THE FIRST SCENE.Combe-Raven, Somersetshire.CHAPTER I. THE hands on the hall-clock pointed to half-past six in the morning. The house was a country residence in West Somersetshire, called Combe-Raven. The day was the fourth of March, and the year was eighteen hundred and forty-six. No sounds but the steady ticking of the clock, and the lumpish snoring of a large dog stretched on a mat outside the dining-room door, disturbed the mysterious morning stillness of hall and staircase. Who were the sleepers hidden in the upper regions? Let the house reveal its own secrets; and, one by one, as they descend the stairs from their beds, let the sleepers disclose themselves.
Wilkie Collins was born in London on 8 January1824. His first work Memoirs of the Life of William Collins, dedicated to his father, was published in 1848. It published then two novels: Antonina in 1850 and Basil in 1852. In April of the same year he met Charles Dickens and he wrote for his weekly publica……