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JANUARY, 1952 Cover by Jon Arfstrom

NOVELETTES
THE BLACK ISLAND . . . . August Derleth 8
. . . which rose to the surface only at intervals, was unnamed,
uncharted —
the perfect abode of the Deep Ones.

OOZE Anthony M. Rud 74


it got food enough in the swamp it could
grow as big as the Masonic Temple.
(Copyright 1923 by Rural Publishing Company)

SHORT STORIES
LUCY COMES TO STAY Robert Bloch 30
I knew why Lacy had rim out on me that way; she knew
they’d find me and call it "murder
THE SEAMSTRESS E. Everett Evans 34
No other village can boast a professional seamstress worth ten
million dollars; dollars which carry a curse.

THE GUARD OF HONOR Paul Suter 44


Something began calling him from far away, something remote, terrible.
Through the corridors of sleep he advanced to meet it.
(Copyright 1923 by Rural Publishing Company)

LOVERS’ MEETING . Harold Lawlor 55


Lots of elderly people retire to Florida. Who is to say in
which incarnation they are now sojourning?

CAT’S CRADLE E. W. Tomlinson 64


Could it be that the whipping cords of the bizarre
design were themselves hypnotic?

THE IRON HANDS OF KATZAVEERE , , , . David Eynon 68


The man had been strangled ... by two right hands.

f CAT-EYES Harriet A. Bradfield 64


VERSE NOT ALTOGETHER SLEEP:
J,

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Sonnet for the Psychoanalysts . Clark Ashton Smith 73

THE EYRIE
THE WEIRD TALES CLUB 95

Published bi-monthly by Weird Tales, 9 Rockefeller Plaza, New York 20, N. Y. Reentered as second-class matter
January 26, 1940, at the Post Office at New York, N. Y., under the Act of Jdarch 3, 1879. Single copies, 25 cents.
Subscription rates: One year in the United States and possessions, $1.50. Foreign and Canadian postage extra. The
publishers are not responsible for the loss of unsolicited manuscripts although every care will be taken of such material
while in their possession.
Copyright, 1951, by Weird Tales. Copyright in Great Britain. 173
Title registered in U. S. Patent Office.
PRINTED IN THE U. S. A. Vol. 44, No. 2

D. MCILWRAITH, Editor
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ERE the great personages of the past victims
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have accounted for the results.” Have you that
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JHORESEN DIRECT SALES, Dept. 124N-200, 131 West 33rd Street, New York 1, N. Y,
The Editor, Weird Tales familiar. Who is not familiar with Mr.
9 Rockefeller Plaza, New York 20, N. Y. Cohan and his customers? I thought "Fling
the Dust Aside” rather interesting, and
At last this "haunting” of the news- "The Bird” a bit unusual. Of the short
stands Herewith please find my one
is over. stories, however, I thought "Was it Mur-
year’s to Weird Tales, a
subscription der” and "The Brides of Baxter Creek” the
magazine which has brought me fine enter- best.
tainment for some twenty years. Letter departments are always interesting
Please keep the spine-chilling stuff, the to me, and the Eyrie is no exception. I am
tales that turn blood into ice-water
the . . .
in agreement with the groups preferring
kind of story that makes you say: "Shucks, only fantasy. Not that I do not like Science
I know it can’t be true, but still —
? As for Fiction —I love them-, and enjoy the stf
science fiction, I’ve read many fine pieces in
Weird Tales, but 1 believe there should

magazines thoroughly but the fact is that
good fantasy, is hard
fantasy, to come by,
be a weird note in WT’s SF. That shouldn’t and you do us a service by printing the
be hard for any writer. The man in the street better stories of this field. Incidentally, try-
hearing of some of the latest developments ing to think up new angles for fantasy, I
of science often remarks, "Boy, that’s thought up a little idea.Sometime back l
weird!” found a stf limerick and put together a bit
Fred E. Ebel, of a weird one. Here it is:
Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
There was a young fellow named Jones
The Editor, Weird Tales Who played on a harp made of bones
9 Rockefeller Plaza, New York 20, N. Y. He launched into revels
With Vampires and Devils
Have just finished reading the Novem- To zombie and ghost overtones.
ber issue of WT, and want to let you know
how much I enjoyed it. I was once an avid
Reprints I do not find objectionable, as
fan, but had not read an issue of your mag-
long as the character and quality of the
azine for quite some time. Almost a year I
stories merits repetition, but let’s
keep the
believe. But this issue has started me all
over again. For this issue I thought both of
quality up and keep WT
up to its old
standard as a fine fantasy magazine.
the novelettes quite good, although for
I am looking forward to the next issue,
sheer horror, "Pigeons from Hell” outdid
"Hideaway”, even without half trying. and wish you the best of everything, in-
cluding continued success.
"When the Night Wind Hoivls”, although
Sidney J. Espinache,
entertaining, did not come up to the stand-
ard I have come to expect of de Camp and
New Orleans, Louisiana.

Pratt. The setting, of course, was quite ('Continued on page 92)


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(Sij- 2\rfeth
T HAT some record of the events
leading up to the so-called "top
secret experiment” conducted at an
uncharted South Pacific island on a Septem-
ber day in 1947 ought to be made, I have no
question. That it would be wise is a moot
point. There are some things against which
the human race, which has in any event but
a brief moment to remain on this planet to
. . .
flows in my veins the blood of the
add to the brief moment of its previous
Spawn of that black mating existence, can be only inadequately fore-
of the South Pacific warned and fore-armed; and, this being so.
8
Heading by Fred Humiston

siderable animation. I recognized no one; so


I looked away. I had sat there perhaps ten
minutes, perhaps a little less; Henry Caravel
it is conceivable that it would be better to 'hadcome up and spoken to me in passing,
remain silent and let one’s fellowmen wait and we had taken note of the time together;
upon events. he had just gone when I heard my name
In final analysis, however, there are spoken.
judges far better qualified than I, and the "Perhaps Mr. Blayne could enlighten us?”
progression of events both before and since The voice was cordial, well-modulated,
that "experiment” have been so disturbing with a peculiar carrying power.
and so suggestive of incredibly ancient evil Looking up, I saw the five gentlemen at
almost beyond man’s grasp that I am com- their table gazing toward me expectantly. At
pelled to make this record before time dims that instant, the old man stood.
these events —
if ever it could— or before my "Our discussion is archeological in a
own obliteration, which is inevitable, and sense, Mr. Blayne,” he said directly. "If I
may, indeed, be nearer than I think. —
may presume I am Professor Laban
The episode began prosaically enough in Shrewsbury, a fellow American. Will you
the most famous bar in the world, in join us?”
Singapore . . . I thanked him and, moved by a lively

curiosity, went over to his table.


SAW the five gentlemen sitting together He introduced his companions Andrew —
I when first I came into the bar and sat Phelan, Abel Keane, Claiborne Boyd, and
down. I was not far from them, and alone, —
Nayland Colum and turned once more to
and I looked at them casually, thinking that me.
someone I knew might be among them. An "Of course, we all know Horvarth Blayne.
elderly man with dark glasses and a strange- We have been following with keen interest
ly impressive countenance, and four young your papers on Angkor-Vat and, with even
men, in late twenties or early thirties, intent more interest, your studies among the mins
upon some discussion conducted with con- of Ponape. It is no coincidence that we are
9
10 WEIRD TALES
at the moment
discussion the pantheon of But this was not his principal thesis,
Polynesian deities. Tell us, in your opinion, which I recognized in the expectance with
does the Polynesian sea-god, Tangaroa, have which his companions attended to him. He
the same origin as Neptune?” came to it presently. Apropos the sea-deities
"Probably Hindu or Indo-Chinese in ori- of primitive peoples, had I ever encountered
gin,” I guessed. in my archeological inquiries any of the leg-
“Those people are not primarily sea- ends pertaining to the mythological being,
"There
farers,” said the professor promptly. Cthulhu, whom he regarded as the progeni-
is a concept older than those civilizations, tor of all sea-gods and the lesser deities con-
even if we concede at once that the Poly- nected with water as an element?
nesian civilization is much younger than The comments he had made now fell into
those of the Asiatic continent which gave a distinct and well-knit pattern. Cthulhu, as
rise to them. No, we are not interested so the ancient god of water, the seas, a water
much in their relations to other figures in elemental in a sense, must be considered as
the pantheon, as to the conceit which gave the primal deity of the South Pacific, while
them being in the first place. And to its rela- the avian motifs expressed in the artifacts
tion to so many batrachian or ichthyic fig- and works of art common to the North Pa-
ures and motifs which occur and recur in cific derived from a worship of an air ele-
the art work, ancient and modern, to be mental rather than one of the sea. I was in-
found in the South Pacific islands.” deed familiar with the Cthulhu Mythos,
I protested that I was not primarily an with its remarkable lore in essence so famil-
artist, and certainly could not presume to be iar to the Christian Mythos of the expulsion
a critic of art. of Sathanus and his followers and their ever-
ceaseless attempts to reconquer heaven.

THE professor, brushed this aside with


courteous detachment. "But you are fa-
miliar with art. And I wonder whether you
The mythos, as I recalled it while listen-
ing to the professor speak engagingly of
Cthulhu, turned on a conflict between beings
can explain why the primitives of the South known as the Elder Gods, who presumably
Pacific should emphasize the batrachian or inhabited the cosmos many light-years away,
ichthyic in their artifacts and arts, while the and lesser beings called the Ancient Ones or
primitives of the North Pacific, for example, the Great-Old Ones, who were presumably
emphasize characteristics which are clearly the motive forces of evil as opposed to those
avian. There are exceptions, of course; you representing good, who were the benevolent
will recognize them. The lizard figures of Elder Gods. All had apparently existed in
Easter Island and the batrachian pieces from harmony at one time, but then a revolution-
Melanesia and Micronesia are common to ary attempt on the part of the Ancient Ones
these areas; the avian masks and headdresses — who were Cthulhu, master of the waters;
of the North Pacific Indian tribes are com- Hastur, who roamed the interplanetary
mon to the Canadian coast. But we find on spaces before his imprisonment in the dark
occasion among
those coastal Indian tribes Lake of Mali; Yog-Sothoth, most powerful
disturbingly familiar motifs; consider, for of the Ancient Ones; Ithaqua, the god of the
instance, the markedly batrachian aspects of winds; Tsathoggua and Shub-Niggurath,
the shaman’s headdress of the Haida tribe gods of the earth and of fecundity; Nyar-
common to Prince of Wales Island and the lathotep, their dread messenger; and others
ceremonial shark headdress of the Tlingit of — resulted in their vanquishment and ban-
Ketchikan, Alaska. The totems of the North ishment to various places in the universe,
Pacific Indians are primarily avian in con- from which they hoped to rise once more
cept, whereas such things as the ancestor fig- against the Elder Gods, and where they were
ures carved into the tree-ferns of the New served by their minions, cults of men and
Hebrides' quite clearly suggest aquatic animals reared in their service. There were,
dwellers.” additionally, pertaining to Cthulhu, sup-
I remarked that ancestor- worship was posedly inhabiting a secret place on Earth,
common to the Asiatic continent. rather shockingly suggestive legends that
;

THE BLACK ISLAND 11

certain of iiis batrachian followers, known as gin with the primal struggle between the
the Deep Ones, had mated with men and Elder Gods and the Great Old Ones,” I said
produced a horrible travesty of mankind cautiously. "What is the nature of your evi-
known to be habitants of certain coastal dence?’
Massachusetts towns. "The sources are almost infinite. Consider
almost all the acient writings which speak of
d O it 1.10 VER, the Cthulhu Mythos had a great catastrophe which involved the earth.
1V1. sprung from a collection of incredibly Look to the Old Testament, to the Battle of
old manuscripts and similar sources purport- Beth-Horon, led by Joshua. 'And he said in
ing to be factual accounts, though nothing the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon
was adduced to prove them anything other Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of
than fiction of a highly skilled order; these Ajalon. And the sun stood still, and the
manscripts and books the Necronomicon — moon stayed . Look to the Annals of
.

of the mad Arab, Abdul Alhazred; the Cuaubtitlan of the lore of the Nahua Indians
Cultes des Goules, the work of an eccentric of Mexico, which speak of an endless night,
French nobleman, the Count d’Erlette; the a tale verified by the Spanish priest, Fra.
Unaussprechlichen Kulten of Von Junzt, a Bernadino de Sahagun, who, coming to the
known aberrant who had roamed Europe New World a generation after Columbus,
and Asia in search of the remnants of old told of the great catastrophe in which the
cults; the Celeane Fragments; the R’lyeh sun rose but a little way over the horizon
Text; the Pnakotic Manuscript and the like and then stood still, a catastrophe witnessed
— had been seized upon by writers of con- by the American Indians. And the Bible
temporary fiction and freely used as the again: 'As they fled from before Israel . . .

source for incredible tales of fantasy and the the Lord cast down great stones upon them
macabre, and these had given a kind of aura in Azekah, and they died .’ There
. are
.

of authenticity to what, at best, was a collec- parallel accounts in other ancient manu-
tion of lore and legends perhaps unique in scripts —
the Popul Vub of the Mayas, the
the annals of mankind but surely little more. Egyptian Papyrus Ipuwer, the Buddhist
"But you are skeptical, Mr. Blayne,” ob- Visuddhi-Magga, the Persian Zend-Avesta,
served the professor. the Hindu Vedas, many another.
"I'm afraid I have the scientific mind,” I "There are curiously coincidental records
answered. —
left in acient art- the Venus Tablets of
"I rather think all of us here think sim- Babylon, found in the ruins of the library of
ilarly of ourselves,” he said. Ashurbanipal at Nineveh, certain of the
"Am I to understand that you believe in panoplies at Angkor-Vat, of which you must
this volume of lore?” know —
and there are the strangely al-
He gazed at me disconcertingly from be- tered docks of ancient times the water —
hind his dark spectacles. "Mr. Blayne, for clock of the Temple of Amon at Karnak,
more than three decades I have been on the now inaccurate for day and night; the shad-
trail of Cthulhu. Time after time I have be- ow dock of Fayum, Egypt, inaccurate, too;
lieved that I have dosed his avenues of in- the astronomical panel in the tomb of Sen-
ress into our time; time after time I have mut, in which the stars are shown in an
een misled in thinking so.” order they do not have but which may pre-
"Then if you believe one aspect of the sumably have been correct for Senmut’s time.
pantheon, you must believe all the rest,” I And these stars, I submit, are not just acci-
countered. dentally those of the Orion-Taurus group,
"That is not necessarily so,” he replied. held to be the seat of both the Elder Gods—
"But there are wide areas of belief. I have who are believed to exist at or near Betel-
seen and I know.” gueze —
and at least on of the Ancient Ones,
- "I, too,” said Phelan, and his supporting
- Hastur; and were presumably home to all
cry was echoed by the others. the Ancient Ones. So that the catastrophe
The truly scientific mind is as hesitant to duly recorded in the old documents may very
deprecate as it is to lend support. "Let us be- well have been evidence of the titanic battle
12 WEIRD TALES
which was waged between the Elder Gods rather a map drawn by someone who clearly
and the rebellious Ancient Ones.” believed in the objects he drew; that these
I pointed out that there was a current objects were not placed as he had placed
theory concerning erratic conduct on the part them suggested an artist of centuries ago.
of the planet now called Venus. "java and Borneo,” I said, identifying
Professor Shrewsbury shrugged this them. "These islands are apparently the Car-
away almost with impatience. "Entertaining, olines and the marked place is northward.
but pure nonsense. The concept of Venus as But the directions are not very clear.”
a one-time comet can be disproved scientific- "Yes, that is its drawback,” agreed Pro-
ally; the concept of the conflict between the fessor Shrewsbury dryly.
Elder Gods and the Ancient Ones cannot. I I looked at him "Where did you
sharply.
submit, Mr. Blayne, that your actual convic- get this. Professor?”
tion of disbelief is not as strong as your "From a very old man.”
words.” "He must have been very ©Id indeed,” I
agreed.
N this he was eminently correct. What "Almost fifteen centuries,” he answered,
I this strange old man had said had without a smile. "But, come, do you recog-
aroused and awakened a thousand latent nize this place beyond the Carolines?”
memories, all of which now coalesced in the I shook my head.

events of the moment. An archeologist can- "Then we fall back upon your own re-
not have seen the weird grotesques of Easter search, Mr. Blayne. You have been in the
Island without a sense of an impending past; South Pacific ever since the end of the Sec-
he cannot have looked upon Angkor-Vat or ond World War. You have gone from is-
the shunned ruins of certain of the Mar- land to island, and you will have seen cer-
quesas Islands without a dim awareness of tainly that in some areas there is a marked
the terror that lurked in ancient places; he emphasis on the batrachian motif, or the
cannot have studied the legends of ancient ichthyic motif —
it matters little, save that we

peoples without recognizing that the lore of have reason to believe one island at least to
mankind, however exaggerated, takes root in be either the focal point or near the focal
some remote reality. Moreover, there was point of the occurence of artifacts and works
about my newly-found companions an air of or art stressing the batrachian.”
gravity which was plain behind their good- "Ponape,” I said.
nature, and was almost sinister without be- He nodded, and the others waited expec-
ing malevolent. I could not doubt that these tantly.
gentlemen were deadly serious, for each of "You see,” he went on, "I have been to
them testified mutely that he had been on the Black Island which has no name and is
this quest for more than just a short time. uncharted because it is not always visible and
"You see,” continued Professor Shrews- rises to the surface only at rare intervals. But
bury, "it would be folly to pretend that this by means of travel was somewhat unortho-
meeting was an iccident. Your movements dox, my attempt to blast the island and its
had been studied enough to make it occur. It horrible ruins was ineffective; we must find
is just possible that in your studies of ancient it again, and we shall find it most readily by

ruins and the drawings, hieroglyphics, and picking up the trail of the batrachian motif
other remains found among them, you may in Polynesian art.”
have happened upon something which "There are certain legends,” I put in,
might afford us a clue to the place we seek.” "which speak of a vanishing land. It would
"And what is that?” I asked. presumably be stationery?”
"An island,” So saying, he unfolded be- "Yes, making its appearance only when
fore me a crudely-drawn map. upheavals of the ocean's bed thrust it up.
I examined the map with interest which And then evidently not for long. I need not
was quickened appreciably when it dawned remind you that there have been recent tem-
upon me that this was no ordinary map done blors recorded by seismographs for the re-
by the hand of an ill-informed person, but gion of the South Pacific; conditions are
THE BLACK ISLAND 13

thus ideal for our quest. We


are at liberty fo blind feeling of hostility, an awareness, as ii
suppose it to be part of a larger, submerged were, of something malign in the very at-
land area, quite possibly one of the legend- mosphere. I looked from one to another of
ary continents.” them, but there was nothing in their eyes
"Mu,” said Phelan. save only an interest similar to my own. Yet
"If Mu existed,” countered the professor the aura of fear, of enmity, was unmistaka-
gravely. ble, perhaps made all the more so by its very
"There is ample evidence to believe it tenuousness. I looked past my companions,
did,” I said, "together with Atlantis. If you allowing my glance to travel along the bar,
were to fall back upon your own kind of among the tables; I saw no one who was
evidence, there is plenty of legendry to give even aware of us, though the bar, as always,
the belief body —
the Bible’s story of the del- was crowded with people of all nationalities
uge, for instance; the ancient books’ accounts in all walks of life. The conviction of hos-
of catastrophes, the submerging of vast land tility, the aura of fear persisted, lying against

areas depicted in the drawings found at the my consciousness as were it a tangible thing.
sites of so much archeological discovery.” I gave my attention again to Professor
One of the professor’s companions Shrewsbury. He talked now of the trail of
grinned and said, "You’re entering into the Cthulhu through the arts and crafts of prim-
spirit of it, Mr. Blayne.” itive peoples, and his words conjured up
The professor, however, gazed at me from my own memories a thousand corrob-
without smiling. "You believe in the exist- orating details —of the crious figures found
ence of Mu, Mr. Blayne?” in the Sepik River valley of New Guinea; of
"And presumably also in the ancient civil- the Tapa cloth designs of the Tonga island-
izations said to have inhabited Mu
and At- ers; of the hideously suggestive Fisherman’s
lantis,” he went on. "There are certain leg- God of the Cook islanders, with its mis-
ends attributable to some such lost civiliza- shapen torso and its substitution of tentacles

——
tions, Mr. Blayne particularly in relation to for legs and arms; of the stone tiki of the
their sea deities and there are survivals of Marquesas, markedly batrachian in aspect;
ancient worship in the Balearics, in the is- of the carvings of the New Zealand Maori,
lands of the Carolines, at Innsmouth, Massa- which depict creatures neither man nor octo-
chusetts, and in a few other widely separated pus, neither fish nor frog, but something of
areas. If Atlantis lay off the coast of Spain, all four; of the revolting war-shield design
and Mu near the Marshalls, presumably used by Queenslanders, a design of a laby-
there might have been yet another land area rinth under water with a torturously malefic
at one time lying off the coast of Massachu- figure at the end of It, tentacles extended as
setts. And the Black Island might be part of if for prey; and the similar shell pendants of

yet another land area; we cannot know. But the Papuans; of the ceremonial music of the
it is certain that the Bible’s Deluge and other Indonesians, particularly the Batak dream
similar legendary catastrophes might well music, and the Wayang shadow -play of
have been evidencet of the titanic struggle leather puppets on ancient themes dramatiz-
which resulted in the banishment of Cthulhu ing a legend of sea-beings. All these pointed
to one of the lost continents of this planet.” unmistakably to Ponape from one direction,
I nodded, aware for what seemed the first which the ceremonial figures used in some
time of the intense scrutiny of the others. parts of the Hawaiian Islands and the great
“The Black Island is thus far the only heads of Rano-rarku on Easter Island made a
known avenue directly to Cthulhu, all similar indication from the other.
others are primarily in the possession of the
We
Deep Ones. must therefore search for it
by every means at our disposal.”
It was at this point of our conversation
PONAPE, with its shunned ruins, its
abandoned port in which the carvings
are of unmistakable significance, carvings of
that I became aware of a subtle force vying brooding terror, of fish-men, of frog-men,
with my interest, which was far keener than of octopods, all speaking mutely of a
I had permitted myself to show; it was a strange and terrible way of life led bv in-
WEIRD TALES
habitants who were half-bestial, half-human. man’s God of Cook Island, which, we have
And from Ponape, where? reason to believe, is a representation, as seen
"You are thinking of Ponape,” said Pro- by the primitive mind, of Cthulhu himself.
fessor Shrewsbury quietly. By narrowing the circle of its incidence, it is
"Yes— and of what might lie beyond. If logical to suppose that we can box in the
the Black Island is not between Ponape and site of the island.”
Singapore, it must lie between that island I nodded thoughtfully, certain that i

and Easter Island.” could almost effortlessly construct the ring


"The only direction we have is that of the that Professor Shrewsbury visualized.
Johannsen narrative, discovered in Love- "Can we count on you, Mr. Blayne?”
craft, and subsequently repeated in the story "More than that. If you have room for
of the disappearance of the H. M. S. Advo- me, I’ll join your party.”
cate. S. Latitude 47° 53', W. Longitude Professor Shrewsbury favored me with a
127° 37'. That would be in the general area. long silent glance which I found somewhat
But the latitude and longitude may not be disconcerting, but at last he said, "We have
correct; according to the Greenbie account, a place for you, Mr. Blayne. We
hope to
that is the place at which the Advocate ran leave Singapore in two days.” He gave me
into a storm 'blowing something terrible’. his card, writing rapidly on the bade of it.
There is thus a possibility of some error, "You will find me at this address if you
sincewe have no way of knowing how far need me.”
off course the shipmay 'have been blown,
nor how long a time elapsed since Greenbie TOOK my leave of Professor Shrews-
last ascertained longitude and latitude. He I bury’s party with carious misgivings. My
makes note that they were steering ‘a course offer toaccompany them had been made al-
straight for the Admiralties or New Guinea most involuntarily; I had had no intention
. . . but we saw by the stars that we were of doing more than the professor had asked,
off course by west.’ but some impulse stronger than my own wish
“The Johannsen narrative . .
.” had impelled me instead to propose that I
I interrupted him. "Forgive me, I am not go with them to seek their goal. Once out-
familiar with these accounts.” side the bar, I asked myself why I had not
“My apologies. Of course, you could not doubted the professor’s strange story; the
be.They are not vital to your knowledge, evidence he had offered was purely circum-
but exist only as curiously corroborative stantial, and I could not have said that I had
statements. Or rather, as statements which in fact ever come upon anything more to
are extremely suggestive in the light of what justify belief and yet I found myself believ-
we know. If one has no belief in Cthulhu ing readily not only in the existence of the
and the pantheon of Elder Gods and An- Black Island, but also in the vast mythology
cient Ones, such accounts are meaningless, so sketchily outlined for me, in all that pan-
and all too readily dismissed as hysteria; of theon of Elder Gods and Ancient Ones of
one keeps an open mind, however, such ac- which that oddly persuasive and yet curious-
counts become damnably suggestive. One ly repellant old man in the black glasses had
cannot dismiss them.” spoken. Moreover, I recognized that my be-
"These accounts apart, and all else, too,” lief stemmed from something more than
I said, "what do you expect of me?” Professor Shrewsbury’s words; it arose from
"I submit that you are perhaps more quali- a deep inner conviction, -as if I had known
fied to speak with authority on the arts and ail this long before but had either refused to
artifacts of the South Pacific than anyone acknowledge it or had failed to become
else within the entire region. We are satis- aware of it because the proper opportunity
fied that the primitive drawings and sculp- for recognition had never arisen.
tures of these people will point unmistakably And yet I had always been strengely
to the approximate location of the Black Is- stirred at sight of just such art as Professor
land. Specifically, we are interested in the Shrewsbury had hinted at, and most of all, at
occurence of any work similar to the Fisher- the Cook Islanders’ horribly suggestive Fish-
THE BLACK ISLAND 15

erman’s God. What Professor Shrewsbury felt no horror, looking him. Perhaps Pro-
at
had plainly intimated was that this work had fessor Shrewsbury’s hints had prepared me
had a living model; and of this I, despite my for such an apparition, for I had known
archeological training, had never entertained someone would be there. I was equally cer-
the shadow of a doubt. I could ask myself tain, however, that, for the present at least,
now to discover the reasons for my belief in my newly-found friends w'ere in no danger.
the face of the previous record of dubeity I
had established in my field; I could not an- TOOK myself off to my quarters pres-
swer, save to point to an inner conviction far I ently, very thoughtful and preoccupied,
stronger than any amount of cold rationali- for there was manifestly something more
zation. For it could not be denied that Pro- than Professor Shrewsbury’s story and the
fessor Shrewsbury’s analysis was not in itself quest of the five for the mythological Cthul-
factual, that the explanation for the various hu to stir me. Once at my rooms, I found
events and the nature of the evidence he myself drawn to the packet of papers which
projected were alike hypothetical in the ex- had come down to me from my grandfather
treme, that other solutions presented them- —
Waite for my name had not always been
selves as well, for the annals of primitive Blayne, having undergone a change in the
peoples are replete with many weird sym- home of my foster-parents in Boston my —
bols and customs utterly unrelated to the liv- grandfather Asaph Waite, whom I had
ing-patterns of contemporary man. But no never consciously seen, and who perished
challenge caused any waverings in my con- with my grandmother, my father, and my
viction. I knew, as if I had been there, that mother in a disaster which had struck their
there w7 as indeed an uncharted island near town when I was yet only a babe in arms,
Ponape, that it was part of a sunken king- and while I was on a visit with cousins in
dom which might indeed have R’lyeh and Boston who had forthwith adopted me after
part of Mu, that it was the course of an in- a loss which, to any other older child, would
credible power, and no rationalization could have been shockingly tragic.
explain either my conviction or my complete My grandfather’s papers were wrapped in
refusal to consider any other explanation of oilskin —he had been a seafaring man out of
the tentative outline Professor Shrewsbury Massachusetts, at one time an agent of the
had offered. He, too, knew; the facts he had famous Marsh family, which for generations
aduced were but the tiniest fraction of the had been seafaring men, ranging far and
adducible evidence. —
wide over the face of the earth and I had
And what impulse was it that sent me into had them with me for years. I had examined
the shadows to wait upon the emergence of the small packet from time to time, with
Professor Shrewsbury and his companions? I curious stirrings and misgivings; tonight
could not say; yet I remained in a place of something Professor Shrewsbury had said
concealment until the five men left the bar, had brought the papers back into my
watching them come out. I had no impulse memory, and I wanted to look at them once
to follow, but I knew as by intuition that
7
more, without delay.
they would not be unattended, and they were They consisted of fragments of an old
not. Their followers walked at a respectable diary —some pages had been torn out here
distance behind them — one, a second, yet an- and there; of fragmentary letters, a few doc-
other, at widely separated intervals. uments, and some of what purported to be
I stepped out and faced one of them. He my grandfather’s own writings entitled
met my eyes questiongly for a moment, held simply: Invocations, though down in one
my gaze, and looked away. lascar, IA corner someone had added: to Dagon. The
judged him, but oddly deformed, with a Invocations came to hand first. These were
curiously suggestive head, foreshortened, evidently intended as at least semi-poetry,
with little brow, and repellantly wide- and were writen in a manner at times inco-
mouted, with scarcely a chin at all, but a herent, at others apparently incoherent un- —
sloping fold of skin that vanished into his less, as I was now prepared to admit, I
neck. And his skin, too, was rough, wart. I lacked the proper key to understanding. I
16 WEIRD TALES
read but one of them, with considerable know who I was. I understand now why
more care, however, than I had previously he constantly wears the black gloves. If
given it. those who do not understand should seel
April 27. A stranger in town, question-
By all the depths of Y’ha nthlei — —and ing old Zadok. The word has gone
the dwellers thereof, for the One Over around that Z. will have to be dealt with.
All; A pity. He seemed always such a harm-
By the Sign of Kish — and all who obey less,garrulous old tosspot. Too garrulous,
it, for its Author; perhaps. But no one has heard him say
By the Door to Yhe —and who use
all anything. The stranger, they say, plied
. it, who have gone before and who shall him with liquor,
come after, for Him to Whom It Leadeth; r
V

By Him Who Is To Come . . . There were similar entries, and other ac-
"Pb’nglui mglw-nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh counts of strange journeys to the place given
wgab-nagl fhtagn.” only as D. R., evidently to be reached only

by water the Atlantic—but not far from
recognized in the final incomprehensible
I the settlement, for there was no account of
line,two of the names Dr. Shrewsbury had lengthy traveling over water to reach the
used, and I was even more disquieted than goal from the town. These entries varied in
ever to discover them here in my possession, intensity, but became steadily more and
even if I had come by them in so casual a more choatic; evidently the town had been
fashion. seriously disturbed by the prying questions
turned next to the diary, which was evi-
I of a strange visitor to that clannish commu-
dently, judging by notes pertinent to events nity. By late May, he was writing:
of the day in the United States, for 1928.
The entries were not frequent, but it was May 21. Word passed around that a
noteworthy that, after a beginning in which "Federal Man” was asking questions in
my grandfather had chronicled, journal- town today. Visited M.’s Refining Com-
fashion, comments on the political and his- pany. I have not seen him myself, but
torical events of his time, his attention Obed mentioned seeing him. A short wiry
turned ever more and more to something man, very dark-skinned. A Southerner,
mysterious and personal, to which the diary perhaps. He supposedly comes directly
afforded no key. The entries pertinent to from Washington. M. cancelled the meet-
something which troubled my grandfather ing tonight, and also a trip to D. R. Leo-
exceedingly began in late April of that year. pold was to have gone as the s. tonight.
Now he will be passed over and the next
April 23. Out to D. R. again last one will be chosen.
night,where saw what M. affirms is Him. May 22. The sea very turbulent last
Amorphous, tentacled, inhuman. Could I night. Anger at D. R.? The trip should
have expected other? M. extremely ex- not have been postponed.
cited. Cannot say that I shared his excite- May 23. Rumors grow. Gilman re-
ment except that I found myself vaccilat- ported seeing a destroyer in the vicinity of
ing between M.’s extreme on the one D. R. last evening, but no one else saw it.
hand and an equal extremity of aversion Gilman entirely too imaginative. Should
on the other. A stormy night. Do not be disciplined for adding to the growing
know where all this will lead. discontent.
April 24. Took cote of many boat May 27. Something wrong. More
losses in last But none
night’s storm. strangers in town. Also ships off the coast,
from here, though many were to D. R. So apparently armed. The docks being ex-
evidently we have been protected for an- amined by these tightlipped outsiders.
other purpose which will be made plain Are they in reality Federal Men, or are
ingood time. Met M. on the street today; they others —
from H., for instance? How
be took no notice of me, as if he did not could we know? I have suggested it to M.
THE BLACK ISLAND 17

but he says, no, they cannot be, he would June. Large-scale operations at the
"feel” it if so. M. does not appear to be docks. A destroyer out at D. R. Wild talk
disturbed, but he is not entirely at his of government taking control of situation.
ease. Everyone is running to him. June. It is true. Blasting begun, and
June. Z. has been taken care of, right fires have started to spread up from the
under the noses of the Federal Men. docks. They will go out of control. Some
What can they want? I am prevailing on have taken to the water, but the fire is cut-
J. to send the child off to Martha.”
ting others off unless they go out of town
.”
and around it . .

It was to this period of the diary to which


one of the letters belonged; recognizing it, I Reading these entries again, I found my-
had placed the letter to my foster-mother be- self more disturbed than ever. The nature of
tween the pages of the diary at this point; the catastrophe which overtook my progeni-
and I now opened it and read it once more. tors was still not clear. They might have
been caught in the fires which followed the
7th June 1928 inexplicable "blasting”; they might have be-
Dear Martha, come involved in the blastings themselves.
I write in considerable haste because we Whatever happened, the events which took
have had to make decisions in a hurry place in that Massachusetts town had oc-
'here these past few days. Events have curred in 1928; in that same year my parents
turned up so that it would be best to send and my grandparents had been killed in an
Horvath to you for safekeeping. John and unnamed catastrophe; it was not unwarranted
Abigail have agreed, however reluctantly; to presume that these events were connected.
so I send him with Amos. It might be best The entries in my grandfather’s diary actual-
to keep Amos with him for a week or ly revealed nothing save that some enterprise
two, until he can accustom himself to you with which he was connected, evidently led
and your way of existence there in Boston. by the man M., had attracted the attention of
Then Amos may come again, though I Federal agents who had invaded the town
do not need him at present, and if you and taken corrective measures. There was no
have use for him, by all means retain him hint as to their nature but presumably it
until it is convenient for you to send him was illegal, for nothing was set down in
back to us. my grandfather’s papers to identify it.
Ever affectionately, The remaining letters there were but —
Asaph Waite. —
two others were written also in June, 1928.
One was to my foster-parents.
Comparatively few entries remained in
the diary, and all were undated, appearing 10th June 1928.
simply under "June”. They were increasing- Dear Martha and Arvold,
ly disturbed, betraying what must have been I have forwarded by mail out of Arkham
my grandfather’s extreme agitation. a copy of my last will and testament,
should anything happen to me, putting
June. M. reports questions very upset- you down as executors and administrators
ting. Bear directly on D. R. and the of the trust fund I shall leave to Horvath.
"goings-on” there. Someone must have Apart from such fees as are set forth for
talked to the Federal Men. But who? If you in the nature of a bequest, I have left
M. only knew, he would follow Z. There all my property to my son and daughter-
is no room for traitors, and whoever it is in-law, but in the event of their death, to
will be hunted down and destroyed. And Horvath. I hope I am not too pessimistic,
not only him alone, but all who are with but I do not believe in being inexcusably
him or who support him, including, if he sanguine. The events of the past few days
is married, his wife and family. are not encouraging.
June. Questions about the "rites” at As always,
Dagon Hall. Whoever talked knows. Asaph.
18 WEIRD TALES
The second was undated, but by its
letter perimeter of recognition, and it was this,
nature, it must have been written in June however nameless and faceless, which moti-
also; it was not an original, as were those to vated my deeper and more troubled concern
my foster-parents, but a copy my grand- with the trail of Cthulhu, for which I was
father had evidently retained. about to surrender for the time being at
least all my archeological research, my hopes
Dear W„ and ambitions for my future in the field I
A hasty note to let you know M. thinks had chosen for my own. The compulsion
all is lost for the present. He does not was stronger than my wish.
think damage can be done to Y’ha., but
none of us knows. The place swarms with PUT my grandfather’s papers away once
Federal Men. We think now it is all Za- I more wrapping them in the oilskin in
dok’s doing, but Z. has been taken care which they had come to my foster-parents,
of. We
do not know who it was he talked and then, far from tired, I set about to track
to, but have reason to believe it was one down, even as Professor Shrewsbury had
of us. He will not escape. Though he was asked, the occurrence of certain hideously
pursued up the tracks out of town and got suggestive motifs in the art patterns of the
away, he will be forever haunted by what South Pacific islanders, particularly the Fish-
he has done. Of course, you may say, as erman’s God of Cook Island. At this I
some hfi?e said, it would never have hap- worked steadily for more than two hours,
pened indie Marshes had kept away from consulting not only such references as I
those strange creatures at P., but the owned, but also my own voluminous notes
South Pacific is a long way from Massa- and sketches. At the end of that time I
and who would guess that they
chusetts, realized that the Fisherman’s God had made
could make their way here to the reef. I its appearance in one form or another as far

am afraid now we are all getting what to the south as Australia, as far to the north
people call "the Marsh look.” It is not at- as the Kuriles, and between, in Cambodia,
tractive. I shall write no more, but adjure Indo-China, Siam, and the Malay States; but
you, if anything happens to us, and that — I had affirmed also, as I had already fore-
may be, for this thing has so impressed seen,- that the incidence of its occurence was
the Federal Men that there is no sem- immeasurably greater in the vicinity of Pon-
blance of a trial here for anyone or any ape. However the circle were drawn, its

place they elect to destroy do what you — center would be at or near Ponape; that the
can for my
grandson, Horwath Waite, object of Professor Shrewsbury’s quest lay
whom you will find in the care of Mr. in the immediate vicinity I had not a shred
and Mrs. Arvold W. Blayne, in Boston. of doubt.
Asaph. And that something inconceivably malign
lay there in that hidden place, I had also no
These were the reactions of my grand- doubt. For it was from Ponape that the M.
fatherWaite attendant upon the catastrophe of my grandfather Waite’s papers had come
which struck at his town and at him and his home, bringing in his aftermath the events
family in that summer of 1928. I had read which were to culminate in the tragedy of
these papers before, but never with such fas- 1928. The recurrence of the island in the
cination. Perhaps it was the knowledge of legends and corroborative accounts pertinent
these, which lay in memory, which ac- thereto was not an accident or chance;
counted for my interest in the project which Ponape was the outpost of mankind’s civi-
occupied Professor Shrewsbury. And yet I lization, the outpost nearest the gate info
could not wholly believe that it was. To- the weird and terrible world of the An-
gether with the conviction that within the cient Ones, of whom great Cthulhu alone
boundaries of Professor Shrewsbury’s quest lay forever sleeping, waiting upon the events
lay the solution to the mystery which had which would some day rouse him from his
dogged my grandfather was a haunting centuries-old torpor and send him forth
memory which loomed forever just on the once more upon the unsuspecting peoples of
THE BLACK ISLAND 19

the earth, forth to conquer and bring all the us from them; they cannot harm us as long
planet under his dominion. as we carry it.”

"I have one for you, Mr. Blayne,” said


Ill Professor Shrewsbury.
"Who are the Deep Ones?” I asked.

W E shipped for Ponape on the second


day, traveling by one of the regular
steamers plying the islands. I had thought
Professor Shrewsbury offered an immedi-
ate explanation. The Deep Ones, he said,
were minions of Cthulhu. Originally they
we were to have possession of a ship of our —
had been aquatic only hideously suggestive
own, but Professor Shrewsbury offered in ex- of human beings, but essentially batrachian
planation that other arrangements had been or ichthyic; but over a century ago certain
made out of Ponape. We
gathered together American traders had come into the South
on the deck soon after leaving the docks, pri- Pacific and had formed alliances with the
marily for the purpose of comparing notes, Deep Ones, mating with them and thus pro-
and I discovered that all of them spoke most ducing a hybrid breed which could exist
matter-of-faetly of being under surveillance equally well on land or in the sea; it was this
in Singapore. hybrid breed which was to be found in most
"And you,” Professor Shrewsbury turned of the port cities of the world, never very
to me. "Were you aware of being followed, far from water. That they were directed by
Mr. Blayne?” some sort of super-intelligence from the sea
I shook my head. "But I had thought seemed unquestionable, since they were
someone trailed after you,” I admitted. never long in discovering any member of
"Who were they?” Professor Shrewsbury’s party, all of whom
"The Deep Ones,” offered Phelan. "They had had previous encounters with the fol-
are everywhere, but we’ve had other fol- lowers of Cthulhu—and, indeed, with cer-
lowers far more dangerous. The star protects tain minions of others of the Ancient Ones.

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20 WEIRD TALES
Their purpose was clearly menacing, but the was reluctant to admit ignorance of a site so
power of the five-pointed star, which was archeologically ancient under a name I had
sealed with the seal of the Elder Gods, ren- hitherto associated only with the stars.
dered them impotent. Should anyone of Their references to the Ancient Ones inti-
them fail to carry the star, however, he mated, too, of feuds among these beings,
might fall victim to the Deep Ones, or to the between Hastur and Cthugha on the one
Abominable Mi-Go, or to the Tcho-Tcho hand, and Cthulhu and Ithaqua on the
people, the Shoggoths, the Shantaks, or any other; evidently these beings were united
among a score or more of those human and only against the Elder Gods, but vied with
semi-human creatures dedicated to the serv- one another for the worship of their minions
ice of the Ancient Ones. and the destruction or seduction of such in-
Professor Shrewsbury excused himself to habitants of their regions as came within
go to his cabin and bring me the star of their orbits. I gathered, too, that Professor
which he had spoken. It was a rough-sur- Shrewsbury and his companions had been
faced stone, gray in color, with a barely dis- drawn together often by mere chance, that
tinguishable seal representing a pillar of all had been exposed to similar dangers,
light, as closely as I could approximate it. It and all had eventually sought the haven
was not large; it scarcely covered my palm, which the professor had discovered many
but it had a most peculiar effect on me, for it years before. It was somewhat disquieting,
felt as if it burned my flesh, and I found it too, to reflect upon certain casual references
curiously repellent. I put it into my pocket, made by the Professor to events in which he
and there it seemed incredibly heavy; there, had a part but which had taken place much
too, it left a burning sensation on my skin, longer ago than could have been possible,
despite the clothing between; it did not ap-- considering his age; but I concluded, finally,
pear to have a similar effect on the others, as that I must have been in error and misunder-
far as I could ascertain. Indeed, it became so stood.
heavy, presently and afflicted me so sorely That night I had the first of the curiously
with the sensation of heat, that I found it disturbing dreams which haunted our voy-
necessary to excuse myself and hasten to my age. Though I slept soundly enough, I was
cabin so that I could remove the stone from never free of dreams. I dreamed that night
my person and leave it among my posses- that I had found myself in a great city deep
sions. in the sea. My subaqueous existence did not
Only then did I feel free to rejoin my trouble me; I was able to breathe, move,
companions, where I took a listener’s part in about as I pleased, and carry on a normal
their discussion of events beyond my ken existence in the ocean’s depths. The city,

not alone of Cthulhu and Hastur, and their however, was not a modern city; it was an-
minions, or of the others, not alone of the
Elder Gods and that titanic battle which

cient
have been
quite possibly such a city as might
visualized by an archeologist far —
must have taken place aeons ago and in- more ancient than any I had ever known be-
volved countless universes, but of certain ad- fore,with vast, monolithic buildings, on the
ventures these five had shared together, for walls of many of which had been emblaz-
they made countless references to ancient oned representations of the sun, the moon,
tablets, to books which, to judge by the the stars, and certain grotesquely horrible
dates which occurred in their conversation, figments of the artist’s imagination, some of
had been made long before mankind had them amazingly similar to the Fisherman’s
learned to write even on papyrus. They God of the Cook Islanders. Moreover, some
spoke repeatedly, too, of a "library” on of the buildings featured doorways of an un-
"Celeano”, which was beyond my ken. I was usual size, both in width and height, as were
loath to ask, but I gathered that they had they constructed for being beyond the con-
undergone a period of exile at what must ception of mankind.
have been certainly an archeologically price- I moved about among the city’s streets

less retreat, a city or library at a place called and lanes unmolested, but I was not alone.
"Celeano”, of which I knew nothing and Other human or semi-human beings became
THE BLACK ISLAND 21

visible from time to time, most of them revolting way, accusingly, as If I were guilty
strangely batrachian in their aspects and of some breach of conduct. But their atten-
movements, and my own locomotion was tion was soon drawn away from me to that
rather more batrachian than human. I saw rained doorway. Even while others were
presently that all the inhabitants were mov- still joining the throng from the city below,

ing in one general direction, and I followed a kind of glow began to come into being in
in their wake, joining the stream. Thus I the doorway, an oddly diffused light, not
came presently to a rise in the sea-bottom, at white or yellow, but pale green, lambent,
the top of which stood a ruined building like the movement of the curtain auroras,
which was clearly a temple. The building deepening in intensity as the moments
was of black stone, of pieces suggesting the passed. Then, deep in the heart of the pas-
Egyptian pryamids; it was no longer intact, sage, rising out of the light, came a great
but had fallen away, disclosing beyond the amorphous mass of flesh, preceded by in-
great doorway a passage which struck down- credibly long, lashing tentacles, a thing with
ward, into the sea-bottom. Around this what might have been a gigantic
the head of
doorway, in a semicircle, clustered the deni- human being in its upper half, and an octo-
zens of that ocean depth, I among them, poid creature below.
waiting upon some event which was ‘fore- I caught but a single, horrified glimpse of
ordained. it; then I screamed aloud and woke.

I lay for some time trying to ascertain the


GREW aware of a chanting ululation ris- reason for being of the dream I had had.
I ing from among them, but I could dis- That it grew from my knowledge of the an-
tinguishno words, for the language was not cient legends, I could not doubt; but how
one I knew. Yet I had the conviction that I could I account for my perspective in the
should know it, and several of the strange dream? I was not an interloper, as I was in
beings near me stared at me in a peculiarly fact, on my way to discover the point of

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22 WEIRD TALES
egress for Cthulhu. Moreover, I was a wit- Canadian regions, with a great shape strid-
ness to something more than was set down in ing across it, as on the wind, blotting out the
any of the references or sources I had read, stars, showing in their place great shining
and nothing of what I had dreamed had eyes, a grotesque caricature on mankind in
been envisioned in anything Professor the Arctic wastes.
Shrewsbury had said. These scenes passed before my eyes in
But I puzzled over this problem in vain. dream with ever-increasing rapidity, and
The only explanation I could credit lay in only one was remotely recognizable: a sea-
the work of a perfervid imagination, which coast town which, I was confident, was in
might conceivably have conjured up the sub- Massachusetts or at least somewhere along
stance of my dream. Lulled by the smooth the New England coast, and there I saw,
movement of the ship, I drifted off into moving about in its streets, people I remem-
sleep once more,and again into dream.
This time, however, the setting was far
bered having seen far back in memory par-
ticularly the always heavily veiled figure of

different. I dreamed that I was a spectator the woman who had been my mother.
at cataclysmic events far out among the con-
HE dream ended at last. I woke again,
stellations and galaxies. There a great battle
was joined between beings far beyond the
conceptions of a. mere human being. They
T far from sleep now, filled with a thou-
sand perplexing questions, unable to know
were great, constantly changing, masses of the meaning and significance of what I
what appeared to be pure light sometimes — had seen in dream, the kaleidoscope
in the form of pillars, sometimes as great of events utterly beyond my ken. I lay trying
globes, sometimes as clouds; these masses to thread them together, to evoke or create a
struggled titanically with other masses like- common link; I could find nothing save the
wise constantly changing not only in inten- nebulous mythology of which Professor
sity and shape, but also in color. Their size Shrewsbury had spoken in only the most
was monstrous; compared to them, I had the superficial way.
size of an ant to a dinosaur. The battle raged I rose presently and went out on deck.

in space, and from time to time one of the The night was calm, a moon shone, the ship
opponents of the pillars of light would be moved steadily through the South Pacific
caught up and flung far outward, dwindling toward our goal. The hour was late, past
to the sight, and altering hideously in shape, midnight, and I stood at the rail watching
taking on the aspect of a solid, fleshly form, —
the passing scene -the stars, wondering
.

yet undergoing unceasing metamorphosis. where, if any place, life such as mankind
Suddenly, in the midst of this interesting knew it existed; the sea, with the moonlight
engagement, it was as if a curtain had been glinting and gleaming on the gently swell-
drawn across the scene; it faded away ing water, wandering whether, indeed, there
abruptly, and slowly another took its place, had ever existed the legendary sunken con-
or, rather a succession of scenes —
a strange, tinents, whether cities had sunk beneath the
black- watered lake, lost among crags in an sea’s surface in ages gone by, and what
utterly alien landscape, certainly not terres- denizens of the deep lurked in those depths
trial,with a boiling, churning disturbance in as yet unknown to man.
the water and the raising of a thing too hide- Presently, however, the sound of our pas-
ous to be named; a bleak, dark, windswept sage began to have a peculiarly illusory ef-
landscape with snow-covered crags ringing fect, and at the same time I was given to
in a great plateau, in the center of which imagining that dark shapes swam with the
rose a black structure suggesting a many- ship, alongside, shapes in the guise, however
turretted castle, within which sat enthroned distorted, of human beings; it seemed to my
a quartet of sombre beings in the guise of already overwrought mind, that the very
men, attended by huge-bat-winged birds; a water seemed to whisper my name: Horvath
sea-kingdom, a far cry from Carcassone, sim- Blayne! Horvath Blayne! over and over, and
ilar to that of which I had previously it was then as if a dozen voices whispered

dreamed; a snowy landscape, suggestive of back: Horvath Waite; Horvath Waite!, until
THE BLACK ISLAND 23

at last Iwas overcome by the conviction that permitting him to go farther, Professor
I should turn back, go away, return to my Shrewsbury now asked us to take careful
ancestral home, as if I did not know that it note of what Sereke said. The account 1
had been destroyed in the holocaust of 1928. set down differed in no detail from Phelan’s.
So overpoweringly suggestive did this illu- We made no attempt, of course, to re-

sion become, that I turned at last and sought produce the exact language of the ailing
the comparative peace of my cabin, where I man.
took once again to my berth, hoping this "Our course was for Ponape. Bailey had a
time for sleep undisturbed by any dream. compass, and so we knew about where we
Then at last I slept. were going. The first night after the storm
we were moving along all right Hender- —
IV son and Melik were at the oars, with Spolito

and Yohira it was clear, we had enough

ON our arrival at Ponape, our party was


met by a grim-visaged American naval
white uniform, who drew Profes-
official in
food and water, nobody dreaming anything,
I mean — we saw something in the water.
We thought it was sharks or porpoises,
sor Shrewsbury to one side and spoke briefly maybe marlins, we couldn’t see well enough.
with him, while we waited, together with a It was dark, and they stayed away from the
shabby-looking seaman who seemed also to boat, just followed us and went along with
desire some words with the professor. This us. Along about my watch, they came closer.
seaman presently caught the professor’s eye; They had a funny look, like they had arms
certainly Professor Shrewsbury did not re- and legs instead of fins and a tail, but they
sent the seaman’s familiarity, and within a were up and down so much you couldn't
few moments he was walking at the profes- be sure. Then, quicker than a -cat, some-
sor’s side, talking animatedly in a dialect I thing reached over into the boat and got
did not clearly understand.
The professor listened to him but a short
Spolito — just pulled him out; he screamed,
and Melik reached out for him, but he was
while. Then he halted our party and abrupt- gone before Melik could get to him. Melik
ly altered our immediate plans. said he saw something like a webbed hand;
"Phelan and Blayne, come along with he was near crazy with fear afterward,
me. The rest of you go to our quarters. Spolito just went down and never came
Keane, send for Brigadier-General Holberg, up again. All our followers were gone
and ask him to see me.” quick; then they came back, an hour later,
Phelan and I therefore accompanied Pro- and that time they got Yohira the same way.
fessor Shrewsbury and his rough companion, After that nothing more, and when morn-
who led the way through devious streets and ing came we saw the island.
lanes to a building which was assuredly little "It was an island, where none was be-
more than a hovel. Lying on a pallet there, fore. There was nothing growing on it,
another seaman awaited us. Both men had and it was black with muck, I think. But
evidently had foreknowledge of our arrival, there were remains of buildings on it,
for the professor had sent ahead months ago buildings like I never saw before, with
for any lore of a mysterious island which big, odd-shaped blocks of stone. There was
rose on occasion and vanished as strangely. an open door, very large, partly broken
It was manifestly such knowledge as the ail- away. Henderson had the glasses, and he
ing seaman wished now to impart. got a good look. Then he passed them
His name was Satsume Sereke; he was
.
around. Henderson wanted to go to the
of Japanese extraction, but ciearly of mixed place, but I didn’t. Well, he talked, and
blood, and of more than usual education. Mason, Melik, and Gunders .decided to
He was approaching middle age, but looked go ashore; Benton and I held back, and the
older. He had been a hand on a tramp way we settled it was we rowed over, and
steamer, the Yokohama, out of Hongkong; Benton and I stayed in the boat with the
the steamer had been wrecked and he had glasses to watch the others.
been one of the men in a lifeboat. Before "They got out and sloshed through the
24 WEIRD TALES
muck and seaweed to the stones, and then readiness, subject to my order. I understand
they went on to that doorway. All four of you will attempt destruction with other
them were there, and I was looking at them weapons first?”
through the glasses. I don’t know how it "That is the plan, yes.”
happened, but something big and black "When do you expect to leave Ponape,
just puffed out of that doorway and fell sir?”
on the four of them. It pulled back with "Within a week. General.”
a horrible sucking noise, but Henderson and "Very good. We shall be at your dis-
Mason and the others were gone. Benton posal.”
had seen it, too, but not as clear. I didn’t
go to look, I didn’t want to see any more.
We rowed as fast as we could and got away
from there. We never stopped rowing until
THE events of that week on Ponape were
essentially trivial, concerning primarily
the amassing of powerful explosive weapons
the freighter Rhineland picked us up.” for use on the Black Island, if indeed we
"Did you set down the latitude and longi- could find that uncharted land area. But
tude of the island?” asked Professor Shrews- behind these superficial tasks loomed some-
bury. thing profoundly disturbing. It was not
"No. But we lost the ship at about alone the undeniable fact that we were un-
South Latitude 49° 51', West Longitude der surveillance; we had come to expect that.
128° 34'. It is toward Ponape from there, It was not only that we were constantly
but not close to Ponape.” aware of an impending task of singular
"You saw this thing in the morning, by magnitude; this too was to be expected.
daylight?” No, it was something more, it was the con-

it
"Yes, but there were fogs
was not clear.”
—green fogs; sciousness of the proximity of a vast and
primeval power, which gave off a malig-
"How far out of Ponape?” nance almost tangible. All of us felt this;
"Perhaps a day.” I alone felt something more.
Yet I could not define the intangible fear
ROFESSOR SHREWSBURY succeeded under which I labored. It was far more
in establishing no more. Nevertheless, than fear of the evil that lurked in the sea
he appeared pleased; he paused only long off Ponape; it was something that reached
enough to ascertain that Sereke would re- to the very well-springs of my being, some-
cover from the shock and exhaustion which thing integral in my essential self, some-
gripped him; then he returned to the thing that was omnipresent like a pulsing
quarters he had arranged for us. undercurrent in my very blood and bone.
There we found Brigadier-General Hol- Try as I might, I could not rid myself of
berg, a grim, gray-haired man of approxi- it; I regretted a thousand times having
mately sixty, waiting for us. Immediately yielded to Professor Shrewsbury’s invita-
after introductions had been exchanged, he tion that evening in Singapore, which al-
came to the subject of his presence and his ready seemed incredibly far away. This
reason for it. cloud hung over me without alleviation day
"I have been told to place myself at your after day until the day of our departure
disposal. Professor Shrewsbury, by an au- from Ponape.
thority I cannot very well disregard.” He That day dawned sultry and hot and, —
smiled frostily. "Operation Ponape is ap- for me, filled with foreboding. We set
parently your personal project, sir.” out early on the destroyer Hamilton, with
"You have been given some of the docu- General Holberg aboard. Professor Shrews-
ments to read, surely?” bury had worked out a course; he had had
"I have read the documents, yes. I have further discussions with the seaman, Sereke,
no comments to make. This is your field, not and he had arrived at an approximate loca-
mine. I have a destroyer ready for your use tion. Nor, I gathered, had the General
as soon as you wish to come aboard. A been idle; aeroplanes had been scouting
carrier is within call, and the weapon is in the sea in the vicinity of the place where
THE BLACK ISLAND 25

the Yokohama had gone down, and one ered with terrible hieroglyphs and shocking
pilot had reported seeing a curiously fog- images. The building was composed of
shrouded area in the sea; no land had been angles and planes which were non-
visible,but the occurrence of an unmoving Euclidean, hinting horribly of alien dimen-
mass of fog was in itself strange enough sions and spheres, as had this building and
to command attention. The latitude and what remained of the sunken city beyond it

longitude had been sent in, and it was for been constructed by non-terrestrials.
the Hamilton set out.
this spot that
Despite my forebodings, however, our
journey was singularly uneventful. The PROFESSOR weSHREWSBURY
us before landed.
cautioned

clouds which had obscured the sun at dawn "I believe Sereke’s story to be substan-
drew away by mid-day; the sultriness, too, tially true,” he said, "and I have no hope
vanished and gave way to a clear, less that this attack will seal the opening or de-
humid atmosphere. An air of excitement
• stroy its guardians. We must therefore be
prevailed, a kind of tension which we all prepared to flee at the slightest suggestion
shared, except for the General, whose man- that something is rising from below. We
ner was that of a military man obeying an need not fear anything other which might
order without quite believing in its neces- appear; the stones will protect us from
sity. He and the professor held some col- them; but if He who waits dreaming below
loquy on the destructiveness of modern war- rises, we dare not linger. Let us therefore
fare. And what. Professor Shrewsbury lose no time in mining the portal.”
wanted to know, was likely to happen to so The surface of the island was cloying.
small a land area as the Black Island. The muck had not yet been exposed suf-
"Wiped out,” said the General lacon- ficiently to the sun to be dried; moreover,
ically. the pale green mists which continued to
"I wonder,” answered the professor. hang about the island were humid and
I do not know whether I actually ex- faintly malodorous, not alone of the ex-
pected the destroyer to reach the Black posed surfaces of something long under
Island; certainly I did not share the Gen- water, but of something more, an animal-
eral’scalm confidence. But in late afternoon like smell which was neither a musk nor a
of that day we sighted an uncharted island, pungence, but a cloying, almost charnel
and within a short time we were lowering a smell. The atmosphere of the island dif-
boat containing Professor Shrewsbury, fered sharply from that of the surrounding
Phelan, Keane, and myself; a second boat sea; perhaps it was the cloying smell, per-
carried paraphernalia together with Boyd haps the humidity, perhaps the exhalation
and Colum, and two men from the de- of the ancient stones. And over all hung
stroyer. Significantly, the ship’s guns were an aura of dread, all the more inexplicable
trained on the structure' just visible on the for the still brightly-shining sun, and the
island. protective presence of the Hamilton, lying
It did not surprise me to find the Black not far off shore.
Island to be the temple peak of. my dream. We worked rapidly. Nevertheless, none
Here it was, exactly as I had seen it, with of us could escape the growing sense of
the carven door open and the mouth of that malevolence which was manifest. The aura
great portal yawning to the sun despite an -of dread which clung to the island height-
aura of mist which lay greenly over every- ened steadily, apprehension of some im-
thing. The ruins were breathtaking, though pending horror increased; there was a
plainly ravaged by quakes and, quite clearly, mounting tension among us, despite the
by explosives, whose ineffectual damage dif- fact that Professor Shrewsbury maintained
fered from that greater damage of earth- a ceaseless vigilance at the very threshold
quake, which had burst asunder many of of the yawning cavern, ingress to which
the angles of the colossal stone building. was afforded by the broken doorway; it was
The stones, like the soil, were black, and plain to see that he expected danger from
forbidding; and their surfaces were cov- this source, if no other, though the very
26 WEIRD TALES
waters around the island were fraught with that what took place on that awe-inspiring
peril, if Sereke’s story were uncolored by island was plainly visible to all of us. We
his imagination. had moved as far out into the sea as the
At the same time I was agonizingly aware wires to the explosives permitted. There we
of inimical forces which seemed almost per- waited upon Professor Shrewsbury’s order
sonal; I felt them physically, quite apart to detonate the explosives, and we were ac-
from the chaotic confusion of my thoughts. cordingly given the opportunity to see the
In truth, the island affected me profoundly, emergence of the ghastly being from the
and its effect was cumulative, not only fear depths.
but a deep depression of my spirits, not only The first movement was of tentacles,
apprehension but a basic disorder of such which came oozing forth from the opening,
a nature as to stir up within me a conflict, slithering over the great rocks, accompanied
of the significance of which I was not by a horrible sloshing, sucking sound, as of
cognizant, but a conflict which was alarm- great footsteps in the bowels of earth. Then
ingly disorganizing, so that I found myself abruptly there loomed within the portal,
at one and the same time eager to help, and preceded by an emanation of green light, a
at the same time anxious to impede or de- thing which was little more than a proto-
stroy the work being done by my com- plasmic mass, from the body of which a
panions. thousand tentacles of every length and thick-
It was almost with relief that I heard the ness flailed forth, from the head of which,
professor’s abrupt cry, "He is coming!” constantly altering in shape from an amor-
I looked up. There was a faint green phous bulge to a simulacrum of a man’s
luminosity showing far down the well of head, a single malevolent eye peered. A
dark within the portal, just such a shocking sound as of retching, accompanied
luminosity as I had seen in my dream. I by ululations and a fluted whistling, came
knew, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that to us across the water.
what would emerge from that maw would I closed my eyes; I could not bear to see
be akin to the being seen in my
dream, also, in reality the horror I had seen in dream
a terrifying, horrible caricature of an octo- so short a time ago.
poid creature with the grotesquely gigantic At that instant. Professor Shrewsbury
half-head of a human being. And for one gave the signal.
instant I was moved, not to follow the
others, who were already on their
to the boats, carrying the detonator for the
explosives which had been
way down
THE explosives burst with a tremendous
concussion. What had survived that
laid all about the earlier explosion, including now the portal
portal, but to hurl myself down into that itself, upward and outward. The thing
burst
pit of darkness, down the monolithic steps, in the doorway, too, was tom open, and in a
to that nether place in accursed R’lyeh where few moments, portions of the stone blocks
Great Cthulhu lay dreaming, waiting his fell upon it, further shattering it. But, chill-
time to rise once more and seize the waters ingly, when the sound of the explosion had
and the lands of Earth. died away, there came to our ears still,
The moment broke. I turned at Pro- without change, the ululations and the
fessor Shrewsbury’s sharp call, and followed, whistling and the retching sounds we had
with the malevolence of that charnel place heard. And there, before our eyes, the shat-
rising behind me like a cloud, and with the tered mass of the thing from the depths, was
I was marked as the
horrible conviction that flowing together like water, reforming,
especial victim of that ghastly being mak- shaping itself anew once more!
ing way out of the depths below that
its Professor Shrewsbury’s face was grim,
eldritch temple. I was the last of them to but he did not hesitate. He ordered the
reach the boats, and at once we pushed off boats returned to the destroyer at once;
for the destroyer. what we had seen lent strength and pur-
It was still light, though the day was now pose to our arms, and we reached the
far gone. The sun had not yet gone down, so Hamilton within a very short time.
THE BLACK ISLAND 27

General Holberg, glasses in hand, faced


us on the top deck. "A shocking thing,
Professor Shrewsbury. Must it be the How to bo/
weapon?”
ProfessorShrewsbury nodded silently. better work clothes
General Holberg raised one arm aloft.
"Now let us watch,” he said.
The thing on the island was still growing.
It towered now above the ruins, expand-
ing into the heavens, beginning to flow
down to the water’s edge.
"Horrible, horrible,” murmured General
Holberg. "What in God’s name is it?”
"Perhaps something from an alien dimen-
sion,” replied the professor wearily. "No
one knows. It may be that even the weapon
is powerless against it.”
"Nothing can resist that, sir.”
"The military mind,” murmured the pro-
fessor.
The Hamilton was moving away, gather-
ing speed.
"How long will it General?”
take,
"The carrier will have had our signal by
this time; the plane was loaded. It should
not take longer than it takes us to reach the
limit of safety.”
On the island a great black mass stood
out against the setting sun, diminishing
now only because we were moving so
rapidly away from it. Presently the island
itself was lost, and only the suggestive
black mass remained, dark upon the
heavens.
Overhead roared an aeroplane, making
for the island.
"There it goes,” cried General Holberg.
"Please look away. Even at this distance the
light will be blinding.”
We turned obediently. Get long wear from the tough materials and
rugged sewing that go into Blue Bell work
In a few moments the sound came, clothes. Blue Bell dungarees are cut full so
shockingly. In another few seconds the they don’t bind. They’re Sanforized, and
force of the explosion struck us like a keep their roomy, comfortable fit as long as
physical blow. It seemed a long time be- you wear them. Reinforced with no-scratch
copper rivets. Plenty of pockets.
fore the General spoke again.
Blue Bell Sanforized chambray shirts are
"Look now, if you like.”
cut to body contour for comfort, and topped
We turned. by a dress-type collar for good looks. For out-
Over the place where the Black Island standing value in all kinds of work clothes*
had been loomed now a gigantic cloud, look for the Blue Bell Qualitag, which
guarantees you the best made, best fitting work
mushrooming and billowing skyward, a clothes you can buy— or your money back/
cloud greater than the size of the island
BLUE BELL/ Inc.,Empire State Bldg., New York J
itself, of white and gray and tan colors,
WORLD'S LARGEST PRODUCER OF WORK CLOTHES
beautiful in itself to see. And I knew what
23 WEIRD TALES
the "weapon” had been, remembering the dweller in those subaqueous depths still
Hiroshima and the Bikini experiment, I existed in whatever form he chose to as-
knew what a titanic force had fallen upon sume, that his worshippers still bowed in
that hideously menacing island risen from submission to him from every sea and port
the Pacific for the last time only to be in the world.
blown asunder with all that it contained, I went home to find out why I had had
forever. what I recognized as a feeling of kinship
"I rather think it cannot have survived for the Deep Ones, for the thing that lived
that,” said General Holberg calmly. in the sunken realm of R’lyeh, for
"I pray Heaven you are right,” said Cthulhu, of whom it was once said and is
Professor Shrewsbury firmly. still said, and will be said until the coming

again, "Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu


REMEMBER now, after all these R’lyeh wgah-nagl fhtagn.” I went home to
I months, how sober and grave Profes- Massachusetts to discover why my mother
sor Shrewsbury was our parting. I re-
at went veiled for most of her life, to learn
member how he said something in sym- what it meant to be one of the Waites of
pathy, and I did not then understand it, but Innsmouth, destroyed by the Federals in
since then I have come to know that some- 1928 to wipe out the accursed plague which
how, despite the fact that behind those had come upon the inhabitants, including
black glasses he always wore, that strange the Waites who were my grandparents and
and wise man had no eyes with which to my parents.
see, and yet saw, he saw more than I my-
OR their blood flows in my veins, the
self knew about myself.
I think of this now often.
where we had met, at Singapore. From
parted We F blood of the Deep Ones, the spawn
of that black mating in the South Pacific.
Singapore I went back to Cambodia, then And I know that I have earned their espe-
to Calcutta, then to Tibet and back to the cial hatred as a traitor to that blood, for
coast, from which I took ship for America, even now I feel the longing to descend
driven now by more than curiosity about into the depths, to make my way to the
archeology, by an insistence upon knowing glory of Y’ha-nthlei where it lies in the
more of myself, of my father and mother, Atlantic off Devil’s Reef beyond Innsmouth,
of my grandparents. We
parted as friends, to the splendor of R’lyeh in the waters near
united by a common bond. Professor Ponape, and even now I know the fear of
Shrewsbury’s words had been hopeful, yet going to them with the taste of treachery
faintly prophetic. Perhaps, he had said, He in my mouth.
had died in the atomic blast; but we must At night I hear them, calling, "Horvath
recognize, he had insisted, that something Waite. Horvath Waite!”
from an alien dimension, something from And I wonder how long it will be before
another planet might not be subject to our they seek me out and find me.
natural laws; one could only hope. His For it was vain to hope, as Professor
work was either done or had gone as far Shrewsbury did, that Cthulhu could have
as it could go, short of ceaseless vigilance been vanquished so easily. The battle of the
to stop up temporarily every avenue to the Elder Gods had been far greater, far more
open that might be attempted by Cthulhu titantic than even that impressive bomb
or those who followed him, who wor- which had erased the Black Island from
shipped him and did the bidding of the the face of the Pacific that memorable day.
Ancient Ones. And that interstellar battle had lasted long
Because I alone, of the six of us, had no won by the Elder Gods,
before victory was
doubt. Not of the death and disintegration who were all-powerful, who were great
of the idling on the Black Island, but of its above all others and banished the Ancient
survival. I knew by an intuition I could not Ones to outer darkness forever.
then explain that R’lyeh still stood in its For weeks after my shocking discovery,
depths, wounded but not destroyed, that I asked myself which one of us would be
THE BLACK ISLAND 29

the first to be discovered. I asked myself went down within sight of many other
how it would be brought about certainly — bathers. His body has not yet been
by no crude means, no alarming crime which recovered ...”
might startle into renewed activity Pro-
fessor Shrewsbury and Andrew Phelan and Now I who will be next?
ask myself
the others. And how long will he be in the endless
And today the papers brought me an progression of days before those who serve
answer. Him will summon me to atonement in those
black depths where Great Cthulhu lies
"Gloucester, Mass. The Rev. Abel — dreaming, waiting 'upon his time to rise
Keane, a newly ordained clergyman, again and take possession of the lands and
was drowned today while swimming the seas and all that lives within them, once
near Gloucester. He had been ac- more as before, once more and forever
counted an excellent swimmer, but more?

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OU can’t go on this way.” —poor dear, I hate to think of what all

«V'
1
Lucy kept her voice down
low, because she knew the nurse
I
those doctors and specialists are
him, and the sanatorium bill, too. And now
costing

had her room just down the hall from mine, that nurse, that Miss Higgins, staying here
and I wasn’t supposed to see any visitors. every day.”
"But George is doing everything he can "It won’t do any good. You know k
30
— ” ” -

, , . the scissors? , , . only to cut the telephone wires, my dear .

won’t.” Lucy didn’t sound like she was "He did? He told the nurses to burn the
arguing with me. She knew. That’s because flowers?”
Lucy is smarter than I am. Lucy wouldn’t "Of it’s about time you
course. Look, Vi,
have started the drinking and gotten into faced the truth. George wants them to
such a mess in the first place. So it was think you’re sick. George wants you to
about time I listened to what she said. think you’re sick. Why? Because then he
can put you away for good. Not in a private
"Look, Vi,” she murmured. "I hate to
tell you this. You aren’t well, you know. sanatorium, but in the

But you’re going to find out one of these "No!” I began to shake. I couldn’t stop
days anyway, and you might as well hear it shaking. It was ghastly. But it proved some-
from me.” thing. They told me at the sanatorium, the
"What is it, Lucy?” doctors told me, that if I took the cure I
"About George, and the doctors. They wouldn’t get the shakes any more. Or the
don’t think you’re going to get well.” She dreams, or any of the other things. Yet
paused. "They don’t want you to.” —
here it was I was shaking again.
"Oh, Lucy!” "Shall I tell you some more?” Lucy whis-
"Listen to me, you little fool. Why do pered. "Shall I tell you what they’re putting
you suppose they sent you to that sanato- in your food? Shall I tell you about George
rium in the first place? They said it was to and Miss Higgins?”
take the cure. So you took it. All right,
you’re cured, then. But you’ll notice that

"But she’s older than he is, and besides
he’d never
you still have the doctor coming every day, Lucy laughed.
and George makes you stay here in your "Stop it!” I yelled.
room, and that Miss Higgins who’s sup- "All right. But don’t yell, you little
posed to be a special nurse you know
what she is, don’t you? She’s a guard.”
— fool.
in?”
Do you want Miss Higgins to come

I couldn’t say anything. I just sat there "She thinks I’m taking a nap. She gave
and blinked. I wanted to cry, but I couldn’t, me a sedative.”
because deep down inside I knew that Lucy "Lucky I dumped it out.” Lucy frowned.
was right. “Vi, I’ve got to get you away from here.
"Just try to get out of here,” Lucy said. And there isn’t much time.”
"You’ll see how fast she locks the door on She was right. There wasn’t much time.
you. All that talk about special diets and Seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks how —
rest doesn’t fool me. Look at yourself long had it been since I’d had a drink?
you’re as well as I am! You ought to be "We’ll sneak off,” Lucy said. "We could
getting out, seeing people, visiting your take a room together where they wouldn’t
friends.” find us.I’ll nurse you until you’re well.”

"But I have no friends,” I reminded her. "But rooms cost money.”


“Not after that party, not after what I "You have that fifty dollars George gave
did—” you for a party dress.”
"That’s a lie.” Lucy nodded. "That’s "Why, Lucy,” I said. "How did you
what George wants you to think. Why, you know that?”
have hundreds of friends, Vi. They still "You told me ages ago, dear. Poor thing,
love you. They tried to see you at the hospi- you don’t remember things very well, do
tal and George wouldn’t let them in. They you? All the more reason for trusting me,”
sent flowers to the sanatorium and George I nodded. I could trust Lucy. Even
told the nurses to burn diem.” though she was responsible, in a way.

Heading by Joseph Eberle


n
— — ”

32 WEIRD TALES
for me starting to drink. She just had She stood there with the scissors in her
thought it would cheer me up when George hand and called to me.
brought all his high-class friends to the "Come on, let’s hurry."
house and we went out to impress his "What are you doing with the scissors?”
clients. Lucy had tried to help. I could I asked.
trust her. I must trust her "Cutting the telephone wires, silly! I got
"We can leave as soon as Miss Higgins into the kitchen after Miss Higgins left and
goes tonight,” Lucy was saying. "Well dumped some of that sedative into George’s
wait until George is asleep, eh? Why not coffee. Remember, I told you the plan.”
get dressed now, and I’ll come back for I couldn'tremember now, but I knew it
you.” was Lucy and I went out through
all right.

I got dressed. It isn’t easy to dress when the hall, past George’s room, and he Lever
you have the shakes, but I did it. I even stirred. Then we went downstairs and out
put on some make-up and trimmed my hair the front door and the street-lights hurt my
a little with the big scissors. Then I looked eyes. Lucy made me hurry right along,
at myself in the mirror and said out loud, though.
"Why, you can’t tell, can you?” We took a streetcar around the comer.
"Of course not,” said Lucy. "You look This was the difficult part, getting away.
radiant. Positively radiant.” Once we were out of the neighborhood,
I stood there smiling, and the sun was there’d be no worry. The wires were cut.
going down, just shining through the win- The lady at the rooming house on the
dow on the scissors in a way that hurt my South Side didn’t know about the wires
eyes, and all at once I was so sleepy. being cut. She didn’t know about me,
"George will be here soon, and Miss either, because Lucy got the room.
Higgins will leave,” Lucy said. "I’d better Lucy marched in bold as brass and laid
go now. Why don’t you rest until I come my fifty dollars down on the desk. The rent
for you?” was $12.50 a week in advance, and Lucy
"Yes,” I said. "You’ll be very careful, didn’t even ask to see tire room. I guess
won’t you?” that’s why the landlady wasn’t worried

"Very careful,” Lucy whispered, and tip- about baggage.


toed out quietly.
I lay down on the bed and then I was
sleeping, really sleeping for the first time in
weeks, sleeping so the scissors wouldn’t
W E GOT upstairs and locked the door,
and then I had the shakes again.

Lucy said, "Vi cut it out!”
my way George hurt me in- "But I can’t help it. What’ll I do now,
hurt
side
eyes, the
when he wanted to shut me up in the Lucy? Oh, what’ll I do? Why did I ever —
asylum so he and Miss Higgins could make "Shut up!” Lucy opened my purse and
love on my bed and laugh at me the way pulled something out. I had been wonder-
they ail laughed except Lucy and she would ing why my purse felt so heavy but I never
take care of me she knew what to do now I dreamed about the secret.
could trust her when George came and I She held the secret up. It glittered under
must sleep and sleep and nobody can blame the light, like the scissors, only this was a
you for what you think in your sleep or do nice glittering. A golden glittering.
in your sleep. . . .
"A whole pint!” I gasped. "Where did
It was all right until I had the dreams, you get it?”
and even then I didn’t really worry about "From the cupboard downstairs, natu-
them because a dream is only a dream, and rally. You knew George still keeps the stuff

when I was drunk I had a lot of dreams. around. I slipped it into your purse, just in
When I woke up I had the shakes again, case.”
but it was Lucy shaking me, standing there I had the shakes, but I got that bottle

in tihe dark shaking me. I looked around open in ten seconds. One of my fingernails
and saw that the door to my room was broke, and then the stuff was burning and
open, but Lucy didn’t bother to whisper. warming and softening

LUCY COMES TO STAY 33

"Pig!” said Lucy. ing the way it did on the scissors and I

"You know I had to have it,” I whis- dosed my eyes and dropped after the bottle
pered. "That’s why you brought it.” to the floor. . . .

"I don’t like to see you drink,” Lucy an-


swered. "I never drink and
see you hang one om, either.”
"Please, Lucy. Just this once.”
I don’t like to
W HEN I woke up they were all pester-
ing me, the landlady and the doctor
and Miss Higgins and the man who said
"Why can’t you take a shot and then he -was a policeman.
leave it alone? That’s all I ask.” I wondered if Lucy had gone 'to them
"just this once, Lucy, I have to.” and betrayed me, but when I asked the doc-
"I won’t sit here and watch you make a tor said no, they just discovered me through
spectacle of yourself. You know what al- a routine checkup on hotels and rooming-

ways happens another mess.” houses after they found George’s body in
I took another gulp. The bottle was half- his bed with my scissors in his throat.
empty. All at once I knew what Lucy had done,
"I did all I could for you, Yi. But if you and why she ran out on me that way. She
don’t stop now, I’m going.” knew they’d find me and call it murder.
That made me pause. "You couldn’t do So I told them about her and how it must
that to me. I need you, Lucy. Until I’m have happened. I even figured out how
straightened out, anyway.” Lucy managed to get my fingerprints on the
Lucy laughed, the way I didn’t like. scissors.
“Straightened out! That’s a hot one! Talk- But Miss Higgins said she’d never, seen
ing about straightening out with a bottle in Lucy in my house, and the landlady told a
your hand. It’s no use, Vi. Here I do every- lie and said I had registered for the room
thing I can for you, I stop at nothing to get alone, and the man from the police just
you away, and you’re off on another.” laughed when I kept begging him to find
"Please. You know I can’t help it.” Lucy and make her tell the truth.
“Oh, yes, you can help it, Vi. But you Only the doctor seemed to understand,
don’t want to. You’ve always had to make a and when we were alone together in the
choice, you know. Georye or the bottle. Me little room he asked me all about her and
or the bottle. And the bottle always wins. I what she looked like, and I told him.
think deep down inside you hate George. Then he brought over the mirror and
You hate me.” held it up and asked me if I could see her.
"You’re my best friend.” And sure enough
"Nuts!” Lucy talked vulgar sometimes, She was standing right behind me, laugh-
when she got really mad. And she was mad, ing. I could see her in the mirror and I told
now'. It made me so nervous I had another the doctor so, and he said yes, he thought
drink. he understood now.
"Oh, I’m good enough for you when So it was all right after all. Even when I
you’re in trouble, or have nobody else got the shakes just then and dropped the
around to talk to. I’m good enough to lie mirror, so that the little jagged pieces hurt
for you, pull you out of your messes. But my eyes to look at, it was all right.
I’ve never been good enough for your Lucy was back with me now, and she
friends, for George. And I can’t even win wouldn’t ever go away any more. She’d
over a bottle of rotgut whiskey. It’s no use, stay with me forever. I knew that. I knew
Vi. What I’ve done for you today you’ll it, because even though the light hurt my

never know. And it isn’t enough. Keep your eyes, Lucy began to laugh.
lousy whiskey. I’m going.” After a minute, I began to laugh, too.
I know I started to cry. I tried to get up, And then the two of us were laughing to-
but the room was turning round and round. gether, we couldn’t stop even when the doc-
Then Lucy was walking out the door and I tor went away. We just stood there against
dropped the bottle and the light kept shin- the bars, Lucy and I, laughing like crazy.
earn-
stress
BY
E. EVERETT
EVANS

. . . slave to a Fate
that would not leave
her alone ,

Heading by Carl Kidwell

5>

COLLECTORS of Internal Revenue anyone like her could die. Resides, I saw
are continually running into some that bobbin.
very peculiar situations, but I seri- Anyway, for the second year we had re-
ously doubt if anyone of them ever struck ceived a very strange tax return, and decided
one as strange, as unbelievable, as the one it should be investigated. Not that the fig-

I had some time ago. I use the word "un- ures weren’t correct —
they just didn’t make
believable” with intent, for I am not sure sense to us.
even yet that somebody hasn’t done a mighty Since I am one of the department’s
fine job of leg-pulling on me. And yet . . . trouble-shooters, I was sent to Springfield to
there was so much sincerity and truth in lit- look into the matter. Now "Springfield” is
tle Miss Angie’s eyes. It is hard to believe not the name of the place I went. I use
34
THE SEAMSTRESS 35

that because the United States Postal Guide "It was mere not official business.
curiosity,
lists twenty-five Springfields, and I do not You don’t need to answer.”
want to see that poor, rich wonderful, un- After a moment she quieted down and
fortunate lady molested by idle curios-
little peered at me through the steel-bowed
ity seekers —
or fortune hunters. You see, spectacles she wore.
in spite of the generally-held belief, we Col- "You’re from out of town, and I think
lectors of Internal Revenue do have hearts. you’d not go blabbing it around here, any

Miss Angie everyone in Springfield more’n Banker Jacobs does. I don’t want the
called her that,and I soon got the habit- people here ever to know the story. But I
lived in a charming little cottage. The small think it would do me good to tell it to
entrance porch was covered with morning someone. But I warn you,” her smile was
glories and climbing roses. Just off the front very strained as she looked up at me, "you
hall was a large, sunny workroom with a won’t believe me. You’ll probably think
big bay window in front of which, on low I’m feeble-minded or something. But that’s
stands, were dozens of potted geraniums. all right. Goodness knows I often think so
little, low, armless rocking
Seated in a myself.
chair,with work tables on either side, was "It all started back quite a few years ago,”
a small, apparently middle-aged woman, she began. "I guess the best place to begin
who was neither pretty nor handsome. But is with Marcy Howland.”
she had a personality shining from her that was struck with the fact that she kept
I
instantly made you forget such trivialities right on sewing all the time she was talking,
as mere prettiness. her needle flashing in and out, making the
After explaining my mission, I asked her finest, tiniest stitches I’ve ever seen. Yet she
about it. "You list returns from investments apparently paid no attention to her work,
that must run into millions. Yet that money for I seldom saw her even look at it. But
is merely deposited in your account at the here is her story. Judge for yourself.
bank, and your actual expenditures listed are
just smaller than this item of nine hundred “YAH, MISS ANGIE, I’ve such good
and sixty-seven dollars you list as earned by V/ news! I’m to be married, and you’re
your sewing.” to make my wedding dress —white satin,
She nodded placidly without looking up. old lace and all!”
"Goodness, yes. I’ve always made enough The pert little figure in the low rocker
from my sewing to live on.” looked up at the flushed face of the girl
"But all that other ...” dancing and whirling about the room, too
"Was my husband’s. When he was . . . excited to stand still.
killed ... I didn’t have any use for it. I "Well, I declare to goodness, Marcy,
asked the bank to take care of it for me, that’s just fine. How’d it happen, and who’s
and I ’sposed everything was all right about the lucky fellow?”
it. They make out my tax returns.” "I’m the lucky one, Miss Angie. It was
"Yes, Mr. Jacobs explained all that to after the dance last night, and it must have
me. My superiors sent me here because this been that pink party dress you made for
seemed so unusual they wanted to make sure me that did it. My fiance,” she savored the
it was correct.” ,
word on her tongue, "is Ronald McClain.
"The government can have it all if they It’s funny, for he’s never hardly looked at
want it,” she said almost acidly. "Goodness, me before, in spite of how I’ve loved him
I don’t need it, and I don’t know how to all these years. But he danced with me sev-

give it away so it’ll do more good than eral times, then begged to take me home,
harm.” and asked me to marry him.”
I shook my head in perplexity. "Why do The happy girl stopped her pirouetting
you work so hard at sewing when you before the big bay window, where the after-
have so much more than you need?” noon sun was shining warmly. She stooped
Her face paled and she shook so, as with to smell the potted flowers there. "Your
a palsy, that I hastened to beg her pardon. geraniums are doing so well this year, aren’t
.

36 WEIRD TALES
they,Miss Angie?” But then, the whole trips,” she joyfully told visitors who asked
world must have been beautiful to Marcy after him. "He tells me the grandest stories
Petersen that day. and brings me odd things he picks up in all
The little seamstress looked more closely those foreign places he goes to,” and she’d
at the excited girl. Inwardly she had mar- point to -the whatnot in the comer.
velled that such a plain, drab, timid young His latest present had been that peculiar
woman had managed to catch a husband at bobbin of thread, found in a bazaar in some
all, to say nothing of such a catch as Ronny little Greek port town. It was made of

McCiain, probably the town’s most eligible lemonwood, he told her, and was carved
bachelor. with strange designs that, when studied, she
But as she now examined the girl, Miss seemed almost able to understand, but never
Angie was struck by the change that had quite could.
come over her. Why, Marcy’s face and eyes But it was the thread that puzzled her . .

were sparkling and alive, her drab hair and the fact that the bobbin never seemed
seemed softed and gleamed with highlights, to empty.
her very skin seemed to have come alive and When he gave it to her the thread was a
was flushed with health and vitality. fine,black silk. She first used it when repair-
As the girl babbled away about her plans ing a tear in Gertrude Clarke’s black poplin.
and her happiness, and the things she It seemed such good thread, and worked so
wanted the little seamstress to make for her, neatly into the fabric that when she finished
one thought intruded into Miss Angie’s the repair she was surprised, even though
consciousness with such force as to make her she considered herself an expert seamstress.
gasp aloud. Once she let the exact spot out of sight for a
Instantly the girl turned to her in concern. moment, it was impossible to tell where she
"What is it. Miss Angie? Are you sick?” had worked on it.

"No .nothing
. . it’s nothing, Child.”
. . . The next day she was searching her thread
How could she tell her fears about those rack for a certain shade of blue cotton and,
strange coincidences that had been happen- to her great amazement, discovered that this
ing here in Springfield the past year or so? peculiar bobbin now held exactly the shade
For now she remembered it was while she and texture of thread she needed.
was working on that pink party dress of At first she was puzzled by the uncanny
Marcy’s that Ronny McClain had come to way that weird bobbin always held exactly
her workroom and she had laid aside the the thread she needed, no matter how often
dress to sew monograms on his new shirts. she went to it. Pink silk, blue cotton, black
And had used thread from the strange linen —anything and everything came
bobbin for both jobs! from it.

She made herself snap out of it. "I’m sure She grew a bit frightened, then worried
you and Ronny will be very happy, Marcy. lest she be committing some sort of sin by
I’ll put my finest stitches into your dress, you taking advantage of such unholy magic. For
can be sure.” in Miss Angie’s simple, child-like heart only
the deepest-dyed, most sinful sort of black
FTER the girl was gone, Miss Angie got
A up and made a pot of tea. While sip-
ping the fragrant brew, her thoughts spun
magic could accomplish such things.
But gradually, through continued use, her
fears and doubts began to dissipate.
webs of memory. "It is a comfort to have such a handy
Dear Billy Conner. He had always been a thing around,” she defended her use of it to
pet of Hers, even as a little boy living next herself. "Now I never have to hunt fop the
door. After his parents were killed in that exact match to whatever I’m working on.”
train wreck, he lived with her while finish- Once in her needle the thread seemed
ing his last two years of high school. Then almost alive. Her stitches were truer, her
he fulfilled a boyhood ambition by "going work far more excellent than it had ever
to sea.” been, so perfectly did the thread blend into
"But he always comes back to me between the fabric.
1 —
THE SEAMSTRESS 37

All of which was a mercy to her tired eyes The first time was when Constable Bivins
and, her fears once allayed, a thing to be came to see me after that terrible fight be-
accepted gratefully and used regularly. Thus tween Chuck Wiggins and Bob Considine.
does one of simple faith accept the gifts that Someone mentioned seeing both -boys come
the gods —
now why did she use that expres- here that morning, so he came to ask if
sion, rather than "God”?
fortunate people.

give to certain either had said anything that might shed
light on their quarrel, that had flared into
that sudden, awful fight.
T was only gradually that she came to "Why why, no,” she was aghast at his
. . .

I notice these many peculiar coincidences news. "Goodness me, neither of them even
if they were that. Sitting hour after hour mentioned tire other. Chuck just wanted a
with busy hands every day as she did, her suspender button sewed back on his pants,
active little mind raced as fast as her flash- and Bob had tom a pocket on his coat.”
ing fingers. It was only after the constable left that
Although she seldom left her little cot- the thought came to Miss Angie that she
tage, she knew the news and gossip of her had used thread from the bobbin for both
small town almost as soon as it happened. jobs. She grew almost frightened. Had she
There were a dozen business callers each been to blame for that fight?
day, besides many friends who dropped in But later in the day she had sewn some
for a simple chat of gossip. Each brought a lace on a camisole for Jenny Edwards and
load of news and the talk of the town. Nor lengthened a pair of her husband’s trousers.
was it only the women who came. There The two had been on the verge of a separa-
was no tailor in Springfield, so she did sew- tion forsome time, but after that night they
ing for men, as well as dressmaking and hat had grown closer than they had ever been.
trimming for the women. So Miss Angie figured if the bobbin
Let’s see now, her thoughts flashed back. brought bad luck, it also brought good.

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38 WEIRD TALES
These had been only momentary wonders steps approached her workroom. As she
to Miss Angie, but as such cases multiplied looked up, she saw Hank Brower in the

week after week some good, some bad — doorway. He grinned at her shamefaced.
she began to woriy again, and decided that —
“Ma’am, I tore my overalls in a sort of
terrible bobbin was to blame. She carried it an exposed place. Could you do a rush job
out and threw it in the garbage can. on ’em?”
But the next morning, when she sat down "Why certainly, Henry. Oh,” as he came
in her lew rocker, there was that bobbin closer, "you mean the ones you have on?” he
back on her sewing table. nodded. "Go back of the screen there and
Startled, and really afraid of it now, she take ’em off.”
regarded it wordlessly for some minutes. He did so, and threw them to her.
Then she rose determinedly, picked it up "How do you like railroading?” she
between thumb and forefinger, and started asked, as she worked.
towards her kitchen stove where there was "I like it fine, mostly. Braking isn’t too
still a hot fire. bad, and if I can make good I'll get a
But a sudden compulsion stopped her in chance at conducting some of these days.”
•hertracks, and she felt a thought in her "You’ll make good,” she said sagely.
mind as strong as a spoken word. "Sew,” it "You’ve got good stuff in you. I remember
said. your Pa. He was a fine man, and you’re a
A sudden surge of anger and determina- lot like him.”
tion made her small figure straighten. She "Thanks, Miss Angie. If I can be half
spoke aloud, the better to emphasize her the man he was ...” lie let it go at that.
feelings. Hardly had the door closed behind him
"I won’t use it any more!” and again she when it banged open and shut again, and a

struggled to go to the stove and burn that rush of feet brought a big, breezy young
bobbin and its horrible, magic thread. man mnning into the room.
"Sew!” the command seemed to make her "Hi, Miss Angie, I’m home again!” and
senses reel with its force. two strong young arms scooped her out of
Slowly, against her will, she found her- her chair and into a big bear hug.
self going back to her low chair and taking "Billy! Oh, it’s good to see you again!”
up the dress on which she was working. She was filled with the joy that the safe
Time after time, through the days that fol- return of "her boy” always brought. She
lowed, she tried to destroy that cursed bob- kissed him and looked him over carefully to
bin of thread, but found the coercion ever make sure he was well and happy.
present, ever stronger than her will and For an hour they chatted swiftly of their
determination. experiences of the past year, glad and con-
In time, to preserve her peace of mind, tent to be together again.
she developed the conviction that it was only
her foolish fancy that had, first, made her
imagine it was evil and, second, that some-
thing was forcing her to continue using it.
F INALLY
town for
he
a
rose.
little
"Think
while.”
"You’re staying here, of course.”
I’ll go down

Now she accepted the fact meekly, without "Where else?” he grinned. "Think I
further questioning, and without thinking want you to paddle me for even suggesting
about it except when some new coincidence going to a hotel.”
forced itself upon her consciousness. Suddenly she remembered the girl. "By
the way,” she said with an attempt- at casual-

M ISS Angie was making a new dress


for Margie White, whom she consid-
ered about the prettiest and sweetest girl in
ness, "Margie White was in here awhile ago
to have me make this dress for her. She’s
grown into a beautiful girl.”
Springfield. She sat dreaming of this and "Little pigtailed Margie? But thats’ not
that, her needle plying in and out without surprising, she did have regular features."
toomuch attention. "Maybe you’ll see her.”
The front door opened and heavy foot- He looked at her with pretending sever-
THE SEAMSTRESS 39

ity. "You wouldn’t by any chance be indulg- must have been about an hour later,
It
ing in a little match-making, would you. when she was pulling basting threads from
Miss Angie?” Margie’s dres, using the point of her shears
She colored a bit at being caught. "Well, as dressmakers do, when suddenly, seem-
you’ll be wanting a wife some day, and I ingly almost of themselves, the shears
want you to have the best.” snapped together, cutting the thread in a
He threw back his head and laughed up- place she had not intended.
roariously, then came over and kissed her. Miss Angie laid the dress and shears
"You sure beat the band, Darling.” down wearily. She sank back into her chair,
He started out again, then turned back. removed her steel bows and rubbed her
"You need any money? I saved about four tired eyes. "Got to rest more,” she mur-
hundred this trip.” mured. "My nerves are getting very
"Goodness, no, Billy. But thank you any- jumpy.”
way. It’s just like you to think of that. You But the pressure and need for sewing
put it away for saving.” made her uncomfortable at such loafing. She
He smiled. “You know you’ll never have got up and brewed a pot of tea, then carried
to worry if anything happens to me. I’ve it back to her worktable, and sipped as she

signed my insurance to you, and the bank sewed.


knows you get my money.”
“Hush you now, Child, with that sort of T was just about sundown, and Miss
talk. Goodness, nothing’s going to happen I Angie had about decided it was time to
to you.” fix some supper for Billy and herself, when
But there was a fond smile of thanks on there was a knock on the front door. Rising,
her face as she looked up at him. Then her she went to open it, wondering who it was
sharp eyes noticed something amiss. "The that did not simply come in to her work-
braid’s coining loose on your cap. Let me fix room.
it.” Standing on the little, vine-covered porch

He took it off and examined it, "So it is. was a tall, darkly handsome man, whom she
Leave it to you to spot a thing like that,” recognized from descriptions given her, as
his smile was loving as he handed it to her. a newcomer to Springfield.
Then he saw her unwinding a length of "I was told you are a seamstress,” he said,
golden silk from the old bobbin. "Hey, you courteously removing his hat, and bowing in
still got that gadget I brought you? I ’sposed the continental manner.
be used up by now. Or did you wind
it’s all "Yes. Come in, please.” She opened the
some other thread on it? Seems I recall it door wider to him pass her, then showed
let
was black silk, wasn’t it?” him into the bay-windowed room. "What
She hesitated, wondering swiftly if she did you wish?”
should tell him about it, but he saved her He took a package from beneath his arm
the necessity. "Hey, did tell you about I,, and opened it. "I just purchased some under-
when we were in Genoa?” and was off into wear, and find it too loose for comfort. I
another of his yarns. wondered if you could fix it for me?”
She finished before he did, then he started She fingered the fine silk. "What do you
out again. "See you all of a sudden,” and want done?”
with a cheery salute was gone. He spread one out on the table. "You see
The little seamstress smiled secretly as she bow straight the lines. It bunches under my
picked up the dress and began working on shirt. I them tailormade, but
usually have
it again.She found herself humming a had to get some more here. I thought per-
wordless tune as her swift fingers
little haps you could take out a little on each side,
flashed in and out. He didn’t know about make it more form-fitting.”
that magic thread, and that she had used it "Goodness, yes, I can do that easily,” she
consecutively for him and Margie. She was smiled. “This is beautiful material. Expen-
sure it would mean great happiness for sive, too, isn’t it?”
them both. He frowned a bit, as though she was go-
40 WEIRD TALES
log too then his face cleared into a
far, thoughts. "Oh, goodness, it’s Billy, and sup-
smile. "I like nice things especially next to per not ready!” She started to rise.
my skin.” But it was not Billy Conner. "Why, Con-
Miss Angie looked up at him again, and stable Bivins,” she gasped as the big man
this time studied him more closely. She appeared in the doorway, his face strained.
liked what she saw, and as she continued “I T got bad news for you, Miss
. . .

staring, almost, rudely, her heart began flut- Angie,” and her breath caught in her throat.
tering and a strange, new emotion came "Get hold of yourself Bill Conner’s just . . .

into being within her. She felt herself flush- been killed and Margie White!” —
ing and quickly turned away. "Oh, no\” she moaned, and hid her face
For in that moment Miss Angie had, for in her hands, while hot tears gushed from
the first time in her busy, selfless but lonely her eyes. The constable came over and laid
life, fallen in love. a comforting hand on her shoulder. Gradu-
She made a pretense of hunting for her ally her sobs quieted and she was able to
tape-measure, and when she felt she had look up at him.
herself at least partially under control, "How how’d it happen?”
. . .

turned back to him. "They were walking together out by the


"If you’ll please remove your coat,” she edge of town, and were just crossing the
forced her voice to a calmness she did not when some freight cars that
mill side-tracks
yet feel, "I’ll take your measurements.” had got away and were running loose-
Smiling, he did so, and she felt a wonder- jumped the track and turned over on ’em.
ful ecstatic thrill as she put her arms about Hank Brower, the brakeman, saw it and re-
him to adjust the measure. Then she noted ported it. Seems he hadn’t set the brakes
the size of his chest, stomach and hips, and tight enough to hold ’em on that grade.”
jotted them, down on a pad of paper. "But what about Billy? What’s you do
Rapidly she counted the garments. "I see with his .? . .

you bought half a dozen. I can have them "It’s at Morrison’s undertaking parlors. I
ready for you day after tomorrow noon.”
Again that almost-frown, then he smiled.
guess you’ll have to make the plans
about the only kin he had left.”
you’re —
"I’m quite busy day times. I’m an inventor She cried noisily for some minutes, and
of sorts, you may have heard. If it’s con- again he reached out and patted her shoulder
venient I’ll come for them in the eve- awkwardly in sympathy. Some time later
ning.” she nodded.
"Goodness, yes. Come whenever you have "Yes,” her voice was low, "I’m all he had
time.” left. I’ll go down to Morrison’s and make
When he had gone she sank into the low . . arrangements. We’ll have to get in
.

chair, her work and the meal she was sup- touch with his ship and tell ’em he’s not . . .

posed to prepare gone from her mind. She coming back. And he said something about
lay there, day-dreaming things she had insurance to pay for his ...” again the
never expected to feel, her love-starved mind tears welled up, but she fought them under
conjuring up delights that made her squirm control.
with pleasure even as she was scolding her-
self for even letting such thoughts into her
consciousness.
But only for a short time, then the com-
A
self
FTER the funeral
went back to her cottage and threw her-
onto the bed, sobbing away her grief.
little Miss Angie

pulsion to sew made her pick up her work. She was too heart-broken to care about the
Yet her mind continued deliciously en- promised work piled high on her tables, yet
grossed with the sort of dreams most girls could not rid her mind of it. She had always
have in their late ’teens or early twenties, been so conscientious and now, despite her
but which she’d had to wait until her early grief and her womout condition she had —
forties to know. barely slept since that shocking news she —
A sudden noise on the front porch felt somehow that she had no business lying
dragged her away from those wonderful here like this.
THE SEAMSTRESS 41

Hard as she tried to keep it away, the "Oh,” she fluttered, and switched on the
thought grew stronger. Again that strange, lamp. "I’m terribly sorry. Sir, but I haven’t
weird compulsion was in her mind, "Sew!” finished your work. My ... my boy was
it commanded, and when she made no move killed, you may have heard . Billy Conner . .

to comply, it grew stronger and more per- .. and we buried him today. I haven’t felt
.

sistent, like an ache inside her head. Finally, like . .


.”

"SEW!” it thundered, and her weary body "Yes,” the voice was very sympathetic. "I
dragged itself back to the little, low chair. heard, but I did not know he was your son.”

She picked up a needle from her pin- “Oh, he wasn’t, not really,” she made
cushion, and seeing only a four inch tag of haste to explain. "I never married. When I
thread left in it, automatically reached for said he was my boy I meant I was about the
the spool. She came up with that enigmatic best friend he had here after his parents
bobbin. When she saw it, she realized again were killed. He boarded with me while he
that it was— it must be —
the cause of all the was finishing school.”
troubles — as well as the few seeming bless- “I see,” he smiled. "You’re a very kind
ings— that had come to her and the people little lady.”
of Springfield since that dark day Billy had She dimpled and smiled shyly at him.
brought it to her. "I’ll work real hard and have them for you
Now, clearly, she remembered something tomorrow evening for sure. I I’m so . . .

that had not entered her consciousness be- happy to do anything I can for you.”
fore. Billy had said he found it in Greece, She knew she was acting like a silly
Greece! Her mind flashed back to her school schoolgirl, but she could not help it. Her
days, and her reading of Greek mythology. heart was pounding and all the pent-up
To the Three Fates, Clotho who spun, needs of those long, love-starved years
Lachesis who sewed, and Atropos who welled out and became a palpable thing that
snipped the threads of life. even the stranger could not help but notice.
"Oh, no! It can’t be possible! Goodness, How could she know that her wonderful,
those were only old folk tales. There can’t selfless personality shone about her like a
possibly be any truth in them.” halo?
Nevertheless, in a fit of revulsion she "Why, that is most kind of you, Beautiful
threw the bobbin into a far comer of the Lady. You are very charming. I kiss your
room. But instantly that inner coercion hand,” and he took her cold little fingers
forced her to rise, cross the room, pick up and bent over them in a polished manner
the bobbin and bring it back to her chair. never before seen in Springfield.
Resignedly, although now more afraid of Nor did he release them immediately. In-
it than ever, she unreeled a length of thread stead, he held her hand and fondled it as he
from it. Without wen looking at it, she looked penetratingly into her face. After a
knew it would be exactly the shade and tex- long moment he slowly loosed her hand. "I
ture of the cloth she was working on. shall return, then, tomorrow evening. Or the
Almost without volition she worked on, —
day after I am not in that much of a hurry
paying no attention to what she was doing for them.”
but knowing, subconsciously, that it was "No no,” she stammered. "Tomor-
. . .

perfect work. Hour after hour she sewed, row will be ail right. And thank you.”
nor realized it had grown dark. She did not "You are welcome,” the resonant, courte-
switch on the lights —
when one is not look- ous voice again thrilled her. "In a way, I am
ing at one’s work, what need of light? glad you do not have them done. It gives
me the pleasure of seeing you once more.”

'
AGAIN“Come
there
in,”
came a knock on the door.
she called wearily, and
heard the door open and close.
After he had gone she sat day-dreaming
again. But not for long. The inexorable pres-
sure that now ruled her life was strong
She glanced up as a figure appeared in within her, nor could she disobay it until the
the doorway, and suddenly she came alive as dress was finished, long past midnight.
she saw it was the handsome stranger. Then she found herself able, at long,
42 WEIRD TALES
weary last, to go to bed. Her spent body was "I have a feeling, Little Lady, that we are
quickly asleep . . . but her dreams continued fated to become very, very close . . .

on and on . . . friends.”
"Oh, I hope so.” It was a low whisper.

THE next day seemed to drag as she


worked
waiting for evening
swiftly, watching
when
the clock,
she would see
Her heart sang all the next day as she
worked, and her flying needle was no swift-
er than her flashing thoughts. She was pink
him again. with excitement all day, and her dreams
She scolded herself many times that were as rosy as her face.
long day for her silliness, but made no Yet the hours seemed interminably long
special effort to stop her so-pleasant before it was time to prepare dinner. This
dreaming. time she took even more pains with her
That such a man could ever care for such cooking.
a plain, middleaged spinster never once en- But even crawling hours do pass, and
tered her thoughts. Her great love must finallyhe arrived. She met him at the door
communicate itself to him, and make him and gave him her hand to kiss. But under
love her in return. the influence of her love and desire she must
Late in the afternoon a new idea came to have swayed toward him, for suddenly he
her. If the thread from that magic bobbin gathered her into a close embrace.
brought love to others when she sewed for She thrilled far more than even her
two of them, one after another, why not for dreams had imagined, as those strong arms
her? went about her.
Her breath gasped out, and she felt a vast "Oh!” she thought rapturiously, "it is
worry that such a thing might bring him working for me, just as it did for Marcy and
harm,- rather than good. But something deep Ron, Jenny and Dick, and all the others!”
inside whispered that it would mean great Slowly, shyly, she raised her face to his.
mutual love. "Oh my dear!” she whispered.
She must chance it! "You feel it, too?”
She dropped her work on his underwear, She nodded, face aflame and eyes not fully
and took her nicest frock from the closet. meeting his.
She knew the fichu was torn in one place, They were married four days later, and
and this she mended, the silk from that was merely staying at the hotel, they
since he
magic bobbin doing its work so the sewing came back to her little cottage until, as he
was not perceptible. It needed pressing, too, put it, they could build a house worthy of
she decided, so heated her iron and her.
smoothed out the wrinkles. Then she put it Hardly had they removed their wraps
on, and went back to finishing his work. than she felt herself forced into the sewing
When he finally came it was done. She room, to sit in the low rocker and resume
had prepared a nice little meal, and after her work.
showing him the work, she shyly asked him "Angie, Darling, you don’t have to keep
to share her meal with her. on sewing,” he protested, half-humorously,
"I am terribly sorry, Miss Angie, but I half-angrily trying to take the unfinished
have just dined. But,” seeing the hurt look dress out of her hands.
on her face, "it was so nice of you to invite "But I do,” she insisted, retaining her
me, that I’m going to be presumptious and hold on the cloth. "I promifed Mildred
ask if I may come tomorrow evening Blake she could have this tomorrow, and
instead?" I’ve got to keep my promise.”
"Of course,” she fluttered. "I’d love to He understood that, for promises were
have you. I but her shyness was too
. . sacred to him, too. Reluctantly he let her
great, and she could not go on. keep on, but sat near her, and they talked
He seemed to understand her feeling, and of many things as the long hours wore on.
again lifted her hand to kiss, pressing it He told her of his preference for small
gently ka his fingers as he did so. —
towns the reason he was here or in some
! A

THE SEAMSTRESS 43

other whenever his work permitted. She Finally he wormed


out of her, and held it

told him many of her own dreams and the bobbin in his hands, examining it curi-
aspirations. ously. “It’s certainly from ancient Greece,”
he said. “I recognize the letters, although I

T HE next morning she was up long before


him, back at her sewing. When the
can’t read it.”
He straightened with determination,
dress was finally completed, he heaved a turned and strode across the room toward
long sigh of relief, and even volunteered to the heart fire, raising his hand to hurl that
deliver it. accurst bobbin to the flames. But somehow it
When he returned, however, she was . .dropped
. from his hands to the
. . .

busily sewing on another. This time he lost floor. His advancing foot struck against it,
his temper. making him stumble and fail. His head
“Angie!” he almost shouted. “I won’t struck against the mantle and he landed
have my wife sewing for other people like face downward in the roaring fire.
this! I have more money than we’ll ever be The bobbin lay safely on the floor.
able to spend. You don’t have to work, and Miss Angie screamed, and hurried across
I don’t want you to. I want you to relax and the room. But her first act was to pick up
enjoy yourself. We’ll make plans and take the bobbin and replace it safely on her work
trips —
all over the world if you wish.” table, her second to try to drag her hus-
She tried, valiantly. But it was to no band’s corpse from the flames. Why in that
avail. The fate to which she was now slave order, she could not tell. She certainly didn’t
would not let her alone. Time after time she want or intend it that way.
went back to her sewing; time after time he When the constable and coroner arrived,
dragged her away from it. little Miss Angie was back in the little, low
At last she had to tell him. 'I ... I can’t rocker, sewing in patient resignation.
stop sewing! ” she wailed miserably, and the
eyes she raised to his were panic-stricken. "I
don’t want to keep on, but something I can’t
resist makes me!”
W ELL, that’s the story as I pieced it to-
gether from what Miss Angie told me
that afternoon. It seemed incredibly credible
"Nonsense,” he said bruskly, with a at the time, with her honest, earnest, troub-
man’s sureness against a woman’s supposed led eyes looking into mine. Now that I’m
weakness. "I know how you like the people away from there, I just simply . do . . . . .

here, and how they all rely on you. But let not know!
. . .

them find someone else to do their drudgery But one thing I’ll bet. No other village
—or learn how to sew, themselves!” can boast a professional seamstress worth
She shook her head miserably, wiped her ten million dollars. If the fates planned it as
eyes, and picked up her needle again. "You a reward to her, it was a useless gesture.
just don’t understand, Dear. Goodness, it’s No, I did not let her do any sewing for
not that simple at all.” me.

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uard of Honor
BY PAUL SUPER

... on a couch beside the


dead man in his coffin, he

stretched out and


went to sleep.

UGRAND and Marvin agree that veil of his odd, aloof personality; witness-
Craddock acted very strangely that ing gladly his rise to fame; standing by him
J night.
After growing sleepy and confused, star-
now in death.

One of them Craddock, the surgeon-
ing into the fire in the lounging room of had brought him back from the far-away
the clubhouse, he rose from his chair, spot where he had been found, dead; that
passed through the double glass doors into spot to which he had fled madly, yet per-
the next room, and reclined beside Doctor haps with a wisdom beyond sanity. Through
Wilford Sawyer. Doctor Sawyer lay in his the offices of all, he had been laid in state
coffin. in the clubhouse, rather than in his own
Against the wall, paralleling the coffin, formal bachelor apartments. They were pay-
was a leather couch. It was on this couch ing final homage to him as Guard of Honor,
that Craddock stretched himself out and through that long night before the funeral.
went to sleep. Some time in the course of that night, ere

These three Craddock, Marvin, and his astounding exit into the other room,

Jugrand had been Wilford Sawyer’s clos- Craddock began to talk. Before that, noth-
est friends. In the course of years they had ing much beyond gloomy monosyllables
penetrated, though but slightly, behind the had entered into the conversation.
44
THE GUARD OF HONOR 45

Marvin the had been pacing up


artist, much; but explained a good deal. I had
it

and down the room, or sitting, bowed, in a suspected something of the sort.”
Morris chair. Jugrand, professor of psychol- Jugrand nodded, without interrupting.
ogy for unreckoned years in the university, Craddock supported his absurdly delicate
was crumpled inelegantly in a Turkish chin on his hand, still staring into the fire
rocker. When he opened his half-shut eyes, with tired eyes.
the firelight glistened from their faded blue, "It seems simple. I could tell it in ten
bristled his white mustache to the point of why I —
should not now. Yet, it’s devilish,
grotesqueness, made his red cheeks seem he told it to me, sitting
too. I thought, after
frightfully puffy. All three of them were there by the lamp, that he was like the man
uneasy. in the New Testament — the one with the
Something extraordinary hovered above evil spirits. He was even worse off, for in
their heads; a sense, it seemed, of some his case the spirits had taken his life and
tremendous event hesitating on the thresh- ripped it squarely across.”
old. Whatever they said took on significance Talk is infectious. Let one man, in a
and authority in proportion as it bore upon silent company such as that, start it, and
the breathless presence on the farther side soon all the others are eager to follow his
of the glass doors. So it was that they lis- example. Craddock paused, communing a
— —
tened intently painfully when Craddock little too long with memory; the uneasy at-

started to tell of an informal party which he mosphere of expectancy settled lower over
and Doctor Wilford Sawyer had attended them; then, abruptly, the artist began to
together. speak. Jugrand watched him, curiously.

"In this room a year ago. There must I remember an odd thing, now we’re

have been a dozen of us, more or less. on the subject. It was one night when I was
Someone suggested that each of us tell having a studio party. Sawyer dropped in.

something he did as a boy some adventure He put a queer question to me, that night.
— something out of the ordinary.” I was showing him a picture of mine —
that

"As a boy yes?” Marvin prompted,
nervously.
one of Orpheus, with the rocks and trees in
the background. He said to me, 'Suppose
He untwisted his lean legs from the —
you forgot the background what effect
Morris chair where he happened to be would that have on the picture?”
coiled, just then. He was suddenly on the "Are you sure he said, 'forgot’ not,
omitted,’ or 'left out’?” Jugrand cut in.

alert.
"Someone suggested it; I don’t remem- words, and I suppose there is no reason
ber who. And, without a word of explana- "I remembered the word because it was
tion, Sawyer took his hat and coat and left unusual for him,” the artist returned. "He
the house.” almost never used slang, you know.”
Craddock paused and peered into the "What did you tell him?”
fire,as if the scene were reenacting and Marvin shrugged his shoulders.
clarifying itself there. "I don’t recall. He didn’t carry the dis-
"I followed,” he went on. "We walked cussion any further. What puzzled me was
together back to his apartment. I can’t re- the question, itself. Why should he have •

call his saying half-dozen words to me, the asked a question like that?”
whole way. When we reached his place, we No one answered. After a time, Jugrand
threw ourselves into chairs, with the lamp rose, with an air of heavy resolution, pon-
between us. We must have sat there half derously adapted himself to a standing posi-
an hour before he began to talk.” tion, and walked over to the double glass

"And then ?” It was Marvin again, sit- doors. He looked through them, intently.
ting on the edge of the Morris chair, prop- The lines of thought gave his face some-
ping himself precariously with his long thing of power and charm, despite its fat-
legs. ness. The others stared at him, as he stared
“Then he told me everything—every- through the glass.
thing that he knew, himself. It was not When he resumed his chair, which still

46 WEIRD TALES
rocked gently, he addressed himself to the would have been aware of the main event,
surgeon: even, but for his mother. She had told him.
"I like to play sometimes with a theory He had been desperately ill; and he had
—a fanciful theory — that the brain cells come out of the illness with his mind
continue to work for a while after what we sponged clearn, as a child wipes a slate.
call death. Why do we call it that? Simply There was this difference, though: the slate
bceause our crude instruments can no longer is no more susceptible after the wiping than

detect signs of life. We


have no proof but if nothing had ever been written upon it;

that decay —
even embalming, perhaps his mind became very susceptible.
may precede death by an appreciable inter- "I think, from what he told me, he must
val.” have preformed prodigies of learning. He
He stopped, with his eyes on the surgeon. had to start from the beginning, you under-
It was as if he were feeling for some un- stand —
he remembered nothing; but his
thinkable result, grotesque, like his own fat mother seems to have picked just the right
cheeks. Craddock’s narrow face looked pale instructors -for him. She must have been
and tired. He groped for a rocker, and fell
into it, chin on hand. He stared steadfastly
rather wonderful, too —
just as I maintain
that he was. He traveled through his book
into the fire. learning at express train speed. At thirty,
Jugrand asked him a quiet question: he had finished college, and had served his
"Do you suppose he was thinking of this year in a hospital. He could not have been
trouble when he talked to Marvin about more than forty when he came to us, and
'background?” even then, I believe, he had an enviable

answered, slowly. “Yes



“I think he must have been,” Craddock
'background’ ex-
reputation.”
Jugrand nodded.
presses it very well.” "He had it from the first. He is not of
"Then 'forgot’ was not slang.” common clay with the rest of us. He is one
The artist leaned forward. His sharp face of the immortals.”
was vivid with eagerness. In his excitement, "And this in spite of the fight that never
he fished a gold case from a pocket, and ceased for a moment.” Craddock empha-
had a cigarette between his lips before he sized.
recollected and threw it ruefully into the The artist jerked his head, impatiently.
fire. Sawyer had not been a smoker. "What fight? I don’t understand. Loss of
The
psychologist spoke again, gutturally: memory is bad enough, of course; but his
"I am the only one of us who was here mother must have told him a good deal; he
before he came. That was thirty years ago. must have revisited the places he had for-
Hts mother was with him a tali, slender, — gotten,”

silent lady. She died that same year.” “She told him
“You knew them then?” the surgeon off the points on
this
his

long forefinger

Craddock ticked
“that
asked. His voice was drowsy. he had been desperately ill; that it would be
Jugrand nodded. best for him not remember.”
to try to
"I attended her funeral. He looks very Jugrand quietly smiled, with the enjoy-
much like her. The clergyman had a hard ment of a connoisseur in oddities. Marvin
time getting enough information for his started, and his eyes rounded.
address.” —
“Do you mean to say ?” he began.
Marvin relaxed in a brief smile. There is Craddock inclined his head.
grim humor in the professional funeral "He made that perfectly clear to me, as
eulogy. Then, as if fulfilling a difficult duty, we sat there with the lamp between us. She
Craddock palpably roused himself and told him two things. Never anything
those
launched into the remainder of what he had more. Hemust have tried desperately to
to say. learn more. From what he implied, I think
“He told me, that night, of an illness he there may have been painful scenes between
had had. I think he knew nothing himself them. But she died without telling.”
of the details. In fact, I am not sure he “Then he never knew who he was, where

THE GUARD OF HONOR 47

he came from—anything?” The artist fairly walked out of the front door asd disap-
shot his questions. peared.”
"No.” "We know all that,” Jugrand stated.
“Not quite all. You do not know that I
UGRAND spoke, deliberately choosing received a letter from him. It was a bewil-
J his words; dered, incoherent sort of letter. He must
"I am interested in what he learned from have written it on the train, and mailed it,
himself —from his own mind. A man of which gave him time for what he wished to
his mentality cannot have let such a mat- do. I was able to recover his body because
ter rest. He must have employed the various of what he wrote in' that letter. But there
expedients of psychoanalysis.” was other information in it, too. I learned
"He did. That, in fact, was the fight I re- from it that he had. fainted at the operation
ferred to. He told me. Also, he took the because there had burst suddenly into his
more obvious course of trying to find the mind the name of a little village in the Blue
hospital where he had been ill. But if he Ridge, As soon as he was able, he escaped
ever succeeded, no hospital admitted it. from the hospital and took train to that vil-
Possibly the right one had been enjoined to lage. Near it, lying across the threshold of
secrecy, through his mother’s influence.” a ruined, charred house, I found him.”
Craddock stopped, with the dejection of "That village was the place?” Jugrand
a man whose emotions weigh upon him. suggested.
The others waited silently until he resumed: "I think it was the place he had been
.

"I must not go into all the details he trying to through forty years.”
recollect
confided. He had never disclosed his secret "How much mere name did
besides the
to anyone else, you see. When he did speak, he remember?” pursued the psychologist.
he had forty years’ silence to offset in one "That, I fear, we shall never know,”
evening. But I can suggest this much to you, the surgeon answered.
who knew him. You will agree with me Having said this, Craddock, who had
that he had one of the great minds of his been talking with a sort of forced, unnatu-
generation. Well, picture this man fighting ral coherence, abruptly crumpled in his
desperately, with his back to the wall. Pic- chair. His head dropped forward, and it
ture him
in bed at night, after his day’s appeared that he was about to faint. But
practice. —
His identity the thing he had lost before the others could assist him, he
which other men had
all possessed tre-
mendous value for him. He fought for
— straightened, as suddenly as he had given
way. He rose, holding to the mantel with
forty years, trying to recover it; and all the one hand.
while, as he told me, it seemed that the key "I am tired,” he said, simply.
he wanted was only just beyond his reach. He -walked to the glass doors; opened
He believed that it appeared to him, some- them, slowly; passed into the other room.
times, in dreams. He would waken just as They heard his footsteps crossing the floor.
the dreams slipped away. The thing must The steps ceased, and there was a slight
have become an obsession. And yet he did
— — creaking sound.
'

his work. And then Jugrand and Marvin sprang to their


"Yes?” the artist interjected, involun- feet and ran to the doors. They stared
tarily. for a space, in silence. It was Jugrand,
"Then came the incident of two months at last, who took the artist by the arm and
ago. You are fairly familiar with it. He was led the way back to the chairs before the
operating; I assisting. He fainted, and I fin- fire. His heavy voice shook with excitement.
ished the operation. That was the begin- "You could see them both, in spite of the
ning of his illness. He was more or less un- poor light?” he demanded.
conscious for the first month, and then the Marvin nodded.
humiliating ending came. You know what "Did you observe anything?”
I mean: while he was convalescing in the The artist searched Jugrand’s face for
hospital —
under the very eyes of us ail he — a hint of his meaning.
— ”

48 WEIRD TALES
"I thought they looked very much alike,
lying there,” he said, at length. it— 'if the brain cells die last

independently of our thoughts concerning

’Jugrand softly clapped his hands. His voice trailed into silence. Presently,
“That is it. They are alike! They are he turned to the artist.

the same type that sensitive, yet cold type, "Come!” he commanded.
from which great surgeons are made. I Together, the two of them passed through
have often thought that. I am gratified that the doorway. They stood beside the dead
you noticed it.” man, looking down at him who slept.
"How Craddock could lie down there Outside, the wind before the dawn was
— The artist broke off, shuddering. rising.

Jugrand laughed.
“It seems to you the living beside the

dead therefore bizarre. In his normal
moments, it would seem so to him. Tonight,
D awn. Dr. Craddock moaned in his sleep,
struggled a little, opened his eyes. Jugrand

he is not normal. I am not so sure that he and Marvin stood at the foot of the couch,
is even asleep —
as we understand sleep. as they had been standing, tensely, ever
Perhaps he has been staring rather too since they had come through the double
steadily into the fire.” doors. In that time, they had not spoken;
He went on, in a moment: but as words muttered by the sleeper had
“I should like to have heard Craddock’s impinged upon their senses, they had looked
theories. I, myself, have but one. Of course, at each other. There was that which was
I have suspected the truth for some time.” inexplicable in some of the words; that
“What truth?” demanded Marvin. which Craddock, the surgeon, could not

“That this friend of ours this dear and normally have dreamed.
wonderful friend, who lies in his coffin The psychologist came forward. To do
was suffering from loss of memory. My so, he had to pass between the couch and
theory relates to the cause. That must have that place of more profound repose which
been an emotional catastrophe of the first was temporarily in the room. He laid his
order. There are only two such love and — hand on the surgeon’s forehead.
death. Now, you will note that he never "All right, Craddock?” he inquired,
married; that he never seemed to consider softly.
the opposite, sex, at all, except scientifically. The awakening man trembled, slightly.
That points to a subconscious inhibition “Yes, yes —of
course,” he answered. “I
something in his original life which dried fell asleep;and dreamed.”
up the springs, so to speak. Maybe he had The artist was about to say something,
loved once, before memory left him —when but Jugrand held up a warning finger.
he was, perhaps, eighteen or nineteen Craddock went on, a half-sob in his voice:
and could not love again. There you have "I can’t understand it. I wasn’t here, at

my theory.” all. wasn’t myself. I was


I .”. .

Marvin was moodily into


silent, staring He stopped and sat up, one long hand
the flames. Jugrand rose, and walking to the covering his eyes. Jugrand waited. It was
glass doors, slowly pushed them open. He very still.
spoke, softly: Suddenly, the wind awakened. Crad-
“The one breathes heavily, and mutters dock started, and rose unsteadily to his feet.
ia his dreams. The other is still; he would "I fear I have been very discourteous,”
react to no test at present available to sci- he said, in his natural tones. “I seem to have
ence. Yet, if the brain cells die last of been asleep. I must have dreamed, too.”
all—” "How much of your dream do you re-
He —
paused to laugh the mirthless, sar- member?” the psychologist asked.
donic laugh of the enthusiast, who covers The surgeon stared fixedly ahead of him.

Ms inward fire, away from the eyes of men:
"So many 'ifs’ 'if Craddock be self-
At last, he shook his head.

hypnotized, as I think
— 'if telepathy exist,
“None; none, whatever,” he declared.
"Before you questioned me, I could have

THE GUARD OF HONOR 49

sworn it was my
mind. But there is
in within him sang and shouted, so that he
not a thing now that I can lay hold of.” had to restrain himself from giving echoing
His gaze wandered, and reached the face expression to its exuberance. His feet, ac- '

in the coffin. He advanced a few steps, and customed to city pavements, trod the live
looked down, absorbedly. His pale, vivid turf as if that were the one carpet they had

countenance regarded one that was paler, always known. The trees seemed com-
though hardly more still; whose fire was
gone.
Very gently, the psychologist touched him
on the shoulder, his voice rumbling softly
beneath the beating of the wind:
"You spoke at intervals in your sleep

an old man brown smoke from a chimney
— —
Lucia Do you remember now?”
A shiver passed through the surgeon;
a long, subtle undulation of the senses.
He answered in a whisper, his gaze still
bent on the unchanging features of Doctor
Sawyer:
"I remember.”
Jugrand’s blue eyes gleamed. His voice
was heavy with controlled emotion.
"Tell it!” he whispered.
His notebook was out. He drew up a
chair and waited, saying no further word
that might break the spell. Craddock’s eyes
had not left the face in the coffin. After a
time, he began to talk. They did not leave
it then.

Thus it was, in the far end of that


strange night —
in the windy dawn that —
Craddock told his dream.

D octor wilford sawyer’s


Fie
tottered a
was a thin,
little, as he
tremulous old man, with
step
left the train.

eager eyes.
Though the weight of recent illness bore
heavily upon him, the spirit had power to
hold him to his purpose. He looked with
a child’s wide gaze at die village he was
entering.
So far as his memory served, it was
entirely unfamiliar. Yet no native could
have proceeded with more apparent cer-
tainty. He barely hesitated by the rail-
road right-of-way, sizing up the crowd of
houses huddled about the one general store,
their back yards elbowing off the insistent
forest; then he started forward confidently,
and struck into a little zigzag path which
led off among the trees.
He felt strangely buoyant. Something AT ALL DRUG STORE'S U. S. and CANADA
a ”

50 WEIRD TALES
panionable; old friends, almost. When the the echoes in a multitudinous, prying bat-
path ran closely enough between them, he talion down the dark hallways within.
stretched out his hands to touch their trunks, He had sent them again before heavy
one on each side, and thrilled with the footsteps responded. There was the scraping
feel of their shaggy bark. of a bar, and the sound of chains unloosing;
Even the rapid twilight failed to shake and the door opened.
his sense of comfortable security. He lost The doctor bowed, gravely, in the moon-
the path, but continued on between the light; and the old man in the doorway
trees. Night began to muffle them, but he also bowed, with an ever graver courtesy.
kept on, breathlessly. Stars budded above He was a giant of a man, whose long, white
their tops before his wanderings brought beard and slightly bent shoulders pro-
him definitely, at last, to the edge of a claimed his years. In the yellow light of the
broad valley. candle he carried, his eyes gleamed with
A nearly circularamphitheatre spread sombre vigor. Though the hand which held
before him. It had been leveled of trees, the handle shook, his voice was free from
but the giant forests rose, tier after tier, the cackling quality of age. It was deep and
on the hills around it. From behind the booming, rather, like the sea.
uttermost of these hills, the moon had "You are welcome, sir,” he said, simply
risen, and the nearer half of the valley’s after a moment’s scrutiny. "Will you be
waving grass glistened in its though
light, pleased to enter?”
the farther portion still slept in the shadow. For tire space of a breath, just at that
The doctor gazed at this scene with an of security failed
instant, the doctor’s sense
amazement which gripped him by the him. Fie placed his hand on his heart, with
throat, as sometimes the first breath of ether the gesture of a very sick man, and began to
had done, when he had hurried into an apologize:
operating room, out of the cold air. The "I can’t intrude upon you in this way. I
beauty and poetry of that dim landscape can’t

entered his blood. But at last his eyes broke But the old man interrupted him, re-

with the subtle moonlight of the valley, and peating:


fixed themselves, instead, on that which lay "Be pleased to enter, sir.”
in the valley’s center. It was a house — With that, the thrill swept again through
long, low mansion, of stately yet irregular the doctor’s soul. His pulses trembled.
design. There was a solemn enthusiasm, very deep
The place seemed entirely dark. While within him. He bowed, and stepped over
he stared, however, a chink of light ap- the threshold.
peared for an instant. And, as his gaze "I will secure the door, if you will par-
focused more precisely, he perceived a rib- don me,” the old man observed, punctili-
bon of brown smoke which twisted lazily ously.
upward in the moonlit haze, and dissolved Having done so, he shuffled ahead into
into the background of the hills. the soft, brown gloom of the hallway. They
It may have been a moment that he passed dark chambers on either side, into
stood motionless at the edge of the val- each of which the candle thrust a flitting
ley. It may have been an hour. For that yellow finger; but there was no other light
space, whatever it was, he had shaken until,still advancing, they turned into a

off the trammels of time. His heart was room at the end of the passage.
laid open, as if some super-surgeon had The doctor paused a moment in the
stolen upon him in the moonlight. He was doorway. The thrill was beating rhythmi-
waiting. When that which he awaited came, cally on his brain. He strained his eyes
he felt it as a thrill within his breast, which until they ached sharply, in an unreason-
compelled him to rush eagerly down the able effort to accomplish with them some-
and to stop, breathless, before
valley’s slope, thing which he could not have defined;
the diOQr of the mansion. It moved him, but they merely registered, unforgettably,
then, tq> lift the ancient knocker, and send the details of the scene before him.

THE GUARD OF HONOR 51

What he saw was a room, with a lofty, down, and took both of his hands in hers,
broad-beamed ceiling, and walls of shadowy the better to emphasize, by patting them,
paneled oak. Against the walls, in stiff the fact that she was scolding him soundly.
attitudes, a trio of high-backed chairs stood "What will you say next? Each night
guard. In a dark corner hid an idle spin- you’ve the most ridiculous excuse in the
ning-wheel, A
long, wooden bench stretched world. Then, the very next time, you come
itself in the warmth before the fireplace with a worse. Don’t you know, sir, that lov-
with a little, old lady sitting precisely in the ers should be ahead of their hour, and not
middle of it. And over the whole, divid- tardy?”
ing the shadows from the mellow glow, The doctor was aware that the old couple
brooded the radiance of the crackling logs. had excused themselves. He was alone with
The old lady rose from the bench before the girl. Of other facts, however even —
the fire and advanced, smilingly, to meet —
more obvious he was strangely unaware.
him. She was a very ancient little dame. He had no feeling that the girl was speak-
Her quaint, full dress might have been the ing wildly. There was nowhere in his
fashion in the dim days of her girlhood. horizon any sense of incongruity. With the
Her curtsey, too, retained a flavor of those first of her words —
at the mere sound of her
days. The doctor found himself bowing even voice —he had lost all possibility of that.
more ceremoniously than he had done for The fire coursing through his veins was
the old gentleman; and he felt that old- authentic. He was a young man. Remember-
world formality very pleasing. It stirred ing nothing, he still knew was the
that this

no chord in his memory the courtly old place where he should be.
pair were strangers to him; yet, as he "Yet I was lost,” he insisted, obstin-
greeted them, something generous and ately.
glowing pulsed through his veins; some- Her eyes sobered. She leaned toward
thing akin to that hot, soon-passing fire him, until her warm breath was on his
which is youth. cheek, and looked up into his face, with a
“You are late again,” chided a soft sort of fright.
voice, out of the shadows. "Wilford! Do you mean to tell me
The doctor wheeled, suddenly. He had you’re not joking? If you’re not, then you
not seen this girl. She must have been sit- are ill; for you know these woods better
ting very quietly in the lee of the fireplace. than I.”
She stood now in the ruddy glow, and "I was lost; but I’ve found myself, now!”
regarded him with a pouting smile. Her he answered her, with an abrupt burst of
eyes were deep violet, but the firelight gayety. "I’ve found myself, Lucia!”
darkened them to black. Her face was rose "Did you ever lose yourself, then, silly
and ivory. As her gaze met his; her deli- boy?” she retorted.
cate under lip, which had been drawn in- It was a simple question, but it shook
ward with the pout, struggled into free- the doctor. His mind, which had seemed
dom, and let the smile have its way with- very steady, swayed a little, and he saw
out hindrance. the girl and the room and the crackling
"I suppose I must forgive you,” she logs through a mist. Then the steadiness
exclaimed, with a toss of her head. "Will returned. She was regarding him with a
you be pleased to sit beside me on the '
mischievous smile, which had, withal,
bench, and talk to me, sir? Waiting is something to wonder in it. He smiled back
weary work, you know and I have been into her violet eyes, and, with sudden deft-
practising it a long time.” ness, imprisoned the hand that had been
"I must have been lost in the woods,” patting his.
the doctor defended, rather shamefacedly. “Lucia!”

"You lost in these woods?” She She was silent; but her smile became
laughed, frankly, and, seizing his hand deeper. There was a hint in it, too, of
in her own firm little one, dragged him and pain.
unresisting to the bench. There she plumped
wistfulness
"Tell me

” he began; then he stopped.
— —

52 WEIRD TALES
What was he wished her to tell him? It
it yellow light of the candle, she seemed un-
was perfectly natural that he should be there substantial. In spite of that evening’s in-

on the bench with her. There was no mystery timacy, there was a gulf between them. He
in that. Yet why, then, were they so strange yearned to speak, yet walked in silence.
toward each other? They should have been She stopped, at length, before an open
chatting unrestrainedly and gaily, as they al- doorway near the far end of the hall, from
ways did. No two people in the world could which came the glow of a fire.
be more intimate than they were. He knew ''This is your room,” she said. "I hope

the white soul behind those violet eyes. you will sleep well, Wilford. Good-night.”
He knew He did not answer, at once. Instead, he
Then he began to talk. It seemed that stood in the doorway, and looked into her
the realization of that constraint was all he face. Very slowly, like a man in a dream,
had needed. He talked; and so did she he advanced toward her. She trembled, but
though mostly she listened, her ivory cheeks did not retreat. In the yellow circle of
alternately suffused with color, and pale. candle-light, she was more than ever like a
That which they said was chiefly expressed figure in ivory.
in tones of the voice, in glances, in subtle He extended his arms. She leaned slightly
interchange more and evanescent
delicate toward him. Then an instantaneous change
than words. One fragment, only remained crossed her face. It seemed the expression
of their constraint: which was, that he con- of one who remembers a half-forgotten and
tented himself with looking into her quick- terrible truth. She turned, with a little cry,
ened face, and with pressing her hands be- and ran back down the passage.
tween both of his. He watched her candle-light, swiftly re-
So it grew late; and, becoming aware ceding, until it was gone.
of familiar heavy footsteps, the doctor
glanced up, to find the. old gentleman smil-
ing down at him, while the little, old lady
hovered hospitably in the rear.
H E ENTERED the room, heavily; but
the war comfort of its greeting, as he
looked slowly about it, revived him, and
"I have kindled a fire in your room,” brought back something of the cheer of the
the old gentleman announced, in his boom- evening he had spent on the bench before
ing voice. "One tripup the stairs is enough the fire.

for me. When you are ready, Lucia will It was a beautifully old-fashioned room
show you there.” with a four-poster bed, equally ancient,
"He isready now, grandfather,” said which stood at right angles to the wall on
the girl, rising; and, with her words, the one side of the crackling fireplace. On the
doctor knew, suddenly, that he was, in- other was an oaken wardrobe, with a top
deed, very tired. higher than the doctor could reach. He
His hand sought his heart again, and essayed the feat, in youthful exuberance,
he smiled somewhat vaguely about him. and paid for it the next moment when he
Lucia lighted two candles which were on sank down upon the bed, hand on heart.
the mantel, and, giving him one, took the The discomfort was quickly gone, however,
other, herself. He was tired; but, neverthe- and he rose to look out of the broad-silled
less, he felt unconquerably young. He re- window at the valley below.
sponded to the stately leave-taking of the The grass waved and glistened in the
old gentleman and the old lady almost with moonlight. In the distance, the circle of
the forced gayety of a boy bidding his elders woods enclosed it, like a dark horizon line.
good-night. The moon had mounted higher, but its
He followed Lucia through the door- slanting rays were not yet entering his
way, her slender, white-clad figure tripping chamber. No living thing moved within
before him up the narrow stairs. When they sight. The quiet of the scene increased the
reached the hallway above, broad and heavy- drowsiness of which he had hardly been
timbered, he walked beside her, and looked aware, so that he found it hard to keep
into her steady eyes; but in the flickering awake until his sleepy fingers had per-

THE GUARD OF HONOR 53

formed their task of undressing, and he things had not come with it. He made an
was in bed. effort —
his mind seemed astonishingly
Strangely, however, he did not fall acrobatic —
and remembered long days and
asleep. Instead, he lay with utter restful- nights in a hospital, where he had been not
ness, watching the dance of firelight and a doctor but a patient. They were vague
shadows on the high ceiling. He was days and nights, merging on the nearer
conscious of the slow approach of the side into his phase of education, on the
moonlight, through the window. He was other, dwindling off into obscurity. No
gratefully aware of the dark woods out- effort of his could bring light into that
side, thewaving grass. . . . obscurity; but withinit, at first dimly, then

His mind smoothed itself out. Emo- with sharper definition as he came into
tion left him. Awake, tolerantly receptive charted -water, he could see his mother’s
of whatever might come, he seemed to him- face.
self at the pinnacle of the years, with life He saw it there, not with the expression
graciously falling away on either side. For of mingled pain and triumph it had worn
the first time, it might have been said of in later years, but struggling, struggling. . . .

the doctor that his mind was free. Nothing He spent freely of that restful period,
tapped at its door. between sleep and waking, in fascinated
Gently, and with infinite gradation, then, observance of her face; watching its inces-
into that free mind came memory — sant battling, as it fought its way through
memory without emotion; memory which he misery and despair to ultimate victory. Fie
had prayed and struggled for, in bitter night knew the battle had been for him, but why
watches, but which he now received with he could not tell. In one flash of vivid
calmness. vision, he saw himself coping terrifically
He knew this valley. Of course, he knew with the specter of insanity. He saw march-
it. He had been a boy, not far from here. —
ing columns of dead men ancestors of his,
On his way to the village, he had passed —
who had lived bravely coming to fight by
regularly through the valley, had stopped his side. They were conjured up by his
at this house, had even spent the night here, mother, who agonized with him on her
many times. Surely, there was nothing in his knees at his bedside.
after life as familiar as this place! It was He saw them, and knew that with their
curious —
but he thought this apathetically aid —with her —he had won;
aid but these
that he should not have remembered it until were his Pillars of Hercules on that side.
now. He could not see beyond them.
That was as far as his mind would go, There was a little period when he lay,
for the time. It pieced together a thousand with dulling thoughts, almost asleep. He
incidents of his boyhood, and made them shut his eyes, and communed pleasantly with
more than the trees or the moonlight.
real his mind. He opened them to And his
It made them vivid, but declined to go be- memory back at the boyhood days, working
yond them. Instead, it took a prodigious forward from the place where it had left
jump, and began to associate itself with his him before.
later life —
the life he had remembered all Suddenly, emotion came with it hot, —
along. palpitating emotion. Lucia! Flow could he
Yet nemonic chamber there was
in this have forgotten her for an instant? He sat
a difference, too. He discovered within him- up in -bed, and stared about the room. This
self an astonishing new facility at pushing was the house. She had come to live with
out its walls. His recollections had never her grandparents. He had met her here.
extended to the days prior to his second Then, one after another, like silver bells,
school life. Now, he was able to proceed they returned to him: the hours he had
farther. He saw himself undergoing in- spent with her. Nothing was omitted; her
sistent coaching, at the hands of expert pro- lightest words were not too trifling to be
fessors, until, bit by bit, his early education remembered. They came back with the
was reestablished, though memory of early brilliance of summer days, the glamour of
54 WEIRD TALES
moonlit nights. He recalled the very trees of them had spent their pleasant evening.
they had walked among. He remembered The moon shone here, too. It showed
a path, back of the house, which they had him a mined fireplace, a stone floor, four
used. Had there been more light, he could blackened wails.
have found it then. He determined to look For a moment, his eyes wandered to
for it in the morning. and fro, regarding the room with night-
Once, he laughed aloud, when, recol- mare fascination; then he turned, mechani-
which had been a land-
lecting a tall pine cally, and walked down the ruinous hall,
mark with them, he saw its top through through the crumbling doorway, into the
the window against the sky, towering above valley. He knew He had
this for reality.
the black line of trees. Nothing was lost; come, the night before to this burned house;
nothing. The past was all his. There was one he had sat onremnant of a bench, be-
that
night, one lovely night. . . . fore that cold fireplace; he had lain, and
The vision ceased, and sleep came, like felt that he was resting comfortably, on
the snapping of a thread; but with it, the charred slats of that bed. All the rest
dreams. They were vague, confused dreams, had been in his mind merely; all the
shot through with mystery. rest.
Something began calling him, from far He clapped his hands to his head as the
away; something terrible, though remote. last shred of memory came. He saw the
It approached, with marching footsteps. house in flames. He was within it again,
He, too, was advancing, through the cor- tearing his way through fire and suffoca-
ridors of sleep to meet it. He struggled as tion, to rescue her. He was callering her
he went, and averted his face. He awoke, at name, desperately, hysterically, with a voice
last, with the sweat of a chill horror upon that rose to a shriek. Now
he was flinging
him. himself into the flames to die by her side.
There was no transition stage. He was He recognized this for the memory his
broad awake, at once —awake, and an old mother had kept from him; but he pos-
man again. He was an old man, whose sessed it only for that supreme moment.
bones ached, and he was staring, with eyes Then mercy intervened.
heavy with terror, at an incredible thing. For he was young again. The mad hot
Moonlight flooded the room. It came fire of youth coursed exultantly through his
through a great gap in the roof. There was veins. Before him, in the dusk, the lights of
no fire in the fireplace, no tapestry on the illusion twinkled in the windows of the
wall. The wardrobe doors had fallen from mansion. Brown smoke twisted lazily up-
rusty hinges. He straightened painfully on —
ward from its chimney the smoke of long
one elbow, to find that the bed on which ago. With a cry, he ran back. He knocked at
he had been lying was little more than a the door.
frame, spanned by worm-eaten slats. A Though hishand clutched at his heart,
tarnished candlestick, without a candle, stood the action was instinctive. He was not aware.
on the mantel. The room was in ruins. He knocked again, until the echoes, an
eager, hurrying throng, danced up and down

H ALF-BLINDED by the staggering hor-


ror which enveloped him, he stumbled
into his clothes and groped his way to the
the hallways. He thundered once more and,
with the other hand, tore away his collar.
Within, light, lilting footsteps responded.
door. Though he had bolted it before going Chains were loosened. A
bolt shot back. The
to bed, it was open, hanging from one door opened.
hinge. He was content merely to stand motion-
The moonlight entered the hall, for most less a moment, and look; but it was his
of the roof was gone. Somehow, with great soul which looked. For that part of him
jumps down the broken stairway, he which had been old and forgetful, subject to
reached the lower floor, and his steps time and disease, had fallen heavily across
brought him to the room where the two the threshold.
After living with a man for twenty-five years,
naturally his every gesture was unmis-
take able —even in a pelican!

overs’ Meeting
BY HAROLD LAWLOR
ried, forty-odd years ago, when we and
Carl were all in our twenties.
When few years back, he
Carl retired, a
and Maude moved from Chicago to St.
Petersburg, where they bought a small
house, planning to spend their declining

W
years in a more salubrious climate than
ELL, you know how it is. A fel- Chicago has to offer. Carl really hadn’t
low hates to give his wife credit wanted to move down there, and Nell and
for anything. But I have to admit I knew why. Florida had been the site of an
it was Nell who unearthed the first clue to event that caused life-long grief to Carl.
the mystery. But of this Maude was ignorant, and in the
"Hindus!” Nell said excitedly, out of the end she had her way, as she always did.
blue. "Hindus, George!” Nell and I missed them sorely, of course,
Myhead swiveled toward her. I won- for we were all poor correspondents, and
dered if she were going crazy, too; if there we looked forward eagerly to the day when
were something in the balmy Florida air we should see them again.
that addled the wits. For some time we’d At last, in the winter of 194 9, Nell and
been sitting in our car, diagonally parked on I drove down there. We
had wired them
the Municipal Pier at St. Petersburg, watch- that we were coming, but knowing that
ing with distressed eyes the baffling antics their house was small and that they would
of Carl Gray and what was, apparently, his insist upon putting us up anyway to the

inamorata. discomfort of all four of us, Nell and I


Befuddled as I was already by this obviated that by stopping at a very nice
seeming insanity of my old friend Carl’s, motel on 4th Street, North.
I assure you I was in no receptive
mood for enigmatic remarks from my own T WASN’T until after we’d engaged a
wife. I room and cleaned up a bit that we
Of course, the story really begins earlier, drove down to Central Avenue and west
with the disturbing change in Maude Gray, to the neighborhood in which the Grays
Carl’s wife, and her unfathomable reference were living. As we passed through the busi-
to pelicans. ness section, Nell and I craned our necks at
Pelicans, forsooth! It was enough to de- all the green benches, placed on the side-

stroy the mental equilibrium of anybody! walks at right angles to the curbs, bearing
Maude and Carl, Nell and I are all well their cargoes of elderly people basking in
into the shady side of sixty, and we’ve been the sunshine.
friends for many years. Maude we’ve known Grandmothers in sun-suits, slacks or back-
only for the past twenty-five years that she less dresses; their elderly sun-tanned con-
has been married to Carl; but Carl has been of wild and im-
sorts flaunting sport shirts
our friend since Nell and I were first mar- probable designs and hues. Fat, thin, bent,
55

56 WEIRD TALES
erect, silent or talkative; all of them old. structions, and he would do his best to exe-
Despite the gay apparel, perhaps anyone cute them, for he was an amiable sort, and
young might have found it a melancholy easy-going.
scene, but Nell and I were enchanted. Once in the house, we could see that
"Look, dear!” Nell exclaimed. "Some of Maude hadn’t entirely broken herself of this
them older than us. And don’t they all old habit. She was giving Carl a flurry of
look happy? Oh, I wish we could come directions for our comfort, and making us
down here to live, too.” decidely uncomfortable while she was
"Two more good years like the last one,” about it.
I promised, "and maybe we can.” "Take their wraps, dear. Hang them in
Well, we found Maude and Carl in their the hall closet. Move that cigarette table a
little shingled bungalow on the west side, little closer to George. Push that chair for-
and naturally we expected to see them look-
ing wonderfully well, too.
ward for Nell. See
the ice box, and
— if there’s ginger ale in

In Carl’s case, we certainly weren’t dis-


appointed. He’s a short man, much smaller
and fatter than I am, with a thin fringe of
silvery hair around the perimeter of his
BUT there was a change that seemed to
us dramatic.
Even while she was uttering her instruc-
bald head, and a bustling, gesticulating, tions, her voice drifted away to nothing,
chirrupy manner. He was sunburned now and her shaking hand went to her trembling
to a ruddy tan, and I hadn’t seen him look- lips, and a peculiar, helpless expression of
ing so well and happy in forty years. frustration crept over her face.
"Why, George Phelps, you ole hoss-thief, For Carl was ignoring her completely!
you!” he greeted me, pumping my hand en- You would have to have known the
thusiastically. "Come in, come in!” And he Grays as long and as well as Nell and I
grabbed Nell to plant a loud kiss on her had to realize how shocking that was to us.
plump cheek. We couldn’t help but exchange stunned
But I was conscious, even then, of a feel- glances, and I could tell from the expres-
ing that he wasn’t really glad to see us. It’s sion on Nell’s face that she had been puz-
hard to explain why I felt as I did. Super- zled from the beginning, too, by the change
ficially he was the same as ever, but I in Maude.
sensed a change. His enthusiasm seemed It wasn’t that Maude had dramatically
forced, and though he bustled and gesticu- wasted away, though she had palpably lost
lated as energetically as ever, it was an weight. It was her manner that had altered
exaggeration of his old manner, like a so strikingly. She was faltering, uncertain of
subtle caricature. herself, and there was a haunted look about
Then, too, we needed only one look at her. For Carl, who’d been the most devoted
Maude to see that something was wrong. of husbands, seemed to regard her coldly
She was hovering in the background, letting whenever he looked her way, and it was
Carl do the greeting, instead of insinuating obvious that this was not lost on Maude,
herself before him and taking charge of for she shrank back in her chair whenever
the moment as she had always used to do. his eyes fell upon her.
But, even so, I had a greater faith in the It was most distressing to us, of course,
genuineness of her welcome. She was tear- though we pretended not to notice that any-
fully glad to see us, and the tears were an- thing was amiss. One does. But the change
other surprise, for she’d never been an in the Grays, the seemingly strained rela-
emotional woman. tions between them, rather clouded our re-
Big-bosomed, big-hipped, she’d had a union, and suggested to us the wisdom of
manner as firm and decisive as her tread. I cutting our first meeting short.
wouldn’t say that she’d ever hen-pecked Something mystifying happened just be-
Carl exactly, for he wasn’t the hen-pecked fore we left. Carl had taken our empty
type. But the fact remains that she used to ginger ale glasses to the kitchen, when
tell him what to do with a plethora of in- Maude leaned forward nervously on her
s

LOVERS’ MEETING 57

chair, held her finger against her lips like and at their age. I’m
after all these years
a child enjoining secrecy, and hissed: going to do something about it!”
"Pelicans!” "What?”
The whispered word seemed to burst "Oh, keep still!” Nell said crossly. "Go
from her by main force. While Nell and I on in and take your shower!”
still stared, Carl re-entered the living room, It’sso unusual for Nell to be cross that
and I’m certain he’d heard what Maude I could judge for myself the extent of her
had said, for he darted her a glance of anxiety about the Grays.
furious reproach. At which she positively I couldn’t sleep that night. While Nell

cowered in her chair! snored placidly at my side (though she’s


By now the atmosphere had become so insisted for forty years that she doesn’t
uncomfortable that Nell and I pleaded snore!), I lay rigidly still so as not to dis-
tiredness from the long drive down, made an turb her, and helplessly let my memories
engagement with them for the following plague me into wakefulness. I know it had
day, and. gladly took our leave. been mention of Rose Morley that made
me re-live those spectral years.

W
room
E HAD
Nell and
at the
a
I,

motor
little

once
court.
private talk about
we were
it,

black in our
M ORE than forty years ago, Rose Morley
was an
aerialist with a small traveling
"I simply can’t get over it, Nell said, circus. In winter, while the circus hiber-
vigorously slapping cold cream into her nated, it had been Rose’s thrifty habit to
plump pink cheeks. play the minor vaudeville circuits, and it
"Pelicans!” I snorted, as I wound my was while she was filling a two-week en-
watch. "Has the "woman gone daft?” gagement at the Orpheus Theater that she
“I wouldn’t be a bit surprised. Why, met Carl, who was then night clerk at the
Maude acts as if she were afraid of Carl! Haddon House where Rose was rooming
She’s lost all her self-confidence. George, during her stay.
dear,” Nell’s blue eyes narrowed, "do you It was a whirling romance. They fell in
suppose there could be a—
another woman?” love at once, which was understandable
"Ye gods!” I hooted. "At his age?” enough if you knew Rose. She was a gay
"No fool like an old fool, is what I al- and vivacious redhead with a very warm
ways say. There’s certainly something and engaging manner. A half-hour with
wrong. Why, Carl used to be the most de- Rose and you -felt you knew her better than
voted husband, waiting on Maude hand and others with whom you’d spent a lifetime.
foot. Now he acts as if he didn’t care about Some people are like that.
her at all.” Well, Nell and I, newly-weds ourselves,
"Well, comes to that,” I rubbed my chin, fell in love with her, too, when Carl
"we know he never was in love with Maude. brought her out to the house and proudly
Told us that himself, time he married her announced their engagement. He was be-
twenty-five years ago. That he was marry- side himself with happiness, bustling joy-
ing only for a home and companionship. fully about, asking at intervals, "Well,
That he’d never really gotten over Rose what do you think of her, eh? I’m a pretty
Morley.” good picker, eh?”, cocking his head to one
"I know,” Nell said sadly. "Poor Rose!” side in that way of his as he awaited our
"That’s why I’m sure it’s not another smiling answers.
woman now. Carl is a faithful sort, a one- All the while they were with us, when he
woman man if I ever saw one. Even if he could sit still at all, he perched on the
could be unfaithful to Maude, he could arm of Rose’s chair, with one arm pos-
never be guilty of infidelity to Rose Morley’ sessively around her. She’d lay her head
memory.” against his arm and caress it with her cheek,
"Well, something is wrong,” Nell said interrupting this only to nod solemn and
again energetically, "and I’m not going to emphatic approval at intervals as Carl out-
stand by and watch that marriage fall apart. lined their plans. You would have thought

WEIRD TALES
his every slightest utterances the pro- Or Pearl, or Lillian, or Florence, or Jane,
nundamento of a sage. or -whoever. Once out of sight, they ap-
never seen two people more un-
I've parently slipped from his mind completely.
reservedly and unabashedly in love. I thought Nell would "blow her top”, as

I remember asking Nell afterward, Good '


the youngsters say. Five years of this, and
night, we weren’t that bad when we were even she gave up.
engaged, I hope?” “It’s no use,” she decided wearily at last.
"I’m afraid we were, dear,” Nell gig- "Carl looking to find another girl exactly
is

gled. like Rose, and of course he never will.”


The plan was that Rose would fulfil her I thought so, too. But in this we were

present vaudeville engagement, and play one quite wrong. For, seventeen years after
more season with the circus for which Rose’s death, when Carl was forty-one and
she had already contracted. By the time the we had definitely given up hope that he
circus worked its way north again, it would would ever marry at all, he met and mar-
be fall, and she and Carl would be mar- ried a school-teacher, Maude Wayne, who
ried. was the antithesis of the long-dead Rose in
But Fate stepped in, as Fate has a way of every way.
doing. At the circus’ third engagement of "No, I’m not in love with her,” he told
the season, in a small Florida town, Rose us once when we were alone with him, "but
fell from her trapeze and was killed in- she’ll never find that out from me. She
stantly. thinks she’s the first woman I ever loved,

Once the initial shock wore off, Carl, a and for the sake of her own happiness
little grim-lipped, never mentioned her well, I’d rather she’d continue to think so.
again, but applied himself strenuously to That’s why I want your solemn promise
his work. We
allowed him a decent inter- that you’ll never tell her about Rose.”
val of a year in which to hug his grief, and Of course we promised. We
even thought
then, after our daughter, Harriet, was born, he was wise, Maude, blessedly reas-
for
Nell decided Carl had mourned long sured of her own and bloom-
attractiveness
enough and it was time for her to take ing with this late marriage, might have tor-
matters into herown hands. mented herself and made them both miser-
You know how women are. able with jealousy of Carl’s lost love.
"Carl ought to marry,” Nell decided, For twenty-five years, they were as happy
"but bow is he going to meet a nice girl as any married couple we knew. And we
if he makes no effort to go out and find grew genuinely fond of Maude, once we
one? I’ll just have to handle everything.” grew used to her harmless, bossy little ways,
So, in that artfully artless way of women, though of course she never filled the place
she began inviting Carl to dinner once a of Rose in the hearts of any of us.
week, and “just happened” to invite some I sighed now, and turned over in bed.

one of her unmarried girl friends at the Funny how vividly I could remember Rose
same time. We
paraded the lot before him, after all these years, and that way she had
and there were quite a few. had of affectionately rubbing her cheek
"And how did you like Ann?” Nell against Carl’s arm, and nodding solemnly,
would ask him a few nights afterward. though she was not a solemn person. And I
“Who?” decided that she was one of those people
Nell stifled impatience. "Ann! Who had who make indelible impressions.
dinner with us Thursday night.” And with that, my snores must have
"Oh, yes. Ann!” Carl would say, mad- joined Nell’s own, for I fell sound asleep,
deningly to Nell.
"She’s a perfectly lovely girl.”
"Isn’t she?” Carl would agree, with THE next three days were pleasant
enough. But, though the Grays seemed
genuine enthusiasm. more like their old selves, we weren’t de-
But that was as far as it ever went. He ceived. We were made occasionally aware
never made any attempt to see Ann again. in little ways of a veil of secrecy surround-
,

LOVERS’ MEETING 59

ing them, though we learned nothing of caused on the two in the front seat. There
what they were hiding. Oh, Nell did what was a sudden strained silence, a curious
she could to sound out Maude, but she stiffening of both of them. You would have
met with failure. thought I had said something obscene.
"Maude simply won’t tell me a thing,” I could see Carl dart a sidelong glance at

Nell reported. "If you ask me, I think Carl Maude, as if he suspected she’d been talking
warned her not to.” out of turn again. Maude’s look in return
"Well, let’s just enjoy ourselves,” I said, seemed to be an odd mixture of denial and
"and we can keep our eyes open while we’re apology. She took a Kleenex from the box
doing it. Sooner or later, things are Bound under the glove compartment, and wiped
to come to a head.” her perspiring face. And I felt it wasn’t the
It really wasn’t just curiosity on our part, heat alone that prompted her to make the
though I’m afraid it sounds so. We
were gesture.
anxious to play peace-makers, if we could. "Uh, the Pier,” Carl said, when the si-

But as I’ve said, tire three following days lence had grown over-long.
passed pleasantly enough. Nell and I would "Yes. Where is it?”
drive over to the Grays early in the morn- He warded a hand vaguely. "Oh, it’s east
ing, park our car under their car porte, and of town, jutting out into Tampa Bay.”
then Ave’d all pile into Carl’s car while he "Well, what do you say we drive over
took us around to the points of interest. there? Maybe we’ll find a cooler breeze.”
Wespent lazy, sunny times on the Gulf Again little silence before he an-
that
beaches across the causeway. We
saw Clear- swered, as he were marshalling his words.
if
water, and the sponge fisheries at Tarpon "Well, it’s getting pretty late. Nearly half
Springs. We
drove over the beautiful Gandy past three, and I have some, uh, business to
Bridge to Tampa, where we visited Ybor attend to.”
City and lunched on spicy Cuban food that Some imp of perversity made me persist.
gave us heartburn. "Well, Nell and I would certainly like to
One thing, though, we never dined with see Maybe tomorrow?”
it.

the Grays; an omission which became no- I had the peculiar feelingthat Carl was
ticeable. For some reason known only to grateful for even so short a respite as
himself, Carl mad©a great point of always twenty-four hours. “Maybe,” he said.
being back in St. Petersburg by late after- "We’ll certainly have to show you the Pier.
noon, and we wouldn’t see him again be- Tomorrow, or or soon.”—
fore eight o’clock in the evening. Twice, I said no more, but when I looked aside
when we suggested having dinner together, at Nell, she closed one eye knowingly. We
Carl made lame and evasive replies, which went back to the Grays and retrieved our
served to arouse out curiosity mildly. car, and said we’d meet them that night on
However, it wasn’t until the third after- a bench in front of Walgreen ’s. Maude was
noon that something happened to recall our fluttering more uncertainly than ever, as she
small mystery. I was the unwitting cause of and Nell went into the house for a moment,
it. There was one omission in our travels but Carl had apparently recovered from his
that had puzzled me a little. discomposure, for he talked casually enough
"You’re certainly showing us all the to me of inconsequential matters until Nell
sights, Carl,” I said, "but what of this Mil- reappeared.
lion Dollar Pier of yours that I’ve heard so She and I started to drive bade to tire
much about? How come you’ve never motel, and Nell was talking excitedly the
shown it to us? Do you really have one, or minute we were out of ear-shot of the
is it just some pipe-dream of the Chamber Grays.
of Commerce?” “I knew it!” she said triumphantly. "The
We were inCarl's car when I said it, minufe I saw how strangely they both acted
Nell and in the back seat, the Grays in
I when you mentioned the Pier, I knew that
front, and was impossible to understand
it whatever has -been bothering both of them
the peculiar effect my innocent remark is bound up in some way with the Pier,
60 WEIRD TALES
And do you know what? While Maude and and not coming home until dinner was cold.
I were powdering our noses just now, she When it kept up, she began to think what I
begged me to ask you not to mention the had first —
suspected that there was another
Pier again!” woman in the picture some place, fantastic
"For the love of Mike!” I said. "What seemed, knowing Carl, for he’d always
as it
can the Pier have to do with it? Unless you been a model of fidelity. But, anyway, her
were right in the first place, and old Carl suspicions grew so intolerable that she
has been meeting some woman there.” finally followed him. And that’s when she
“That’s what hinted to Maude, as tact-
I learned that it wasn’t a woman. It was a
fully as I could. I told her we couldn’t help pelican.
but notice there was something wrong be- "But what about the pelican, for heaven's
tween her and Carl, and I had wondered if sake!”
he were interested in another woman. Well, Nell shrugged. "I don’t know. Since we
Maude broke down completely then. She know nothing about it all, she said she dare
said, she’d been under an awful strain. And not say another word. She’s afraid of what

said it was worse. She said



she said no, it wasn’t another woman. She
” Neil broke
Carl might do if he learned she’d said so
much to me, as it is. I simply couldn’t get
off, and looked at me wide-eyed. another word out of her. George, there’s
"What?” only one thing we can do.”
"She said it was a pelican!” I was inclined to agree with her. "After
we wash up a bit, we’ll drive down to the
OR some my funny-
reason, that tickled Pier alone, and see for ourselves. If what
F bone. guffawed.
I

"Don’t laugh!” Nell said sharply. "I


Maude has been telling you is true, he’s
probably headed for there now.”
tell you, if you’d seen Maude when she said
it, you’d know it wasn’t funny. She said,
too, that we’re mixed up in it some way.”
"We are? Oh, come now! Why, I never
A HALF
open for
hour later, I drove onto the
Pier slowly, keeping one weather eye
Carl. There were a few people on
even saw a pelican, outside a 200. And I the Pier, and some cars; but not many, for
certainly can’t see any connection between a it was nearly the dinner hour. We had no
pelican and Carl. How can she think we difficulty sighting Carly-and I pulled into a
have anything to do with it? Pete’s sake, diagonal parking space far enough away
we’ve been twelve hundred miles away ail from him so that he couldn’t see us but we
this time!” had a clear view of him.
“That’s what I told her,” Nell said. He was sitting on a bench facing the
“And she was terribly disappointed, for she water, and Maude was right. There was a
said she thought I’d know and could tell pelican on the sidewalk beside him.
her, but of course I couldn’t. But, she said, v I don’t know whether you’ve ever seen
when Carl received our telegram saying we a pelican —
in person, as it were. Extremely
were coming down here, he simply went up graceful in flight, they’re awkward creatures
in the air. For some strange reason, he at best as they waddle absurdly about on
made her swear not to mention the Pier or land. Still, there’s something definitely
pelicans to us. She’s broken her promise to amusing and ingratiating about them.
him, of course, by speaking to me. But she They're like long-nosed, supercilious Puri-
said she simply couldn’t help it. This has tans, pompous and solemn, and yet with an
been going on ever since they moved down underlying and paradoxical rakishness about
here, and she says she’s nearly crazy by now. them that lends them an indescribably
She said she was sure he was crazy at first. raffish air that is somehow endearing.
But he’s been absolutely normal in every It’s a tourist diversion to buy frozen min-
respect, otherwise.” nows at the stand on the Pier with which to
“How did she first get on to it?” feed the, birds. They’ll sit beside you pa-
"She said she noticed that he was mys- tiently, staring vaguely off into the middle-
teriously absenting himself every afternoon. distance, apparently lost in their own grave
— —
LOVERS’ MEETING 61

thoughts, until you deign to toss a minnow It was what happened in between that
their way, which brings an abrupt end to caught my attention. The pelican laid its
their spurious reverie. head against Carl’s arm and rubbed it lov-
This was the business that was engaging ingly. At times, it looked up into his face
Carl at the moment. The bird’s head was at and nodded its head in solemn agreement
his right elbow, and Carl seemed to be talk- with whatever it was that he was saying.
ing to the creature, in a low, intimate tone "Well, I’ll be damned!” I said softly.
of voice. "That pelican acts for all the world like
I wondered what was so terrible about a like—”
man harmlessly feeding a pelican. caught myself up short, realizing how
I
Well, Nell and I sat there, bewildered, ridiculous what I’d been about to say would
watching. I admit I’m less observant than sound.
Nell. I kept looking at what I could see of But Nell wasn’t edging away from me
Carl’s profile, and I suspect I was watching in alarm. Her
eyes were shining.
for some signs of madness. So absorbed was "You it, too?” she said. "For all the
see
I with this melancholy task that I was world Rose Morley! That’s what I
like
scarcely seeing the pelican itself. meant about Hindus, George. Aren’t they
Nell was as intent as I. Some time passed the ones who believe in the transmigration
by
when
—perhaps
heard
I
as much as twenty minutes
Nell draw in her breath
of souls? I tell you, that is Rose Morley.
Anyone who ever knew her couldn’t doubt
sharply. it. To Maude, the pelican is just a pelican,

And it was then that she said, "Hindus! for she never knew Rose. But Carl must
Hindus, George!” have known that we’d recognize her, since
"I looked at Nell. "Hindus?” he’d been able to, and of course he didn’t
She was flushed and excited with some want us to find out.”
discovery, and only half-listening to me, "But why?” I asked.
her eyes on Carl and the pelican. "Yes, of "Oh, don’t be so obtuse, dear! He knows
course, dear. East Indians, you know.” he’s hurting Maude badly enough as it is,
was the last straw. My hand slapped
It but he’s afraid it would hurt her infinitely
my thigh in exasperation. "I give up!” I more if she knew about Rose and learned
said. "First Carl, now you. What in the that he’d found his love again. No wonder
world have Hindus to do with all this?” Maude has simply faded from his con-
"Oh, keep still,” Nell said absently. sciousness!”
"Listen, do what I say, and you’ll under- In forty years, I’ve learned not to argue
stand what I mean. Don’t watch Carl. with Nell or her woman intuition. So I
Watch the pelican!” thought I was in perfect agreement with
She was so excited by whatever idea was her own ideas when I said, "Do you think
obsessing her, that I questioned her no fur- it would be better if we said nothing at all

ther but, half -hypnotized, did as she told about our discovery to Maude?”
me. It must have been all of ten minutes be- "I most certainly do not!” Nell glared at
fore I began to understand what Nell was me. "I think it’s perfectly shocking that
talking about. he’s letting Maude suffer the way she is. I’d
I focussed my gaze on the pelican with rather know the truth myself, and I intend
an intensity that nearly made me cross-eyed. to tell her all about it.”

It was a perfectly ordinary-looking bird, no "You’re forgetting one thing. It isn’t


different that I could see from any of the everybody who believes in the transmigra-
other waddling about the Pier. And yet as — tion of souls. Suppose Maude decides you’re
I watched, I could feel myself holding my insane?”
breath in disbelief of a growing recognition. "She won’t. I’m convinced of the truth
It was too insane. of what we’ve discovered. And you are,
The absurd one-sided conversation was too!” Nell said shrewdly. “That pelican is
still going on between Carl and the pelican, Rose Morley, and you know it as well as I
and he was feeding it minnows at intervals. do. We’ll convince Maude some way.”

62 WEIRD TALES
1 remember something else. "You're for- wrote wildly and at length of her grief, and
getting another thing,” I said. "Our solemn then there was nothing but silence. The si-
promise to Carl never to tell Maude about lence worried us even more than her letters
Rose.” had. She not only didn’t write us again of
“Oh!” That gave Nell pause, for she has her own accord, she didn’t even answer our
always been as meticulous about keeping alarmed letters and telegrams.
promises as I have been. Nell fretted about it so incontinently that
With one last look at Carl and his sweet- I took my vacation earlier than I’d intended

heart —
in the sunset, they were absurdly and we drove down to St. Petersburg again.
like an affectionate, long-married couple We didn’t let Maude know we were com-
seated before a dying fire —
Nell and I went ing, and before we even drove over to see
back to the motel in silence. her I headed the car, by a sort of tacit
agreement, directly to the Municipal Pier.

P ERHAPS we
then, anyway.
would have
We
told
certainly would have
debated, at least, the wisdom of forgetting
Maude I know the same suspicion was in Nell’s
mind
correct.
as in my own. And we were perfectly

our promise to Carl and telling her. There were two pelicans together now,
But as it happened we said nothing at all near the bench where we’d first seen one
to Maude. with Carl. One I recognized immediately,
For when we
returned to the motor court, for it was nodding its head' with solemn

there was a telegram awaiting us from our agreement to something its mate was say-
son-in-law, Bill. Our daughter, Harriet, had ing. And its mate
given birth to her fourth child prematurely, “Just as I thought!” Nell said grimly.
and -it was feared neither she nor the baby "It’s Carl!”
would live. The gestures and the resemblance were
Wewere terribly agitated by the news, of unmistakable. The two birds rubbed beaks,
course, and in the ensuing excitement the as we
watched, with public and uninhibited
troubles of the Grays were 'entirely forgot- love-making. The male cocked its head to
ten by us. Nell reached Maude by telephone, one side at intervals, in Carl’s old way, and
and managed to give her the news about regarded its mate attentively.
Harriet; and Maude promised to have Carl Strangely, I felt comforted in a way to
ship our car north, while we flew back by know that Death was not the end, that life
plane. went on beyond the grave. And yet at the
Harriet and the baby, fortunately, had al- same time I was aware of a sick feeling in
ready taken a turn for the better even be- the pit of my stomach. It seemed to me
fore we landed in Chicago, and Bill’s second shameful and unjust that Carl should have
reassuring telegram had just missed us in won his happiness at the price of another's
Florida by minutes. However, it was some inconsolable grief. And when I looked at
weeks before Harriet and the new baby Nell I knew the same thought was bother-
were entirely well, and we naturally stayed ing her, too.
in the north to be with them. She said resentfully, “It’s nice to know
Things were well again with us, but he’s happy. But I can’t forgive him, really.
tragedy touched Carl and Maude that same To think of Maude grieving her heart out,
spring. We never saw Carl again. He was not a mile away. Come on, George. Let’s go
drowned while on a fishing trip, when a there. I’m determined to tell her the truth
sudden squall blew up, overturning his now. I feel that this releases us from our
boat in the Gulf. promise to Carl.”
From a friend of ours who was in Florida And I agreed with her entirely.
at the time, we learned that Maude had
been prostrated by the tragedy, that she
had, indeed, tried to throw herself into the
grave on top of Carl’s coffin.
OUR hearts were heavy
familiar address, for
what we should find. 1
aswe drove to the
we didn’t know
suppose we expected
She sent us two long letters in which she to discover Maude in the last stages of a de-
” ”

LOVERS’ MEETING 63

dine. But we' were in for the shock of our Nell asked. "We
were so worried about
lives. Maude looked wonderful. She’d re- you. Why didn’t you tell us?”
gained her lost weight and her old manner. "I was afraid you wouldn’t believe me,”
The only thing about her that was different Maude said. "Besides, after the way I’d
was the hint of embarrassment with which carried on in my first grief, it was a little
she greeted us. embarrassing, when you didn’t know the
Nell lost no time in getting down to whole story, for me to confess that I’ve mar-
cases. "Maude, dear, just before we came
here, we stopped at the Municipal Pier
— ried
"Wilbur!”
again.” She rose, smiling happily.

Maude looked immensely relieved. She A thin, ineffectual, elderly man wan-
said quietly, "You’re trying to tell me that dered in from the kitchen.
you saw Carl.” "These are my friends, Nell and George
Her matter-of-factness bewildered us. Philps, from Chicago,” Maude introduced
For the first time in her life, I saw Nell us. She patted Wilbur on the back gently,
completely nonplussed. I said, "As a matter as if he were a child. "Now7 don’t you think
of fact, we didn’t see Carl exactly. That it would be nice, Wilbur, to run down to

is
— the drugstore to get us some ice cream?
"You saw him in his new incarnation as Don’t let him give you chocolate, when you
a pelican,”Maude said. "I can tell by your know I prefer strawberry. Take your um-
faces.I’m glad, for I shouldn’t have known brella, and wear your rubbers, for it looks
how to explain. I discovered him myself, like rain. Don’t slam the door as you go
quite by accident, when I wandered onto out, dear, and look both ways before you
the Pier one day. And there he was, unmis- cross the street.”
takably. After twenty-five years of living Her voice died away as she followed him
with Carl I knew his every gesture, and I out to the hall, issuing sixty instructions to
knew I couldn’t be mistaken. Carl was a the minute as she went.
pelican, making shameless love to that other Nell looked at me in amazement a min-
whom he was so long obsessed,
pelican wdth ute, then giggled softly. "Is everybody
whoever she is. The scene quite effectively happy?”
ended my grief,” Maude said firmly. I heard the happy intonations of Maude’s
Well, we didn’t explain. We let it go. voice as she bustled about the hall, her old
Since Maude had recovered and was ap- officious self once more. I thought of the
parently incurious, there was no point now happy pelicans down on the Pier. My hand
in bringing up the Rose Morley.
story of went out and covered Nell’s.
"But why didn’t you answer our letters?” "Everybody is,” I said.

bg Harriet A.Srabfj* lb

life mrnare of I;rr smilr; Srtuarr ijrr grilam-Biittrft rjjrs


SSjWA drmon, jiriaonfd Ujrrr, Mxlb pwing and inflamrdr
ifflon frols tljf larqurred fjag-linrfi fatr iffr ftitirn darns arr sfyarptntb
®fid> ottrr was tfonttg attii fair. (&tt aanitirs drfamrd.
. . . the glassy eyes of the stuffed crocodile seemed to gleam with mockery.

T has been a long time since I have seen Sabbath afternoons when custom and parents
children playing at cat’s-cradle. It was required quiet and repose. On such occasion's
I popular pastime when I was a boy and I
can remember how children were set to
my sister and I faced each other from has-
socks placed in the large parlor bow-window
playing the game as an engagement for long and for several hours were occupied with a

Heading by Joseph Eberle


64
CAT’S CRADLE 65

long loop of cord and a printed chart which of those times, deeply infected with an aver-
showed us how to begin and how to prog- sion to immaterial things which cannot be
ress, alternately lifting a continuously more examined under a microscope or contained
intricate complex of cord from each others in a test-tube.
hands. The summer had been fine and my friend
I have often wondered how
the game ever had long looked forward to a holiday in the

came to this country what strange group of Pyrenees after a protracted season of semi-
immigrants brought the cat’s-cradle with nars. He had gone by train to Lourdes, ex-
them from over the sea. But more I wonder amined the records and watched the pil-
how it ever came to asume the rank of a grims with a preconceived disbelief which
game for children, whose nearest approach no amount of visual proof could touch. Be-
to evil was an occasional raid on cookie- jar yond Lourdes he had traveled by voiture up
or jam-pot. Even in the mild form it as- the lower slopes of the chain of rough moun-
sumed there remained a taint of an old evil, tains which separates France from Spain. He
especially since some of the figures were had spent some time in the tiny mountain
called by such names as "Hang the Witch”, state of Andorra, looking into its strange
"Flying Goblin” and the like. I can now see dualistic government. But when the life in
more clearly this truth because of what hap- Andorra began to pall he hired a donkey
pened to a friend of mine. I trust his verac- and set out to travel on foot into the Spanish
ity completely for reasons which need no country beyond.
explanation here. And I know that his pow-
HE
ers of observation are remarkable.
My friend' is a man only a little older
than myself and we were brought up to-
T
my
road soon became
track across barren stones
little more than
and earth and
friend had begun to feel a little shut in
a

gether. The houses of our parents were so by the towering peaks and looming sun-
placed that their alley-entrances were ex- baked cliffs. Night was approaching and my
actly opposite and the children of both es- friend had seen no sight of human habita-
tablishments were constantly bade and tion since early afternoon. He -was begin-
forth. My sister and I wereas much at home ning to wonder if he would not be forced to
in my friend’s house as we were in our own sleep cold upon the ground when he saw
and I am happy to remember that the re- with distinct relief a well-constructed house
verse was also true. Our father was the min- facing him as he rounded, a turn among the
ister of a local church while my friend’s boulders. For a moment he wondered how
father was the director of a bank. So it was anyone could scratch a living from the bare
that my friend inherited a sizeable and well- earth and rock about the -house but quickly
invested fortune which has left him free to put aside a problem which concerned him
do as he liked. He has always used his less immediately than a warm supper and a
money well, never squandering it as so many comfortable bed.
wealthy sons of wealthy parents have done. The lower story of the house was of
His tatstes were always serious and his roughly dressed stone and the upper half-
money only enabled him to indulge his pre- story was of planed timber surmounted by
dilection for travel and education. Late in a tiled roof. A few thin chickens scratched
life he and became himself a
married dispiritedly in the dooryard and a sleek black
father, but the incident which I am about to cat sat warming itself in the dying rays of
relate occured to him when he was a young the sun. A
stout girl was cooking something
man. He had been pursuing his studies at on an outdoor brazier behind the building,
the Sorbonne toward a graduate degree. It but it required more than one hail to bring
was near the turn of the century. Science her to the roadside. My friend had some dif-
was in the air and superstition had been (it ficulty inmaking her understand his wants,
was supposed) thrown upon time’s scrap- for he spoke the best of French and Spanish
heap of outmoded things -along with re- — while the girl spoke only the bastard Pyren-
vealed religion, public morality and the ean patois—so it was more by gesture than
divine right of kings. My friend was a child word of mouth that my friend finally con-
66 WEIRD TALES
veyed the idea of his wishing a meal and a O much myfriend observed of the main
night’s rest. It was the pesetas which he dis- S room of the house. Then, the meal being
played which appeared to illumine his mean- finished,he was led down a short hall. At its
ing best of all. end was a ladder leading upward through a
The dull-eyed girl surveyed my friend hole in the ceiling to the attic. It was indi-
and his money, then turned and called rau- cated that his room was above, and when he
cously toward the house. The door was had climbed the ladder a lighted candle was
opened and another woman appeared, a passed up to him. By its light he saw that a
stout woman who from resemblance ap- low bed was situated at the end of the attic
peared to be the girFs mother. But while under a window and that at the other end
the girl was roughly clothed, wearing a were several very old chests, carved and
cloth about her head and rope sandals on bound with brass. He was very tired after
her feet, the mother was well dressed in his long day of walking and climbing and
heavy black silk. Her graying hair was without delay pulled off his shoes and outer
pulled tautly back with combs and she wore garments, blew out the candle and was soon
black patent-leather buttoned shoes, over the asleep.
high tops of which bulged her fat ankles. He relates that he could not have been
Her fingers were so loaded with broad gold asleep long when he was awakened by a
rings set with bright stones, and such a high, thin sound which reminded him of
large gold brooch was set in the black silk the distant howling of a dog, but infinitely
at her throat that my friend thought sud- higher in pitch and more prolonged. Sitting
denly of tire border smugglers of whose ac- up in bed he placed the sound as coming
tivities he had lately heard. Somehow he from the room below and suddenly the
wished he had not so definitely requested his short hair on the back of his neck stood
night’s lodging. Perhaps the stones of the erect as a cold chill swept over him.
roadside would have been preferable. How- Quietly getting out of bed he peered
ever, the deed was done. After an unintel- down the trap-door of the garret but could
ligible conversation with her daughter the see only a flickering light on the floor be-
old woman took my friend’s money, dropped neath it, a reddish light reflected from the
it into a capacious bosom and ushered him parlor. His curiosity infinitely aroused and
into the house. his inexplicable fear overcome he peered
My friend hardly recalls the supper which about him in the darkness, his eye finally en-
was served him because during the meal his countering a red gleam among the chests at
attention was so riveted upon a large stuffed the far end of the attic. It came from a
crocodile which hung from the ceiling of a small knothole in the floor boards, upon
recess in a wall. He does recall that the meal which he lay down at full length in order
was plentiful and good and that the girl ate to peer through into the parlor. He saw-
greedily, leaning over her plate, while the something which to this day his mind will
mother ate daintily as a duchess, pausing at —
not accept and about which he has spoken
intervals to survey her visitor and to direct to no one other than myself.
unanswered remarks to the girl. The sun The view which his vantage-point dis-
had set by now and a lamp had been lighted. closed was broad enough to include the par-
Its rays were oddly reflected from the teeth lor below nearly from wall to wall. Directly
and shiny glass eyes of the crocodile, as well beneath him was the six-pointed star. He
as from the highly polished surfaces of a could see that at each point of the star had
few tall old chairs and a heavily carved ar- been set a low dish containing some ma-
moire which were the room’s only furnish- terial which was burning redly with a great
ings. The ceiling overhead was composed of deal of pungent smoke. The two women
wooden beams, overlaid by the flooring of were seated cross-legged upon the floor
the upper attic story. The floor was of within the star and between them lay a
stones cut in such a way that a design of a square of carpeting. Upon this carpeting
six-pointed star enclosed in a hexagon stood rested the black cat which my friend had
out against regular horizontal lines. observed in the dooryard. It crouched, and
CAT’S CRADLE 67

its twitched as if it were thinking of


tail seeming to dissipate itself. And my friend
pleasant things. Over its back and in the —
saw but what he saw was impossible for
air between the women stretched a long loop him to accept and oppose. So his senses left
of cord upon which were strung many him; but not before he saw the girl pick up
bright beads. The women appeared to be the cat —
if cat it still was —
and, opening the
playing cat’s cradle and my friend was in- besom of her dress, appear to nurse it as a
tensely puzzled as to what might be their woman would nurse an infant. The old
purpose in playing such a game at such an woman slumped forward like a half -empty
hour under such strange circumstances. meal sack.
This much my friend saw before he
npHE high, thin noise he had heard ap- fainted. When he came to himself it was
T peared to come from the women, but by dawn and the pale light in the garret en-
now it had been completely sustained, with- abled him to see well enough to get into his
out break or pause. The red light had be- clothing. He slipped down the ladder and
come more intense and the room below was crossed the empty parlor. As he opened the
becoming partially obscured by smoke.' The door the glassy eyes of the crocodile seemed
loop of cord whipped and flashed, evolving to gleam with mockery. But the sharp, cool
patterns more and more complex, the affixed air of the mountain morning heartened him
beads seeming to slip into strange planes as he untied his burro and hastened away
and angles, from one design into another from the house and up the valley.
like the bright patterns in a kaleidoscope.
Its effects were hypnotic and
believes that he slipped into a semi-comatose
state he watched the changing shapes
as
my friend now
A FEW at
hours later he made
a small settlement which
hillside like barnacles to
his breakfast
dung to a
a ship’s hull. At the
through the obscuring smoke in which all inn a few guarded queries elicited responses
outlines were growing dimmed, so that the which showed that the villagers detested the
whole scene below him took on the aspect


old house down the valley because, Senor,
of a scene under water -objects moving into those women are witches. Oh surley, Senor,
focus and sliping out of focus in a celeritous we go there sometimes to obtain a love-
rhythm of strange value. potion or a medicine against the murrain,
The square of carpeting appeared to roil but no, Senor, we hold no frequent business
and twist upon itself in a slow and doubtful at that house. It is better, Senor, not to
fashion while the cat appeared to have rolled tempt the Devil!
on its back with its legs stretched as if being This then is the story told me by my
pulled asunder. The loop of cord moved at friend when we were both young men and
dizzying speed, the women’s hands dipping he just returned from Europe. He did not
and twisting like evening birds as they know what to think of his experience, since
passed the cord back and forth to each other. it fell into no category with which he was

The old woman’s tightly confined hair fell familiar —


for his mind does not allow for
from its combs and over her shoulders in a the possibility of witchcraft. But I, being
great cascade and she bent backward and somewhat better versed in these matters, be-
forward to the rising and falling of the thin lieve that what he saw was nothing less
wail which now seemed to come out of the than a sacrament of sorcery, a feeding of the
very walls. The girl appeared to grow larger, familiar.
to impose herself on the scene as it were, Of I do not know, but that
course,
and her hands moved with lightning rapid- is what At any rate, my friend says
I believe.

ity in opposition to those of the older that the simulacrum which the girl lifted
woman. from the square of carpeting was alive, for
Suddenly the noise ceased. The intense he saw it move. He says guardedly, however,
activity stopped. The red light flared once that the object was obviously neither animal
more and quickly died away, the smoke nor human.

by David Lewis Eynon


pres mot, le deluge,’ said Haupt- "Pardon, Mynheer Commandant?” said
mann von Frolich pleasantly, Burgomeister ten Brink, pulling his atten-
puffing to start his Havana, "if tion from the sound of the firing up the
ym. will permit
Louis XVI,
me to quote a
nicht wabrT'
Frenchman —
coast guns that promised liberation to his
village of fisherfolk. "You were saying?"
” —
When the German army retreated, then the ghosts could take over.

"In the morning,” explained the German If they lived, only, there always remained
wearily, tired after three years of dealing the hope of rebuilding.
with gross Dutch metality, "when we leave Von Frolich’s laughter ebbed into an

your gemiitlich little village where, need I amiable smile. He propped his boots on the
says, We have enjoyed our 'Holiday’
, . . grate, warming his toes against the evening
the dike would be blown. I shall command dampness that seeped slowly into the stones
the demolition squad personally.” of the Raadhuis floor.
Ten Brink stared at the German captain. "Oh, yes, Herr Burgomeister,” said the
The afternoon sun had faded now, the fire- Hauptmann familiarly, “before I take my
light licked at theGerman’s crooked smile, leave, there is a point about which I have
brightened the decorations on his -tunic. often meant to ask.” He jutted his cigar
"You would do that?" ten Brink asked towards the mantel. "Those hands,” he said,

leave my people destitute and



hollowly. "Destroy the work of centuries, indicating t’hre black casts hanging by their
wrists from hooks set in the stone, "iron,
"Oh, please,” said von Frolich hastily, are -the}7 not? What brings -them there?”
“it’s nothing personal, you understand, my "Hands?” 'asked Ten Brink, wondering
dear Herr Burgomeister.” He settled his how the German, on the brink of disaster,
weight more comfortably in the large chair. could interest himself with trifles. '"Urey are
"Purely a question of military expediency. from the middle ages. It was then the cus-
I’ve grown quite fond of Katzaveere, actu- —
tom to cut off a hand as a punishment for
ally. Perhaps, after the war, when my vaca- great crimes. The hand was set in iron and
tion permits ...” The captain blew a ring of hung in a public place as a warning to
smoke towards the fireplace and mused. malefactors.”
"However,” he drew himself back to the "Ach, so!” exclaimed von Frolich, bend-
business at hand, "when the English arrive,” ing forward with interest. He reached up
he cocked his head and listened to the mum- and clasped the nearest hand, letting it
ble of artillery for a second, "about noon dank back against -the stone when he felt

tomorrow, I should imagine you can ex-
press my regrets that I could not be here to
the coldness of the iron.
"And these hands,” he asked, rubbing his
receive them.” He winked at ten Brink. fingers -together, “to whom did they be-
"And also extend my apologies for the long?”
town’s being under water,” he added, show- “The two right hands belonged to a pair
ing a denture made by the best orthodontist of traitors,” said the Burgomeister pointed-
in Hamburg. ly. "They attempted to deliver our town to

"But my villagers,” said ten Brink help- the Spanish, it was believed.”
lessly. "It means the end of everything for "Believed?” asked von Frolich. "There
them!” he protested. was no proof, -then?”
"Nothing actually ever begins or ends "Perhaps in those days, barbarity was not
does it von Frolich. He had
really?” asked so distinctly cut,” said -ten Brink acidly.
studied philosophy at Marburg. "And you "The third hand was a common mur-
can repair things, one day. Your town should derer’s.”

be as good as new- in ten or twenty years!” "Wonderful!” said von Frolich, blandly
he laughed, shaking until his chair groaned. ignoring ten Brink’s barb. “Such a charming
Ten Brink’s mind flooded with despera- tale! Really, thethings one encounters in out
tion. He fought the urge to throttle the Ger- of the way spots!” He drew out a fresh ci-
man as von Frolich sat laughing. That guar- gar, struck a match on the nearest hand and
anteed immediate reprisal —
a hundred fish- lighted his smoke with deep drags.
ermen shot, perhaps the whole village exe- As Hauptmann savored his cigar the
the
cuted. His own death ten Brink could dis- Burgomeister desperately made plans for the
count, but his people must survive somehow. evacuation of his people. The two men sat in

Heading by Joseph Eberle


69

70 WEIRD TALES
silence for several minutes, then the German a flash of hail against the window panes
spoke. outside.
"You know, my dear ten Brink,” he said The German broke from the
his gaze
jovially, “I have it! Those hands will make mantel, gulped -the rest of his brandy and
fine souvenirs —wen wtr nehtnen Ub shied. stared determinedly into the fire.
Just the memento I need of my pleasant so-
journ in Katzaveere. May
cocking an eyebrow towards the mantel.
I?” he asked,
“0 DD,” said Colonel Willoughby, low-
ering his binoculars. "They've been
"Take them,” said ten Brink softly. destroying the dikes all down the coast
"A thousand thanks,” said von Frolich, you don’t suppose they’re planning to make
tossing the burned match into the fireplace. a stand -here, do you?’ he asked a junior of-
"I'll wager, Herr Burgomeister,” he said, ficer at his left.
winking slyly, "that you’d like to put my "It’s not very likely, is it. Sir?” said Lieu-

hands up there as replacements Nein?” — tenant Downs. "Our patrols haven’t drawn
"If the Hauptmann will excuse me,” said any fire — unless, of course, Jerry’s planning
ten Brink bitterly, "I must see to the evacu- some sort of trap.”
ation of my village.” The Colonel pulled a battered package of
"But of course, friend Burgomeister,” Players from lfis tunic pocket, offered one to
said von Frolich politicly, bowing from his Downs and tamped his own against a
*

chair. "Till morning, then?” thumbnail. He


continued tapping -the cigar-
Ten Brink nodded sharply and started ette absently, staring out across the dunes
toward the door. capped with tufts of grass swaying gently
"Oh, and also, Herr Burgomeister,” against a leaden sky. The cry of a gull
called the Hauptmann as ten Brink reached drifted across the murmur of the waves and
the door, "thanks for the hands!” the Colonel turned unconsciously to accept a
light from the lieutenant.

THEWhen door slammed and von Frolich


leaned over to poke up the coals in the
grate. they glowed to his satisfaction
“Jerry isn’t given to subtleties, as a rule,”
mused the Colonel, who was trying to recon-
cile his military logic with the fact that the
he loosened his belt, opened his collar and situation didn’t "feel” right. "Still, I expect
reached for a glass of brandy at his elbow. you’d better go in for a look around.”
From the North the rising winds brought "Of course, Sir,” said the youngster.
the sound of artillery stronger than before. "Take along anyone you like, Downs,”
Von Frolich listened to the barrage mixed, — the Colonel said as the boy started up over
he judged, listening to the muted whine of the embankment. "I’d suggest Sergeant
the lighter guns against the dull rumble of Phillips.”
the 250’s. "Quite, Sir,’ agreed Downs, motioning to
An orderly slipped into the room and an aging non-com in a scarred tin hat.
closed the shutters against the night, leaving "Oh, and Downs,” the Colonel added,
an oil lamp beside the captain, who sat star- glancing at his watch,” we’ll follow you in
ing at pictures in the fire. Von Frolich rolled at twelve-thirty —
regardless.”
the brandy slowly around his tongue and “just as you say, Sir,” said the lieutenant,
stared up curiously at the hands, etched reaching the Sergeant a hand to the top of
against the old stone by the firelight. As he the dune.
studied them in the flickering of the flames The Colonel watched silently as the two
they seemed to pulse and clench with the figures moved off among the waving grass
slow, strong rhythm of the rising fire.
The North Sea wind moaned over the
— Downs in the lead, Phillips moving war-
ily on his flank with a submachine gun
chimney, sucking. the flames higher, and the gripped at the ready. They disappeared
hands seemed to dance from their hooks like down a slope, popped up briefly as first
tiny puppets, anxious for the show to begin. Downs, then the Sergeant, writhed over the
Von Frolich started as the iron fingers top of the next dune, then were beyond the

drummed on the stone but no, it was only Colonel’s view. He lowered his glasses,
THE IRON HANDS OF KATZAVEERE 71

glanced again at his watch, then picked up coiled rope, “there’s nothing else for it Do
the field telephone and asked for the artil- try your best to look casual, Phillips. It
lery section. makes all the difference, you know.”
The two Englishmen picked their way “Yes, Sir,” said the Sergeant, who had a
cautiously down a back street of Katza-
- boy about Downs’ age. "Casual, Sir.”
veere, slipping quickly from doorway to
HEIR
doorway in the sinister silence
Their hobnailed boots made brisk, urgent
scrapes as they flicked across the cobbles be-
of noon.
T boots rang loudly on the stones as
they marched stiffly across the square,
echoing back from the neat houses in the
neath the gaunt windows of the narrow, vacuum of silence. Together they passed the
leaning houses. flashing fountain, tromped up the wide
Downs twisted testily around a corner, in- steps of the Raadhuis and pushed open the
to the streetof the Ropemakers, and when protesting iron studded door. For several
he reached the next intersection motioned seconds they waited in the entrance hall,
for Phillips to follow. The two men hud- tensed for a challenge, until their eyes ad-
dled together behind a coil of hawser, scan- justed to the shadows.
ning the closed shutters along the street A door on their right stood open and they
front. Directly ahead, looking down the stepped simultaneously inside. Across the
street of the Never Ending Prayer, they room, silhouetted against the dying embers
could see tire sparkle of the fountain in the of the fire, a German Captain in dress uni-
main square. The sound of trickling water form sat facing them with a cracked smile
wandered merrily down the alley, chuckling on his bulging face.
to itself like an idiot in a graveyard. A thin strip of light slanting through the
As Downs turned to the Sergeant the shutters fell on the German’s tunic, gilding
clock in the Raadhuis tower started sonor- his Iron Cross against his gray uniform. His
ously striking noon on a bell with the tone booted feet lolled from the edge of the
of a soul in chains. grate and relaxed in the ashes beneath. The
"What do you make of it, Phillips?” Captain sat motionless, undisturbed by the
whispered the boy. sharp click as Phillips snapped off the safety
"It’s bloody quiet,” said Phillips bitterly. catch of his weapon. The Sergeant leveled
"Probably a ruddy sniper behind every his autoihatic, but Downs stopped him.
stinkin’ window, Sir.” "It’s all right, Phillips,” he said, stepping
wonder,” said Downs, doing his best to
"I through the shadows to the German’s elbow.
achieve the Colonel’s tone. "Suppose we “The Captain is quite dead.”
marched right up to their city hall and The Sergeant moved rapidly to the door,

banged on the door demanded that they swung it to and shot home the heavy bolt.
surrender? They’re caught, you know. They He loosened his chin strap, tilted back his
might be prepared to act reasonably.” helmet and sidled to the window' to peer
"Well, Sir,” said Phillips resignedly, "if through the slit in the shutters.
they're still here, we’re not goin’ to get out "Any activity, Phillips?” called the lieu-
anyway.” tenant from before the fireplace, where he
"Exactly,” said Downs. "We could, of stood staring curiously at Hauptmann von
course, stay under cover until the Regiment Frolich in the dim light. The Sergeant
moves in. However ...” shook his head and tiptoted over beside
“Look Lieutenant,” said the Sergeant ear- Downs. Both men followed the Haupt-
nestly, "with all due allowances for our mann’s stare to the mantel, where, a single
talents for sneakin’ down back alleys, why hand hung beside two empty hooks.
we ain’t hardly under cover, as I sees it. We Hauptmann von Frolich’s body rolled

didn’t hardly come through the whole slowly forward, expelling a thin stream of
bloody town without anyone’s noticin’. Sir, dead air from his cold lungs. He made a
and when the trouble starts ...” soft whistling noise as he bowed.
"Quite,” said Downs. "Well, then,” he "Crikey!” gasped the Sergeant, swinging
sighed, straightening up from behind the his gun butt around against von Frolich’s
72 WEIRD TALES
head. It landed with a thud and knocked the explosive, or something?” asked Downs,
Hauptmann’s body to the flagstones. Phillips "Oh, no,” smiled the Burgomeister. “We
shot the safety on his gun and stood tensely had quite another job at the sea wall. We
over the German’s sprawling legs. were burying a pair of hands.”
"Just a last gasp, Phillips,” explained "From the fireplace,” said Phillips.
Lieutenant Downs, reholstering his service "Yes, from the fireplace,” nodded ten
revolver. "I expect we’ve had the final word Brink, walking over to the empty hooks set
from him
"How
— poor devil.”
long has he been dead, Sir?” asked
in the stone mantel. "Father
them his blessing and I —
Vermue gave
arm
as the secular
the Sergeant warily. —hurled them into the sea.”
"Sometime last night, I should judge,” "God willing,” said the Priest, missing
said Downs, peering down at von Frolich’s ten Brink’s sally in his zeal, "perhaps they
rigid smile. "About midnight, say.” will find peace there, finally.”
"An extremely good guess, Lieutenant,” "I’m afraid I don’t understand, Sir,” said
said a voice with a thick accent. The two sol- Downs. "About the dike’s not being blown,
diers looked up sharply, faced a smiling, I mean. Surely the Germans didn’t plan to
hoary headed figure in the doorway. Lieu- leave the town intact?”
tenant Downs glanced at the silver chain of "Not at all,” said ten Brink grimly. "The
office across the old man’s shoulders, then Hauptmann, here was to give the order him-
extended his hand cordially. self. At the" last minute, when his troops had
"Are you in authority here. Sir?” he in- withdrawn, he was fortunately interrupted.”
quired. "Your underground, I imagine, said
"It you who are in authority, I think,”
is Downs, offering cigarettes.
smiled the old man, "However, I am the
Burgomeister, yes. Are you here ” he
— two
"In a sense,” smiled ten Brink. "Actually,
traitors who wished to redeem them-
groped for the proper English expression selves.” The old man walked to the window
"— in force, Lieutenant?” and slowly pushed out the shutters. A coffin
"The Regiment will be moving in soon,” shaped rectangle of light fell across von Fro-
said Downs. "Unless they meet resistance?” lich’s body, making the Iron Cross sparkle
"Neen,” said ten Brink. He beckoned to a as it hung askew on his chest. The Haupt-
priest who had appeared in the hallway. mann was smiling, still, up into the dark-
"Fortunate,” said the boy. "Oh, I’m Lieu- ened beams of the high ceilinged Raadhuis,
tenant Downs, Sir. And this is Sergeant as if he saw a familiar face among the
Phillips. Leeds Rifles.” shadows.
"I am Jonkheer ten Brink —and this is The click of hobnailed boots came
Father Vermue,” said the old man. "Haupt- through the window as advance parties of
mann von Frolich—'whose acquaintance you the Leeds Rifles moved cautiously into the

seem to have made already asked me to ex- streets of Katzaveere. The Burgomeister lis-
tend his apologies that he could not be here tened to the first shouts of recognition as his
to receive you properly.” returning fis'herfolk met the advancing Brit-
"He did his receivin’ proper enough to ish. He smiled wistfully, then turned back
suit me,” said Phillips, running his sleeve to the hearth where the Priest and the two
across his forehead. soldiers stood silently over Hauptmann von
"Yes, your town has. been rather full of Frolich.
surprises,” said Downs. “We had quite ex- “You will notice, Lieutenant,” said ten
pected the dike to be blown. It’s been hap- Brink casually, "that the Herr Hauptmann
pening all down the coast, you know, Sir.” has been strangled.”
"So we imagined,” nodded ten Brink. "Strangled indeed!” marveled Lieutenant
“We have just come from the sea wall,” Downs. "Why, the fingers must have
said Father Vermue. "It is intact, Gott set snapped his spine!”
dankl" "Ya,” said the Burgomeister. "The fin-
"Did you manage to deactivate their gers of two right hands

Not Altogether Sleep


BLITHE love, what dubious ponderings bemuse
Thy lover’s mind! ... In me thy memories
As attar in some alabaster jar
are
. . .

Wholly must I the rose-drawn essence lose


Upon unbalmed oblivion, and diffuse
Its odor on the dust? And shall no star
Of ours illume that ebon calendar
I keep beneath the taproots of the yews?

Or shall, in some ineffable permanence,


The senses merge into one only sense
Holding thine image evermore apart
From suns expired and cycles yet to come?
Where time shall have none other pendulum
Than the remembered pulsings of thy heart?

Sonnet for the Psychoanalysts

W
I
HEN sleep dissolved that super-Freudian dream
where featherless harpies mated while they fed,
could not find my body: but a thread
of blood on fabled stairs, through mist and steam,
led to a hall of legend. There, in the gleam
of classic lamps, my table-seated head
in gem-bright goblets la2uline and red
saw essences Falernian fall and cream,
self -poured, with cans of seething beer. Beyond,
in balconies that craned on vacant skies,
one booted leg went striding sentry-wise.
It was my own. It guarded with strict care
my heart, a sanguine, ice-girt diamond
imprisoned in some crystal frigidaire.
Heading by
Vincent Napoli

BY ANTHONY M. RUD
.
.
for good and sufficient reasons was
becoming known as “Dead House.”

N THE heart of a second-growth piney-


woods jungle of southern Alabama, a

I region sparsely settled save by back-


woods blacks and Cajans —
that queer, half-
wild people descended from Acadian exiles
of the middle eighteenth century— stands a
strange, enormous ruin.
Interminable trailers of Cherokee rose,
white-laden during a single month of
spring, have climbed the heights of its
three remaining walls. Palmetto fans rise
knee high above the' base. A dozen scat-
tered live oaks, now belying their nomen-
clature because of choking tufts of gray,
Spanish moss and two-foot circlets of
. mistletoe parasite which have stripped bare
of foliage the gnarled, knotted limbs, lean
fantastic beards against the crumbling
brick.
Immediately beyond, where the ground
becomes soggier and lower— dropping
away hopelessly, into the tangle of dog-
wood, holly, poison sumac and pitcher
plants that is Moccasin Swamp under- —
growth of ti-ti and annis has formed a
protecting wall impenetrable to all save
the furtive ones. Some few outcasts utilize
the stinking depths of that sinister swamp,
distilling "shinny” or "pure cawn” liquor
for illicit trade.
Tradition states that this is the case,

OOZE 75

at least —a which antedates that


tradition next winter, fished for salmon on Cain’s
of the premature ruin by many decades. River, New Brunswick, and generally en-
I believe it, for during evenings intervening joyed the outdoors at all seasons.
between investigations of the awesome spot They kept an apartment in Wilmette,
I often was approached as a possible cus- near Chicago, yet, during the few spring
tomer by wood-billies who could not fathom and fall seasons they were "home,” both
how anyone dared venture near without preferred to rent a suite at one of the
plenteous fortification of liquid courage. country dubs to which Lee belonged. I
I knew "shinny,” therefore I did not suppose they spent thrice or five times
purchase it for personal consumption. A the amount Lee actually earned, yet for
dozen times I bought a quart or two, my part I only honored that the two should
merely to establish credit among the Cajans, find such great happiness in life and still

pouring away the vile stuff immediately into accomplish artistic triumph.
the sodden ground. It seemed then that They were honest, zestful young Ameri-
only through filtration and condensation of cans, the type- — and pretty nearly the only
their dozens of weird tales regarding "Daid type —two million dollars cannot spoil. John
House” could I arrive at understanding of Corliss Cranmer, father of Lee, though as
the mystery and weight of horror hanging different from his boy as a microscope is
about the place. different from a painting by Remington,
Certain it is that out of all the super- was even further from being dollar con-
stitious cautioning, head-wagging and scious. He lived in a world bounded only
whispered nonsensities I obtained only two by the widening horizon of biological sci-
indisputable facts. The no
first was that ence —
and his love for the two who would
money, and no supporting battery of ten- carry on that Cranmer name.
gauge shotguns loaded with chilled shot, Many a time I used to wonder how
could induce either Cajan or darky of the it could be that as gentle, clean-souled and

region to approach within five hundred lovable a gentleman as John Corliss Cran-
yards of that flowering wall! The second mer could have ventured so far into scien-
fact I shall dwell upon later. tificresearch without attaining small-caliber
Perhaps it would be as well, as I am atheism. Few do. He believed both in God
only a mouthpiece in this chronicle, to re- and human kind. To accuse him of mur-
late in brief why I came to Alabama on this dering his boy and the girl wife who had
mission. come to be loved as the mother of baby
I am a scribbler of general fact articles, Elsie —
as well as blood and flesh of his
no fiction writer as was Lee Cranmer —
own family was a gruesome, terrible ab-
though doubtless the confession is super- surdity! Yes, even when John Corliss Cran-
fluous. Lee was my roommate during col- mer was declared unmistakably insane!
lege days. I knew his family well, admiring Lacking a relative in the world, baby
John Corliss Cranmer even more than I Elsie was given to me —
and the middle-
admired the son and friend and almost as — aged couple who had accompanied the
much as Peggy Breede whom Lee married. three as servants about half of the known
Peggy liked me, but that was all. I cherish world. Elsie would be Peggy over again.
sanctified memory of her for just that I worshiped her, knowing that if my stew-
much, as no other woman before or since ardship of her interests could make of her
has granted this gangling dyspeptic even a a woman of Peggy’s loveliness and worth
hint of joyous and sorrowful intimacy. I should not have lived in vain. And at
Work kept me to the city. Lee, on the four Elsie stretched out her arms to me
other hand, coming of wealthy family after a vain attempt to jerk out the bobbed
and, from the first, earning from his short- tail of Lord Dick, my tolerant old Airedale
stories and novel royalties more than I -—and called me "papa.”
wrested from editorial coffers needed no — I felt a deep-down choking . . .
yes,
anchorage. He and Peggy honeymooned a those strangely long black lashes some day
four-month trip to Alaska, visited Honolulu might droop in fun or coquetry, but now
76 WEIRD TALES
baby Elsie held a wistful, trusting serious- And a twelve-foot wall of brick had been
ness in depths of ultramarine eyes that— built to enclose the house completely! One
same seriousness which only Lee had portion of this bad fallen inward!
brought to Peggy.
Responsibility in one instant became II
double. That she might come to love me
as more than foster parent was my dearest WASTED weeks of time at first, inter-
wish. Still, through selfishness I could not
.
I viewing officials of the police depart-
rob her of rightful heritage; she must know ment at Mobile, the town marshals and
in after years. And the tale that I would county sheriffs of Washington and Mobile
tell her must not be the horrible suspicion counties, and officials of the psychopathic
which had been bandied about in common hospital from which Cranmer made his
talk! escape.
went to Alabama, leaving Elsie in the
I In substance the story was one of base-
competent hands of Mrs. Daniels and her less homicidal mania. Cranmer the elder
husband, who had helped care for her since had been away until late fall, attending
birth. two scientific conferences in the North, and
In my possession, prior to the trip, were then going abroad to compare certain of
the scant facts known to authorities at the his findings with those of a Dr. Gemmler
time of John Corliss Cranmer’s escape and of Prague University. Unfortunately,
disappearance. They were incredible Gemmler was assassinated by a religious
enough. fanatic shortly afterward. The fanatic voiced
For conducting biological research upon virulent objection to all Mendelian research
forms of protozon life, John Corliss Cran- as blasphemous. This was his only defense.
mer had hit upon this region of Alabama. He was hanged.
Near a great swamp teeming with micro- Search of Gemmler’ s notes and effects
scopic organisms, and situated in a semi- revealed nothing save an immense amount
tropical belt where freezing weather rarely of laboratory data on karyokinesis the —
intruded to harden the bogs, the spot process of chromosome arrangement occur-
seemed ideal for his purpose. ring in first growing cells of higher animal
Through Mobile he could secure sup- embryos. Apparently Cranmer had hoped
by truck. The isolation suited.
plies daily to develop some similarities, or point out
With only an octoroon man to act as chef, differences between hereditary factors oc-
houseman and valet for the times he en- curring in lower forms of life and those
tertainedno visitors, he brought down half-demonstrated in the cat and monkey.
scientific apparatus, occupying temporary The authorities had found nothing that
quarters in the village of Burdett’s Corners helped me. Cranmer had gone crazy; was
while his woods house was in process of that not sufficient explanation?
construction. Perhaps it was for them, but not for me
By all accounts the Lodge, as he termed —and Elsie.
it, was a substantial affair of eight or nine But to the slim basis of fact I was able
rooms, built and planed lumber
of logs to unearth:
bought at Oak Grove. Lee and Peggy, were No one wondered when a fortnight
expected to spend a portion of each year passed without appearance of any person
with him; quail, wild turkey and deer from the Lodge. Why should anyone worry?
abounded, which fact made such a vacation A provision salesman in Mobile called up
certain to please the pair. At other times twice, but failed to complete a connection.
all save four rooms was closed. He merely shrugged. The Cranmers had
This was in 1907, the year of Lee’s mar- gone away somewhere on a trip. In a week,
riage. Six years later when I came down, a month, a year they would be back. Mean-
no sign of a house remained except certain while he lost commissions, but what of it?
mangled and rotting timbers projecting He had no responsibility for these queer

from viscid soil or what seemed like soil. nuts up there in the piney-woods. Crazy?

OOZE 77

Of course! Why
should any guy with mil- The threatening Luger decided them. To a
lions to spend shut himself up among the man they accepted the blue slips —
and, save
Cajans and draw microscope-enlarged note- for one witness who lost all sense of fear

book pictures of what the salesman called
— "germs”? and morality in drink, none of the fifty-six
has broken his pledge, as far as I know.
A
stir was aroused at the end of the fort- That one bricklayer died later in delirium
night, but the commotion confined itself to tremens.
building circles. Twenty carloads of build- It might have been different had not
ing brick, fifty bricklayers, and a quarter- John Cranmer escaped,
Corliss
acre of fine-meshed wire —
the sort used for
screening off pens of rodents and small III
marsupials in a zoological garden were —
HEY
ordered, damn expense, hurry! by an un-
shaved, tattered man who identified him-
with difficulty as John Corliss Cranmer.
T found him the first

ing meaningless phrases concerning an


amoeba —
one of the tiny forms of proto-
time, mouth-

self
He looked strange, even then. A certified plasmic life he was known to have studied.
check for the total amount, given in ad- Also he leaped into a hysteria of self-accu-
vance, and another check of absurd size sation. He had murdered two innocent
slung toward a labor entrepreneur, silenced people! The tragedy was his crime. He had
objection, however. These millionaires were drowned them in ooze! Ah, God!
apt to be flighty. When they wanted some- Unfortunately for all concerned, Cran-
thing they wanted it at tap of the bell. mer, dazed and indubitably stark insane,
Well, why not drag down the big profits? chose to perform a strange travesty on fish-
A poorer man would have been jacked up ing four miles to the west of his lodge
in a day. Cranmer’ s fluid gold bathed him on the further border of Moccasin Swamp.
in immunity to criticism. His clothing had been torn to shreds, his
The encircling wall was built, and roofed hat was gone, and he was coated from head
with wire netting which drooped about the to foot with gluey mire. It was far from
squat-pitch of the Lodge. Curious inquiries strange that the good folk of Shanksville,
of workmen went unanswered until the who never had glimpsed the eccentric mil-
final day. lionaire, failed to associate him with Cran-
Then Cranmer, a strange, intense appari- mer.
tion who showed himself more shabby than They took him in, searched his pockets
a quay derelict, assembled every man jack — finding no sign save an inordinate sum
of the workmen. In one hand he grasped a —
of money and then put him under medi-

wad of blue slips fifty-six of them. In the cal care. Two precious weeks elapsed be-
other he held a Luger automatic. fore Dr. Quirk reluctantly acknowledged
"I offer each man a thousand dollars for that he could do nothing more for this pa-
silence!” he announced. "As an alternative tient, and notified the proper authorities.
— death! You know little. Will all of you Then much more time was wasted. Hot
consent to swear upon your honor that April and half of still hotter May passed
nothing which has occurred here will be by before the loose ends were connected.
mentioned elsewhere? By this I mean abso- Then it did little good to know that this
lute silence! You will not come back here raving unfortunate was Cranmer, or that
to investigate anything. You will not tell the two persons of whom he shouted in
your wives. You will not open your mouths disconnected delirium actually had disap-
even upon the witness stand in case you are peared. Alienists absolved him of responsi-
called! My price is one thousand apiece. bility. He was confined in a cell reserved

"In case one of you betrays me 1 give for the violent.


you my word that this man shall die! I am Meanwhile, strange things occurred back
rich. I can hire men to do murder. Well, at the —
Lodge which now, for good and
what do you say?” sufficient reason,was becoming known to
The men glanced apprehensively about. dwellers of the woods as Dead House. Un-

78 WEIRD TALES
tilone of the walls fell in, however, there depths of Moccasin Swamp, there to let

bad been no chance to see unless one pos- them Sounder and sink.
sessed the temerity to climb either one of The two were his son and daughter-in-
the tall live oaks, or mount the barrier itself. law, Lee and Peggy!
No doors or opening of any sort had been
placed in that hastily -constructed wall! IV
By the time the western side of the wall
fell, not a native for miles around but DY FEIGNING coma—
TJ
then awakening
feared the spot far more than even the with suddenness to assault three at-
bottomless, snake-infested bogs which lay tendants with incredible ferocity and
to west
The
and north.
was all John Corliss
single statement
strength — John Corliss Cranmer escaped
from Elizabeth Ritter Hospital.
to the world. It proved
Cranmer ever gave How he hid, how he managed to traverse
sufficient. An
immediate search was insti- sixty-odd intervening miles and still balk
tuted. It showed that less than three weeks detection, remains a minor mystery to be
before the day of initial reckoning, his son explained only by the assumption that man-
and Peggy had come to visit him for the iacal cunning sufficed to outwit saner intel-

second time that winter leaving Elsie be- lects.
hind in company of the Daniels pair. They Traverse these miles he did, though until
had rented a pair of Gordons for quail I was fortunate enough to uncover evidence
hunting, and had gone out. That was the to this effect,
it was supposed generally that

last anyone had seen of them. he had made his escape as stowaway on
The backwoods Negro who glimpsed one of the banana boats, or had buried him-
them stalking a covey behind their two self in some portion of the nearer woods
pointing dogs had known no more even — where he was unknown. The truth ought
when sweated through twelve hours of to be welcome to householders of Shanks-
third Certain suspicious circum-
degree. ville. Burdett’s Comers and vicinage
stances (having to do only with his regular those excusably prudent ones who to this
pursuit of "shinny” transportation) had day keep loaded shotguns handy and barri-
caused him to fall under suspicion at first. cade their doors at nightfall.
He was dropped. The first ten days of my investigation
~ Two days later the scientist himself was may be torched upon in brief. made head- I

apprehended a —
gibbering idiot who quarters in Burdett’s Corners, and drove

sloughed his pole holding on to the baited out each morning, carrying lunch and re-

book into a marsh where nothing save turning for my grits and pineywoods pork
moccasins, an errant alligator, or amphibian or mutton before nightfall. My first plan
life could have been snared. had been to camp out at the edge of the
His mind svas three-quarters dead. Cran- swamp, for opportunity to enjoy the out-
mer then was in the state of the dope fiend doors comes rarely in my direction. Yet
who rouses to a sitting position to ask after one cursory examination of the prem-
seriously how many Bolshevists were killed ises I abandoned the idea. I did not want
by Julius Caesar before he was stabbed by to camp alone there. And I am less supersti-
Brutus, or why it was that Roller canaries tious than a real estate agent.
sang only on Wednesday evenings. He knew was, perhaps, psychic warning; more
It

that tragedy of the most sinister sort had probably the queer, faint, salty odor as of
stalked through his life —
but little more, fish left to decay, which hung about the
.

at first. ruin, made too unpleasant an impression


Later the police obtained that one state- upon my olfactory sense. I experienced a
ment that he had murdered two human be- distinct chill every time the lengthening
ings, but never could means or motive be shadows caught me near Dead House.
established. Official guess as to the means The smell impressed me. In newspaper
was no more than wild conjecture; it men- reports of the case one ingenious explana-
tioned enticing the victims to the noisome tion had been worked out. To the rear- of
— — !

OOZE 79

the spot where Dead House had stood of a sheet of paper. Later I would have a
inside the wall —
was a swampy hollow cir- laboratory analysis made.
cular in shape. Only a little real mud lay Apart from any possible bearing the
in the bottom of the bowlike depression stuff might have upon the disappearance of
now, but one reporter on the staff of T he my three friends, I felt the tug of article
Mobile Register guessed that during the interest —
that wonder over anything strange
tenancy of the lodge it had been a fishpool. or seemingly inexplicable which lends the
Drying up of the water had killed the fish, hunt for fact a certain glamor and romance
who now permeated the remnant of mud
.
all its own. To myself I was going to have
with this foul odor. to explain sooner or later just why this
The possibility that Cranmer had needed layer covered the entire space within the
to keep fresh fish at hand for some of his walls and was not perceptible anywhere
experiments silenced the natural objection outside! The enigma could wait, however
that in a country where every stream holds —or so I decided.
gar pike, bass, catfish and many other edi- Far more interesting were the traces of
ble varieties, no one would dream of stock- violence apparent on wall and what once
ing a stagnant puddle. had been a house. The latter seemed to have
After tramping about the enclosure, been ripped from its foundations by a giant
testing the queerly brittle, desiccated top hand, crushed out of semblance to a dwell-
stratum of earth within and speculating ing, and then cast in fragments about the
concerning the possible purpose of the wall, —
base of wall mainly on the south side,
I cut off a long limb of chinaberry and where heaps of twisted, broken timbers lay
probed the mud. One fragment of fish in profusion. On the opposite side there had
spine would confirm the guess of that imag- been such heaps once, but now only charred
inative reporter. sticks, coated with that gray-black, omipres-
I found nothing resembling a piscal ent coat of desiccation, remained. These
skeleton, but established several facts. piles of charcoal had been sifted and ex-
First, this mud
had definite bottom
crater amined most carefully by the authorities, as
only three or four feet below the surface one theory had been advanced that Cran-
of remaining ooze. Second, the fishy stench mer had burned the bodies of his victims.
became stronger as I stirred. Third, at one Yet no sign whatever of human remains
time the mud, water, or whatever had com- was discovered.
prised the balance of content, had reached Thefire, however, pointed out one odd

the rim of the bowl. The last showed by fact which controverted the reconstructions
certainmarks plain enough when the crusty, made by detectives months before. The lat-
two-inch stratum of upper coating was ter, suggesting the dried scum to have
broken away. It was puzzling. drained in from the swamp, believed that
The nature of that thin, desiccated efflu- the house timbers had floated out to the
vium which seemed to cover everything sides of the wall —there to arrange them-
even to the lower foot or two of brick, The absurdity of
selves in a series of piles!
came in for next inspection. It was strange such a theory showed even more plainly in
stuff, unlike any earth I ever had seen, if the scum had filtered through
the fact that
though undoubtedly some form of scum in such a flood, the timbers most certainly
drained in from the swamp at the time of had been dragged into piles previously
river floods or cloudbursts (which in this —
Some had burned and the scum coated
section are common enough in spring and their charred surfaces!
fall). It crumbled beneath the fingers. What had been the force which had torn
When I walked over it, the stuff crunched the lodge to bits as if in spiteful fury?Why
hollowly. In fainter degree it possessed the had the parts of the wreckage been burned,
fishy odor also. the rest to escape?
I took some samples where it lay thick- Right here I felt was the keynote to the
est upon the ground, and also a few where mystery, yet I cotild imagine no explana-
there seemed to be no more than a depth tion. That John Corliss Cranmer himself
80 WEIRD TALES
physically sound, yet a man who for decades yond a dim understanding that some terrific,
had led a sedentary life—could have accom- implacable force must have made this spot
plished such destruction, unaided, was diffi- his playground, I ended my ninth day of
cult to believe, note-taking and investigation almost as
much in the dark as I had been while a thou-
V sand miles away in Chicago.
Then I started among the darkies and
TURNED my attention to the wall, Cajans. A
whole day I listened to yarns of
I hoping for evidence which might sug- the days which preceded Cranmer’s escape
gest another theory. from Elizabeth Ritter Hospital days in —
That wall had been an example of the which furtive men sniffed poisoned air for
worst snide construction. Though little more miles around Dead House, finding the odor
than a year old, the parts left standing intolerable. Days in which it seemed none
showed evidence that they had begun to de- possessed nerve enough to approach close.
cay the day the last brick was laid. The mor- Days when the most fanciful tales of me-
tar had fallen from the interstices. Here diaeval superstitions were spun. These tales
and there a brick had cracked and dropped I shall not give; the truth is incredible
out. Fibrils of theclimbing vines had pene- enough.
trated crevices, working for early destruc- At noon upon the eleventh day I chanced
tion. upon Rori Pailleron, a Cajan and one of —
Andone side already had fallen. the least prepossessing of all with whom I
was here that the first glimmering sus-
It had come in contact. "Chanced” perhaps is
picion of the terrible truth was forced upon a bad word. I had listed every dweller of
me. The scattered bricks, even those which the woods within a five mile radius. Rori
had rolled inward toward the gaping foun- was sixteenth on my list. I went to him
dation lodge, had not been coated with only after interviewing all four of the
scum! This was curious, yet it could be ex- Crabiers and two whole families of Pichons.
plained by surmise that the flood itself had And Rori regarded me with the utmost sus-
undermined this weakest portion of the picion until I made him a present of the
wail. I cleared away a mass of brick from two quarts of "shinny” purchased of the
the spot on which the structure had stood.; Pichons.
to my surprise I found it exceptionally firm! Because long practice has perfected me
Hard red day lay beneath! The flood con- in the technique of seeming to drink an-
ception was faulty; only some great force, other man’s awful liquor— no, I’m not an
exerted from inside or outside, could have absolute prohibitionist; fine wine or twelve-
wreaked such destruction. year-in-caskBourbon whiskey arouses my
When careful measurement, analysis and definite interest —
I fooled Pailleron from

deduction convinced me mainly from the the start. shall omit preliminaries, and
I

fact that thelowermost layers of brick ail leap to the first admission from him that
had fallen outward, while the upper por- he knew more concerning Dead Blouse and
tions toppled in —
I began to link up this its former inmates than any of the other
mysterious and horrific force with the’ one darkies or Cajans rouiidabout.
which had rent the Lodge asunder. It "... But I ain’t talkin’. Sacre! If I

looked as though a typhoon or gigantic should open my gab, what might fly out? It
centrifuge had needed elbow room in rip- is for keeping silent, y’r damn right! . .

ping down the wooden structure. I agreed. He was a wise man educated —
But I got nowhere with the theory, to some extent in the queer schools and
though in ordinary affairs I am called a churches maintained exclusively by Cajans
man of too great imaginative tendencies. No in the depths of the woods, yet naive
less than three editors have cautioned me withal.
on Perhaps it was the narrow-
this point. We
drank. And I never had to ask an-
ing influence of great personal sympathy- other leading question. The liquor made
yes, and love. I make no excuses, though be- him want to interest me; and the only
— !

OOZE 81

extraordinary topic in this whole neck of Rori didn’t know. Hadn’t a suspicion
the woods was the Dead House. what Lee was talking about. Still, if this
Three-quarters of a pint of acrid, nau- rich, young idiot wanted to pay him a half
seous fluid, and he hinted darkly. pint, A dollar in good silver coin for a quail that
and he told me something I scarcely could —
anyone himself included—could knock
believe. Another half -pint. But I shall
. . . down with a five-cent shell, Rori was well
give his confession in condensed form. satisfied to keep his mouth shut. Each eve-
He had known Joe Sibley, the octoroon ning he brought some of the small game.
chef, houseman and valet who served Cran- And each day Lee Cranmer seemed to have
mer. Through Joe, Rori had furnished cer- use for- an additional quail, or so. . . .

tain indispensables in way of food to the When he was ready to leave for Cuba,
Cranmer household. At first, these salable Lee came forward with the strangest of
articles had been exclusively vegetable propositions. He fairly whispered his
white and yellow turnip, sweet potatoes, vehemence and desire for secrecy! He would
corn and beans —
but later, meat! tell Rori, and would pay the Cajan five
Yes, —
meat especially whole lambs, —
hundred dollars half in advance, and half
slaughtered and quartered, the coarsest at the end of five weeks when Lee himself
variety of piney-woods pork and beef, all
in immense quantity!
would return from Cuba —
provided Rori
agreed to adhere absolutely to a certain
secret program! The money was more than
VI a fortune to Pvori; it was undreamt-of afflu-
ence. The Cajan acceded.
N DECEMBER of the fatal winter Lee "He wuz tellin’ me then how the ol’ man
and his wife stopped down at the Lodge had raised some kind of pet,” Rori con-
for ten days or thereabouts. fided, "an’ wanted to get shet of it. So he
They were enroute to Cuba at the time, give it to Lee, tellin’ him to kill it, but Lee
intending to be away five or six weeks. was sot on foolin’ him. W’at I ask yer is,
Their original plan had been only to wait w’at kind of a pet is it w’at lives down in a
over a day or so in the piney-woods, but mud sink an’ eats a couple hawgs every
something caused an amendment to the night?"
scheme. I couldn’t imagine, so I pressed him for

The two dallied. Lee seemed to have be- further details. Here at last was something
come vastly absorbed in something so — which sounded like a clue!
much absorbed that it was only when Peggy He really knew too little. The agreement
insisted upon continuing their trip, that he with Lee provided that if Rori carried out
could tear himself away. the provisions exactly, he should be paid
It was during those ten days that he be- extra and at his exorbitant scale of all addi-
gan buying meat. Meager bits of it at first tional outlay,when Lee returned.
—a rabbit, a pair of squirrels, or perhaps The young man gave him a daily schedule
a few' quail beyond the number he and which Rori showed. Each evening he was
Peggy shot. Rori furnished the game, think- to procure, slaughter and cut up a definite
ing nothing of it except that Lee paid dou- — —
and growing amount of meat. Every
ble prices —and insisted upon keeping the item was checked, and I saw that they ran
purchases secret from other members of the from five pounds up to forty!
household. "What in heaven’s name, did you do
"I’m putting it across on the Governor, with it?” I demanded, excited now and
Rori!” he said once with a wink. "Going to pouring him an additional drink for fear
give him the shock of his life. So you caution might return to him.
mustn’t let on, even to Joe about what I "Took it through the bushes in back
want you to do. Maybe it won’t work out, an’ slung it in the mud sink there! An’
but if it does .! Dad’ll have the scientific
. . suthin’ come up an’ drug it down!”
world at his feet! He doesn’t blow his own "A ’gator?”
"
horn anywhere near enough, you know.” Diable How should I know? It was

82 WEIRD TALES
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Interested is corresponding with anyone who has in- From this point onward, Rori’s tale be-
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Books, Fantastic- Adventure and Science- Fiction
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119 E. Saa Fernando St. (Bept. W-l) San Jose S3, Calif.
departed —
doubtless taking their mysterious
! !

OOZE S3

"pet” along. Only when he saw from a dis-


tance Joe, the octoroon servant, returning
roof fell
had fallen!
in — seemed
yet
Logs of wall
to move
deserted retaining
after it

along the road on foot toward the Lodge, grasp of their spikes like layers of plywood
did his slow mental processes begin to fer- in the grasp of the shearing machine!
ment. That afternoon Rori visited the That was all. Soddenly intoxicated now,
strange place for the next to last time. Rori mumbled more phrases, giving me the
He did not go to the Lodge itself — and idea that on another day when he became
there were reasons. While still some hun- sober once more, he might add to his state-
dreds of yards away from the place a ter- ments, but I —numbed to the soul — scarcely
rible, sustained screaming reached his ears! cared. If that which he related was true,
It was faint, yet unmistakably the voice of what nightmare of madness must have been
Joe! Throwing a pair of number two shells consummated here!
into the breach of his shotgun, Rori hurried I could vision some things now which

on, taking his usual path through the brush concerned Lee' and Peggy, horrible things.
at the back. Only remembrance of Elsie kept me faced
He saw —
and as he told me even —
forward in the search for now it seemed
"shinny” drunkenness fled his chattering almost that the handiwork of a madman
tones — he stood in
Joe. the octoroon. Aye,
the yard, far from the pool into which
must be preferred to what Rori claimed to
have seen! What had been that sinister,
Rori had thrown the carcasses and Joe — translucent thing? That glistening thing
could not move which jumped upward about a man,
^Rori failed to explain in full, but some- smothering, engulfing?
thing, a slimy, amorphous something, Queerly enough, though such a theory
which glistened in the sunlight, already as came most easily to mind now would
had engulfed the man to his shoulders! have outraged reason in me if suggested
Breath was cut off. Joe’s contorted face concerning total strangers, I asked myself
writhed with horror and beginning suffoca- only what details of Rori’s revelation had
tion. One hand —
all that was free of the been exaggerated by fright and fumes of
rest of him! —
beat feebly upon the rubbery, liquor. And as I sat on the creaking bench
translucent thing that was engulfing his in his cabin, staring unseeing as he lurched
body! down to the floor, fumbling with a lock box
Then Joe sank from sight. . , . of green tin which lay under his cot, and
muttering, the answer to all my questions
VII lay within reach!

IVE days of liquored indulgence passed T WAS not until next day, however, that
F before Rori, alone in his shaky cabin,
convinced himself that he had seen a phan-
I I made the discovery. Heavy of heart I
had reexamined the spot where the Lodge
tasy born of alcohol. He came back the last had stood, then made my way to the Cajan’s
time—to find a high wall of brick surround- cabin again, seeking sober confirmation of
ing the Lodge, and including the pool of what he had told me during intoxication.
mud into which he had thrown the meat! In imagining that such a spree for Rori
While he hesitated, circling the place would be ended by a single night, however,
without discovering an opening which he — I was mistaken. He lay sprawled almost as
would not have dared to use, even had he I had left him. Only two factors were


found it a crashing, tearing of timbers, changed. No "shinny” was left and lying —
and persistent sound of awesome destruc- open, with its miscellaneous contents
tion came from within. He swung himself strewed about, was the tin box. Rori some-
into one of the oaks near the wall. And how had managed to open it with the tiny
he was just in time to see the last support- key still clutched in his hand.
ing stanchions of the Lodge give way out- Concern for his safety alone was what
ward. made me notice the box. It was a receptacle
The whole structure came apart. The for small fishing tackle of the sort carried
_

84 WEIRD TALES
here and there by any sportsman. Tangles
When NERVOUS of Dowagiac minnows, spoon hooks rang-
TENSION ing in size to- silver-backed number eights;
SHAKES YOU three reels still carrying line of different
weights, spinners, casting plugs, wobblers,
ALL “KEYED- UP” floatingbaits, were spilled out upon the
Take Miles Nervine to relax. See how
itcan soothe and comfort “jangled” rough plank flooring v/here they might snag
nerves. Containsno Barbiturates nor Rori badly if he rolled. I gathered them,
other habit forming drugs. Follow-
intending to save him an accident.
the label. Avoid excessive use. At
all drugstores. With the miscellaneous assortment in my
hands, however, I stopped dead. Something

had caught my eye something lying flush
with the bottom of the lock box! I stared,
and then swiftly tossed the hooks and other
Long View Binoculars impedimenta upon the table. What I had
UP 10 mile glimpsed there in the box was a loose-leaf
notebook of the sort used for recording lab-
to 0 range
§
Guaranteed perfect precision ground lenses. Sturdy construction. oratory data! And Rori scarcely could read,
Focus is adjustable to your own eye-frtrength. Thirty Millimeter
objective. 10-day money-back-guarantee SEND CHECK or MONEY let alone write!
ORDER FOR $2.98 and we prepay postage. Or r\Q
sent C.O.D. and you pay postage charges. CASE 7j\ I
and STRAP $1.00 Extra. Feverishly, a riot of recognition, surmise,
DELUXE MODEL 42 MM $3.9$
DOMAR SALES CO. hope and fear bubbling in my brain, I
480 Lexington Ave. Dept. 397 New York 17, N. Y. grabbed the book and threw it open. At
once I knew that this was the end. The
High School Course pages were scribbled in pencil, but the
"at Home faisiiy Finish la 2 Years handwriting was that precise chirography I
Go as rapidly as your time and abilities permit. Course
\
equivalent to resident school work — prepares for college knew as belonging to John Corliss Cran-
j
1
'
9
entrance
" exams. Standard H. S. texts supplied. Diploma.
Credit for H. 8. subjects already completed,
Mplfl
*
angle subjects
pieced, fingle «
—if mer, the scientist!
* desired. High school education is very important for advancement
in business and industry and socially. Don’t be handicapped ell
j
1 your life. Be a High School graduate. Start your training now.
j
Free Bulletin on request. No obligation.
AtnericanSciiool.Dept Hsia. Drexelat58th.Ciilcago37 "... Could he not have obeyed
my Oh, God! This
COLT
FRONTIER REVOLVERS
instructions! . .

These were the words at top of the first


—atiH
rSMtvMJM
® vsr
one hundred in Stock
Send 50c for the All New Beautiful page which met my eye.
\
M Dp^ to Date Catalog #2. Price
Catalog applied to first purchase.
of
Because knowledge of the circumstances,
HUNTER 5666 W. 3rd St., Dept. 1-12
Los Angeles 26, Calif.
the relation of which I pried out of the
reluctant Rori only some days later when
DO YOU HAVE I had him in Mobile as a police witness for

PROSTATE TROUBLE? the sake of my friend’s vindication, is nec-


General Weakness, Backache, Fre- essary to understanding, I shall interpolate.
quency, Burning Urination, Kidney Rori had not told me everything. On his
and Bladder Distress. Dead House he
late visit to the vicinage of
The Kansas City Medical Press has
just published a revealing booklet saw more. A crouching figure, seated Turk
which discusses the PROSTATE fashion on top of the wall, appeared to be
GLAND in language anyone can
writing industriously. Rori recognized the
understand. Information contained
in thisbook may save you years of man as Cranmer, yet did not hail him. He
suffering. Give name and address. had no opportunity.
MAIL COUPON TODAY
Just as the Cajan came near, Cranmer
I K. C. Medical Press
I Dept. T-l, 1440 E. 2Tst, rose, thrust the notebook, which had rested
North Kansas City, Mo.
J across his knees, into the box. Then he
J
Please send me by return mail booklets j
j
Ihave checked below. tamed, tossed outside the wall both the
The Prostate Gland Arthritis
|
High Blood Pressure Rupture
I
locked box and a ribbon to which was at-
j
Please enclose 10c for each book
}
ordered.
J tached the key.
|
Then his arms raised toward heaven. For
§HW1 ©US • . lip f® 1 Gallon in Every 4

•:" :
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v;.
SSJtSbure^ftsS -<i •?: ovtser J&ilsji
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r.VKi--,

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iiri-.jdsa.-fetau
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rsi* girt-

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'

? d Mc-J
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mzi
3.^4 i>wv
mm4 ,:*tV
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£§-< .
V SWCit-iS ,GONpj'ODfrg;:.;i
ivsfi-i •.> •••Iwi-jiil-.. ....

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86 WEIRD TALES
Too Often Neglect five seconds he seemed to invoke the mercy
Indicati o its of of Power beyond all of man’s scien-
! LL
Watch yourself
for
HEALTH
un-
tific prying. And finally he leaped,
usual aches and pains. inside. . . .!
Such disturbances as Rori did not climb to investigate. He
pains in back, hips and
legs, unusual tiredness, nervousness, diz- knew that directly below this portion of
ziness, physical inability or sleeplessness
often may be traced to glandular in- wall lay the mud sink into which he had
flammation. thrown the chunks of meat!
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Address inal of the statement now lies in the archives
Excelsior Institute, Dept. 7701, Excelsior Sprinss, Mo.
of the detective department.
LEOPARD SEAT COVERS Cranmer’s notebook, though written in
TO FIT ALL a precise hand, yet betrayed the man’s in-
AUTOMOBILES /
sanity by incoherence and frequent repeti-
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statement has been accepted now,
both by alienists and by detectives who had
entertained different theories in respect to
the case. It quashes the noisome hints and
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Enclose payment or pay postman plus postal charges. Specify queer supposition dealing with supposed
type A or B. SV1ARDO SALES CO., Dept, 39®, 480 Lexington Ave.„
New YeriJlTJI. Y. criminal tendencies in poor Joe, the oc-
toroon
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in 90 days at Home John Corliss Cranmer went insane for
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88 WEIRD TALES
POUTABLi 'GARAGE Lee wrote three novels, all published,
which dealt with such subjects two of the —
three secured from his own father’s labors,
and the other speculating upon the discov-
ery and possible uses of inter-atomic energy.
Upon John Corliss Cranmer’s return from
Prague that fatal winter, the father in-
HEAVY GAUGE EXTRA HEAVY GAUGE
USE IT ANYWHERE! formed Lee that a greater subject than any
• Goes wherever your car goes 9 Folds compactly • Keeps rain,
snow, dust, salt air, sun or sleet away ® Will withstand Extreme with which the young man had dealt, now
cold without cracking and protects your car’s finish 9 perfect for
storage of Cars, Furniture, Machinery Equipment 6 Durably con-
structed cf clear transparent— heavy ge.uge vinyl plastic that is long could be tapped.
wearing and tough * Spring-tite elasticized bottom, holds securely
in all kinds of weather • Fits all makes and models 9 Direct from
manufacturer 9 Enclose check or money order, or sent C.O.D. Cranmer, senior, had devised a way in
MARDO SALES CORP. which the limiting factors in protozoic life
Bepf. 398, 480 Lexington Aye,, Mew York 17, N. Y.
and growth, could be nullified; in time,
and with cooperation of biologists who spe-
Free for Asthma cialized upon karyokinesis and embryology
If you suffer with attacks of Asthma and choke and
gasp for breath, if restful sleep is difficult because of the
of higher forms, he hoped —
to put the
struggle to breathe, don’t fail to send at once to the
Frontier Asthma Company for a
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specimens of humanity provided only that
if factors inhibiting growth could be de-
BEERY SCHOOL OF HORSEMANSHIP leted, some method of stopping gianthood
Dopt. 8412 Pleasant Hill. Ohio
also could be developed.
EXCHANGE NECKTIES! Send us 5 ties in Cranmer the elder, through use of an
good condition that you dislike. We'll mail you undescribed (in the notebook) growth me-
5 different cleaned ties we received from some- dium of which one constituent was agar-
one else. Then you pay postman $1.00 plus
igar, and the use of radium emanations,
postage. If you indicate color or style prefer-
ence, we'll try to TIE-X-CHANGE,
satisfy. had succeeded in bringing about apparently
5458 N. 5?h ST., PHILADELPHIA 20, PA. unrestricted growth in theparamcecium pro-
tozoan, certain of the vegetable growths
(among which were bacteria), and in the

MiM-Q-RITER amorphous
amoeba —
cell of protoplasm known as the
the last a single cell containing
Only A complete writing
outfit. All contained only neucleolus, and a space
neucleus,
in a single handsome
oO paper and plastic and gold-
automatic known as the Vacuole which
contractile
I plated
pencil that fits
ocket or purse, yet somehow aided in throwing im-
off particles
pencil Fl holds 3Q inches
\ of memo paper. A
New! fuck of the cap and possible to assimilate directly. This point
the paper appears.
In one! Tear It off and you're may be remembered in respect to the piles
Handy! \
ready to writel
of lumber left near the outside walls sur-
rounding Dead House!
ORDER NOW— only $2 each, plus ISc for postage and handling.
When Lee Cranmer and his wife came
Refills— set of 6 rolls. 25c. (On pre-paid orders add 15c for south to visit, John Corliss Cranmer showed
postage and mailing.) If not satisfied, return within lO days and
your money will be refunded. his —
son an amoeba normally an organism
QUALITY AGENCY visible under low-power microscope— which
he had absolved from natural growth in-
270 Park Avenue, New York 17, N. Y.
hibitions. This amoeba, a rubbery, amor-
— •

OOZE B9

phous mass of protoplasm, was of the size unexpectedly. Peggy, feeding the two Gor-
then of a large beef liver. It could have don setters that Lee and she used for quail
been held in two cupped hands, placed side hunting, was in the Lodge yard before sun-
by side. set. She romped alone, as Lee himself was
"How large could it grow?” asked Lee, dressing.
wide-eyed and interested. Of a sudden her screams cut the still air!
"So far as I know,” answered the father, Without her knowledge, ten-foot pseudo-
"there is no limit — now! It might, if it got —
pods those flowing tentacles of protoplasm
food enough, grow to be as big as the Ma- sent forth by the sinister occupant of the
sonic Temple! —
pool slid out and around her putteed
"But take it out and kill it. Destroy the ankles.

organism utterly burning the fragments For a moment she did not understand.
else there is no telling what might happen. Then, at first suspicion of the horrid truth,
The amceba, as I have explained, reproduces her cries rent the air. Lee, at that time

by simple division. Any fragment remain- struggling to lace a pair of high shoes,
ing might be dangerous.” straightened, paled, and grabbed a revolver
Lee took the rubbery, translucent giant as he dashed out.

cell but he did not obey orders. Instead In another room a scientist, absorbed in
of destroying it as his father had directed, his notetaking, glanced up, frowned, and
Lee thought out a plan. Suppose he should —
then recognizing the voice shed his —
grow this organism to tremendous size? white gown and came out. He was too late
Suppose, when
the tale of his father’s ac- to do aught but gasp with horror.
complishment were spread, an amoeba of In the yard Peggy was half engulfed in
many tons weight could be shown in evi- a squamous, rubbery something which at
dence? Lee, of somewhat sensational cast first he could not analyze.

of mind, determined instantly to keep secret Lee, his boy, was fighting with the sticky
the fact that he was not destroying the or- folds, and slowly, surely, losing his own
ganism, but encouraging its further growth. grip upon the earth!
Thought of possible peril never crossed his
mind. IX
He arranged to have the thing fed —
allowing for normal increase of size in an OHN CORLISS CRANMER was by no
abnormal thing. It fooled him only in grow- J means a coward, he stared, cried aloud,
ing much more rapidly. When he came then ran indoors, first two
seizing the
back from Cuba the amoeba practically filled weapons which came to hand—a shotgun
the whole of the mud sink hollow. He had and hunting knife which lay in sheath in a
to give it much greater supplies. . . . cartridged belt across hook of the hall-tree.
The giant cell came to absorb as much The knife was ten inches in length and razor
as two hogs in a single day. During day- keen.
light, while hunger still was appeased, it Cranmer rushed out again. He saw an
never emerged, however. That remained —
indecent fluid something which as yet he
for the time that it could secure no more had not had time to classify —lumping it-

food near at hand to satisfy its ravenous self into a six-foot-high center before his
and increasing appetite. very eyes!
Only instinct for the sensational kept Lee It looked like one of the micro-organisms

from telling Peggy, his wife, all about the he had studied! One grown to frightful
matter. Lee hoped to spring a coup which dimensions. An amoeba!
would immortalize his father, and surprise There, some minutes suffocated in the
his wife terrifically. Therefore, he kept his —
rubbery folds yet still apparent beneath
the glistening ooze of this monster were —
own counsel—-and made bargains with the
Cajan, Rcri, who supplied food daily for two bodies.
the shapeless monster of the pool. They were dead. He knew it. Neverthe-
The tragedy itself came suddenly and less he attacked the flowing, senseless
90 WEIRD TALES
monster with his knife. Shot would do no
HEART ATTACK OR good. And he found that even the deep,
made by his knife closed to-
terrific slashes

THANK HEAVENS!
INDIGESTION? Most
gether in a moment and healed. The mon-
attacks are just acid indigestion. ster was invulnerable to ordinary attack!
When strikes, take Beli-ans tablets. They contain the’ fasc-
it
est-acting medicines known to doctors for the relief of heart-
burn, gas and similar distress. Send postal to Beil Co., Orange- &
A
pair of pseudopods sought out his
burg, N. Y. for free lucky rabbits' root and sample of Bell-ans. ankles, attempting to bring him low. Both


of these he severed and escaped. Why
did
he try? He did not know. The two whom
;
Keeps pencil handy “Rite-now"
|
where needed. Easily attached with- he had sought to rescue were dead, buried
out tools to telephones, typewriters,
adding machines, office desks, auto
i
I

under folds of this horrid thing he knew to


i
panels, kitchen cabinets, etc. At- | be his own discovery and fabrication.
tractive, durable, inexpensive time and temper
Price 25c postpaid, five for dollar. Guaranteed. Then it was that revulsion and insanity
came upon him.
There ended the story of John Corliss
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS Cranmer, save for one hastily scribbled para-
on
in
own Your
credit. boss. 1437 Dealers sold
their average $6,704.
1950;
credit.
to
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$5,000 528,500

graph evidently written at the time Rori
start.
backed by world wide industry. Write RAWLEiGH'S, DEPT. L-U-P3L, had seen him atop the wall.
Freeport, Illinois.
May we not supply with assurance the
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animal nun show you 110 ways to tors your leva of animals Into eatfil Cranmer was known to have purchased
SENS $102 P©St SN5f&iJ€?3®M$
AHSMAL LOVERS ASSOCIATION a whole pen of hogs a day or two follow-
BOX Q1S7 —• TAidtflaa. CftMgQgKia
ing the tragedy. These animals never were
$200 A WEEK INCOME ASSURED seen again. During the time the wall was
No Selling. Profit-tested idea with uniaue approach. First
being constructed is it not reasonable to
time ottered. Different! Details $1.00.
LURENE BUSINESS PLANS assume that he fed the giant organism with-
Dept. 767, P. O. Box 4692 San Francisco, Calif.
in —
to keep it quiet? His scientist brain
-MOM 1 Y FOil
We pay $2 to $500 Each for HUNDREDS of Old or Odd Coins. IN-
YOU — must have visualized clearly the havoc and
horror which could be wrought by the loath-
DIAN HEAD, LINCOLN and FOREIGN COINS wanted. Keep ALL
until posted. Send 20 cents for NEW ILLUSTRATED COIN
VALUE BOOK, 4x6. Buying and Selling Prices. 40 years in some thing if it ever were driven by hunger
business.
OLD COIN EXCHANGE, (44) LE ROY, N. Y. to flow away from the Lodge and prey upon
the countryside!
AT LAST-—A REVOLUTIONARY With the wall once in place, he evident-
NEW HOME SPOT REMOVER ly figured that starvation or some other
It’s Marvelous! It’s Magic!
Removes paint, oil, grease, ink. lipstick, tar and other organic and
means which he could supply would kill the
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for home use! Leaves no odor. Send $1.00 for 2 oz. bottle today.
Write
setting fire to several piles of the disgorged
WARREN’S SPOT REMOVER timbers; probably this had no effect what-
3 SO N. Cornell Ft. Wayne, Indiana
ever.
The amoeba was to accomplish still more
Learn Facts About destruction. In the throes of hunger it threw
formless strength against the
gigantic,
Colitis and Piles its

house walls from the inside; then every edi-


FREE BOOK Explains Causes, — ble morsel within was assimilated, the logs,
Effects and Treatment rafters and other fragments being worked
out through the contractile vacuole.
Avoid During some of its last struggles, un-
Dangers doubtedly, the side wall of brick was weak-
if Delay

ened not to collapse, however, until the
giant amoeba no longer could take advan-
Learn about Colon troubles. Stomach condi-
tions, Piles and other rectal conditions. Causes, tage of the breach.
effects and treatment. 164-page book sent FEEE.
McCleary Clinic and Hospital, 1249 Elms Blvd., In final death lassitude, the amoeba
Excelsior Sprlners, Mo. stretched itself out in a thin layer over the
OOZE 91

ground. There it succumbed, though there


Knowledge
is no means of estimating how long a time
That Has
intervened.
Endured
The last paragraph in Cranmer’s note- With the
book, scrawled so badly that it is possible Pyramids
some words I have not deciphered correctly,
read as follows:

"In my work I have found the


means of creating a monster. The un-
natural thing, in turn, has destroyed
my work and those ivhom I held dear.
It is invain that I assure myself of in-
nocence of spirit. Mine is the crime of
presumption. Notv, as expiation — WHENCE came the knowledge
worthless though that may he 1 give — that built the Pyramids? Where did
myself. . .
the first builders in the Nile Valley
acquire their astounding wisdom that
It is better not to think of that last leap,
man on his upward dimb? DM
started
and the struggle of an insane man in the their knowledgecome from a race now
grip of the dying monster. submerged beneath the sea? From
what concealed source came the wis-
dom that produced such characters as
Amenhotep IV, Leonardo da Vinci,
STATEMENT OP THE OWNERSHIP, MANAGEMENT, Isaac Newton, and a host of others?
AND CIRCULATION, required fry the Act of Congress of
August 24, 1912, as amended by the Acts of March 3, 1933, Today it is known that they discov-
and July 2, 1946, of WEIRD TALES, published bi-monthly
at New York, N. Y. for October 1, 1951. ered and used certain Secret Methods for
1. The nameB and addresses of the publisher, editor, man-
aging editor, and business managers are: the development of their inner power
Publisher, SHORT STORIES, Inc.,
of mind. They truly learned to master
9 Rockefeller Plaza, New York 20, N. Y.
Editor, D. Mcllwraith, This secret art of living has been
life.
9 Rockefeller Plaza, New York 20, N. Y.
Managing editor, None. preserved and handed down through-
Business manager, William J. Delaney,
9 Rockefeller Plaza, New York 20, N. Y. out the ages and today is extended to
The owner owned by a corporation, name
2. is: (If
and address must be stated and also immediately thereunder
its
those who dare use its profound prin-
the names and addresses of stockholders owning or holding ciples to meet and solve the problems
1 percent or more of total amount of stock. If not owned
by. a corporation, the names and addresses of the individual of life in these complex times.
owners must be given. If owned by a partnership or other
unincorporated firm, its name and address, as well as that
of each individual member, must be given.) This Sealed Book — FREE
Short Stories, Inc., , __ „ The Rosicrucians (not a religious organiza-
9 Rockefeller Plaza, New York 20, N. Y.
W. J. Delaney, tion) have prepared an unusual book, which
9 Rockefeller Plaza, New York 20, N. Y.
will be sent free to sincere inquirers, in which
3. The known bondholders, mortgagees, and other security
holders owning or holding 1 percent or more of total amount the method of receiving these principles and
-of bonds, mortgages, or other securities are (If there are :
natural laws is explained. Write
none, so state.) None.
4. Paragraphs 2 and 3 include, in cases where the stock-
today for your copy of this sealed
holder or security holder appears upon the books, of the book. Possibly it will be the first
company as trustee or in any other fiduciary relation, the step whereby you can accom-
name of the person or corporation for whom such trustee
is acting ; also the statements in the two paragraphs show plish many of your secret ambi-
the affiant’s full knowledge and belief as to the circum- tions and the building of per-
stances and conditions under which stockholders and secur-
ity holders who do not appear upon the books of the com- sonal achievements . . . Address
pany as trustees, hold stock and securities in a capacity your inquiry to: Scribe D.G.K.
other than that of a bona fide owner.
W. J. DELANEY,
(Signature of President)
Sworn to and subscribed before me this 1 day of October,
The Rosicrudans
1951. (AMORC)
tSEAL] San Jose, California
HENRY J. PAUROWSKI
Notary Public, State of New York
No. 03-3039000
Qualified in Bronx County
Certs, filed with N. Y. Co. Ok. & Reg.
iWj commission expires March 30, 1953.)
I —

92 WEIRD TALES

Die
There are RICH OPPORTUNITIES for MEN and Continued from page 6)
(’
WOMEN with "know-how” in Plastics. Interstate's
amazing new Plastics course tolls and shows how to
make hundreds of fast selling items out of Plaotics.
Gives complete training in fabrication* casting, lam-
ination, molding, etc., in simple, easy, step-by-step
The Editor, Weird Tales
language and pictures.
START A PLASTICS BUSINESS OR YOUR 9 Rockefeller Plaza, New York 20, N, Y.
OWN. No other industry holds such promise for
the future. You can make big money manufactur-
ing novelties, toys, signs, etc., in your own home
in spare or full time. Don't wait! Learn NOW The return of Clark Ashton Smith to
how Interstate’s Plastics Training qualifies you
for success in the plastic® field. your pages in story form was a great sur-
Write for FREE Information Today prise, and a pleasant one. His fiction has
INTERSTATE TRAINING SERVICE been all too sparse during the past several
School of Plastics
PORTLAND 13, OREGON years. "The Metamorphosis of Earth”
Dept. C-11N
gives rise to a hope that ive may soon read

BABY LIGHTER
Not a Toy... But a BEAUTIFUL, LONG LASTING
more of Averoigne, Xiccarph, ftothique, or
others of Smith’s exotic worlds <of the
PRECISION MADE Small Scale LIGHTER
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Unbelievable OfferI
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You have no doubt received many sug-
/ and
gestions as to what stories to reprint,
Quick with Dent’s. Use Dent’s Tooth
relief
Cum or Dent’s Tooth Drops for cavity tooth-
here are a few more: " The Enchantress of
aches. Use Dent’s Dental Poultice for pain or Sylaire” and "Who Are the Eivingf' by
soreness in gums or teeth. At all drug stores.
C. A. Smith, "Dread Summons” by Paul
Ernst, " Lynne Foster Is Dead” by H. P.
Lovecraft, Elenry Kuttneds stories *of Elak
of Atlantis, "The Sea Witch” by Nictzin
HYPNOTISM
Home study course
school teaching only
now available at
Hypnotism and Autosuggestion with
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You have the richest back-fie in the his-
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GUARANTEED RESULTS
"Diploma Issued Upon Completion " or two ( but surely no more ) reprints in
INSTITUTE OF APPLIED KYPNOLOGY
120 Central Park So., N. Y. 19, N. Y.
each issue, WT
will be on the top of the
Free circular upon request. Dept. 21 heap.
Robert E. Briney,
561 W. Western Avenue,

K3MMZ2Z£S
If you believe that you have an invention, you should And out how
to protect it. We
are registered Patent Attorneys. Send for copy of
»ur Patent Booklet “How to Protect Your Invention," and an “In- The Editor,
Muskegon, Michigan

Weird Tales
rention Itecord' form. No obligation. They are yours for the asking.
'

McMORROW, BERMAN & DAVIDSON 9 Rockefeller Plaza, New York 20, N. Y.


Registered Patent Attorneys
IWS Victor Building Washington I, D. C.
I would you that I appreciate
like to tell

RUPTURED?
T Get Relief This Proven Way
the height to which your magazine has
soared in the past years, and with the ease
that it has stayed as the number one maga-
zine in the minds of many countless hun-
Whytry to worry along with truBBes that gouge your
flesh —
press heavily on hips and spine enlarge opening — dreds of readers.
tail to hold rupture ? You need the Cluthe. No leg-straps
or cutting belts. Automatic adjustable pad holds at real Your last issue was up to the usual par
opening —
follows every body movement with instant in-
creased support in case of strain. Cannot slip whether at with its host of many fine stories. I would
work or play. Light. Waterproof. Can be worn in bath.
Send for amazing FREE book, “Advice To Ruptured** and rate them in this order: First, I would give
details of liberal truthful 60-day trial offer. Also endorse-
ments from grateful users in your neighborhood. Write : honors to that superb writer of the weird
CLUTHE SONS* Dept 15, Bloomfield, New Jersey.
and macabre, H. P. Lovecraft, for writing
,

THE EYRIE 93

that terrific story " Dagon next best on my J

list is Seabury Quinn’s " Fling the Dust


Aside ”, a truly fine story; next on my list
is "Hideaway” , a good story but a bit long.
The other stories were good, but l am sorry
to say that they would not actually raise the
high standard of your magazine.
Your poems were exceptionally good for
that particular issue.
One thing that would cut the number of What a Buy! These are
surplus stock from a big
readers of your mag would be the omission

79
supply firm, Sturdy, ser-
viceable work shirts,
of the Eyrie. This l hope you will regard as though used, have been
washed, sterilized and
a permanent fixture. If it were omitted, the reconditioned. Every
shirt of long-wearing
readers would lose their chance to express wash materials. Blue, 3 FOR
2.29
tan, white. Strongly sewn; reinforced stitch-
themselves in what they think would be for ing at points of strain. Money back guar-
antee with every order!
the betterment of the magazine. WORK PANTS TO MATCH. . . .99c
Weird Tales has the quality that has Blue, Tan, White. Measure waist; leg.

made me a faithful reader as millions of COVERALLS 1.9S (3 for 5.49)


Blue, Tan, White. Send chest measure.
others like myself have become after trying WHITE SH0PC0ATS, 1.79 (3 for 5.oo)
other mags and rejecting them for the qual- Send chest measure.

ity that is only found in Weird Tales.


Robert Fazio,
SEND NO MONEY! ^
or town, size and color choice, (also
state 2nd color choice). Pay postman
ess
na
3?y

plus postage. Or, send Cash, Check, or


Glendale, N. Y. Money Order and we ship prepaid. Keep
10 days. Return for full refund of pur-
chase price if not fully satisfied. Order
TODAY at Our Risk! _ _
Dept. T
The Editor, Weird Tales YOUNG PRODUCTS j
2605 ELMHURST DETROIT MICH.
9 Rockefeller Plaza, New York 20, N. Y. ^

• 6,

My hands are still icy and teeth still chat-


• The quick, low-cost WAYNE
way to a High School
tering after reading Howard’s, "Pigeon’s education. No classes;
From Hell”. Holy Moses and suffering cats, pleasant, spare -time home
training; college preparatory;
it’s been a long time since I had a story
standard texts; credit for
raise the goose pimples on my flesh and ice past schooling. you have
If

8th grade and are


nutter run dong my spine and I’ve been a finished
over 17 years of age, write
reader for years. My hods off to that guy
and may you print many more of his stories
2527 SHEFFIELD AVENUE
if he can put out more like this. This is the Catalog KC-2 , CHICAGO S4. I

first letter I have ever written to any maga-


zine and although I have been writing
stories for years ( not the weird type) I have
never had my name in print before.
How these writers write weird and horror
stories and still keep from going goofy is
beyond me. Maybe you may see me in print
yet, if 1 can get up enough nerve to haul
the Cellar in the Vasty deep thing out long
enough to get it finished. But 1 love to read
your magazine, and keep up with the best
ED SALE, TOP RADIO GUITARIST, TEACHER OF HUNDREDS OF
of the spooks and demons, vampires, etc. GUITARISTS, PROFESSIONALS, WILL POSITIVELY TEACH YOU
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address to ED SALE and pay postman $1.59 plus C.O.D.
and postage or send $1.59 and I pay postage. $ 1-59
ED SALE Dept. PF-12 Paint Ptaeiei kb S
94 WEIRD TALES

WHO'S WHO IN
RAILROADING
IS HOBTH AMERICA
Think of it . . . the

Eleventh Edition of
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Concise biographical sketches of 5,659
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Order today with check or
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Tales favorite,
originally in
and
1945—has
this story —published
a vast appeal for
our sort of reader. Not only is it weird and
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enthralling background of an American

Fr®®B@©k
mount biros, animals, fish
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DOUBLEDAY SCIENCE FICTION:

Rogue Queen by L. Sprague de Camp *

Imaginative fiction at a very high level.


Prepare for the big earning power of Diesel
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The social customs and sex life of visitors
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The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Hanlein


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ORDER BY MAIL fiction thriller of the consequences follow-
No Permit Required. ing the visit of a newspaper woman and her
Send Check or
teammate photographer to a mysterious old
h L* Gclef
Money Order
& Son, Dcpf. FG- 2 , 85
Dealor
Chambers
Inquiries
St.,
Invited
N.Y.G. —
house on Sprindrift Key a routine assign-
ment which turned into fantastic adventure.
!

WEIRD TALES CLUB 95

30 ties $3.50
40 ties $3.75
50 ties $4.00
This modern tie-rack
Postpaid
is a handsome addi-
tion toa man's closet
A beautiful Lets him see the tie
and practical that matches his suit
gift! Individual plastic
hangers threaded on
chrome bar. Sturdy plastic mahogany
• Write to MARTIN WARE, SECRETARY •
back 15' long holds 30 to 50 ties.
• This is your club—a medium to help you and
other fantasy and science-fiction fans get together.
BELDING NOVELTIES, Dept.Fi

Readers wanted it —
they wrote in telling us how 1372 West 111 St. Cleveland 2, OSik
much they would enjoy meeting others of similar
tastes.

• Membership is very simple: just drop us a line, EAT ANYTHING


so that we can enroll you on the club roster, and
publish your name and address in the magazine. WITH FALSE TEETH
If you have trouble with plates that
• A membership card carrying the above design slip and rock and cause sore
—personal token of your fellowship with the weird —
gums try Brimms Plasti-Liner.
and the fantastic —
be sent on request. (A
will
One application makes plates fit
snugly and stay that way, because
stamped, addressed envelope should be enclosed.) Brimms Plasti-Liner is a permanent
reliner. It relines and refits loose
plates in a way no powder or paste can do. Even on
liiiiiiiimiitiiiimHiuiiiuiiiiHimiiiiiimiiiiiniini old rubber piates you get good results six months
to a year or longer. YOU CAN EAT anything: Sim-
NEW MEMBERS ply lay soft strip of Plasti-Liner on troublesome
upper or lower. Bite and it molds perfectly. Easy
to use, tasteless, odorless, harmless to you and your
B. T. Booth, 13 Elibank Road, Eltham, S. E. G., London,
plates. Removable if desired. Money back it not
England completely satisfied. Ask your druggist
Stewart Duncan, 41, Canal Road, Aberdeen, Scotland,
Great Britain
C, E. Bush, 45 Trafalgar Road West, Gorleston-on-Sea,
Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England
BRIMMS PLASTI-LINER
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James Lindsay, 14 Zion Lane, Attercliffee, Sheffield 9,
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Jack V. Holmes, 4228 W. Pine Blvd., St. Louis 8, Missouri
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Thomas W. Ttayles, 15 West Rd., Mexboro, Yorkshire,
England
Richard Wonnaeott, Grand Marais, Manitoba, Canada
EAR NOISES?
Robert E. Briney, 641 W. Western Ave., Muskegon,
Mich.
John B. Blake, c/o Miss Grace Lee, 43-06 45th St.,
L. I. C., N. Y.
— x \///
Ian Hamilton, 34 Murrayfield Ave., Stranrear, Wig-
townshire, Scotland
Bill Jaubert, La Salle Military Acad., Oakdale, N, Y.
Tom Popely, 68 Slialds Rd., Stobhill Gate, Morpeth,
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Bryan Popely, 68 Slialds Rd., Stobhill Gate, Morpeth,
Northumberland, England
Ann Leppard, Leaver’s Cottage, Maidstone Rd., Had-
low, Kent, England from those
J. W. Gillam, 492, Butts Rd., Sholing, Southampton,
If you suffer
Hampshire, England miserable ear noises and are
Brian Shoesmith, 29, East Parade, Sowerby Bridge nr. Hard of Hearing- due to catarrh
Halifax, Yorkshire, England
Eric S. Carr, 2734909, Fusilier, M.T. Sect., Sch. of Inf,,
of the head, write us NOW
for
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Harry G. Green, 22, Earlsmead Rd., Handsworth, Birm- NOTHING TO WEAR. Many
ingham 21, England
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. . I

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You may
" aider these gents foe settlor by your local,
friendly, trustworthy jeweler,
der, who be
will L clad to verify
your purchase, or you eta or ter
a otter i hem
tlifcia iu the mounting*
i,

ebown above.

g“< There no charge for mount*


a Lt B** slj
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n „ Diamothysts in Your Jewelry
tS. COLD CHAIN AND — they will be mounted absolutely FREE!
CROSS with? Diamo-
zJtfsi gems. . . *75.03

HEGAL 6£M CO., Dopt. 110, 318 Market St., Newark, New Jersey
Ye«! Hi«i rn.Ii my itheilOB of DIAMOTHYST eeme u I ha** iirfieatcO below. If net
> A lighted, may return «»vem within !0 Joy. for full refund. My angrrelct ill
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n I taclon »J . I win pay poaunan balance i>lu» pot tag*.

U 1 eodete full prism, ooa-i poatagu prepaid.

• MOUNTED CKMSi
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I Flilittll <i)rl, „t In lf.lvl. «hll< guM ovoantlu ...t*Z,B9
a B. 1 Carat Modern Cypev with DIAMOTHYST Cam eet to
white or yellow suld mounting 4SS.CO
, D C. 1 Oral
Prince** barring* M*.0#
O D. c*r*l Diamothyst *e« In masculine Bo* Style while or yaCow gotd nmi*tis| fM.M
I
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O E. Cold Chain ao<1 Cross with 9 Diamothyst Gem* *75.00
> U Peudont with told chain. 1 carat Diaraoth/at, only tOXOv
EACH ADDITIONAL CARAT *2A. style a* showa 90 mod.
UNMOUNTED GEMS. Cl 1 Carat *21.00 O 3 Carat MS.OO a 3 Carat #?8.40. ete,
BACH ADDITIONAL CARAT
BOW TO MEASURE FENCER SIZE NOTE: A
$31.
fS deposit must accompany each C.O.D, order. AM pries* ux Included,
(1) Cut fist, stiff cardboard into a long, nar-
row wedge. Take ring that fils and is not bentj
(2) Slip it over narrow end of card until it
AOOSSS9..

slops do not force. Draw lines at both sidoo
of ring. Send us the cardboard. Do not Bead
your own ring; nor use string to measure,
^ ttQTSi tjrma?en'tkr<*&rinf>iy,r*n4i}>i.-ittripefp*f<f?, OM AWRQYAl &
.

WOULD

*
YOU
GIVING AWAY
FIRST QUALITY
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Guaranteed by o
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FR
Date,
f STOCK 223 ms There is

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i
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It is understood am under no obligation and if
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KENDEX
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