Chapter 13 Summary

A week after Mr. Verloc’s murder, Ossipon visits the Professor in his meagerly furnished rented room. The Professor informs Ossipon of a recent visit he made to the see Michaelis, who is wrapped up in writing his utopian autobiography and who knows nothing of the plot to bomb the Greenwich Observatory.

The Professor dismisses Michaelis’s ideas as feeble minded and fantastical, saying that a revolution must end in the strong destroying the weak rather than helping them. Ossipon argues with the Professor, saying that eventually the world will be ruled not by the strong and powerful but by the most scientifically advanced. The Professor dismisses Ossipon’s ideas as putting too much belief in faith and hope in the improvement of society through science. The Professor says that instead of thinking of “what will be,” revolutionaries should be devoted to “the destruction of what is.”

Ossipon and the Professor make their way to the Silenus to have beers. Ossipon has a newspaper in his pocket, the newspaper with an article describing the “impenetrable mystery” surrounding the recent suicide of a woman who threw herself from a ship crossing the English Channel. Ossipon knows this woman to be Winnie Verloc, and her death has had a depressing effect on him.

Ossipon imagines Winnie’s final hours. Looking lost after the train reaches the wharf, she has to be helped onto the boat by a gangway man. Once on the boat, she becomes faint and lies down in the ladies' cabin, alarming the stewardesses on board. Then Winnie goes onto the deck and lies down in one of the hooded seats. The stewardesses leave her momentarily; when they return, she has disappeared, leaving her wedding ring in the seat.

The Professor rises to leave Ossipon at the table. Before exiting, the Professor gives a dramatic speech about the future, deploring the present world as “mediocre, limp without force,” and telling Ossipon that like Verloc, he is a weak man without force, that he is squandering his legacy—the money Ossipon took from Winnie—on beer.

Ossipon asks the Professor if he wants the money. The Professor says that he will send Ossipon an order form for chemicals he needs for his bomb making.

The two revolutionaries leave the bar and make their separate ways homes. Ossipon bows his head and loses himself in reveries of Winnie’s death. The Professor walks away without any doubt about his deadly convictions, fully convinced of his own power and destiny.