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No Name

Wilkie Collins

Book Overview: 

The story begins in 1846, at Combe-Raven in West Somersetshire, the country residence of the happy Vanstone family. When Andrew Vanstone is killed suddenly in an accident and his wife follows shortly thereafter, it is revealed that they were not married at the time of their daughters' births, making their daughters "Nobody's Children" in the eyes of English law and robbing them of their inheritance. Andrew Vanstone's elder brother Michael gleefully takes possession of his brother's fortune, leaving his nieces to make their own way in the world. Norah, the elder sister, accepts her misfortune gracefully, but the headstrong Magdalen is determined to have her revenge. Using her dramatic talent and assisted by wily swindler Captain Wragge, Magdalen plots to regain her rightful inheritance.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Her tears," said Norah, softly.

Miss Garth's head drooped low over the mute revelation of Magdalen's return to her better self.

"Oh, never doubt her again!" pleaded Norah. "We are alone now—we have our hard way through the world to walk on as patiently as we can. If Magdalen ever falters and turns back, help her for the love of old times; help her against herself."

"With all my heart and strength—as God shall judge me, with the devotion of my whole life!" In those fervent words Miss Garth answered. She took the hand which Norah held out to her, and put it, in sorrow and humility, to her lips. "Oh, my love, forgive me! I have been miserably blind—I have never valued you as I ought!"

Norah gently checked her before she could say more; gently whispered, "Come with me into the garden—come, and help Magdalen to look patiently to the future."

The future! Who could see the faintest glimmer of it? Who. . . Read More