Published: 1860 Categorie(s): Fiction, Mystery & Detective, Romance, Gothic, Thrillers Source: www.gutenberg.org
About Collins: William Wilkie Collins (8 January 1824 – 23 September 1889) was an English novelist, playwright, and writer of short stories. He was hugely popular in his time, and wrote 27 novels, more than 50 short stories, at least 15plays, and over 100 pieces of non-fiction work. His best-known works are The Woman in White, The Moonstone, Armadale and No Name. Source: Wikipedia Also available on Feedbooks for Collins: • The Moonstone (1868) • Antonina, or, The Fall of Rome (1850) • Basil (1852) • The Law and the Lady (1875) • No Name (1862) • The Legacy of Cain (1889) • Armadale (1866) • The Black Robe (1881) Note: This bookis brought to you by Feedbooks http://www.feedbooks.com Strictly for personal use, do not use this file for commercial purposes.
Part 1 First Epoch
The Story Begun by Walter Hartright (of Clement's Inn, Teacher of Drawing)
This is the story of what a Woman's patience can endure, and what a Man's resolution can achieve. If the machinery of the Law could bedepended on to fathom every case of suspicion, and to conduct every process of inquiry, with moderate assistance only from the lubricating influences of oil of gold, the events which fill these pages might have claimed their share of the public attention in a Court of Justice. But the Law is still, in certain inevitable cases, the pre-engaged servant of the long purse; and the story is left to betold, for the first time, in this place. As the Judge might once have heard it, so the Reader shall hear it now. No circumstance of importance, from the beginning to the end of the disclosure, shall be related on hearsay evidence. When the writer of these introductory lines (Walter Hartright by name) happens to be more closely connected than others with the incidents to be recorded, he will describethem in his own person. When his experience fails, he will retire from the position of narrator; and his task will be continued, from the point at which he has left it off, by other persons who can speak to the circumstances under notice from their own knowledge, just as clearly and positively as he has spoken before them. Thus, the story here presented will be told by more than one pen, as thestory of an offence against the laws is told in Court by more than one witness—with the same object, in both cases, to present the truth always in its most direct and most intelligible aspect; and to trace the course of one complete series of events, by making the persons who have been most closely connected with them, at each successive stage, relate their own experience, word for word.
LetWalter Hartright, teacher of drawing, aged twenty-eight years, be heard first.
It was the last day of July. The long hot summer was drawing to a close; and we, the weary pilgrims of the London pavement, were beginning to think of the cloud-shadows on the corn-fields, and the autumn breezes on the sea-shore. For my own poor part, the fading summer left me out of health, out ofspirits, and, if the truth must be told, out of money as well. During the past year I had not managed my professional resources as carefully as usual; and my extravagance now limited me to the prospect of spending the autumn economically between my mother's cottage at Hampstead and my own chambers in town. The evening, I remember, was still and cloudy; the London air was at its heaviest; the distant humof the street-traffic was at its faintest; the small pulse of the life within me, and the great heart of the city around me, seemed to be sinking in unison, languidly and more languidly, with the sinking sun. I roused myself from the book which I was dreaming over rather than reading, and left my chambers to meet the cool night air in the suburbs. It was one of the two evenings in every week...