Little Novels

Author: Wilkie Collins

A First Word for Myself.

BEFORE the doctor left me one evening, I asked him how much longer I was likely to live. He answered: "It’s not easy to say; you may die before I can get back to you in the morning, or you may live to the end of the month."

I was alive enough on the next morning to think of the needs of my soul, and (being a member of the Roman Catholic Church) to send for the priest.

The history of my sins, related in confession, included blameworthy neglect of a duty which I owed to the laws of my country. In the priest’s opinion—and I agreed with him—I was bound to make public acknowledgment of my fault, as an act of penance becoming to a Catholic Englishman. We concluded, thereupon, to try a division of labor. I related the circumstances, while his reverence took the pen and put the matter into shape.

Here follows what came of it:


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Chicago: Wilkie Collins, "A First Word for Myself.," Little Novels, trans. Evans, Sebastian in Little Novels Original Sources, accessed May 27, 2024,

MLA: Collins, Wilkie. "A First Word for Myself." Little Novels, translted by Evans, Sebastian, in Little Novels, Original Sources. 27 May. 2024.

Harvard: Collins, W, 'A First Word for Myself.' in Little Novels, trans. . cited in , Little Novels. Original Sources, retrieved 27 May 2024, from