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At the Circulating Library

A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901

A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901

Title: A Deplorable Affair

Author and Title: William Edward Norris. A Deplorable Affair

First Edition: London: Methuen, 1893. 1 volume, post 8vo., 3s. 6d.

Serialization: The English Illustrated Magazine, April 1892 to July 1892 (monthly)

Summary: Illustrated by Leslie Brooke. The narrator Sykes is a prosperous bookseller in Sandsea, a watering-place on the south coast, and he witnesses the budding romance between the cousins Beatrice Devereux, a poor relation who secretly writes novels, and Sidney Whitfield, an independent young gentleman, both niblings of the wealthy spinster Miss Whitfield. Sidney quickly falls in love with Beatrice who mysteriously turns down his proposal, though clearly in love herself. Meanwhile, the cad Frederick Carleton arrives in town and meets in secret with Beatrice, raising the concern of Sykes which he relays to Sidney (the two have been friends since the latter was a boy). Miss Whitfield asks Beatrice to undertake an errand for her: to deliver a package of jewelry to a London dealer and return with their check. Sykes, coincidently on the same train, sees Beatrice embark with Carleton and witnesses her give the package to him on arrival in London. The jewelry is sold but the money disappears—Beatrice claiming it was stolen. Enraged, her aunt expels her niece from her home in spite of Sykes’s near certainty of her innocence. A year later the mystery clears: Carleton, in reality Beatrice’s ne’er-do-well brother Edward, stole the money and fled to America where he confessed his crime before dying. (Beatrice remained silent in a misguided attempt to protect her brother.) Cleared of the crime and freed from her brother, Beatrice accepts Sidney’s proposal. (TJB)

Title Tags:

References: BL; EC; Illinois


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