Magdalen! It was a strange name to have given her? Strange indeed; and yet, chosen under no extraordinary circumstances. The name had been borne by one of Mr Vanstone’s sisters, who had died in early youth; and, in affectionate remembrance of her, he had called his second daughter by it…

Magdalen! Surely, the grand old Bible name – suggestive of a sad and sombre dignity; recalling, in its first association, mournful ideas of penitence and seclusion – had been here, as events had turned out, inappropriately bestowed?

(Wilkie Collins, No Name, 1862)


She was the youngest of eight sisters, who formed part of the family of a poor engraver, and who, in the absence of any mere money qualifications, were all rich alike in the ownership of most magnificent Christian names. Mrs Blyth was called Lavinia-Ada; and hers was by far the humblest name to be found among the whole sisterhood.

(Wilkie Collins, Hide and Seek, 1854)