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September 25 , 2008

Two Destinies


An exploration of 'destined spirits' and supernatural visions, with a romantic twist.

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Le précurseur de la «detective novel», le «Gaboriau anglais», les qualificatifs ne manquent pas pour qualifier le premier grand auteur de romans policiers anglais, des années avant Arthur Conan Doyle et son SHerlock Holmes.Après un mariage scandaleux, Lord Montbarry décède en voyage de…

Wilkie Collins's novel was published in 1876 and dedicated to Charles Reade. Collins explores the themes of 'destined spirits' and supernatural visions. He acknowledges taking the second idea from a case reported in Robert Dale Owen's Footfalls on the Boundary of another World. This describes how a ship's captain is convinced to change course after seeing an apparition and saves the passengers of a wrecked ship, including the person in the vision.

George and Mary are childhood sweethearts in Suffolk's Greenwater Broad. Despite a prediction from Mary's grandmother, old Mrs Dermody, that their two destinies are inextricably linked, George's father disapproves. He separates them by taking his family to America where he subsequently dies. George and his mother return to England where she marries Mr Germaine, a rich suitor she had known before her first marriage.

George has no way of tracing Mary and leads a dissolute existence which prematurely ages his appearance. He reforms, trains to become a surgeon, and takes up an appointment in India. After being wounded in the shoulder, George returns to England where he inherits his step-father's fortune and estate in Perthshire. There is a condition that he must change his name to Germaine.

Mary, meanwhile has suffered a serious illness which has totally changed her looks. She has married a Dutchman called Van Brandt and is also living in the same part of Scotland. When Mary discovers that her marriage is bigamous, she throws herself into the river but is saved by George.

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