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The Queen of Hearts



Letter of Dedication

To Emile Forgues

At a time when French readers were altogether unaware of the

existence of any books of my writing, a critical examination of

my novels appeared under your signature in the Revue des Deux

. I read that article, at the time of its appearance, with

sincere pleasure and sincere gratitude to the writer, and I have

honestly done my best to profit by it ever since.

At a later period, when arrangements were made for the

publication of my novels in Paris, you kindly undertook, at some

sacrifice of your own convenience, to give the first of the

series--"The Dead Secret"--the great advantage of being rendered

into French by your pen. Your excellent translation of "The

Lighthouse" had already taught me how to appreciate the value of

your assistance; and when "The Dead Secret" appeared in its

French form, although I was sensibly gratified, I was by no means

surprised to find my fortunate work of fiction, not translated,

in the mechanical sense of the word, but transformed from a novel

that I had written in my language to a novel that you might have

written in yours.

I am now about to ask you to confer one more literary obligation

on me by accepting the dedication of this book, as the earliest

acknowledgment which it has been in my power to make of the debt

I owe to my critic, to my translator, and to my friend.

The stories which form the principal contents of the following

pages are all, more or less, exercises in that art which I have

now studied anxiously for some years, and which I still hope to

cultivate, to better and better purpose, for many more. Allow me,

by inscribing the collection to you, to secure one reader for it

at the outset of its progress through the world of letters whose

capacity for seeing all a writer's defects may be matched by many

other critics, but whose rarer faculty of seeing all a writer's

merits is equaled by very few.

Wilkie Collins



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