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American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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  Published in
Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, February 1858
 
A Marriage Tragedy
by Wilkie Collins
Author of The Dead Secret, etc., etc.
[Written exclusively for Harper’s Magazine.]

Chapter I

  up my mind to take a holiday, and had got my hat on to go out. In sheer desperation I resolved to adhere to my original intention, let it rain as it might. Leaving my tutor with his eternal books on one side of him, and his eternal snuffbox on the other, I descended to the ground-floor of the inn at which we were staying, and sent for the landlord.

“I have been waiting for the weather, in this horrible climate of yours, four whole days,” I said, “and I mean to wait no longer. Get me a horse, or a gig, or any conveyance you possess, and tell me where I am to go to get rid of the sight of that waste of drab-colored sand in front of the window, and of that changeless strip of dreary gray sea beyond it.”

The, landlord—a very intelligent and very good-humored old man—laughed, and said that he had a gig and horse at my disposal, if I was really determined to take a drive in the rain.

“Order the gig,” I answered, “and tell me . . .

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    It rained all Monday, all Tuesday, all Wednesday, all Thursday. My tutor, who never went out if he could possibly help it, and who cared for nothing so long as he had his books with him, was proof against the miserable weather, and was not even polite enough to agree with me when I complained of it. I, who was reading with him for my college examination, found my spirits so seriously affected by the incessant rain that I resolved, unless the sky cleared at the end of the week, to propose that we should depart forthwith from the little Cumberland watering place which we had unfortunately selected as the place of our temporary abode.

Friday came. The morning began with some gleams of watery sunshine; but toward noon the clouds gathered again, and down came the rain as persistently as ever, just as I had made

   

 

 


 

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