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THE VAMPIRE IN LITERATURE
A consideration of the Vampire theme in literature must of necessity be somewhat eclectic, if not even arbitrary in the selection of works which it reviews and with which it sets out to deal. Any exhaustive inquiry is well-nigh impossible, and this not so much, perhaps, on account of the wealth of the material, although indeed there is a far vaster field than might generally be supposed, as owing to the very vague definition and indeterminate interpretation one is able to give to vampirism from a purely literary point of view. It is the craft of an artist in the telling of ghost-stories to see that his colours should not be too vivid and too clear, and no mean skill is required to suggest without explanation, to mass the shadows without derangement, to be occult yet not to be obscure. Accordingly it would be a matter of extreme difficulty to differentiate the malignant and death-dealing spectre or it may be even corpse who returns to wreak his foul revenge from the Vampire,–using this latter word in its widest sense, as one must employ it when speaking of literature, a caution which here given as regards this Chapter will serve once for all. In such a story, for example, as Dr. M. R. James’ Count Magnus is the horrible revenant a ghost or a vampire? The writer has left the point ambiguous. It is of the very essence of his happy invention that he should do so, and the deftly veiled incertitude adds to the loathly terror of the thing. It will be readily remembered that the story relates how a traveller in Sweden about the middle of the last century whilst staying near an ancient manor house in Vestergothland obtains permission to examine the family papers and among these he comes upon the traces of a certain Count Magnus de la Gardie who in the year 1600 had built the house or herrgård. Even after the lapse of two and a half centuries dark traditions are still lingering concerning this mysterious nobleman, whose body lies in a richly ornate copper sarcophagus that stands the principal feature of a domed mausoleum at the eastern end of the church. Reluctantly the landlord tells a story which happened in the time of his grandfather ninety-two years before. Two men determined to go at night and have a free hunt in the woods upon the estate. They are warned: “No, do not go; we are sure you will meet with persons walking who should not be walking. They should be resting, not walking.” The two men laughed and cried: “The Count is dead; we do not care for him.” But in the night the villagers “hear someone scream, just as if the most inside part of his soul was twisted out of him.” Then they hear a hideous laugh, “it was not one of those two men that laughed, and, indeed, they have all of them said that it was not any man at all.” In the morning they go out with the priest, and they find one of the men dead, killed in so terrible a fashion that they buried him on the spot. “He was once a beautiful man, but now his face was not there, because the flesh of it was sucked away off the bones.” The other man is standing with his back against a tree, “pushing with his hands-pushing something away from him which was not there.”
There was some vague gossip that the Count had been “on the Black Pilgrimage, and had brought something or someone back with him.” During his investigation of the papers the English traveller, Mr. Wraxall, found a Liber nigrae peregrinationis, or at least a few lines of such a document indicating that the Count had once journeyed to the city of Chorazin and there adored the prince of the air. In careless mood as he is passing near the mausoleum, Mr. Wraxall exclaims: “Ah, Count Magnus, there you are. I should dearly like to see you.” He is indiscreet enough to cry out thus flippantly on two further occasions, and at last he is thoroughly alarmed by hearing the sound of metal hinges creaking and he knows that the sarcophagus is slowly opening wide. In a state of frenzied fear he sets out for England the next day, yet turn and double as he will he is everywhere haunted by two hideous figures, a man in a long black cloak and a broad-leafed hat and something in a dark cloak and hood. Upon landing at Harwich he makes his way across country to a neighbouring village, when on looking out of the carriage window he sees at a cross-road the two horrible creatures. He finds a lodging, but within the next forty-eight hours his pursuers fall upon him. He is discovered dead, and in the district it is still remembered how “the jury that viewed the body fainted, seven of ’em did, and none of ’em wouldn’t speak to what they see, and the verdict was visitation of God; and how the people as kep’ the ‘ouse moved out that same week and went away from that part.”
This story may, I think, certainly be considered as Vampire lore, and although it must, of course, be perfectly familiar to all who delight in tales of the supernatural I have related it at some little length here, partly because it is told so excellently well, and partly because it so admirably fulfils and exemplifies the qualities that this kind of literature should possess. It is brief and succinct, although there are many details, but every touch tells. No ghost story should be of any length. The horror and the awe evaporate with prolixity. The ghost is malevolent and odious. In fiction a helpful apparition is a notable weakness, and the whole narrative becomes flabby to a degree. The authentic note of horror is struck in the eerie suggestion which, as we have noticed, is of intent left ill-defined. Nothing could be more crude than an explanation, and it is this banality that often ruins a story which otherwise might be of the very first order.
To review the traces of vampire legends which appear in sagas, and which are in truth but few and unimportant, seems to be outside our province here, and even more foreign to our purpose would be the present examination of the vampire legend in folk-lore since this has already been dealt with in the course of the preceding chapters, and to regard such traditions merely as literature would be not only to look at them from a wrong perspective but to misrepresent their quality and essentially to pervert their purpose.
Since some point must be chosen at which to consider vampirism in literature we may most fairly recall to mind the many academic and philosophical treatises upon the Vampire which were rehearsed and discussed in German Universities during the earlier part of the eighteenth century, and these startling themes soon began to attract the attention of poets and literary men. Thus among the poems of Heinrich August Ossenfelder we have a short piece entitled Der Vampir, which is as follows:
Mein liebes Mägdchen glaubet
Beständig steif und feste,
An die gegebnen Lehren
Der immer frommen Mutter
Als Völker an der Theyse
An tödtliche Vampiere
Heyduckisch feste glauben,
Nun warte nur Christianchen,
Du willst mich gar nich lieben;
Ich will mich an dir rächen,
Und heute in Tockayer
Zu einem Vampir trinken.
Und wenn du sanfte schlummerst,
Von deinen schönen Wangen
Den frischen Purpur saugen.
Alsdenn wirst du erschrecken,
Wenn ich dich werde küssen
Und als ein Vampir küssen:
Wann du dann recht erzitterst
Und matt in meine Arme,
Gleich einer Todten sinkest
Alsdenn will ich dich fragen,
Sind meine Lehren besser,
Als deiner guten Mutter?
The poet Wieland has a passing reference to the Vampire
Der Jüngling aus den Wolken
Herab gefallen, stumm und bleich,
Als hätt’ ein Vampyr ihm die Adern ausgemolken,
Steht ganz vernichtet von dem Streich.
It would be an exaggeration to say that the Vampire entered German literature with Goethe’s famous ballad Die Braut von Korinth, but it would be difficult to over-estimate the influence and the popularity of this piece, the subject of which is directly derived from Phlegon of Tralles. The young Athenian who visits his father’s old friend to whose daughter he has been betrothed receives at midnight the Vampire body of the girl whom death has prevented from becoming his bride, and who declares:
Aus dem Grabe werd’ ich ausgetrieben,
Noch zu suchen das vermifste Gut,
Noch den schon verlornen Mann zu lieben Und zu saugen seines Herzens Blut.
Ist’s um den geschehn,
Muss nach andern gehn,
Und das junge Volk erliegt der Wut.
Even more famous are the charnel horrors of Bürger’s Lenore which was first printed in 1773 in the Gottinger Musenalmanach and which notwithstanding the legions of hostile comments and parodies whereof Brandl gives an ample list has remained a household word.
In spite of the immense enthusiasm at that date in contemporary England for German romantic literature it is remarkable that no translation of Lenore was published here until 1796, when William Taylor of Norwich printed in the Monthly Review of March his rendering which in some respects must be called an adaptation. He had, however, by his own account written the translation as early as 1790, and there can be no doubt that very shortly after its completion it was declaimed, applauded and much discussed in Norwich literary circles. We know that Mrs. Barbauld who visited Edinburgh “about the summer of 1793 or 1794″ read aloud Taylor’s version to a number of enthusiastic admirers. This event was described to Sir Walter Scott by Miss Cranstoun, afterwards Countess Purgstall, although Scott himself mentions that his curiosity “was first attracted to this truly romantic story by a gentleman, who, having heard Lenore once read in manuscript, could only recollect the general outline, and part of a couplet, which, from the singularity of its structure, and frequent recurrence, had remained impressed on his memory.” This gentleman Was Mr. Cranstoun, the brother of Countess Purgstall, and so her statement is no doubt accurate as Scott might well have received his account both from the brother as well as from the sister. It was in the course of 1794, or at any rate early in the following year that Scott made his own rendering of the ballad. The account of Taylor’s version, Ellenore, which “electrified” the assembled company at Dugald Stewart’s house when read by the famous Anna Letitia Barbauld had given him the strongest desire to see the original. Just about this time, however, it was a difficult matter to procure books from the continent, and it was not until after some delay that a copy of Bürger’s works was conveyed to him from Hamburg. He immediately devoured the German ballad and was so impressed that he forthwith set about Englishing it. “I well recollect” he writes, “that I began my task after supper, and finished it about daybreak next morning.” Scott’s friends privately printed a few copies of the poem as a surprise for the author,” and as it went from hand to hand it met with the most flattering reception. In 1796, besides the public issue of the translations from Bürger by Taylor and by Scott, no less than three other versions appeared, from the several pens of W. R. Spencer, H. J. Pye and J. T. Stanley. The translation by the last named author was given to the public in an édition de luxe at five shillings, as well as in the ordinary edition of half a crown. In 1797, a pasquil followed, Miss Kitty: a Parody on Lenora, a Ballad, “Translated from the German, by several Hands,” whilst in the following year, Mrs. Taylor turned the popular poem into Italian as a “Novella Morale.” Probably the most faithful, if not the most spirited translation, was that by the Rev. J. Beresford which was published in 1800.
It was in 1797 that Coleridge wrote the first part of Christabel, and German critics have somewhat superfluously endeavoured to emphasize herein the influence of Lenore, since upon examination it would hardly seem that such is present even in the smallest degree. For example, if the narrative of Geraldine be carefully read it must be evident that the following judgment of Professor Brandl is without foundation. This critic writes: “Ihre Vorgeschichte (of Geraldine) schöpfte er grossentheils aus Bürgers ‘Lenore’ in Taylors Uebersetzung: die Dame ist, wenigstens ihrer Erzählung nach, auf einem windschnellen Ross entführt und halbtodt vor Furcht hier abgesetzt worden; statt des schwarzen Leichenzuges, der Lenoren auf ihrem Ritt durch die Mondnacht aufstiess, will sie ‘den Schatten der Nacht’ gekreuzt haben; noch zittert das verdorrte Blatt neben ihr wie aus Herzenangst.”
As we might expect, the young Shelley was enchanted by Lenore, and Medwin relates how the poet long treasured cc a copy of the whole poem, which he made with his own hand.” Dowden tells the story how one Christmas Eve Shelley dramatically related the Bürger ballad with appropriate intonation and gesture “working up the horror to such a height of fearful interest “that the company fully expected to see Wilhelm stalk into the parlour.” In his study of Shelley, Charles Middleton has remarked: “It is hinted, somewhat plausibly, that the Leonora of Bürgher first awakened his poetic faculty. A tale of such beauty and terror might well have kindled his lively imagination, but his earliest pieces, written about this time, and consisting only of a few ballads, are deficient in elegance and originality, and give no evidence whatever of the genius which soon after declared itself.” To suggest, as Zeiger would have it, that Lenore influenced the poem which in the romance St. Irvyne Megalina inscribes on the wall of her prison, and which commences:
Ghosts of the dead! have I not heard your yelling
Rise on the night-rolling breast of the blast, . . .
is the merest ineptitude, since these verses are taken almost word for word from “Lachin y Gair” in Byron’s Hours of Idleness, and that had been published some four years previously.
As I have elsewhere shown in some detail, Shelley’s two juvenile romances owe not only their inspiration but a great deal of their phrasing and noctivagations to Charlotte Dacre’s Zofloya: or The Moor, which appeared in 1806, and which, as the poet himself declares “quite enraptured” him. It is a very remarkable circumstance that in spite of the extremely plain hint which might profitably have been taken from such poems as Die Braut von Korinth and Lenore the novelists of the Gothic school, soaked though they were in German literature, searching the earth and the depths of the earth for thrills and sensation of every kind, do not seem to have utilized the tradition of the Vampire. It is a puzzle indeed if we ask how it was that such writers as Monk Lewis, “Apollo’s sexton,” who would fain “make Parnassus a churchyard”; and Charles Robert Maturin who, as he himself confessed, loved bells rung by viewless hands, daggers encrusted with long shed blood, treacherous doors behind still more treacherous tapestry, mad nuns, apparitions, et hoc genus omne; the two lords of macabre romance, should neither of them have sent some hideous vampire ghost ravening through their sepulchral pages. In the Gothic romance we have horror heaped on horror’s head; mouldering abbeys, haunted castles, banditti, illuminati, sorcerers, conspirators, murderous monks and phantom friars, apparitions without number until the despairing reviewers cried aloud: “Surely the misses themselves must be tired of so many stories of ghosts and murders.” We have such titles as the famous Horrid Mysteries; The Midnight Groan; The Abbot of Montserrat, or, The Pool of Blood; The Demon of Venice; The Convent Spectre; The Hag of the Mountains; and a hundred such lurid nomenclatures, but until we come to Polidori’s novel which will be considered later, nowhere, so far as I am aware, do we meet with the Vampire in the realm of Gothic fancy. So vast, however, is this fascinating library and so difficult to procure are these novels of a century and a quarter ago that I hesitate sweepingly to assert that this theme was entirely unexploited. There may be some romance which I have not had the good fortune to find where a hideous vampire swoops down upon his victims, but if such be the case I am at least prepared to say that the Vampire was not generally known to Gothic lore, and had his presence made itself felt in the sombre chapters of one votary of this school I think he would have re-appeared on many occasions, for the writers were as accustomed to convey from one another with an easy assurance, as they were wont deftly to plunder the foreign mines. Inevitably one of the band, T. J. Horseley Carties, Francis Lathom, William Herbert, Edward Montague, Mrs. Roche, Eliza Parsons, Miss M. Hamilton, Mrs. Helme, Mrs. Meeke, Isabella Kelley, and many another beside insatiably agog for horrid phantasmagoria would have utilized the Vampire in some funereal episode.
One might even have supposed that the notes to Southey’s Thalaba the Destroyer, must have put them on the track, and surely stanzas eight, nine and ten in Book VIII could not have passed unnoticed:
A night of darkness and of storms!
Into the Chamber of the Tomb
Thalaba led the Old Man,
To roof him from the rain.
A night of storms! the wind
Swept through the moonless sky,
And moan’d among the pillar’d sepulchres;
And in the pauses if its sweep
They heard the heavy rain
Beat on the monument above.
In silence on Oneiza’s grave
Her father and her husband sate.
The Cryer from the Minaret
Proclaim’d the midnight hour.
“Now, now!” cried Thalaba;
And o’er the chamber of the tomb
There spread a lurid gleam,
Like the reflection of a sulphur fire
And in that hideous light
Oneiza stood before them. It was She . . .
Her very lineaments. . . . and such as death
Had changed them, livid cheeks and lips of blue;
But in her eye there dwelt
Brightness more terrible
Than all the loathsomeness of death.
“Still art thou living, wretch? ”
In hollow tones she cried to Thalaba;
“And must I nightly leave my grave
To tell thee, still in vain,
God hath abandoned thee?
“This is not she!” the Old Man exclaim’d;
“A Fiend; a manifest Fiend!”
And to the youth he held his lance;
“Strike and deliver thyself!”
“Strike HER!” cried Thalaba,
And palsied of all power,
Gazed fixedly upon the dreadful form.
“Yea, strike her!” cried a voice, whose tones
Flow’d with such a sudden healing through his soul,
As when the desert shower
From death deliver’d him;
But obedient to that well-known voice,
His eye was seeking it,
When Moath, firm of heart,
Perform ‘d the bidding: through the vampire corpse
He thrust his lance; it fell,
And howling with the wound,
Its fiendish tenant fled.
A sapphire light fell on them,
And garmented with glory, in their sight
Oneiza’s spirit stood.
It is important to remark that in his notes upon this passage Southey cites at considerable length various cases of vampirism, particularly from the Lettres Juives, the Vampires of Gradisch, also the history of Arnold Paul, and the very ample account given by Tournefort. He further says: “The Turks have an opinion that men that are buried have a sort of life in their graves. If any man makes affidavit before a judge, that he heard a noise in a man’s grave, he [i.e., the body] is, by order, dug up and chopped all too pieces. The merchants (at Constantinople) once airing on horseback, had, as usual, for protection, a Janisary with them. Passing by the burying place of the Jews, it happened that an old Jew sat by a sepulchre. The Janisary rode up to him, and rated him for stinking the world a second time, and commanded him to get into his grave again–Roger North’s Life of Sir Dudley North.”
It might perhaps not unfairly be argued that the two notorious romances of the Marquis de Sade Justine, on les Malheurs de la Vertu and Juliette depict scenes of vampirism, and if we are to take the word in any extended sense this is certainly the case. In the first place it must be remembered that as it passed through various editions-it was first issued in 1791, 2 vols., 8vo,–until it appeared in its final and complete form in 1797 as La Nouvelle Justine, on les Malheurs de la Vertu, suivie de l’Histoire de Juliette, sa soeur, 10 vols., 18mo (of which Justine occupies four and Juliette six) Justine was added to and augmented until the last version is practically double the length of the first, and the book has been entirely re-written. In Justine we have the episodes in the house of Monsieur Rodin, and more particularly the orgies of the Comte de Gernade who takes a lustful pleasure in watching the blood flow from the veins of his victims, as also the cruelties of the monster Roland all of which. may well be esteemed vampirism. Many similar scenes are described with great prolixity in Juliette, and this romance is distinguished by such horrible figures as the Muscovite giant Minski, whose favourite meat is human flesh, and in whose castle the table and chairs are made of bleaching bones, and Cordelli, the necrophilist of Ancona.
In The New Monthly Magazine, 1 April, 1819, was published The Vampyre: a Tale by Lord Byron, which although it may seem to us–steeped in Le Fanu and M. R. James–a little old-fashioned, at the time created an immense sensation and had the most extraordinary influence, being even more admired and imitated on the Continent than in England. It was almost immediately known that actually the story did not come from the pen of Lord Byron, but had been written by Dr. John William Polidori, physician-companion to the poet. Byron had, as a matter of fact, been writing a work of the same title in imitation of Mrs. Shelley’s Frankenstein, but he denied the authorship of this piece in the famous letter facsimilied in Galignani’s edition of his works. A first printed, The Vampyre forms a part of extracts from “A letter from Geneva, with Anecdotes of Lord Byron.” Here is to be read that “among other things which the lady, from whom I procured these anecdotes, related to me, she mentioned the outline of a ghost story by Lord Byron. It appears that one evening Lord Byron, Mr. p. B. Shelley, the two ladies and the gentleman (the daughters of Godwin and Dr. Polidori) before alluded to after having perused a German work, which was entitled Phantasmagoriana began relating ghost stories; when his lordship having recited the beginning of Christabel, then unpublished, the whole took so strong a hold of Mr. Shelley’s mind, that he suddenly started up and ran out of the room. The physician and Lord Byron followed, and discovered him leaning against a mantlepiece with cold drops of perspiration trickling down his face. After having given him something to refresh him, upon enquiring into the cause of his alarm, they found that his wild imagination having pictured to him the bosom of one of the ladies with eyes (which was reported of a lady in the neighbourhood where he lived) he was obliged to leave the room in order to destroy the impression. It was afterwards proposed in the course of conversation, that each of the company present should write a tale depending upon some supernatural agency, which was undertaken by Lord Byron, the physician, and Miss M. Godwin. My friend, the lady above referred to, had in her possession the outline of each of these stories, I obtained them as a great favour, and herewith forward them to you, as I was assured you would feel as much curiosity as myself, to peruse the ébauches of so great a genius, and those immediately under his influence.” Upon this the Editor has the following note: “We have in our possession the Tale of Dr. —— as well as the outline of that of Miss Godwin. The latter has already appeared under the title of ‘Frankenstein, or the modern Prometheus’; the former, however, upon consulting this author, we may, probably, hereafter give to our readers.”
The Vampyre is introduced by several paragraphs which deal with the tradition. This preamble commences: “The superstition upon which this tale is founded is very general in the East. Among the Arabians it appears to be common; it did not, however, extend itself to the Greeks until after the establishment of Christianity; and it has only assumed its present form since the division of the Latin and Greek churches; at which time, the idea becoming prevalent, that a Latin body could not corrupt if buried in their territory, it gradually increased, and formed the subject of many wonderful stories, still extant, of the dead rising from their graves, and feeding upon the blood of the young and beautiful. In the West it spread, with some slight variation, all over Hungary, Poland, Austria, and Lorraine, where the belief existed, that vampyres nightly imbibed a certain portion of the blood of their victims, who became emaciated, lost their strength, and speedily died of consumptions; whilst these human bloodsuckers fattened–and their veins became distended to such a state of repletion as to cause the blood to flow from all the passages of their bodies, and even from the very pores of their skins.”
The Editor then recounts the famous instance of Arnold Paul, and continues: “We have related this monstrous rodomontade, because it seems better adapted to illustrate the subject of the present observations than any other instance we could adduce. In many parts of Greece it is considered as a sort of punishment after death, for some heinous crime committed whilst in existence, that the deceased is doomed to vampyrise, but be compelled to confine his visitations solely to those beings he loved most while on earth-those to whom he was bound by ties of kindred and affection. This supposition is, we imagine, alluded to in the following fearfully sublime and prophetic curse from the ‘Giaour.'
But first on earth, as Vampyre sent,
Thy corse shall from its tomb be rent;
Then ghastly haunt thy native place,
And suck the blood of all thy race;
There from thy daughter, sister, wife, p. 283
At midnight drain the stream of life;
Yet loathe the banquet, which perforce
Must feed thy livid living corse,
Thy victims, ere they yet expire,
Shall know the demon for their sire;
As cursing thee, thou cursing them,
Thy flowers are withered on the stem.
But one that for thy crime must fall,
The youngest, best beloved of all,
Shall bless thee with a father’s name–
That word shall wrap thy heart in flame!
Yet thou must end thy task and mark
Her check’s last tinge–her eye’s last spark,
And the last glassy glance must view
Which freezes o’er its lifeless blue;
Then with unhallowed hand shall tear
The tresses of her yellow hair,
Of which, in life a lock when shorn
Affection’s fondest pledge was worn–
But now is borne away by thee
Memorial o thine agony!
Yet with thine own best blood shall drip
Thy gnashing tooth, and haggard lip;
Then stalking to thy sullen grave
Go–and with Ghouls and Afrits rave,
Till these in horror shrink away
From spectre more accursed than they.”
After an allusion to Southey’s Thalaba, Tournefort’s Travels, and Dom Calmet’s classical work, the editor concludes: “We could add many curious and interesting notices on this singularly horrible superstition, and we may, perhaps, resume our observations upon it at some future opportunity; for the present, we feel that we have very far exceeded the limits of a note, necessarily devoted to the explanation of the strange production to which we now invite the attention of our readers; and we shall therefore conclude by merely remarking, that though the term Vampyre is the one in most general acceptation, there are several other synonimous with it, which are made use of in various parts of the world, namely, Vroucolocha, Vardoulacha, Goul, Broucoloka, &c.”
The story tells how at the height of a London season there appeared at the various parties of the leaders of the ton a nobleman, more remarkable for his singularities, than his rank. He gazed upon the mirth around him, as if he could not participate therein. Apparently, the light laughter of the fair only attracted his attention that he might by a look quell it, and throw fear into those breasts where thoughtlessness reigned. Those who felt this sensation of awe, could not explain whence it arose; some attributed it to the dead grey eye, which fixing upon the object’s face, did not seem to penetrate, and at one glance to pierce through to the inward working of the heart; but fell upon the cheek with a leaden ray that weighed upon the skin it could not pass.” This original is invited to every house, and in the course of the winter he meets “a young gentleman of the name of Aubrey” he was an orphan left with an only sister in the possession of great wealth, by parents who died while he was yet in childhood.” Aubrey is greatly fascinated by Lord Ruthven, for this is the name of the mysterious nobleman, and intending to travel upon the Continent he mentions this intention to my Lord, and is “surprised to receive from him a proposal to join him. Flattered by such a mark of esteem from him who, apparently, had nothing in common with other men, he gladly accepted it, and in a few days they had passed the circling waters.”
As they travelled from town to town, Aubrey notices the peculiar conduct of his companion who bestows largess upon the most worthless characters, broken gamblers and the like, but refuses a doit to the deserving and virtuous poor. However the recipients of this charity “inevitably found that there was a curse upon it, for they all were either led to the scaffold or sunk to the lowest and the most abject misery.” Eventually the travellers arrive at Rome, and here Aubrey receives letters from his guardians who require him immediately to leave his companion as since their departure from London the most terrible scandals, adulteries and seductions, have come to light. At Rome Aubrey is able to foil Lord Ruthven’s plans, frustrating an intrigue designed to ruin a heedless young girl, and then he “directed his steps towards Greece, and, crossing the Peninsula, soon found himself at Athens.” Here he lodges in the house of a Greek, whose daughter Ianthe is a paragon of the most exquisite beauty. As he sketches the ruins of the city she is wont to entertain him with Greek legend and tradition, and “often, as she told him the tale of the living vampyre, who had passed years amidst his friends, and dearest ties, forced every year, by feeding upon the life of a lovely female to prolong his existence for the ensuing months, his blood would run cold, whilst he attempted to laugh her out of such idle and horrible fantasies; but Ianthe cited to him the names of old men, who had at last detected one living among themselves, after several of their relatives and children had been found marked with the stamp of the fiend’s appetite; and when she found him so incredulous, she begged of him to believe her, for it had been remarked, that those who had dared to question their existence, always had some proof given, which obliged them, with grief and heart-breaking to confess it was true. She detailed to him the traditional appearance of these monsters, and his horror was increased, by hearing a pretty accurate description of Lord Ruthven; he, however, still persisted in persuading her, that there could be no truth in her fears, though at the same time he wondered at the many coincidences which had all tended to excite a belief in the supernatural power of Lord Ruthven.”
Before long it becomes evident that Aubrey is in love with Ianthe, “and while he ridicules the idea of a young man of English habits, marrying an uneducated Greek girl, still he found himself more and more attached to the almost fairy form before him.” He endeavours to occupy his time with antiquarian excursions which lead him farther and farther afield, and at length he determines to proceed to a point beyond any he has as yet visited. When Ianthe’s parents hear the name of the place he proposes to visit they most earnestly implore him on no account to return when once dusk has fallen, “as he must necessarily pass through a wood, where no Greek would ever remain after the day had closed, upon any consideration. They described it as the resort of the vampyres in their nocturnal orgies, and denounced the most heavy evils as impending upon him who dared to cross their path. Aubrey made light of their representations, and tried to laugh them out of the idea; but when he saw them shudder at his daring thus to mock a superior, the very name of which apparently made their blood freeze, he was silent.”
Having given his promise to Ianthe that he will be back well before evening he sets out very early. The exploration, however, takes longer than he has supposed, and when he turns his horse homeward the darkness is already hurrying on urged by a terrific storm. The ste