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Witness to the Deed   By: (1831-1909)

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Witness to the Deed, by George Manville Fenn.

This is indeed rather an extraordinary book, in many ways not in the usual style of Fenn, yet in others in a style that few but Fenn could rise to.

One of the problems with this book is that, at least in the early chapters, there are flashbacks in the text, most unusual in the nineteenth century, though regrettably an oft used device in the writing of today. This does make it difficult to follow the story, but you just have to push on with the work, and you will be rewarded in the end.

A young girl, the daughter of an admiral, had previously married a man who turned out to be a forger, and who was believed to have died. The hero of the book was due that day to marry her, and was very much in love with her. Just as he is departing for the church, a visitor appears, and states that, far from being dead, he is the girl's husband. He demands money: there is a fight; two pistol shots are fired; the bridegroom to be does not turn up at the wedding; several people are seriously upset, and remain so throughout the book. Matters do not clear up until the very end of the book.

You could probably call this a psychological novel, and, as such, it is not really suitable for children, as most of Fenn's novels are. It is quite a long book, longer than most others by Fenn, and it demands great concentration throughout. If you are reading it for the second or third time, you could listen to an audio version of it, but we would advise reading it from the screen when first you read this book.

The type used was very clear, and the book was easily digitised, but unfortunately there were numerous type setting errors, which all had to be sought out and corrected. Hopefully there are very few left. Be a brave soul and try this book, taking your time over it.




"My darling! Mine at last!" Ting tang; ting tang; ting tang .

Malcolm Stratton, F.Z.S., naturalist, a handsome, dark complexioned man of eight and twenty, started and flushed like a girl as he hurriedly thrust the photograph he had been apostrophising into his breast pocket, and ran to the deep, dingy window of his chambers to look at the clock over the old hall of Bencher's Inn, E.C. It was an unnecessary piece of business, for there was a black marble clock on the old carved oak chimney piece nestling among Grinling Gibbons' wooden flowers and pippins, and he had been dragging his watch from his pocket every ten minutes since he had risen at seven, taken his bath, and dressed; but he had forgotten the hour the next minute, and gone on making his preparations, haunted by the great dread lest he should be too late.

"Quarter to ten yet," he muttered. "How slowly the time goes!" As he spoke he sniffed slightly and smiled, for a peculiar aromatic incense like odour had crept into the room through the chinks in a door.

He stepped back to where a new looking portmanteau lay upon the Turkey carpet, and stood contemplating it for a few moments.

"Now, have I forgotten anything?"

This question was followed by a slow look round the quaint, handsomely furnished old oak panelled room, one of several suites let out to bachelors who could pay well, and who affected the grim old inn with its plane trees, basin of water, and refreshing quiet, just out of the roar of the busy city street. And as Malcolm Stratton looked round his eyes rested on his cases of valuable books and busts of famous naturalists, and a couple of family portraits, both of which seemed to smile at him pleasantly; and then on and over natural history specimens, curious stuffed birds, a cabinet of osteological preparations, and over and around the heavy looking carvings and mouldings about the four doorways, and continued from the fireplace up to the low ceiling... Continue reading book >>

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