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A Terribly Strange Bed part 1

Written on 11/04/2019   By   in General

Wilkie Collins (1824—1889)

William
Wilkie Collins was born at London in 1824. Like his friend Dickens, he was a
voluminous writer of novels and tales, an editor and a dramatist. He was rather
more interested in the short story form than Dickens, and a more accomplished
master of it. A Terribly Strange Bed is one of the best known examples of the
tale that is related for the sake of the thrill.

The
story is reprinted from the volume After Dark, first published in London, 1856.

A Terribly Strange Bed

Shorty
after my education at college was finished, I happened to be staying at Paris
with an English friend. We were both young men then, and lived, I am afraid,
rather a wild life, in the delightful city of our sojourn. One night we were
idling about the neighborhood of the Palais Royal, doubtful to what amusement
we should next betake ourselves. My friend proposed a visit to Frascati’s; but
his suggestion was not to my taste.

I
knew Frascati’s, as the French saying is, by heart; had lost and won plenty of
five-franc pieces there, merely for amusement’s sake, until it was amusement no
longer, and was thoroughly tired, in fact, of all the ghastly respectabilities
of such a social anomaly as a respectable gambling-house.

“For
Heaven’s sake,” said I to my friend, “let us go somewhere where we can see a
little genuine, blackguard, poverty-stricken gaming, with no false gingerbread
glitter thrown over it at all. Let us get away from fashionable Frascati’s, to
a house where they don’t mind letting in a man with a ragged coat, or a man
with no coat, ragged or otherwise.”

“Very
well,” said my friend, “we needn’t go out of the Palais Royal to find the sort
of company you want. Here’s the place just before us; as blackguard a place, by
all report, as you could possibly wish to see.”

In
another minute we arrived at the door, and entered the house.

When
we got upstairs, and had left our hats and sticks with the door-keeper, we were
admitted into the chief gambling-room. We did not find many people assembled
there. But, few as the men were who looked up at us on our entrance, they were
all types—lamentably true types—of their respective classes.

 

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