Jezebel’s Daughter

Author: Wilkie Collins


"Do you remember how Mr. Keller’s illness was cured?" the doctor began.

Those words instantly reminded me, not only of Doctor Dormann’s mysterious suspicions at the time of the illness, but of Jack’s extraordinary question to me, on the morning when I left Frankfort. The doctor saw that I answered him with some little embarrassment.

"Let us open our minds to each other, without reserve," he said. "I have set you thinking of something. What is it?"

I replied, concealing nothing. Doctor Dormann was equally candid on his side. He spoke to me, exactly as he is reported to have spoken to Mr. Keller, in the Second Part of this narrative.

"You now know," he proceeded, "what I thought of Mr. Keller’s extraordinary recovery, and what I feared when I found Mrs. Wagner (as I then firmly believed) dead. My suspicions of poisoning pointed to the poisoner. Madame Fontaine’s wonderful cure of Mr. Keller, by means of her own mysterious remedy, made me suspect Madame Fontaine. My motive, in refusing to give the burial certificate, was to provoke the legal inquiry, which I knew that Mr. Keller would institute, on the mere expression of a doubt, on my part, whether your aunt had died a natural death. At that time, I had not the slightest anticipation of the event that has actually occurred. Before, however, we had removed the remains to the Deadhouse, I must own I was a little startled—prepare yourself for a surprise—by a private communication, addressed to me by Jack."

He repeated Jack’s narrative of the opening of the Pink-Room cupboard, and the administration of the antidote to Mrs. Wagner.

"You will understand," he went on, "that I was too well aware of the marked difference between Mr. Keller’s illness and Mrs. Wagner’s illness to suppose for a moment that the same poison had been given to both of them. I was, therefore, far from sharing Jack’s blind confidence in the efficacy of the blue-glass bottle, in the case of his mistress. But I tell you, honestly, my mind was disturbed about it. Towards night, my thoughts were again directed to the subject, under mysterious circumstances. Mr. Keller and I accompanied the hearse to the Deadhouse. On our way through the streets, I was followed and stopped by Madame Fontaine. She had something to give me. Here it is."

He laid on the table a sheet of thick paper, closely covered with writing in cipher.


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Chicago: Wilkie Collins, "IV," Jezebel’s Daughter, trans. Evans, Sebastian in Jezebel’s Daughter Original Sources, accessed July 12, 2024,

MLA: Collins, Wilkie. "IV." Jezebel’s Daughter, translted by Evans, Sebastian, in Jezebel’s Daughter, Original Sources. 12 Jul. 2024.

Harvard: Collins, W, 'IV' in Jezebel’s Daughter, trans. . cited in , Jezebel’s Daughter. Original Sources, retrieved 12 July 2024, from