“In Dark New England Days” a Creepy Tale by Sarah Orne Jewett, 1890

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Photo by Gato-Azul.

In Dark New England Days

Sarah Orne Jewett, 1890

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(This story first appeared in Century 40, 1890 issue; opening above.)

The last of the neighbors was going home; officious Mrs. Peter Downs had lingered late and sought for additional housework with which to prolong her stay. She had talked incessantly, and buzzed like a busy bee as she helped to put away the best crockery after the funeral supper, while the sisters Betsey and Hannah Knowles grew every moment more forbidding and unwilling to speak. They lighted a solitary small oil lamp at last, as if for Sunday evening idleness, and put it on the side table in the kitchen.

“We ain’t intending to make a late evening of it,” announced Betsey, the elder, standing before Mrs. Downs in an expectant, final way, making an irresistible opportunity for saying good-night. “I’m sure we’re more than obleeged to ye, — ain’t we, Hannah? — but I don’t feel ‘s if we ought to keep ye longer. We ain’t going to do no more to-night, but set down a spell and kind of collect ourselves, and then make for bed.”

Martha [Susan] Downs offered one more plea. “I’d stop all night with ye an’ welcome; ’tis gettin’ late — an’ dark,” she added plaintively; but the sisters shook their heads quickly, while Hannah said that they might as well get used to staying alone, since they would have to do it first or last. In spite of herself Mrs. Downs was obliged to put on her funeral best bonnet and shawl and start on her homeward way.

“Close-mouthed old maids!” she grumbled as the door shut behind her all too soon and denied her the light of the lamp along the footpath. Suddenly there was a bright ray from the window, as if some one had pushed back the curtain and stood with the lamp close to the sash. “That’s Hannah,” said the retreating guest. “She’d told me somethin’ about things, I know, if it hadn’t ‘a’ been for Betsey. Catch me workin’ myself to pieces again for ’em.” But, however grudgingly this was said, Mrs. Downs’s conscience told her that the industry of the past two days had been somewhat selfish on her part; she had hoped that in the excitement of this unexpected funeral season she might for once be taken into the sisters’ confidence. More than this, she knew that they were certain of her motive, and had deliberately refused the expected satisfaction. “‘Tain’t as if I was one o’ them curious busy-bodies anyway,” she said to herself pityingly; “they might ‘a’ neighbored with somebody for once, I do believe.” Everybody would have a question ready for her the next day, for it was known that she had been slaving herself devotedly since the news had come of old Captain Knowles’s sudden death in his bed from a stroke, the last of three which had in the course of a year or two changed him from a strong old man to a feeble, chair-bound cripple.

Mrs. Downs stepped bravely along the dark country road; she could see a light in her own kitchen window half a mile away, and did not stop to notice either the penetrating dampness or the shadowy woods at her right. It was a cloudy night, but there was a dim light over the open fields. She had a disposition of mind towards the exciting circumstances of death and burial, and was in request at such times among her neighbors; in this she was like a city person who prefers tragedy to comedy, but not having the semblance within her reach, she made the most of looking on at real griefs and departures.

Some one was walking towards her in the road; suddenly she heard footsteps. The figure stopped, then came forward again.

“Oh, ’tis you, ain’t it?” with a tone of disappointment. “I cal’lated you’d stop all night, ‘t had got to be so late, an’ I was just going over to the Knowles gals’; well, to kind o’ ask how they be, an'” — Mr. Peter Downs was evidently counting on his visit.

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The Mummy in Literature, A Bibliography of Fiction & Nonfiction Sources (Work in Progress)

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Two-Penny Press Edition (2017) of Jane C. Webb Loudon’s Novel, The Mummy! A Tale of the Twenty-Second Century. London (then Webb) published the novel anonymously in three volumes when she was just seventeen years of age. It is now considered one of the earliest science-fiction novels written by a woman author. After reading something she had written, George Loudon sought Jane Webb out, helped her get published, and married her as well. (Amazon.com)


Sources: International Science Fiction Database (ISFDB); Wikipedia; Brian J. Frost’s The Essential Guide to Mummy Literature (Scarecrow Press, 2007); Bill Pronzini’s Tales Of The Dead; and the anthologies and collections listed in parentheses below.

If you are aware of a story or novel or nonfiction work not on this list, in which a mummy/mummies figure(s) as a character/villain or subject, please let me know at thesanguinewoods@gmail.com and I will add it to the bibliography.

This bibliography is current up through the most recent publications of The Book of the Dead, mummy stories ed. Jared Shulin, Jurassic London, 2014; and The Mammoth Book of the Mummy, ed. Paula Guran, Prime Books, 2017.


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Mummy Short Stories

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Dracula…But, Have You Read the Book?

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Dracula, the novel from 1897, is one of my favorite books. If you haven’t had the chance to read it, it’s filled with passages such as this one, which may have been caught visually, on film, but not with the atmosphere Bram Stoker stirs up, like fog coming down the mountain to curl around your feet. Jonathan Harker has travelled to Romania to serve as a legal consultant to Count Dracula who is seeking to purchase property in England. They are scheduled to meet on the night of May 4, at the Borgo Pass. Harker’s driver has arrived at the pass an hour earlier than expected, no doubt so he could save Harker (and himself) certain doom upon meeting Dracula this night (on the night of May 4, St. George’s Day, the dead are permitted to walk the earth and hold sway). As we see here, though—the “undead” are not so easily fooled…

Jonathan Harker’s Journal, May 4…

‘When it grew dark there seemed to be some excitement amongst the passengers, and they kept speaking to him, one after the other, as though urging him to further speed. He lashed the horses unmercifully with his long whip, and with wild cries of encouragement urged them on to further exertions. Then through the darkness I could see a sort of patch of grey light ahead of us, as though there were a cleft in the hills. The excitement of the passengers grew greater; the crazy coach rocked on its great leather springs, and swayed like a boat tossed on a stormy sea. I had to hold on.

The road grew more level, and we appeared to fly along. Then the mountains seemed to come nearer to us on each side and to frown down upon us; we were entering on the Borgo Pass. One by one several of the passengers offered me gifts, which they pressed upon me with an earnestness which would take no denial; these were certainly of an odd and varied kind, but each was given in simple good faith, with a kindly word, and a blessing, and that strange mixture of fear-meaning movements which I had seen outside the hotel at Bistritz—the sign of the cross and the guard against the evil eye. Then, as we flew along, the driver leaned forward, and on each side the passengers, craning over the edge of the coach, peered eagerly into the darkness. It was evident that something very exciting was either happening or expected, but though I asked each passenger, no one would give me the slightest explanation.

This state of excitement kept on for some little time; and at last we saw before us the Pass opening out on the eastern side. There were dark, rolling clouds overhead, and in the air the heavy, oppressive sense of thunder. It seemed as though the mountain range had separated two atmospheres, and that now we had got into the thunderous one. I was now myself looking out for the conveyance which was to take me to the Count. Each moment I expected to see the glare of lamps through the blackness; but all was dark. The only light was the flickering rays of our own lamps, in which the steam from our hard-driven horses rose in a white cloud. We could see now the sandy road lying white before us, but there was on it no sign of a vehicle.

The passengers drew back with a sigh of gladness, which seemed to mock my own disappointment. I was already thinking what I had best do, when the driver, looking at his watch, said to the others something which I could hardly hear, it was spoken so quietly and in so low a tone; I thought it was “An hour less than the time.” Then turning to me, he said in German worse than my own:—

“There is no carriage here. The Herr is not expected after all. He will now come on to Bukovina, and return to-morrow or the next day; better the next day.” Whilst he was speaking the horses began to neigh and snort and plunge wildly, so that the driver had to hold them up. Then, amongst a chorus of screams from the peasants and a universal crossing of themselves, a calèche, with four horses, drove up behind us, overtook us, and drew up beside the coach. I could see from the flash of our lamps, as the rays fell on them, that the horses were coal-black and splendid animals. They were driven by a tall man, with a long brown beard and a great black hat, which seemed to hide his face from us. I could only see the gleam of a pair of very bright eyes, which seemed red in the lamplight, as he turned to us. He said to the our driver:—

“You are early to-night, my friend.”

The man stammered in reply:—

“The English Herr was in a hurry,” to which the stranger replied:—

“That is why, I suppose, you wished him to go on to Bukovina. You cannot deceive me, my friend; I know too much, and my horses are swift.”

As he spoke he smiled, and the lamplight fell on a hard-looking mouth, with very red lips and sharp-looking teeth, as white as ivory. One of my companions whispered to another the line from Burger’s “Lenore”:—

“Denn die Todten reiten”
(trans. “For the dead travel fast.”)

The strange driver evidently heard the words, for he looked up with a gleaming smile. The passenger turned his face away, at the same time putting out his two fingers and crossing himself. “Give me the Herr’s luggage,” said the driver; and with exceeding alacrity my bags were handed out and put in the calèche. Then I descended from the side of the coach, as the calèche was close alongside, the driver helping me with a hand which caught my arm in a grip of steel; his strength must have been prodigious. Without a word he shook his reins, the horses turned, and we swept into the darkness of the Pass. As I looked back I saw the steam from the horses of the coach by the light of the lamps, and projected against it the figures of my late companions crossing themselves. Then the driver cracked his whip and called to his horses, and off they swept on their way to Bukovina. As they sank into the darkness I felt a strange chill, and a lonely feeling came over me; but a cloak was thrown over my shoulders, and a rug across my knees, and the driver said in excellent German:—

“The night is chill, mein Herr, and my master the Count bade me take all care of you. There is a flask of slivovitz (the plum brandy of the country) underneath the seat, if you should require it.” I did not take any, but it was a comfort to know it was there all the same. I felt a little strangely, and not a little frightened. I think had there been any alternative I should have taken it, instead of prosecuting that unknown night journey. The carriage went at a hard pace straight along, then we made a complete turn and went along another straight road. It seemed to me that we were simply going over and over the same ground again; and so I took note of some salient point, and found that this was so. I would have liked to have asked the driver what this all meant, but I really feared to do so, for I thought that, placed as I was, any protest would have had no effect in case there had been an intention to delay. By-and-by, however, as I was curious to know how time was passing, I struck a match, and by its flame looked at my watch; it was within a few minutes of midnight. This gave me a sort of shock, for I suppose the general superstition about midnight was increased by my recent experiences. I waited with a sick feeling of suspense.

Then a dog began to howl somewhere in a farmhouse far down the road—a long, agonised wailing, as if from fear. The sound was taken up by another dog, and then another and another, till, borne on the wind which now sighed softly through the Pass, a wild howling began, which seemed to come from all over the country, as far as the imagination could grasp it through the gloom of the night.

At the first howl the horses began to strain and rear, but the driver spoke to them soothingly, and they quieted down, but shivered and sweated as though after a runaway from sudden fright. Then, far off in the distance, from the mountains on each side of us began a louder and a sharper howling—that of wolves—which affected both the horses and myself in the same way—for I was minded to jump from the calèche and run, whilst they reared again and plunged madly, so that the driver had to use all his great strength to keep them from bolting. In a few minutes, however, my own ears got accustomed to the sound, and the horses so far became quiet that the driver was able to descend and to stand before them. He petted and soothed them, and whispered something in their ears, as I have heard of horse-tamers doing, and with extraordinary effect, for under his caresses they became quite manageable again, though they still trembled. The driver again took his seat, and shaking his reins, started off at a great pace. This time, after going to the far side of the Pass, he suddenly turned down a narrow roadway which ran sharply to the right.

Soon we were hemmed in with trees, which in places arched right over the roadway till we passed as through a tunnel; and again great frowning rocks guarded us boldly on either side. Though we were in shelter, we could hear the rising wind, for it moaned and whistled through the rocks, and the branches of the trees crashed together as we swept along. It grew colder and colder still, and fine, powdery snow began to fall, so that soon we and all around us were covered with a white blanket. The keen wind still carried the howling of the dogs, though this grew fainter as we went on our way. The baying of the wolves sounded nearer and nearer, as though they were closing round on us from every side. I grew dreadfully afraid, and the horses shared my fear. The driver, however, was not in the least disturbed; he kept turning his head to left and right, but I could not see anything through the darkness.

Suddenly, away on our left, I saw a faint flickering blue flame. The driver saw it at the same moment; he at once checked the horses, and, jumping to the ground, disappeared into the darkness. I did not know what to do, the less as the howling of the wolves grew closer; but while I wondered the driver suddenly appeared again, and without a word took his seat, and we resumed our journey.

I think I must have fallen asleep and kept dreaming of the incident, for it seemed to be repeated endlessly, and now looking back, it is like a sort of awful nightmare. Once the flame appeared so near the road, that even in the darkness around us I could watch the driver’s motions. He went rapidly to where the blue flame arose—it must have been very faint, for it did not seem to illumine the place around it at all—and gathering a few stones, formed them into some device. Once there appeared a strange optical effect: when he stood between me and the flame he did not obstruct it, for I could see its ghostly flicker all the same. This startled me, but as the effect was only momentary, I took it that my eyes deceived me straining through the darkness. Then for a time there were no blue flames, and we sped onwards through the gloom, with the howling of the wolves around us, as though they were following in a moving circle.

At last there came a time when the driver went further afield than he had yet gone, and during his absence, the horses began to tremble worse than ever and to snort and scream with fright. I could not see any cause for it, for the howling of the wolves had ceased altogether; but just then the moon, sailing through the black clouds, appeared behind the jagged crest of a beetling, pine-clad rock, and by its light I saw around us a ring of wolves, with white teeth and lolling red tongues, with long, sinewy limbs and shaggy hair.

They were a hundred times more terrible in the grim silence which held them than even when they howled. For myself, I felt a sort of paralysis of fear. It is only when a man feels himself face to face with such horrors that he can understand their true import.

All at once the wolves began to howl as though the moonlight had had some peculiar effect on them. The horses jumped about and reared, and looked helplessly round with eyes that rolled in a way painful to see; but the living ring of terror encompassed them on every side; and they had perforce to remain within it. I called to the coachman to come, for it seemed to me that our only chance was to try to break out through the ring and to aid his approach. I shouted and beat the side of the calèche, hoping by the noise to scare the wolves from that side, so as to give him a chance of reaching the trap. How he came there, I know not, but I heard his voice raised in a tone of imperious command, and looking towards the sound, saw him stand in the roadway. As he swept his long arms, as though brushing aside some impalpable obstacle, the wolves fell back and back further still. Just then a heavy cloud passed across the face of the moon, so that we were again in darkness.

When I could see again the driver was climbing into the calèche, and the wolves had disappeared. This was all so strange and uncanny that a dreadful fear came upon me, and I was afraid to speak or move. The time seemed interminable as we swept on our way, now in almost complete darkness, for the rolling clouds obscured the moon. We kept on ascending, with occasional periods of quick descent, but in the main always ascending. Suddenly, I became conscious of the fact that the driver was in the act of pulling up the horses in the courtyard of a vast ruined castle, from whose tall black windows came no ray of light, and whose broken battlements showed a jagged line against the moonlit sky’

(Bram Stoker, Dracula, 1897)

Le Visage Vert—A Pretty Cool Little French Review of Creepy Literature… Issue February 2017

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‘I’ve been too busy to study deeply the latest issue of Le Visage Vert, even to the point of being remiss about calling attention to its publication some months ago. So here’s a belated notice. Ordering details can be found here (scroll down), and a full table of the contents of this issue here. The lead story is by Perceval Landon, “Thurnley Abbey”. Lafcadio Hearn is represented with an article (from 1875) on spirit photographs. François Ducos contributes a study of the occult detective in France, 1930-1960. There are some older materials by Kirby Draycott and Gustave Guitton, as well as contemporary stories by Jean-Pierre Chambon and Achillèas Kyriakìdis. All in all another fine issue.

The Kirby Draycott story is additionally given in its original English, as “The Clock Face of Schaumberg”, in a supplementary booklet, reprinted from The Royal Magazine, November 1898, with the intriguing original illustrations. The story concerns a sixteenth-century historical figure, Goetz of the Iron Hand, who wore an iron prosthetic after losing his right arm in battle. Michel Meurger contributes an article about the historical Goetz, to complement the fictional treatment by the mysterious Draycott, about whom very little is known beyond his authorship of a small number of tales.

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The above is from the opening pages of the supplementary booklet. The illustration shows the interesting use to which a clock tower is put in the story…’

(From a review at Woormwoodiana)

The Dedalus Book of Femme Fatales, ed. Brian Stableford, TOC

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11 • The Siren Song of Sexuality • essay by Brian Stableford
31 • La Belle Dame sans Merci • (1820) • poem by John Keats
33 • One of Cleopatra’s Nights • (1882) • novelette by Théophile Gautier (trans. of Une nuit de Cléopâtre 1838)
71 • The Metamorphoses of the Vampire • (1857) • poem by Charles Baudelaire (trans. of Les métamorphoses du vampire) [as by Charles P. Baudelaire]
72 • Morella • (1835) • short story by Edgar Allan Poe (variant of Morella — A Tale)
78 • Dolores • (1866) • poem by Algernon Charles Swinburne
92 • Arachne • short story by Marcel Schwob (trans. of Arachné 1889)
97 • The Daughter of Herodias • (1870) • poem by Arthur W. O’Shaughnessy
115 • Amour Dure • (1887) • novelette by Vernon Lee
153 • Poisoning the Sea • novelette by Storm Constantine
182 • Salomé • short story by Brian Stableford
193 • Singing Underwater • short story by Robert Irwin
197 • Doctor Pinter in the Mythology Isles • short story by Barrington J. Bayley
209 • The Woman in the Mirror • short story by Brian Stableford [as by Brian Craig]
229 • Blue Alice • short story by Steve Rasnic Tem
236 • Self-Sacrifice • (1991) • short story by Brian Stableford [as by Francis Amery]
251 • The Glamour • (1991) • short story by Thomas Ligotti
261 • Mrs Vail • (1992) • short story by Kim Newman
265 • Brody Loved the Masai Woman • (1992) • short story by Ian McDonald
285 • Notes on the Contributors (The Dedalus Book of Femmes Fatales) • essay by uncredited

The Mammoth Book of Dracula, Vampire Tales for the New Millenium, ed. Stephen Jones, 1997, TOC

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Table of Contents

xi • The Giaour (excerpt) • (1813) • poem by Lord George Gordon Byron [as by Lord Byron]
xii • Introduction: I Bid You Welcome • (1997) • essay by Stephen Jones
xv • Foreword: Uncle Bram and Vampires • (1997) • essay by Daniel Farson
1 • Dracula: or The Un-Dead: Prologue • [Dracula Excerpts] • (1897) • short fiction by Bram Stoker
22 • Dracula’s Library • (1997) • short story by Christopher Fowler
34 • The Heart of Count Dracula, Descendant of Attila, Scourge of God • (1985) • short fiction by Thomas Ligotti
36 • Daddy’s Little Girl • (1997) • short story by Mandy Slater
43 • Conversion • (1977) • short story by Ramsey Campbell
48 • The Devil Is Not Mocked • (1943) • short story by Manly Wade Wellman
55 • Teaserama • (1997) • short story by Nancy Kilpatrick
62 • Blood Freak • (1997) • short story by Nancy Holder
73 • Zack Phalanx Is Vlad the Impaler • (1977) • short story by Brian Lumley
81 • When Greek Meets Greek • (1997) • novelette by Basil Copper
109 • Coppola’s Dracula • [Anno Dracula] • (1997) • novella by Kim Newman
156 • The Second Time Around • (1997) • short story by Hugh B. Cave
172 • Endangered Species • (1997) • novelette by Brian Mooney
207 • Melancholia • (1997) • short story by Roberta Lannes
219 • Children of the Long Night • (1997) • novelette by Lisa Morton
239 • Mbo • (1997) • short story by Nicholas Royle
258 • The Worst Place in the World • (1997) • novelette by Paul J. McAuley
286 • Larry’s Guest • (1997) • short story by Guy N. Smith
298 • A Taste of Culture • (1997) • short story by Jan Edwards
301 • Rudolph • (1987) • novelette by R. Chetwynd-Hayes
320 • Roadkill • (1997) • short story by Graham Masterton
327 • Volunteers • (1997) • short story by Terry Lamsley
343 • Black Beads • (1997) • short story by John Gordon
352 • Your European Son • (1997) • short story by Joel Lane
366 • Quality Control • (1997) • novelette by Brian Stableford
399 • Dear Alison • (1997) • short story by Michael Marshall Smith
409 • Bloodlines • (1997) • novelette by Conrad Williams
432 • Windows ’99 of the Soul • (1997) • short story by Chris Morgan
437 • Blood of Eden • (1997) • short story by Mike Chinn
451 • The Last Testament • (1997) • short story by Brian Hodge
464 • The Last Vampire • (1997) • novelette by Peter Crowther
490 • The Lord’s Work • (1992) • novelette by F. Paul Wilson
519 • Lord of the Undead • (1997) • poem by Jo Fletcher

The Giant Book of Vampires, an Anhology ed. Stephen Jones, TOC

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Table of Contents

1 • Introduction: Children of the Night (The Mammoth Book of Vampires) • (1992) • essay by Stephen Jones
3 • Human Remains • (1984) • novelette by Clive Barker
44 • Necros • (1986) • short story by Brian Lumley
60 • The Man Who Loved the Vampire Lady • (1988) • novelette by Brian Stableford
80 • For the Blood Is the Life • (1905) • short story by F. Marion Crawford
94 • The Brood • (1980) • short story by Ramsey Campbell
106 • Hungarian Rhapsody • (1958) • short story by Robert Bloch
115 • Ligeia • (1838) • short story by Edgar Allan Poe
129 • Vampire • (1986) • poem by Richard Christian Matheson
132 • Stragella • (1932) • novelette by Hugh B. Cave
155 • A Week in the Unlife • (1991) • short story by David J. Schow
160 • The House at Evening • (1982) • short story by Frances Garfield
167 • The Labyrinth • (1974) • novelette by R. Chetwynd-Hayes
190 • Beyond Any Measure • (1982) • novella by Karl Edward Wagner
235 • Doctor Porthos • (1968) • short story by Basil Copper
242 • Dracula’s Guest • [Dracula] • (1914) • short story by Bram Stoker
254 • It Only Comes Out at Night • (1976) • short story by Dennis Etchison
266 • Dracula’s Chair • (1980) • short story by Peter Tremayne
276 • The Better Half • (1989) • short story by Melanie Tem
294 • An Episode of Cathedral History • (1914) • short story by M. R. James
309 • Chastel • (1979) • novelette by Manly Wade Wellman
331 • Der Untergang des Abendlandesmenschen • (1976) • short story by Howard Waldrop
342 • The Room in the Tower • (1912) • short story by E. F. Benson
354 • Laird of Dundain • (1992) • short story by Graham Masterton
364 • Midnight Mass • (1990) • novella by F. Paul Wilson
411 • Blood Gothic • (1985) • short story by Nancy Holder
417 • Yellow Fog • [Don Sebastian de Villanueva] • (1986) • short story by Les Daniels
490 • Vintage Domestic • (1992) • short story by Steve Rasnic Tem
496 • Red Reign • [Anno Dracula] • (1992) • novella by Kim Newman
552 • Vampire Sestina • (1989) • poem by Neil Gaiman