Wilkie Collins

Hide and Seek

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Hide and Seek (1854) is a novel with an intricate plot, in two parts: the history of "Madonna" Grice and Matthew Grice's discovery of her. Mary Grice is courted and seduced by a man. Mary's sister, Joanna drives the pregnant, unmarried Mary from the family home. Mary gives birth to a daughter and dies miserably, attended only by performers from a travelling circus. Martha, wife of one of the clowns, adopts the baby (also Mary), who becomes a circus performer and is struck deaf and dumb after a riding accident. The circus owner exploits her. To rescue Mary, Martha takes her to the home of a minister. There a painter adopts her, and she acquires the nickname Madonna. The painter's friend, Zack, admires her. Zack defends a man who turns out to be Matthew (Mat) Grice, Mary Sr.'s brother. Mat has spent decades wandering, but returns home after making his fortune. His next concern is to find out the fate of his family.
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