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Man and Wife

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By: (1824-1889)

This 1870 novel by Wilkie Collins centers around a peculiarity of Scottish law of that time, according to which any man and woman 'who were legally entitled to marry and who asserted that they were married before witnesses, or in writing, were regarded in Scotland as being married in law.' This strange law causes the characters Arnold and Geoffrey both possibly accidentally marrying Anne, though one is engaged to another woman and the other is searching for a more wealthy wife to accomodate his lifestyle. In these circumstances, Anne needs to catch an actual husband in order to save her reputation...

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MAN AND WIFE

by Wilkie Collins

PROLOGUE. THE IRISH MARRIAGE.

Part the First.

THE VILLA AT HAMPSTEAD.

I.

ON a summer's morning, between thirty and forty years ago, two girls were crying bitterly in the cabin of an East Indian passenger ship, bound outward, from Gravesend to Bombay.

They were both of the same age eighteen. They had both, from childhood upward, been close and dear friends at the same school. They were now parting for the first time and parting, it might be, for life.

The name of one was Blanche. The name of the other was Anne.

Both were the children of poor parents, both had been pupil teachers at the school; and both were destined to earn their own bread. Personally speaking, and socially speaking, these were the only points of resemblance between them.

Blanche was passably attractive and passably intelligent, and no more. Anne was rarely beautiful and rarely endowed. Blanche's parents were worthy people, whose first consideration was to secure, at any sacrifice, the future well being of their child. Anne's parents were heartless and depraved... Continue reading book >>


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