrison tells his son and a neighbor he is shot and will die, and then he dies.

Prendergast turns himself in to police. They ask him why he shot Harrison and he replies that Harrison “betrayed [his] confidence.” He supported Harrison through the mayoral campaign and was supposed to be appointed Corporation Counsel.