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At the Circulating Library

A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901

A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901

Title: Ships that Pass in the Night

Author and Title: Beatrice Harraden. Ships that Pass in the Night

First Edition: London: Lawrence and Bullen, 1893. 1 volume, cr. 8vo., 3s. 6d.

Summary: Part one is set in Petershof at a tuberculosis sanitarium where Bernardine Holme meets photographer Robert Allitsen, nicknamed the "Disagreeable Man" by his fellow inmates. Despite his prickly exterior, Robert warms to Bernardine who tells him of her childhood in her uncle's bookshop and her desire to do intellectual work. He encourages her and the two spend many days together in earnest conversation. On the last day for the season, Robert writes a love letter to Bernardine, but does not send it to save her the pain of his slow death. In part two, Bernardine returns to work in her uncle's bookshop and begins to write a book. Meantime, Robert finally capitulates to this feelings for Bernardine and appears at the bookshop where her uncle tells Robert that his niece was hit by a wagon and killed the previous week. Robert fatalistically returns to Switzerland to die. This somber novel sold exceedingly well. (TJB)

Title Tags:

References: BL; EC; Sutherland


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