Monthly Archives: February 2015

“Fiction and the Censor” by Bram Stoker

“Fiction and the Censor” was presented in the UK on November 18, 1907 at a dinner of the Authors’ Club, held at the club premises in Whitehall Court, London.

For more information on this speech visit:
“Fiction and the Censor” at bramstoker.org

Advertisements

“A Gipsy Prophecy” by Bram Stoker

“I really think,” said the Doctor, “that, at any rate, one of us should go and try whether or not the thing is an imposture.”

“Good!” said Considine. “After dinner we will take our cigars and stroll over to the camp.”

Accordingly, when the dinner was over, and the La Tour finished, Joshua Considine and his friend, Dr. Burleigh, went over to the east side of the moor, where the gipsy encampment lay. As they were leaving, Mary Considine, who had walked as far as the end of the garden where it opened into the laneway, called after her husband:

“Mind, Joshua, you are to give them a fair chance, but don’t give them any clue to a fortune-and don’t you get flirting with any of the gipsy maidens-and take care to keep Gerald out of harm.”

For answer Considine held up his hand, as if taking a stage oath, and whistled the air of the old song, “The Gipsy Countess.” Gerald joined in the strain, and then, breaking into merry laughter, the two men passed along the laneway to the common, turning now and then to wave their hands to Mary, who leaned over the gate, in the twilight, looking after them.

It was a lovely evening in the summer; the very air was full of rest and quiet happiness, as though an outward type of the peacefulness and joy which made a heaven of the home of the young married folk. Considine’s life had not been an eventful one. The only disturbing element which he had ever known was in his wooing of Mary Winston, and the long-continued objection of her ambitious parents, who expected a brilliant match for their only daughter. When Mr. and Mrs. Winston had discovered the attachment of the young barrister, they had tried to keep the young people apart by sending their daughter away for a long round of visits, having made her promise not to correspond with her lover during her absence. Love, however, had stood the test. Neither absence nor neglect seemed to cool the passion of the young man, and jealousy seemed a thing unknown to his sanguine nature; so, after a long period of waiting, the parents had given in, and the young folk were married.

They had been living in the cottage a few months, and were just beginning to feel at home. Gerald Burleigh, Joshua’s old college chum, and himself a sometime victim of Mary’s beauty, had arrived a week before, to stay with them for as long a time as he could tear himself away from his work in London.

When her husband had quite disappeared Mary went into the house, and, sitting down at the piano, gave an hour to Mendelssohn.

It was but a short walk across the common, and before the cigars required renewing the two men had reached the gipsy camp. The place was as picturesque as gipsy camps-when in villages and when business is good-usually are. There were some few persons round the fire, investing their money in prophecy, and a large number of others, poorer or more parsimonious, who stayed just outside the bounds but near enough to see all that went on.

As the two gentlemen approached, the villagers, who knew Joshua, made way a little, and a pretty, keen-eyed gipsy girl tripped up and asked to tell their fortunes. Joshua held out his hand, but the girl, without seeming to see it, stared at his face in a very odd manner. Gerald nudged him:

“You must cross her hand with silver,” he said. “It is one of the most important parts of the mystery.” Joshua took from his pocket a half-crown and held it out to her, but, without looking at it, she answered:

“You must cross the gipsy’s hand with gold.”

Gerald laughed. “You are at a premium as a subject,” he said. Joshua was of the kind of man-the universal kind-who can tolerate being stared at by a pretty girl; so, with some little deliberation, he answered:

“All right; here you are, my pretty girl; but you must give me a real good fortune for it,” and he handed her a half sovereign, which she took, saying:

“It is not for me to give good fortune or bad, but only to read what the Stars have said.” She took his right hand and turned it palm upward; but the instant her eyes met it she dropped it as though it had been red hot, and, with a startled look, glided swiftly away. Lifting the curtain of the large tent, which occupied the centre of the camp, she disappeared within.

To read the rest of this story visit:
“A Gipsy Prophecy” at bramstoker.org


“The Secret of the Growing Gold” by Bram Stoker

When Margaret Delandre went to live at Brent’s Rock the whole neighbourhood awoke to the pleasure of an entirely new scandal. Scandals in connection with either the Delandre family or the Brents of Brent’s Rock, were not few; and if the secret history of the county had been written in full both names would have been found well represented. It is true that the status of each was so different that they might have belonged to different continents-or to different worlds for the matter of that-for hitherto their orbits had never crossed. The Brents were accorded by the whole section of the country an unique social dominance, and had ever held themselves as high above the yeoman class to which Margaret Delandre belonged, as a blue-blooded Spanish hidalgo out-tops his peasant tenantry.

The Delandres had an ancient record and were proud of it in their way as the Brents were of theirs. But the family had never risen above yeomanry; and although they had been once well-to-do in the good old times of foreign wars and protection, their fortunes had withered under the scorching of the free trade sun and the “piping times of peace.” They had, as the elder members used to assert, “stuck to the land,” with the result that they had taken root in it, body and soul. In fact, they, having chosen the life of vegetables, had flourished as vegetation does-blossomed and thrived in the good season and suffered in the bad. Their holding, Dander’s Croft, seemed to have been worked out, and to be typical of the family which had inhabited it. The latter had declined generation after generation, sending out now and again some abortive shoot of unsatisfied energy in the shape of a soldier or sailor, who had worked his way to the minor grades of the services and had there stopped, cut short either from unheeding gallantry in action or from that destroying cause to men without breeding or youthful care-the recognition of a position above them which they feel unfitted to fill. So, little by little, the family dropped lower and lower, the men brooding and dissatisfied, and drinking themselves into the grave, the women drudging at home, or marrying beneath them-or worse. In process of time all disappeared, leaving only two in the Croft, Wykham Delandre and his sister Margaret. The man and woman seemed to have inherited in masculine and feminine form respectively the evil tendency of their race, sharing in common the principles, though manifesting them in different ways, of sullen passion, voluptuousness and recklessness.

The history of the Brents had been something similar, but showing the causes of decadence in their aristocratic and not their plebeian forms. They, too, had sent their shoots to the wars; but their positions had been different, and they had often attained honour-for without flaw they were gallant, and brave deeds were done by them before the selfish dissipation which marked them had sapped their vigour.

The present head of the family-if family it could now be called when one remained of the direct line-was Geoffrey Brent. He was almost a type of a worn-out race, manifesting in some ways its most brilliant qualities, and in others its utter degradation. He might be fairly compared with some of those antique Italian nobles whom the painters have preserved to us with their courage, their unscrupulousness, their refinement of lust and cruelty-the voluptuary actual with the fiend potential. He was certainly handsome, with that dark, aquiline, commanding beauty which women so generally recognise as dominant. With men he was distant and cold; but such a bearing never deters womankind. The inscrutable laws of sex have so arranged that even a timid woman is not afraid of a fierce and haughty man. And so it was that there was hardly a woman of any kind or degree, who lived within view of Brent’s Rock, who did not cherish some form of secret admiration for the handsome wastrel. The category was a wide one, for Brent’s Rock rose up steeply from the midst of a level region and for a circuit of a hundred miles it lay on the horizon, with its high old towers and steep roofs cutting the level edge of wood and hamlet, and far-scattered mansions.

So long as Geoffrey Brent confined his dissipations to London and Paris and Vienna-anywhere out of sight and sound of his home-opinion was silent. It is easy to listen to far off echoes unmoved, and we can treat them with disbelief, or scorn, or disdain, or whatever attitude of coldness may suit our purpose. But when the scandal came close to home it was another matter; and the feelings of independence and integrity which is in people of every community which is not utterly spoiled, asserted itself and demanded that condemnation should be expressed. Still there was a certain reticence in all, and no more notice was taken of the existing facts than was absolutely necessary. Margaret Delandre bore herself so fearlessly and so openly-she accepted her position as the justified companion of Geoffrey Brent so naturally that people came to believe that she was secretly married to him, and therefore thought it wiser to hold their tongues lest time should justify her and also make her an active enemy.

The one person who, by his interference, could have settled all doubts was debarred by circumstances from interfering in the matter. Wykham Delandre had quarrelled with his sister-or perhaps it was that she had quarrelled with him-and they were on terms not merely of armed neutrality but of bitter hatred. The quarrel had been antecedent to Margaret going to Brent’s Rock. She and Wykham had almost come to blows. There had certainly been threats on one side and on the other; and in the end Wykham overcome with passion, had ordered his sister to leave his house. She had risen straightway, and, without waiting to pack up even her own personal belongings, had walked out of the house. On the threshold she had paused for a moment to hurl a bitter threat at Wykham that he would rue in shame and despair to the last hour of his life his act of that day. Some weeks had since passed; and it was understood in the neighbourhood that Margaret had gone to London, when she suddenly appeared driving out with Geoffrey Brent, and the entire neighbourhood knew before nightfall that she had taken up her abode at the Rock. It was no subject of surprise that Brent had come back unexpectedly, for such was his usual custom. Even his own servants never knew when to expect him, for there was a private door, of which he alone had the key, by which he sometimes entered without anyone in the house being aware of his coming. This was his usual method of appearing after a long absence.

To read the rest of this story visit:
“The Secret of the Growing Gold” at bramstoker.org


SNOWBOUND by Bram Stoker

SNOWBOUND: THE RECORD OF A THEATRICAL TOURING PARTY is a collection of fifteen short stories by Bram Stoker. The fifteen stories are as follows:

“The Occasion” at bramstoker.org

“A Lesson in Pets” at bramstoker.org

“Coggins’s Property” at bramstoker.org

“The Slim Syrens” at bramstoker.org

“A New Departure in Art” at bramstoker.org

“Mick the Devil” at bramstoker.org

“In Fear of Death” at bramstoker.org

“At Last” at bramstoker.org

“Chin Music” at bramstoker.org

“A Deputy Waiter” at bramstoker.org

“Work’us” at bramstoker.org

“A Corner in Dwarfs” at bramstoker.org

“A Criminal Star” at bramstoker.org

“A Star Trap” at bramstoker.org

“A Moon-Light Effect” at bramstoker.org

You can download free copies of these stories by clicking on the above links or by going to: SNOWBOUND at bramstoker.org


POETRY by Bram Stoker

1885 “One Thing Needful”
“One Thing Needful” at bramstoker.org

1890 “The Member for the Strand”
“The Member for the Strand” at bramstoker.org

1892 “The Wrongs of Grosvenor Square”
“The Wrongs of Grosvenor Square” at bramstoker.org

You can download free copies of these poems by clicking on the above links or by going to: Poetry at bramstoker.org