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No Thoroughfare

No Thoroughfare by Charles Dickens
By: (1812-1870)

Two boys from the Foundling Hospital are given the same name, with disastrous consequences in adulthood. Two associates, wishing to right the wrong, are commissioned to find a missing heir. Their quest takes them from fungous wine cellars in the City of London to the sunshine of the Mediterranean — across the Alps in winter. Danger and treachery would prevail were it not for the courage of the heroine and the faithful company servant.

The story contains crafted descriptions, well-drawn and diverse characters, eerie and exotic backgrounds, mystery, semi-concealed identities, brinkmanship with death, romance, the eventual triumph of Good over Evil, and many other elements expected in classic Dickens.

First published in 1867 there are thematic parallels with other books from Dickens’ mature writings, including Little Dorrit (1857) and especially Our Mutual Friend (1865). The Listener will decide if this story yields insights into The Mystery of Edwin Drood (unfinished 1870).

Wilkie Collings collaborated with Charles Dickens to produce this ‘Christmas’ book and the stage play of the same name. In the book Collins assisted in Act 1 and Act 4; Collins scripted most of the stage play with Dickens’ assistance. If this book were released today it would be splashed “THE BOOK OF THE FILM”.

Summary by Alan Chant.

First Page:

NO THOROUGHFARE

THE OVERTURE.

Day of the month and year, November the thirtieth, one thousand eight hundred and thirty five. London Time by the great clock of Saint Paul's, ten at night. All the lesser London churches strain their metallic throats. Some, flippantly begin before the heavy bell of the great cathedral; some, tardily begin three, four, half a dozen, strokes behind it; all are in sufficiently near accord, to leave a resonance in the air, as if the winged father who devours his children, had made a sounding sweep with his gigantic scythe in flying over the city.

What is this clock lower than most of the rest, and nearer to the ear, that lags so far behind to night as to strike into the vibration alone? This is the clock of the Hospital for Foundling Children. Time was, when the Foundlings were received without question in a cradle at the gate. Time is, when inquiries are made respecting them, and they are taken as by favour from the mothers who relinquish all natural knowledge of them and claim to them for evermore.

The moon is at the full, and the night is fair with light clouds... Continue reading book >>


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