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The Idler, Volume III., Issue XIII., February 1893 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 110 pages of information about The Idler, Volume III., Issue XIII., February 1893.
my friend in loud tones.  At other times we dined at different hours.  On Sundays he was supposed to be asleep when I was in church.  There is no landlady in the world to whom the idea would have occurred that one man was troubling himself to be two (and to pay for two, including washing).  I worked up the idea of Roxdal’s flight, asked Polly to go with me, manufactured that feminine letter that arrived on the morning of my disappearance.  As Tom Peters I mixed with a journalistic set.  I had another room where I kept the gold and notes till I mistakenly thought the thing had blown over.  Unfortunately, returning from here on the night of my disappearance, with Roxdal’s clothes in a bundle I intended to drop into the river, it was stolen from me in the fog, and the man into whose possession it ultimately came appears to have committed suicide.  What, perhaps, ruined me was my desire to keep Clara’s love, and to transfer it to the survivor.  Everard told her I was the best of fellows.  Once married to her, I would not have had much fear.  Even if she had discovered the trick, a wife cannot give evidence against her husband, and often does not want to.  I made none of the usual slips, but no man can guard against a girl’s nightmare after a day up the river and a supper at the Star and Garter.  I might have told the judge he was an ass, but then I should have had penal servitude for bank robbery, and that is worse than death.  The only thing that puzzles me, though, is whether the law has committed murder or I suicide.

* * * * *

My First Novel.

The Trail of the serpent.

By miss M. E. Braddon.

Illustrations by miss F. L. Fuller.

My first novel!  Far back in the distinctness of childish memories I see a little girl who has lately learnt to write, who has lately been given a beautiful brand new mahogany desk, with a red velvet slope, and a glass ink bottle, such a desk as might now be bought for three and sixpence, but which in the forties cost at least half-a-guinea.  Very proud is the little girl, with the Kenwigs pigtails, and the Kenwigs frills, of that mahogany desk, and its infinite capacities for literary labour, above all, gem of gems, its stick of variegated sealing-wax, brown, speckled with gold, and its little glass seal with an intaglio representing two doves—­Pliny’s doves perhaps, famous in mosaic, only the little girl had never heard of Pliny, or his Laurentine Villa.

[Illustration:  Lichfield house, Richmond.]

Armed with that desk and its supply of stationery, Mary Elizabeth Braddon—­very fond of writing her name at full-length, and her address also at full-length, though the word “Middlesex” offered difficulties—­began that pilgrimage on the broad high road of fiction, which was destined to be a longish one.  So much for the little girl of eight years old, in the third person, and now to become strictly autobiographical.

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