The Coast of Shadows – Five Stories by Perley Poore Sheehan
Five stories of tragedies, shipwrecks, executions, loss of life and the afterlife beyond this mortal coil.
The Coast of Shadows – Five stories of tragedies, shipwrecks, executions, loss of life and the afterlife beyond this mortal coil.
On Board The “City Of Arverne” (1918) – A novelette of seven chapters.
The Hank of Yarn (1919)
Monsieur De Guise (1911)
The Belated Tears of Louis Marcel (1915) – He was a hardened criminal, but Death revealed the soul that Life denied. A novelette of three chapters.
Down the Coast of Shadows (1919)
Chapter I. After Hours.
Chapter II. The Wycherlys.
Chapter III. Written In The Dark.
Chapter IV. “In Witness Whereof.”
Chapter V. The Riddle.
Chapter VI. “The Unknown Guest.”
Chapter VII. 13 Segur Place.
Chapter VIII. Out Of The Past.
Chapter IX. The House On Park Avenue.
Part 2 Synopsis Of Preceding Chapters.
Chapter X. “Thou Art The Man.”
Chapter XI. Joseph’s Daughter.
Chapter XII. “Whoso Confesseth.”
Chapter XIII. The Psychograph.
Chapter XIV. From The Beyond.
Chapter XV. The Reprieve.
Chapter XVI. Defiance.
Perley Poore Sheehan (1875-1943) was a journalist and then later a screen writer, and is best known as the writer for The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) starring Lon Chaney, The Way of All Flesh (1927) starring Emil Jannings, and The Lost City (1935).
The Coast of Shadows has 11 illustrations.
Excerpt: The Belated Tears of Louis Marcel
He was a hardened criminal, but Death revealed the soul that Life denied
THERE was a slight shock of consciousness, such as one experiences when emerging from a brown study or a profound sleep, and Louis Marcel heard, as if for the first time, the oceanic surge and clamor of a vast crowd.
“What has happened?” he asked himself, silently.
He lay there and listened, trying to understand. Words reached him that were both sinister and gay, like the things that float on the surface of a flood— “Adieu!” “Death!” “Well done!” “Terror!” But these were mere fragments awash in the rumble of miscellaneous cheering, of hoots and laughter.
Even while he was collecting these thoughts, trying to piece them together in some sort of an explanation, he had a disquieting sense of having heard his own name. There it was again.
“Good-by, Louis! Good-by, old man! Louis! Louis is dead!”
And there came another huge surge, like a universal laugh, or sob, or cheer, he couldn’t tell which. It was a roar—the roar of the Paris mob when exalted.
“Bon Dieu!” he murmured. “Something was happening down there!”
He was fully awake now, and listening with passionate attention. Who was this Louis who was dead? Before he could formulate as much as a guess, he heard his name once more, this time complete— “Louis Marcel!” There could be no doubt of it whatsoever. Yet he remained incredulous, eerily amazed.
“That’s strange!” he said to himself. “Here I am, safe in my bed; and down there a crowd clamors that I am dead. Or —aha— is it that there is another Louis Marcel?”
It needed no reflection to convince him that there must be another Louis Marcel in Paris. It was a common name. And yet, somehow, the conviction failed to pacify him. He had a vague but overwhelming certainty that he was the man who was meant, none other. Besides, there was something else. The crowd was clamoring not simply about Louis Marcel, but about “Louis Marcel, the something or other of Montrouge!” And he himself was Louis Marcel, the something or other of Montrouge.
” ‘Tis true,” said Louis, “that I have lived in Montrouge all my life, that I became celebrated there, that I am the only one about whom a crowd would bellow like that. I was—now what was I?”
HIS memory skipped back, but refused to come forward, and he had his first definite twinge of nightmare. He had become celebrated in Montrouge. He had become the “something or other of Montrouge”; what, he couldn’t remember at all. He strove to understand what the crowd was saying, and bent himself again to listen with the most avid interest.
There was nothing but detached words, the rags and tatters of sentences— “Tragedy” — “Stoic to the end” — “Torrent of blood” —something like that. But over these there was gradually and swiftly rolling a new tidal wave of sound, as hundreds and thousands of voices began to howl the same thing:
“Louis Marcel is dead! Ow-oo! Ow-oo! Louis Marcel is dead!”
He tried to think, tried to concentrate his mind, made all those groping efforts at reason common to men when confronted with something they cannot understand. He was perfectly calm about it, although he could not free himself from the impression that something impended, something sad and awesome. As best he could, he reassured himself.
He was lying down. It was dark. He was warm and comfortable. Therefore, he must be in his own bed.
Apart from the vague recollection that he had been distressed about something, that he had been looking forward to something, he couldn’t remember.
“Is it that I committed suicide?” he asked himself.
He lay there for a while and meditated on this possibility. Then he rejected it. If he had committed suicide, he wouldn’t have taken all Paris into his confidence. Nor would all Paris be there now, shouting about it.
Suicides were becoming common. Not even those who jump from the Eiffel Tower got much attention any more. Besides, he had never meditated suicide.
The sea of voices had become choppy again, had split up into an infinity of cries and hoots that he could not understand. Perhaps those earlier impressions of his had been mistaken. Yet what was this strange and insistent spell of doom that seemed to be brooding about him? He heard a hauntingly unnatural voice, close at his side, which seemed to say:
“It is done.”
Then this voice was obliterated by the roar of the crowd, once more rising in the refrain he had already heard. He listened to it with a queer mingling of mirth and fright:
“Ow-oo!” “Ow-oo!” “Louis Marcel est mort!”
LOUIS experienced a little gust of uncanny sickness. There was no mistaking it. That was the voice of the Paris mob! He himself had been in mobs, many a time, and had helped to swell the wolfish cry.
“Mon dieu!” he exclaimed. “Is it that the mob is right, and that I am dead? Evidently no! This is a nightmare, and I must wake myself up.”
He sought to pinch himself, but the nightmare beset him so thickly that he might as well have tried to pinch himself with boxing gloves. He recalled his alarm clock, which always stood on a night-table at the head of the bed. If he pressed the spring, it would strike the hour. But the clock was not there. Even the table itself was gone. He determined to open his eyes. Whether he opened them or not it wasn’t possible to say. In any case he saw nothing but gray fog, static, opaque.
“This has gone far enough!” he said. The hooting of the mob was making him desperate. He gave a kick, two of them; but no feeling came from either of his legs. Indeed, it was as if he had no legs. The impression was oddly similar to the one he had experienced when he wanted to touch the alarm-clock. Then it had been as if he had no arms. It was clear that if he wanted to get rid of his nightmare be must regain control of his body.
“I’ll turn over,” he grunted.
But, as he carried out this resolve, his nightmare took a still more aggravating form. He was strangely without weight. His whole body seemed to have zipped over as lightly as a cotton thread, and he was lying on his face. To test the sensation, he summoned his will to turn again; and this time he rolled over and over, deft and swift, like a billiard-ball. He checked himself, face upward, breathless, listening.
“Louis Marcel is dead. Ow-oo! Ow-oo! Louis Marcel is dead!”
“That was the refrain from the crowd. It was a composite roar like the roar of surf; and then, through it all, once more came that nearer voice. It intoned a mellow chant, gentle, noble; and yet when Louis comprehended the words, he was more troubled than by anything he had hitherto heard.
“De profundis — clamavi — ad — te —- Domine—”
Excerpt From: Perley Poore Sheehan. “The Coast of Shadows.”
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