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The Works of Edgar Allan Poe

The Purloined Letter

by Edgar Allan Poe

An unnamed narrator tells how a Parisian detective, Auguste Dupin, solves a case of a “purloined letter.” The letter belonged to the Queen, and the man who took it had switched it with a plain letter, and was using the information contained in the stolen letter to blackmail the Queen. The police Prefect wants Dupin to figure out how to catch the man, and Dupin reasons his way through the case, eventually nabbing the thief by using his own technique against him—switching letters back.

Jane Eyre

Chapter XVIII

by Charlotte Brontë

The guests stay at Thornfield for several days. Rochester and Blanche compete as a team at charades. From watching their interaction, Jane believes that they will be married soon though they do not seem to love one another. Blanche would be marrying Rochester for his wealth, and he for her beauty and her social position. One day, a strange man named Mr. Mason arrives at Thornfield. Jane dislikes him at once because of his vacant eyes and his slowness, but she learns from him that Rochester once lived in the West Indies, as he himself has done. One evening, a gypsy woman comes to Thornfield to tell the guests’ fortunes. Blanche Ingram goes first, and when she returns from her talk with the gypsy woman she looks keenly disappointed.

Melmoth the Wanderer

Melmoth the Wanderer

by Charles Robert Maturin

The central character, John Melmoth, is a scholar who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for 150 extra years of life and spends that time searching for someone who will take over the pact for him; the novel actually takes place in the present, but this backstory is revealed through several nested stories-within-a-story that work backwards through time (usually through the Gothic trope of old books).

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Book Eighth, Chapter 6

by Victor Hugo

Having been with his garrison for a period, the recovered Captain Phoebus arrives in Notre Dame as the crowd gathers for punishment of Esmeralda. Upon seeing Captain Phoebus, the condemned Esmeralda collapses just before she is rescued by Quasimoto.

Jane Eyre

Chapter XXIV

by Charlotte Brontë

Preparations for Jane and Rochester’s wedding do not run smoothly. Mrs. Fairfax treats Jane coldly because she doesn’t realize that Jane was already engaged to Rochester when she allowed him to kiss her. But even after she learns the truth, Mrs. Fairfax maintains her disapproval of the marriage. Jane feels unsettled, almost fearful, when Rochester calls her by what will soon be her name, Jane Rochester. Jane explains that everything feels impossibly ideal, like a fairy-tale or a daydream. Rochester certainly tries to turn Jane into a Cinderella-like figure: he tells her he will dress her in jewels and in finery befitting her new social station, at which point Jane becomes terrified and self-protective. She has a premonitory feeling that the wedding will not happen, and she decides to write her uncle, John Eyre, who is in Madeira. Jane reasons that if John Eyre were to make her his heir, her inheritance might put her on more equal footing with Rochester, which would make her feel less uncomfortable about the marriage.