“Under the Sunset” is a short story by Bram Stoker. It was first published in 1881 in Stoker’s first collection of short stories Under the Sunset, Sampson Low, Marston, Searle and Rivington, London.

“Under the Sunset” by Bram Stoker

Far, far away, there is a beautiful Country which no human eye has ever seen in waking hours. Under the Sunset it lies, where the distant horizon bounds the day, and where the clouds, splendid with light and colour, give a promise of the glory and beauty which encompass it.

Sometimes it is given to us to see it in dreams.

Now and again come, softly, Angels who fan with their great white wings the aching brows, and place cool hands upon the sleeping eyes. Then soars away the spirit of the sleeper. Up from the dimness and murkiness of the night season it springs. Away through the purple clouds it sails. It hies through the vast expanse of light and air. Through the deep blue of heaven’s vault it flies; and sweeping over the far-off horizon, rests in the fair Land Under the Sunset.

This Country is like our own Country in many ways. It has men and women, kings and queens, rich and poor; it has houses, and trees, and fields, and birds, and flowers. There is day there and night also; and heat and cold, and sickness and health. The hearts of men and women, and boys and girls, beat as they do here. There are the same sorrows and the same joys; and the same hopes and the same fears.

If a child from that Country was beside a child here you could not tell the difference between them, save that the clothes alone are different. They talk the same language as we do ourselves. They do not know that they are different from us; and we do not know that we are different from them. When they come to us in their dreams we do not know they are strangers; and when we go to their Country in our dreams we seem to be at home. Perhaps this is because good people’s homes are in their hearts; and wheresoever they may be they have peace.

The Country Under the Sunset was for long ages a wondrous and pleasant Land. Nothing there was which was not beautiful and sweet and pleasant. It was only when sin came that things there began to lose their perfect beauty. Even now it is a wondrous and pleasant land.

As the sun is strong there, by the sides of every road are planted great trees which spread out their thick branches. So the travellers have shelter as they pass. The milestones are fountains of sweet cold water, so clear and bright that when the wayfarer comes to one he sits down on the carved stone seat beside it and gives a sigh of relief, for he knows that there is rest.

When it is sunset here, it is the middle of the day there. The clouds gather and shade the Land from the great heat. Then for a little while everything goes to sleep.

This sweet, peaceful hour is called the Rest Time.

When it comes the birds stop their singling, and lie close under the wide eaves of the houses, or in the branches of the trees where they join the stems. The fishes stop darting about in the water, and lie close under the stones, with their fins and tails as still as if they were dead. The sheep and the cattle lie under the trees. The men and women get into hammocks slung between trees or under the verandahs of their houses. Then, when the sun has ceased to glare so fiercely and the clouds have melted away, the living things all wake up.

The only living things that are not asleep in the Rest Time are the dogs. They lie quite quiet, only half asleep, with one eye open and one ear cocked; keeping watch all the time. Then if any stranger comes during the hour of Rest, the dogs rise up and look at him, softly, without barking, lest they should disturb anyone. They know if the new comer is harmless; and if it be so they lie down again, and the stranger lies down too till the Rest Time is over.

But if the dogs think that the stranger is come to do any harm, they bark loudly and growl. The cows begin to low and the sheep to bleat, and the birds to chirp and sing their loudest notes, but without any music in them; and even the fishes begin to dart about and splash the water. The men awake and jump out of their hammocks, and seize their weapons. Then it is an evil time for the intruder. Straightway he is brought into the Court and tried, and if found guilty sentenced, and either put into prison or banished.

To read the rest of this story visit:
http://www.bramstoker.org/stories/01sunset/01sunset.html

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THE PRIMROSE PATH by Bram Stoker

CHAPTER I. – A HAPPY HOME.

“I wonder will any of them come, Jerry?”

The pretty little woman’s face got puckered all over with baby wrinkles, more suitable to the wee pink face that lay on her bosom than to her own somewhat pale one, as she made the remark.

Jerry looked up from his newspaper and gazed at her lovingly for a moment before he answered, his answer being a confident smile with a knowing shake of the head from side to side as who should say– “Oh, you little humbug, pretending to distress yourself with doubts. Of course, they’ll come–all of them.”

Katey seemed to lose her trouble in his smile–it was wonderful what comforters love and sympathy are. She drew close to her husband and held down the tiny bald pink head for him to kiss, and then, leaning her cheek against his, said in a soft cooing voice, half wifely, half motherly, “Oh, Jerry, isn’t he a little beauty.”

Children are quite as jealous as dogs and cats in their own way, and instinctively the urchin sprawling on the hearth-rug came over and pulled at his mother’s dress, saying plaintively, “Me too, mammy–me too.”

Jerry took the child on his knee. “Eh, little Jerry, your nose is out of joint again; isn’t it?”

A mother is jealous as well as her child, and this mother answered–“Oh, no, Jerry, sure I don’t love him less because I have to take care of the little mite.”

Further conversation was stopped by a knock at the door.

“That’s some of them stayin’ away,” said Jerry, as he went out to open the door.

As may be seen, Jerry and his wife expected company, the doubts as to whose arrival was caused by the extreme inclemency of the weather, and as the occasion of the festivities was an important one, the doubts were strong.

Jerry O’Sullivan was a prosperous man in his line of life. His trade was that of a carpenter, and as he had, in addition to large practical skills and experience gained from unremitting toil, a considerable share of natural ability, was justly considered by his compeers to be the marking of a successful man.

Three years before he had been married to his pretty little wife, whose sweet nature, and care for his comfort, and whose desire to perfect the cheerfulness of home, had not a little aided his success, and kept him on the straight path.

If every wife understood the merits which a cheerful home has above all other places in the eyes of an ordinary man, there would be less brutality than there is amongst husbands, and less hardships and suffering amongst wives.

The third child had just been christened, and some friends and relatives were expected to do honour to the occasion, and now the knock announced the first arrival.

Whilst Jerry went to the door, Katey arranged the child’s garments so as to make him look as nice as possible, and also fixed her own dress, somewhat disturbed by maternal cares. In the meantime little Jerry flattened his nose against the window pane in a vain desire to see the appearance of the first arrival. Little Katey stood by him looking expectant as though her eyes were with her brother’s.

Mrs. Jerry’s best smile showed that the newcomer, Mr. Parnell, was a special friend. After shaking hands with him she stood close to him, and showed him the baby, looking up into his dark strong face with a smile of perfect trust. He was so tall that he had to stoop to kiss the baby, although the little mother raised it in her arms for him. He said very tenderly–

“Let me hold him a minute in my arms.”

He lifted him gently as he spoke, and bending his head, said reverently:–

“God bless him. Suffer little children to come unto me, for of such is the kingdom of Heaven.”

Katey’s eyes were full of tears as she took him back, and she thanked the big man with a look too full of sacred feeling for even a smile.

Jerry stood by in silence. He felt much, although he did not know what to say.

Another knock was heard, and again Jerry’s services were required. This time there was a large influx, for three different bodies had joined just at the door. Much laughter was heard in the hall, and then they all entered. The body consisted of seven souls all told.

To read the rest of this book visit:
http://www.bramstoker.org/novels/01path.html


The Primrose Path by Bram Stoker

While Stoker is most famous for his novel Dracula, his first long piece of fiction was a melodrama published in 1875 as a serial in a newspaper called The Shamrock. The first installment appeared along with a macabre illustration on the front page of the Saturday, February 6, 1875 issue.

http://www.bramstoker.org/novels/01path.html


Bram Stoker

bramstoker.org is a website dedicated to promoting and sharing the work of Bram Stoker the author of Dracula. At bramstoker.org you can find free downloadable copies of most of Stoker’s writing including:

Novels
Short stories
Poetry
Nonfiction

You can also find information about Stoker and a variety of images of him and his works.

You can visit this site at:
http://www.bramstoker.org/


Picture of Bram Stoker – 6

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“The Works of Hall Caine” by Bram Stoker

“The Works of Hall Caine” was a series of ten novels by Hall Caine (May 14, 1853 – August 31, 1931). When this collection was republished in 1905 Stoker wrote an introduction to each of the ten volumes. The books containing these introductions were published by William Heinemann, London.

For more information and copies of these introductions please visit:
“The Works of Hall Caine” at bramstoker.org


“Greater Love” by Bram Stoker

We was just standin’ here at about eleven in the evenin’, an’ the moon was beginnin’ to rise. We could see the little patch of light growin’ bigger an’ bigger, just as it is now, an’ we knew that before many moments the light would be up over the sea. My back was to the sea, an’ Bill was leanin’ agin’ the handrail, just like you now.

It ain’t much, sir, after all; leastwise to you; but it was, aye, an’ it is, a deal to me, for it has all my life in it, such as it is. There’s a deal of poetry an’ story-tellin’ in books; but, Lor’ bless ye, if ye could see the heart right through of even such men as me, you’d have no need o’ books when you wanted poetry and romance. I often think that them chaps in them don’t feel a bit more nor we do when things is happenin’; it’s only when they’re written down that they become heroes an’ martyrs, an’ suchlike. Why, Bill was as big a hero as any of them. I often wished as how I could write, that I might tell all about him.

Howsumdever, if I can’t write, I can talk, an’ if you’re not in a hurry, an’ll wait till I tell you all, I’ll be proud. It does me good to talk about Bill.

Well, when I turned round an’ faced Bill I see his eyes with the light in ’em, an’ they was glistenin’. Bill gives a big gulp, an’ says to me:

“Joe, the world’s a big place, big enough for you an’ me to live in without quarrelin’. An’, mayhap, the same God as made one woman would make another, an’ we might both live an’ be happy. You an’ me has been comrades for long, an’ God knows that, next to Mary, I’d be sad to see you die, so whatever comes, we won’t quarrel or think hard of one another, sure we won’t, Joe.”

He put out his hand, an’ I took it sudden. We held hands for a long time. I thought he was in low spirits, and I wished to cheer him, so I says:

“Why, Bill, who talks o’ dyin’ that’s as hearty as we?”

He shook his head sadly, an’ says he:

”Joe, I don’t vally my life at a pin’s head, an’ I ain’t afraid to die. For her sake or for yours – aye, even for her pleasure – I’d – No matter. Just see if I turn coward if I ever get the chance to do her a service.”

Well, we stood there for a long time. Neither of us said a word, for I didn’t like to speak, although I would several times have liked to ask him a question. An’ then I gave up wishin’ to speak, an’ began to think, like him.

I thought of all the time Bill an’ me had been friends an’ comrades, an’ how fond we were both of Mary, an’ she of us. Ye see, when we was all children, the little thing took such a fancy for both of us that we couldn’t help likin’ her for it, and so we became, in course of time, like big brothers to her. She would come down on the shore with Bill an’ me an’ sit quiet all the day an’ never say a word or do anything to annoy us or put us out. Sometimes we’d go out sailin’, an’ then she would come an’ sit beside whoever was steerin’ till he’d ask her to come up an’ sit on his knee. Then she’d put up her little arms round his neck an’ kiss him, an’ would stay as quiet as a mouse till she’d have to change her place. That was the way, sir, that we both came to be so fond of her.

An’, sure enough, when she began to grow up, Bill an’ me wanted none other but her. An’ the more she grew, the prouder we were of her, till at last we found out that we were both of us in love with her. But we never told her so, or let her see it; an’ she had grown up so amongst us that she never suspected it. She said so long after.

Then Bill an’ me held a kind of council about what was to be done, an’ so we came to be talkin’ on the bridge that night. Mary was growin’ into a young woman, an’ we feared that some other chap might take her fancy, if one of us didn’t get her at once. Bill was very serious, far more serious than me, for I had somehow got the idea into my head as how Mary cared for me, an’ as long as I felt that I couldn’t feel either unhappy or downhearted.

All at once Bill’s face grew brighter, an’ there was a soft look in his eyes.

”Joe,” he says, “whatever happens, Mary must never hang her head. The lass is tender-hearted, and she likes both of us, we know; an’ as she can only love one of us, it might pain her to think that when she was marryin’ one man she was leavin’ a hole in the life of his comrade. So she must never know as how we both love her, if we can prevent it.”

To read the rest of this story visit:
“Greater Love” at bramstoker.org