Throughout the novel, fog and mist symbolize impending disaster. At the start of the novel (in the frame story, which shows Arthur Kipps as an older man, retired to the countryside) Arthur is perturbed by the dreary, foggy weather as Christmas approaches. Though he does not admit it to himself, the misty weather no doubt reminds him of the odious, densely foggy London day on which his fateful trip to Crythin Gifford began—and the sudden sea mists that assaulted him there and contributed greatly to his sense of isolation at Eel Marsh House. Anytime fog or mist rolls in throughout the text, it is Hill’s way of warning her readers—and perhaps even Arthur himself—that trouble is on the horizon.
Fog and Mist Quotes in The Woman in Black
Fog was outdoors, hanging over the river, creeping in and out of alleyways and passages, swirling thickly between the bare trees of all the parks and gardens of the city and indoors, too, seething through cracks and crannies like sour breath, gaining a sly entrance at every opening of a door. It was a yellow fog, a filthy, evil-smelling fog, a fog that choked and blinded, smeared and stained. […]
Sounds were deadened, shapes blurred. […] it was menacing and sinister, disguising the familiar world and confusing the people in it, as they were confused by having their eyes covered and being turned about, in a game of Blind Man's Buff.
So I thought that night, as I laid my head on the soft pillow and fell eventually into a restless, shadowy sleep, across which figures came and went, troubling me, so that once or twice I half-woke myself, as I cried out or spoke a few incoherent words, I sweated, I turned and turned about, trying to free myself from the nightmares, to escape from my own semi-conscious sense of dread and foreboding, and all the time, piercing through the surface of my dreams, came the terrified whinnying of the pony and the crying and calling of that child over and over, while I stood, helpless in the mist, my feet held fast, my body pulled back, and while behind me, though I could not see, only sense her dark presence, hovered the woman.
As soon as I awoke, a little before seven, I felt that the air had a dampness in it and that it was rather colder and, when I looked out of the window, I could hardly see the division between land and water, water and sky, all was a uniform gray, with thick cloud lying low over the marsh and a drizzle. It was not a day calculated to raise the spirits and I felt unrefreshed and nervous after the previous night. But Spider trotted down the stairs eagerly and cheerfully enough and I soon built up the fires again and stoked the boiler, had a bath and breakfast and began to feel more like my everyday self.