A series of tales supposed to be told to a portrait-painter by his sitters; the framework tells us how he came to think of publishing the stories thus collected; the introductions describe the circumstances under which the tales were told. These portions have a delicate every-day interest. The tales are stories of adventure, well varied, and often striking in the incidents, or with thrilling situations; and are as pleasant reading as a novel reader could desire.
actice in our neighborhood."
"I know you did, sir," I replied. "But what was a poor traveling portrait-painter like my husband, who lives by taking likenesses first in one place and then in another, to do? Our bread depended on his using his eyes, at the very time when you warned him to let them have a rest."
"Have you no other resources? No money but the money Mr. Kerby can get by portrait-painting?" asked the doctor.
"None," I answered, with a sinking at my heart as I thought of his bill for medical attendance.
"Will you pardon me?" he said, coloring and looking a little uneasy, "or, rather, will you ascribe it to the friendly interest I feel in you, if I ask whether Mr. Kerby realizes a comfortable income by the practice of his profession? Don't," he went on anxiously, before I could reply--"pray don't think I make this inquiry from a motive of impertinent curiosity!"
I felt quite satisfied that he could have no improper motive for asking the question, and so answered it at once plainly and
All of Wilkie Collin's novels are a bit old-fashioned and slow, not too surprising considering his era. After Dark, a collection of stories built around a somewhat artificial theme, might be the least enjoyable I've read.
Collins is something of a bug about "brain fever," a malady we would probably describe as deep depression, and he uses it here. Wish he'd never thought of it.
I first read Collins' book "Moonstone". This got me intrested in his other works. "After Dark" is an anthology of tales. The main charactor is an out of work portrait painter in the 1800's. Temporarily unable to paint do to an ailment, both his wife and doctor encourage him to place down in print tales recited to him recited to him by his clients. The tales range from attempted 'murder and robbery' to injustice during th French revolution.
Each story is well told and thoughtful. Like many other authors of the period, he tries to capture the humanity of his charactors, and in Collin's case, wrap those charactors in an exciting venue.