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The Collected Supernatural and Weird Fiction of Robert Louis Stevenson

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The Collected Supernatural and Weird Fiction of Robert Louis Stevenson
Leonaur Original
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Author(s): Robert Louis Stevenson
Date Published: 2013/01
Page Count: 356
Softcover ISBN-13: 978-1-78282-005-5
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-1-78282-004-8

Thirteen strange stories from the genius of Robert Louis Stevenson

There are very few readers who need an introduction to the works of Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson, many of his tales have become enduring classics and are familiar to practically everyone in either the written word or as films, plays, television serials and even as radio programmes. Many of Stevenson’s books, such as ‘Treasure Island,’ ‘Kidnapped’ and ‘The Black Arrow’ are iconic and genre defining works of fiction. The reason for this fact is simply that great writers create great works. Stevenson’s forays into the worlds of supernatural, weird and horror fiction were, unfortunately, not so many compared with a number of his contemporaries, but and thirteen of his tales in these genres—arguably the entire canon—have been gathered together in this special single volume Leonaur edition. We believe that what might be lacking here in terms of quantity is more than balanced by the indisputable quality of Stevenson’s writing skills. This collection contains one of the author’s most iconic and much filmed work, the novella ‘The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’—a work of such influence that its title alone has entered the English language as a readily understood synonym for schizophrenic or aberrant behaviour. Readers will also discover here ‘Thrawn Janet,’ ‘The Waif Woman,’ ‘Olalla,’ ‘The Body Snatcher,’ ‘The Isle of Voices,’ ‘The Poor Thing’ and other superbly crafted tales to relish and disturb. A must for every collector and enthusiast of the fiction of the ghostly, bizarre and macabre.
Leonaur editions are newly typeset and are not facsimiles; each title is available in softcover and hardback with dustjacket.

One November morning this policy of silence was put sharply to the test. He had been awake all night with a racking toothache—pacing his room like a caged beast or throwing himself in fury on his bed—and had fallen at last into that profound, uneasy slumber that so often follows on a night of pain, when he was awakened by the third or fourth angry repetition of the concerted signal. There was a thin, bright moonshine; it was bitter cold, windy, and frosty; the town had not yet awakened, but an indefinable stir already preluded the noise and business of the day.<br>
The ghouls had come later than usual, and they seemed more than usually eager to be gone.<br>
Fettes, sick with sleep, lighted them upstairs. He heard their grumbling Irish voices through a dream; and as they stripped the sack from their sad merchandise he leaned dozing, with his shoulder propped against the wall; he had to shake himself to find the men their money. As he did so his eyes lighted on the dead face. He started; he took two steps nearer, with the candle raised.<br>
“God Almighty!” he cried. “That is Jane Galbraith!” The men answered nothing, but they shuffled nearer the door.<br>
“I know her, I tell you,” he continued. “She was alive and hearty yesterday. It’s impossible she can be dead; it’s impossible you should have got this body fairly.”<br>
“Sure, sir, you’re mistaken entirely,” said one of the men.<br>
But the other looked Fettes darkly in the eyes, and demanded the money on the spot.<br>
It was impossible to misconceive the threat or to exaggerate the danger. The lad’s heart failed him. He stammered some excuses, counted out the sum, and saw his hateful visitors depart. No sooner were they gone than he hastened to confirm his doubts. By a dozen unquestionable marks he identified the girl he had jested with the day before. He saw, with horror, marks upon her body that might well betoken violence. A panic seized him, and he took refuge in his room. There he reflected at length over the discovery that he had made; considered soberly the bearing of Mr. K——’s instructions and the danger to himself of interference in so serious a business, and at last, in sore perplexity, determined to wait for the advice of his immediate superior, the class assistant.<br>
This was a young doctor, Wolfe Macfarlane, a high favourite among all the reckless students, clever, dissipated, and unscrupulous to the last degree. He had travelled and studied abroad. His manners were agreeable and a little forward. He was an authority on the stage, skilful on the ice or the links with skate or golf-club; he dressed with nice audacity, and, to put the finishing touch upon his glory, he kept a gig and a strong trotting-horse. With Fettes he was on terms of intimacy; indeed, their relative positions called for some community of life; and when subjects were scarce the pair would drive far into the country in Macfarlane’s gig, visit and desecrate some lonely graveyard, and return before dawn with their booty to the door of the dissecting-room.<br>
On that particular morning Macfarlane arrived somewhat earlier than his wont. Fettes heard him, and met him on the stairs, told him his story, and showed him the cause of his alarm. Macfarlane examined the marks on her body.<br>
“Yes,” he said with a nod, “it looks fishy.”<br>
“Well, what should I do?” asked Fettes.<br>
“Do?” repeated the other. “Do you want to do anything? Least said soonest mended, I should say.”<br>
“Someone else might recognise her,” objected Fettes. “She was as well known as the Castle Rock.”<br>
“We’ll hope not,” said Macfarlane, “and if anybody does—well, you didn’t, don’t you see, and there’s an end. The fact is, this has been going on too long. Stir up the mud, and you’ll get K—— into the most unholy trouble; you’ll be in a shocking box yourself. So will I, if you come to that. I should like to know how any one of us would look, or what the devil we should have to say for ourselves in any Christian witness-box. For me, you know there’s one thing certain—that, practically speaking, all our subjects have been murdered.”<br>
“Macfarlane!” cried Fettes.<br>
“Come now!” sneered the other. “As if you hadn’t suspected it yourself!”<br>
“Suspecting is one thing——”<br>
“And proof another. Yes, I know; and I’m as sorry as you are this should have come here,” tapping the body with his cane. “The next best thing for me is not to recognise it; and,” he added coolly, “I don’t. You may, if you please. I don’t dictate, but I think a man of the world would do as I do; and I may add, I fancy that is what K—— would look for at our hands. The question is, Why did he choose us two for his assistants? And I answer, because he didn’t want old wives.”
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