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The Wilkie Collins Collection von Collins, Wilkie (eBook)

  • Verlag: Charles River Editors
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The Wilkie Collins Collection

Karpathos publishes the greatest works of history's greatest authors and collects them to make it easy and affordable for readers to have them all at the push of a button. All of our collections include a linked table of contents.
Wilkie Collins was a British writer in the 19th century.With classics such as The Woman in White, The Moonstone, and Armadale, Collins is considered one of the masters of the mystery genre.This collection includes the following: NOVELS: Antonina; Or, The Fall of Rome Basil Hide and Seek The Dead Secret The Woman in White No Name Armadale
The Moonstone Man and Wife Poor Miss Finch The Dead Alive The New Magdalen The Law and the Lady The Two Destinies My Lady's Money The Haunted Hotel The Fallen Leaves The Black Robe Heart and Science: A Story of the Present Time The Evil Genius The Guilty River The Legacy of Cain Blind Love 'I Say No' Jezebel's Daughter Miss or Mrs.? A Rogue's Life 14 short novels including Who Killed Zebedee? from 'Little Novels' Mr. Wray's Cash Box PLAYS: The Frozen Deep (co-written by Charles Dickens) No Thoroughfare (co-written by Charles Dickens) SHORT STORIES: The Queen of Hearts After Dark A House to Let (co-written by Charles Dickens and 3 others) The Haunted House (co-written by Charles Dickens and 5 others)

Produktinformationen

    Format: ePUB
    Kopierschutz: AdobeDRM
    Sprache: Englisch
    ISBN: 9781518341359
    Verlag: Charles River Editors
    Größe: 11100 kBytes
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The Wilkie Collins Collection

CHAPTER 1. GOISVINTHA.


T he mountains forming the range of Alps which border on the north-eastern confines of Italy, were, in the autumn of the year 408, already furrowed in numerous directions by the tracks of the invading forces of those northern nations generally comprised under the appellation of Goths.

In some places these tracks were denoted on either side by fallen trees, and occasionally assumed, when half obliterated by the ravages of storms, the appearance of desolate and irregular marshes. In other places they were less palpable. Here, the temporary path was entirely hidden by the incursions of a swollen torrent; there, it was faintly perceptible in occasional patches of soft ground, or partly traceable by fragments of abandoned armour, skeletons of horses and men, and remnants of the rude bridges which had once served for passage across a river or transit over a precipice.

Among the rocks of the topmost of the range of mountains immediately overhanging the plains of Italy, and presenting the last barrier to the exertions of a traveller or the march of an invader, there lay, at the beginning of the fifth century, a little lake. Bounded on three sides by precipices, its narrow banks barren of verdure or habitations, and its dark and stagnant waters brightened but rarely by the presence of the lively sunlight, this solitary spot-at all times mournful-presented, on the autumn of the day when our story commences, an aspect of desolation at once dismal to the eye and oppressive to the heart.

It was near noon; but no sun appeared in the heaven. The dull clouds, monotonous in colour and form, hid all beauty in the firmament, and shed heavy darkness on the earth. Dense, stagnant vapours clung to the mountain summits; from the drooping trees dead leaves and rotten branches sunk, at intervals, on the oozy soil, or whirled over the gloomy precipice; and a small steady rain fell, slow and unintermitting, upon the deserts around. Standing upon the path which armies had once trodden, and which armies were still destined to tread, and looking towards the solitary lake, you heard, at first, no sound but the regular dripping of the rain-drops from rock to rock; you saw no prospect but the motionless waters at your feet, and the dusky crags which shadowed them from above. When, however, impressed by the mysterious loneliness of the place, the eye grew more penetrating and the ear more attentive, a cavern became apparent in the precipices round the lake; and, in the intervals of the heavy rain-drops, were faintly perceptible the sounds of a human voice.

The mouth of the cavern was partly concealed by a large stone, on which were piled some masses of rotten brushwood, as if for the purpose of protecting any inhabitant it might contain from the coldness of the atmosphere without. Placed at the eastward boundary of the lake, this strange place of refuge commanded a view not only of the rugged path immediately below it, but of a large plot of level ground at a short distance to the west, which overhung a second and lower range of rocks. From this spot might be seen far beneath, on days when the atmosphere was clear, the olive grounds that clothed the mountain's base, and beyond, stretching away to the distant horizon, the plains of fated Italy, whose destiny of defeat and shame was now hastening to its dark and fearful accomplishment.

The cavern, within, was low and irregular in form. From its rugged walls the damp oozed forth upon its floor of decayed moss. Lizards and noisome animals had tenanted its comfortless recesses undisturbed, until the period we have just described, when their miserable rights were infringed on for the first time by human intruders.

A woman crouched near the entrance of the place. More within, on the driest part of the ground, lay a child asleep. Between them we

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