using standard courier delivery
Unlikely to arrive before Christmas
Someone capable of stating how the poor creature had met with her death ought to write to her only friend. Who was to do it? There was nobody to do it but the one witness of the catastrophe now left in the cottage -- Mercy herself. She lifted the cloak from the chair on which she had placed it, and took from the pocket the leather letter-case which Grace had shown to her. The only way of discovering the address to write to in England was to open the case and examine the papers inside. Mercy opened the case -- and stopped, feeling a strange reluctance to carry the investigation any farther. A moment's consideration satisfied her that her scruples were misplaced. If she respected the case as inviolable, the Germans would certainly not hesitate to examine it, and the Germans would hardly trouble themselves to write to England. Which were the fittest eyes to inspect the papers of the deceased lady -- the eyes of men and foreigners, or the eyes of her own countrywoman? Mercy's hesitation left her. She emptied the contents of the case on the table. That trifling action decided the whole future course of her life.
William Wilkie Collins (1824 - 1889) was an English novelist, playwright and short story writer. His best-known works are The Woman in White (1859), No Name (1862), Armadale (1866) and The Moonstone (1868). The last is considered the first modern English detective novel. Born into the family of painter William Collins in London, he lived with his family in Italy and France as a child and learned French and Italian. After his first novel, Antonina, was published in 1850, he met Charles Dickens, who became a close friend, mentor and collaborator. Some of Collins's works were first published in Dickens' journals All the Year Round and Household Words and the two collaborated on drama and fiction. Collins was critical of the institution of marriage and never married; he split his time between Caroline Graves, except for a two-year separation, and his common-law wife Martha Rudd, with whom he had three children.