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No Name by Wilkie Collins
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by Wilkie Collins

[editorial note: italics are indicated by the underscore
character; accent marks in the few words in French are omitted;
the umlaut in Zurich is omitted]


THE main purpose of this story is to appeal to the reader's interest
in a subject which has been the theme of some of the greatest writers,
living and dead--but which has never been, and can never be, exhausted,
because it is a subject eternally interesting to all mankind. Here is
one more book that depicts the struggle of a human creature, under those
opposing influences of Good and Evil, which we have all felt, which we
have all known. It has been my aim to make the character of "Magdalen,"
which personifies this struggle, a pathetic character even in its
perversity and its error; and I have tried hard to attain this result by
the least obtrusive and the least artificial of all means--by a resolute
adherence throughout to the truth as it is in Nature. This design was
no easy one to accomplish; and it has been a great encouragement to me
(during the publication of my story in its periodical form) to know, on
the authority of many readers, that the object which I had proposed to
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