Three tales of devils, demons and horror that spans generations from the stories of Sir Donald Fremling, Occult Detective.
The Devil’s Graveyard (1926) – Giles the Thruster comes back from the tomb, accompanied by the Four Ancients and Gaffarel the Mighty. An eight chapter novelette.
The Lord of the Tarn (1927) – A tale of monstrous cats, the diabolical Earl of Cumberland, and evil rites in the spectral abbey on Monk’s Rock. An exchange of letters and other messages.
The Doomed Treveans (1928) – The curse of Jabez Penhale descended through the centuries upon the heirs of the Lamorna estate and claimed its victims. A five chapter novelette.
G.G. Pendarves (1885-1938) was the pseudonym of Gladys Gordon Trenery. She also used the pseudonym Marjory E. Lambe.
Pendarves had the third most prolific output of all female writers published in Weird Tales, behind Allison V. Harding and Mary Elizabeth Counselman. However, if Harding was actually Weird Tales’ associate editor Lamont Buchanan, as suspected, Pendarves would be the second most prolific woman published in “The Unique Magazine.”
Sir Donald Fremling, Occult Detective has 3 illustrations.
“YOU don’t understand, John! I used to laugh at it, too, but these last months the thought of that old curse has been more and more in my mind.”
“Well, dear, why worry yet? It will be time enough if this proves to be a boy; after all, we may have a daughter at last.”
“No! I feel convinced it will be another boy, and the words of that old saying go round and round in my head:
“When Radcliffe’s heir has brothers six And seeks to take to wife The only child of Blackmore’s line, The Curse shall wake to life.”
“But, Agnes, you are really inventing worries. Supposing this seventh is a boy! According to the silly jingle you quoted, the worst will only happen about twenty years hence, if our eldest boy should happen to fall in love with Blackmore’s small daughter. And after all, it’s absurd,” he went on. “She might have any number of brothers and sisters in the interval—or she might even die,” he added hopefully.
“You may make light of it, and I know it sounds absurd; but I feel so afraid, so miserably afraid, as though some black shadow was by my side, always whispering and threatening.”
“My dear,” said Radcliffe, now genuinely alarmed, “Yon musn’t let go like that! It’s only a foolish old story, kept up by one generation after another. All old families boast of hidden treasures, or a curse, or a ghost, or something of that nature—it goes with the estate. You must not get fancies like that into your head, dear.”
He got up and crossed the room to where his wife was sitting in the sunny window embrasure, and stood looking at her in a puzzled, way, as though she were a new hybrid which had appeared among his treasured plants, and could not be accounted for. He was devoted to his wife, but hitherto she had been so normal, and well-balanced that this strange fantastic notion of hers worried him considerably. It was so utterly unlike her.
“Better have Dr. Green up tomorrow and have a chat with him.”
His wife suppressed a sigh. It was impossible to make him take her seriously. It was of no use to try to explain the awful weight that pressed upon her heart—the monstrous fear that oppressed her. He put it all down to her health, and brushed aside her premonitions as mere fancies.
But at the same time it comforted her that he should take this attitude. His unimaginative practical outlook on life, and careless way of disbelieving what he did not understand, actually did, for the moment, make her feel that perhaps after all her fears were only imaginary.
She smiled at her husband in the sudden relief of her thought, as he bent down to kiss her and, drawing her wrap about her shoulders, said: “It would do you good to have a turn round the grounds, Agnes. Ill take you down to the potting sheds. There are some new hybrids there that will surprize you. Perfect specimens! Even old Burns was almost enthusiastic about them; he never believed I could get that blue dahlia.”
THE stillness of a golden October evening enveloped the big room where so many generations of Radcliffes had first seen the light. Mrs. Radcliffe lay dying in that room now.
Her husband, bewildered and helpless, faced with the first great sorrow in a hitherto placid existence, stood over by one of the windows, staring out over the far-stretching acres of the Radcliffe estate.
The six elder sons had come and gone, she would see them no more; and on them, especially David, her first-bom and dearest, the mother’s thoughts were centered.
She glanced from time to time at the cot, where slept her seventh son. Who was he? What was he? Why did her whole being shrink from the tiny helpless thing? She had turned from him with loathing, when the nurse showed him to her first—how long ago was that? A day, or an hour? It was all a mist and confusion in her brain. But after that they had troubled her with him no more.
She looked again at the child. What was that dark shadow? Why did it move when everything else was still in that quiet room?
A little cloud resting on the cot. A vapor exhaling from the body of the child. Rapidly it darkened and spread, and soon loomed gigantic to the ceiling. Very slowly, almost imperceptibly, it took form and shape! Its vague outlines became sharp and definite, and presently something dimly approaching the semblance of a man towered there—a leering unholy thing! Its menacing bulk, shapeless and uncouth as one of the lesser animals in the far-off days of the primeval world! Its cold unsmiling eyes in dreadful contrast to the mouth distended in silent horrid laughter! Its bloated features a travesty of man even at his most vile!
The evil hour had dawned. This was the horror which had haunted her so long, this was the doom that would haunt her first-born!
She tried to call out—to move, and the pale eyes of that accursed thing gleamed evilly upon her efforts.
One last awful struggle with the icy numbness that pressed upon her limbs, and then the mother gave one great cry, pointing a shaking finger at the cot.
“The Curse! Kill—kill the child!”
John Radcliffe turned instantly; he saw nothing but the awful look on his wife’s face as she fell back, and before he could reach her side she was gone—her heart had stopped in that supreme effort; and all unseen as Radcliffe stooped over the bed, that fell shadow moved about the silent room, and presently withdrew itself once more to the human habitation which sheltered it.
Excerpt From: G.G. Pendarves. “Sir Donald Fremling, Occult Detective.”
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