Fantastic Victoriana: D

amned Thing. The Damned Thing was created by Ambrose Bierce and appeared in �The Damned Thing,� from the 7 December 1893 issue of Tales from New York Town Topics. Bierce (1842-1924) was one of the best American short story writers, critics, and satirists of the late 19th and early 20th century. That he is not better known is a real shame; that he is little read (except, of course, by the discerning) beyond his classics is the literary equivalent of a crime. Many people can at least name check The Devil�s Dictionary, and more than a few know the plot of �An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,� but they�ve never read it, and far more people are ignorant of his other work, which are usually witty and sharp gems like �The Damned Thing.�

Somewhere in the Western mountains of the United States a farmer, Hugh Morgan, is hunting and being hunted by something, something which he can�t see. It�s not because it�s invisible, but rather because the human eye can�t take it in:

It is known to seamen that a school of whales basking or sporting on the surface of the ocean, miles apart, with the convexity of the earth between, will sometimes dive at the same instant � all gone out of sight in a moment. The signal has been sounded � too grave for the ear of the sailor at the masthead and his comrades on the deck � who nevertheless feel its vibrations in the ship as the stones of a cathedral are stirred by the bass of the organ.

As with sounds, so with colours. At each end of the solar spectrum the chemist can detect the presence of what are known as 'actinic' rays. They represent colours � integral colours in the composition of light � which we are unable to discern. The human eye is an imperfect instrument; its range is but a few octaves of the real 'chromatic scale.' I am not mad; there are colours that we cannot see.

And, God help me! the Damned Thing is of such a colour!"

When the Damned Thing attacks Morgan his friend William Harker is present, and is unnerved by what he cannot see:
I remember � and tell it here because, singularly enough, I recollected it then � that once in looking carelessly out of an open window I momentarily mistook a small tree close at hand for one of a group of larger trees at a little distance away. It looked the same size as the others, but being more distinctly and sharply defined in mass and detail seemed out of harmony with them. It was a mere falsification of the law of aerial perspective, but it startled, almost terrified me. We so rely upon the orderly operation of familiar natural laws that any seeming suspension of them is noted as a menace to our safety, as warning of unthinkable calamity. So now the apparent causeless movement of the herbage and the slow, undeviating approach of the line of disturbance were distinctly disquieting.Whatever it is, it attacks and kills Morgan (presumably wandering off into the wilderness after that). When Harker is called to an inquest into Morgan�s death, he testifies as to what he saw (and what he didn�t see), but the coroner and witnesses disbelieve him, finding �that the remains come to their death at the hands of a mountain lion, but some of us thinks, all the same, they had fits.�
�The Damned Thing� is a concise and witty horror story. It�s got some similarities to �The Horla�,  especially the invisible being at the story�s core, but de Maupassant�s story is less of a traditional horror story and more of a limit-busting tale of insanity or vampirism. (One isn�t sure which). �The Damned Thing� is a traditional horror story, albeit one wittily told. The Biercean sardonic humor is deployed to good effect, between the chapter headings and the dialogue:
The foreman rose � a tall, bearded man of sixty, coarsely clad.

"I shall like to ask one question, Mr. Coroner," he said. "What asylum did this yer last witness escape from?"

"Mr. Harker," said the coroner gravely and tranquilly, "from what asylum did you last escape?"

The ambiguity of the Damned Thing, and the way it stalks Morgan, add nicely to the effect of the story.

Horror tales are essentially subjective; you�re either scared or you�re not. If you�re not scared, then what you�re left with is all too often an underwhelming story. Many horror authors rely on the shock of fear to power their stories. Luckily for us all, Bierce was a much better writer than that, and even if you aren�t frightened by �The Damned Thing� you�ll be entertained.

"The Damned Thing"
The e-text of the story.

antès, Edmond. Edmond Dantès was created by Alexandre Dumas, père, and appeared in Le Comte de Monte-Cristo (The Count of Monte Cristo, 1844-1845). Dumas père (1802-1870) was a giant of 19th century French letters, writing a vast amount of plays, poems, and novels. With The Three Musketeers, The Count of Monte Cristo is regarded as Dumas�s masterpiece and is a classic still read with pleasure today.

As with The Three Musketeers, I hadn�t read The Count of Monte Cristo in about 15 years before beginning it for this site. I felt some amount of trepidation, a little bit because of Dumas�s prose style�as I said in my comments on The Three Musketeers, Dumas� style is dated�but mostly at the novel�s sheer length. My edition (A.L. Burt, c. 1900) runs to over 1200 pages, and for various reasons I really wasn�t in the mood to tackle something that unwieldy. But, ah, well, I make sacrifices for you, dear reader and so time that could have been spent reading The Prisoner of Zenda (which is next up, after Dracula) was spent reading The Count of Monte Cristo.

Was it worth it? Oh, yes. Like The Three Musketeers, The Count of Monte Cristo is not Art,  not flawless, and too long, but nonetheless is a great read and a wonderful story.

Edmond Dantès is a humble sailor with a bright future ahead of him. He has a father who loves him and who he loves, he has a beautiful, innocent, and sweet fiancée, Mercédès, and he is going to be made the captain of his ship by the ship�s owner, Edmond�s good friend M. Morrel. Unfortunately, Edmond is too good a man to realize that he has enemies: his shipmate M. Danglars, who hates Edmond for his favorable position with Morrel as well as Edmond�s easy way with the crew; and Ferdinand Mondego, who loves Mercédès but who Mercédès cares for only as a brother. Danglars and Mondego collude together and send an anonymous note to the procureur du roi (a kind of judge) acccusing Edmond of carrying a letter from Napoleon, then imprisoned on St. Elba, to a Bonapartist conspiracy in Paris. This being 1815, the charge of aiding Bonapartistes is no small thing, and so Edmond is arrested. On his wedding night, unfortunately, during the dinner. Edmond is carried away and brought before a deputy, M. Villefort, whose father, a Bonapartist, would be captured (and thus his own career ruined) if the letter Edmond carries were to be made public. (There is such a letter, but it has nothing to do with conspiracy). M. Villefort destroys the letter and has Edmond taken away to the dreaded Château D�If, the prison from which none emerge. Villefort conspires to keep Edmond there permanently.

Edmond languishes in the prison for fourteen years. In his early years he comes close to going mad, but he is fortunate enough to meet, quite by accident, another inmate, the Abbé Faria. (The Abbé thought he was digging a tunnel to the sea; instead he dug into Edmond�s cell). The Abbé and Edmond become friends, and the Abbé educates Edmond, teaching him languages and philosophy and the sciences, none of which the unschooled Edmond knew. Edmond also discusses with the Abbé his past and comes to the correct conclusion as to who had framed him and why. Edmond and the Abbé begin digging another tunnel. But the Abbé suffers from catalepsy, and after two attacks is partially paralyzed. The Abbé knows he cannot escape from the Château D�If, and also knows that the next attack will kill him, and so he tells Edmond where to get an enormous treasure, one hidden from the Borgias centuries ago. The Abbé suffers another attack and dies from it. Edmond hides in the sack in which the The Abbé�s body was to be placed and is thrown into the sea in the Abbé�s place. Edmond swims ashore and is picked up by a gang of smugglers, who he works with until he goes to the island of Monte Cristo, a small, rocky, uninhabited island on which the Abbé�s treasure rests. Edmond unearths the treasure, which is fully as huge as the Abbé said it was, and then goes to the mainland. He discovers that his father had starved to death while Edmond was in prison and that Mercédès had married Ferdinand Mondego.

The rest of the novel is taken up with Edmond�s very lengthy revenge against Danglars, Mondego, and Villefort, as well as Edmond�s involvement in their lives and the lives of their friends and families. (In the interest of brevity, since a full recounting of the twists and turns of the plot would occupy several thousand words, I�m going to stop the summary there). By the end of the novel the guilty have been punished, the good rewarded, and Edmond is at peace with himself.

In a way it�s almost pointless to analyze or critique The Count of Monte Cristo. Like The Three Musketeers, it�s a classic, still popular and read for pleasure today. Its place in the canon is secure, but more importantly people genuinely enjoy reading it and rereading it. But there are always some people who haven�t gotten around to reading the books they should�the example of Lorna Doone (see the John Ridd entry) comes to mind�I mean, do you know anybody who has read that?�and so I�ll do my best to provide some useful criticism of Monte Cristo.

The Count of Monte Cristo is undeniably melodramatic. Dumas never uses the light touch, in characterization, dialogue, or plot developments. It�s not as over the top as The Wandering Jew (see the Father Rodin entry for Thomas Disch�s hilariously apt summary of that classic), but it�s hardly restrained. The dialogue (and much of this depends on the translator, I admit) is dated, and has a awkward, stodgy, overly formal feel to it:

 �Where am I?� exclaimed she, when her first raptures at her son�s recovery were past; �and to whom am I indebted for so happy a termination to my late dreadful alarm?�

�Madame,� answered the count, �you are under the roof of one who esteems himself most fortunate in having been able to save you from a further continuance of your sufferings.�

Along with the melodrama and a certain straining for affect is the lack of depth to the characters. Dantès is the most complex of the cast of Monte Cristo, but everyone else is one-dimensional and does not change or grow. And the novel is too long; there are lengthy diversions away from the main plot, diversions which frankly aren�t that interesting. I understand that Dumas was trying to show the lives of those Dantès influenced, including minor characters, but Dantès is much the most compelling character in the book, compared to whom, for example, the daughter of M. Danglars is almost tedious. And some of the digressions are almost irrelevant to the main plot.

So it�s hard (well, impossible) to call The Count of Monte Cristo well-written. It has too many flaws for that. But at the same time it�s impossible to call it anything but a classic, because its virtues more than make up for its flaws. It�s an exciting novel, with plot twists, clever maneuvering, intrigues, love affairs, duels, great riches, improbable (yet emotionally fitting) happy endings, poetic justice, and relentless vengeance. Even at its too-great length it�s a page-turner, because the reader sympathizes with Dantès and wants to know what will happen next and how Dantès will achieve his vengeance. While the dialogue is dated in style and at times over-heated, Dumas usually uses it rather than endless reams of description (ala Hugo) to advance matters. The awkward introductory sections of other Victorian novels is lacking; Dumas gets things going immediately.

And looming above everything else is the character of Edmond Dantès. He begins as an innocent, almost a naïf, but after he is imprisoned and disillusioned he becomes another man entirely, the superior, alienated hero who was a staple of Dumas� work. Dantès is very proud and very cold, but not entirely inhuman. Although he does not forgive Mercédès and is markedly unkind to her, he does not crush her utterly, as he does with Mondego. And Dantès even allows Danglars to live, a somewhat curious decision on his part, as it is Danglars more than anyone else who was responsible for Dantès� years in jail. Dantès is passionate, but his passion, after his escape from D�If, runs to revenge rather than love. He is smart and quick-witted; he is well-educated; he is extremely rich; he is a crack shot and a good swordsman; he is well-travelled; and he treats his servants very well, both in respect and payment, as long as they obey him. In other words, he is a superior being. Dumas loved the idea of the superior being who righted wrongs, helped the unfortunate and punished the wicked, and Dantès is one of the most archetypal of these characters. Dantès is also misanthropic, caring only for those close to him or those who have come into contact with him. In looks Dantès is gaunt and pale, being compared by others to Lord Ruthven.

are, Roland. Roland Dare was created by Harry Blyth and appeared in at least one story, beginning with �Fighting the Fire! Or, The Fireman�s Secret� (Pluck #5, 22 December 1894). Blyth was the creator of Sexton Blake and of Gideon Barr. "Roland Dare, the greatest fireman America ever had," was a Scotsman who learned how to fight fires in Scotland before moving to San Francisco, the "greatest Metropolis of the American states.� In his first appearance he fights fires and solves a murder mystery. His solving of the mystery is of particular importance to him because he is framed for the murder. The bad guy turns out to be Digby Cream, his old enemy from Scotland and the evil suitor for the hand of kind, sweet Ninian, Roland�s fiancée. Dare is of note because he is one of the few heroic fireman to appear in dime novels or story papers.

aunt, Dick. Dick Daunt first appeared in "In the Phantom City; or, the Adventures of Dick Daunt," which was written by "Allyn Draper" and which first appeared in Young Men of America from October 26 to December 7 1882. "Allyn Draper" was a Tousey house pseudonym; the true author of Dick Daunt's adventures is unknown. Dick Daunt and three other stalwart members of the Harvard Class of 1876 decide to spend a year wandering around Central America. (As far as I know this "Dick Daunt" is a separate character from the star of J.G. Bradley's Dick Daunt, the diver (1886)) They ship down to Belize and work their way inland, encountering stampeding herds of bisons as well as "wolves, bears, panthers, hyenas, lions, and other wild beasts." While in Guatemala they hear rumors of a Phantom City, and the four Americans go looking for it, killing various "savages" along the way. They find it, naturally; it is walled, about five miles in circumference, and surrounded by corn fields. The city is called "Attella" and its inhabitants "Attellaneans;" they are red-skinned, but lighter than the natives, and with frizzy hair. The ruling family of Attella are light-skinned Mediterranean types. The first encounter between Daunt and his Harvard chums and the Attellaneans is a fight which ends with the Attellaneans running and Daunt calling them "a cowardly lot of curs." The Attellaneans send an enormous army out at the Harvard boys, but armed with modern weaponry they are more than a match for the Attellaneans, who surrender via their interpreter, the very attractive Princess Elda. She explains that the Attellaneans were originally Peruvians and fled to Attella after the Spanish conquest; they remained in hiding since then for fear of being conquered. Daunt & Co. make friends with Elda and her father, the king, who gives Daunt his blessing before he dies. Dick is quite taken with Elda, but the other three Harvard boys look down on her because of her clothing, which "displayed more of human female charms than they had ever seen before." There is some animosity displayed by the Attellanean rebels towards Dick et al., and this results in a revolt; the rebels capture Dick, his friends, and Elda, but Dick leads an escape and beats the rebels, personally killing their leaders, a venomous high priest and an evil nobleman. Dick stays on as Elda's husband and the new king of Attella and the other Harvard boys return to the US.

ead Valley. The Dead Valley was created by Ralph Adams Cram and appeared in �The Dead Valley� (Black Spirits & White, 1895). Cram (1863-1942), despite the good quality of his ghost stories, is far better known as a church architect (he�s said to be the greatest America has ever produced), proponent of the Gothic revival in American architecture, and cultural commentator and advocate for the ideals of the Middle Ages (Cram thought poorly of modern life). But although he was a crank in his political and cultural ideas, Cram was a fine writer of horror stories, and �The Dead Valley� is one of his best.

The narrator of �The Dead Valley� talks about his friend, Olof Ehrensvärd, who �by reason of a strange and melancholy mischance of his early boyhood� moved to America from Sweden. Olof tells the narrator a story from his youth. Olof was only twelve when he and his friend Nils went to Engelholm on market day. While there they find a puppy who so charms them that they plead with the puppy�s owner not to sell the pupper until they can return the following week with the money to buy him. The owner agrees, but Nils and Olof are so eager to get the dog that they begin thinking that the owner, and old man, might go ahead and sell him. So they get permission from their parents to go over the hills to Hallsberg, where the old man lives, and buy the dog; the boys would stay that night with Nils� aunt, and then return, being home by sunset.

So they go and get the dog, bearing with repeated injunctions before they go that they must leave for home early, so they can be back before nightfall. They get the dog and spend the night with Nils� aunt, but they get a late start, wasting time at a shooting range, and so aren�t on their way until afternoon and are making their way up the side of a mountain as the sun sets. They are nearly at the top of the main range of the mountains when �life seemed to go out of everything, leaving the world dead, so suddenly silent the forest became, so stagnant the air.� They halt, and hear nothing�total silence, with no animal or insect life evident at all. They become frightened, the puppy horribly so, and then they hear an unearthly cry, �beginning as a low, sorrowful moan, rising to a tremulous shriek, culminating in a yell that seemed to tear the night in sunder and rend the world as a cataclysm. This terrifies them, and they panic and flee, running down the mountain in a headlong rush, ignoring path and landmark. They find themselves among the foothills, and ignorant of their location, and so they set off across the hills, suffering through the same silence and �dead, motionless air� and carrying the poor, helpless dog.

They surmount one moor and find themselves overlooking a large, smooth valley, filled with a heavy, dead white mist, moving and palpitating in the moonlight, a mist that frightens them both but lies directly ahead of them. As soon as Olof puts a foot in the fog, he feels a deathly chill, and both he and Nils know they must flee. They do, racing up the side of the mountain, chased by the mist. They escape it, but Olof passes out, though not before hearing Nils say that the dog is dead.

When Olof comes to, three weeks have passed, and he�s been suffering from �brain fever.� No one credits his story, chalking it up to the fever, and Nils denies everything, having blanked it from his mind. Olof finally resolves to discover for himself the truth of what happened that night, so when he�s healthy he returns to the valley�in the daytime, of course, Olof being no fool. He�s initially feeling confident and fine, but when he finds the dog�s body, he�s frightened again. He presses on and finds the valley, a large smooth bowl, a �great oval basin,� stripped clean of life, full of only �a vast expanse of beaten clay.� At its basin is a �great dead tree, rising leafless and gaunt into the air.� Olof goes to the tree, noticing that the valley is completely absent even of insect life. Olof finds the tree surrounded by a huge white mound of bones, thousands of them, from rodents and birds to the occasional human skull. As Olof is staring at the tree a falcon high above cries out and falls dead on to the mound of bleaching bones. Olof, horrified, rushes for home, running on and on, only to find that he has been running in a circle around the tree. The sun is setting, and his feet seem stuck to the earth as in a nightmare. He sees the mist gathering and finally summons up the will to escape from the valley, though just barley. Olof hears the cry that so terrified him originally, and then he escapes from the Dead Valley.

�The Dead Valley� is a crackerjack horror story about a classic horror fiction Bad Place. The story is folklorish in its refusal to explain the Valley�s existence or to pretend that Olof is any sort of hero or that any sort of positive resolution or defeat of the Valley is possible. Olof stumbles upon the Valley and is lucky to escape with only a three-week bout of �brain fever.� Nils was less lucky, getting hysterical amnesia, and the poor puppy unluckier still. Cram�s style is unaffected and clean; he draws you in with a straightforward telling, wasting little space on irrelevancies. For all of that, however, he�s excellent at describing the imagery of the Valley. The story is greatly reliant on landscape and nature imagery to convey the horror of what Olof finds, and Cram is quite successful at describing those images. The image of the �skeleton tree,� surrounded by the huge mound of bleached bones, is a chilling one, and the moment when the falcon falls dead before Olof is nicely frightening.

The Dead Valley is, simply, a Bad Place, a locus of horror and evil. It may not be sentient�it�s unclear where the maddening cry comes from, whether the Valley or the animals the Valley kills�or is just enchanted, so that even Olof has to concentrate hard to break the hypnotic spell of the place. We�re left with more questions than answers about the Valley: what is stripping the bones of the dead bodies in the Valley? Was there a cause for the valley becoming as it did? But the readers know that it is a Bad Place, an accursed, deadly location, and one to be avoided.

ee, John. This fictional version of John Dee was created by William Ainsworth and appeared in Guy Fawkes (1841). William Harrison Ainsworth (1805-1882) is best known as the writer of Gothics and historical novels, including the fabulously successful Rookwood (1834) and The Lancashire Witches (1849), the latter of which was the source for Terry Pratchett's witches. (Ainsworth also created Barbara Lovell). Ainsworth has not aged particularly well, but his work still has its moments, and at his peak he was outselling Charles Dickens. And John Dee, of course, was the mystic, scientist, and astrologer to Queen Elizabeth I, as well as one of the founders of England's spy system. (If you want to learn more about him I'd advise going to the John Dee Society website). In popular legend and in fiction, though, Dee has been portrayed as everything from a conjuror of angels to the Shakespeare's Prospero to the source of the Spanish Armada's demise (he put a hex on them, see) to one of John Crowley's best characters. He's quite a rich subject for fiction, having wreathed himself in myths while still alive.

Naturally, Ainsworth doesn't disappoint when it comes to his version of John Dee. Ainsworth's Guy Fawkes is a long, wordy, and quite typically early Victorian novel about the gunpowder plot of 1605 and Guy Fawkes' role in it. It's all rather tedious, frankly, and although the novel, like all of Ainsworth's work, has the occasional scene still of interest, for the most part it's a long yawn. But Doctor John Dee is also in it, and he's fun. Ainsworth's John Dee is "the warden of Manchester, the famous Doctor Dee...divine, mathematician, astrologer,--and if report speaks truly, conjuror." When first we meet Doctor Dee he's robbing a grave, along with his sidekick, "the no-less celebrated Edward Kelley, the doctor's assistant, or, as he is ordinarily termed, his seer." Unfortunately for Guy Fawkes, he denounces Doctor Dee: "How now, ye impious violators of the tomb! ye worse than famine-stricken wolves, that rake up the dead in churchyards!"

Now, you just can't talk to Doctor Dee like that, not if you expect to live. Dee tosses the contents of a small phial over Fawkes, paralysing him, and tells Fawkes,

You will henceforth acknowledge and respect my power...were it my pleasure, I could bury you twenty fathoms deep in the earth beneath our feet; or, by invoking certain spirits, convey you to the summit of yon lofty tower...and hurl you from it headlong. But I content myself with depriving you of motion, and leave you in possession of sight and speech, that you may endure the torture of witnessing what you cannot prevent.
(Let's just say that Doctor Dee is a trifle proud and doesn't like being called "impious." But don't worry--Fawkes and Doctor Dee get on better after this awkward introduction). Ainsworth's Doctor Dee is a sorcerer as well as a conjuror, and is more than a little imperious, as you can tell from his speech above. He can summon the spirits of the recently departed and speak with them, he can observe events from afar via his "arts," he can see the future with the help of his "magic glass," an actual crystal ball, and he has a magic elixir that can cure almost all wounds and ills.

Unfortunately, Dee's only in Guy Fawkes for a short time, leaving the reader with an excess of verbiage to slog through.

de Loredani, Victoria. Victoria de Loredani was created by Charlotte Dacre and appeared in Zofloya: Or, The Moor (1806). As with a few entries on this site, Victoria de Loredani was created before Victoria�s reign. But the chewy and entertaining Gothic novels--and Zofloya certainly is one of them--deserve to be on this site as much as anything else, and so I�m exercising Web Master�s Fiat and including them here.

Charlotte Dacre (1782-?) was a British poet and author of various Gothic fiction. She was famous in her day for her work, under the pseudonym of �Rose Matilda.� Zofloya was somewhat infamous in its day, both for its portrayal of female sexual desire and for its influence on Shelley when he was young. Zofloya is good for this site and for readers interested in the unusual because it has not one but two interesting characters. The first is Victoria de Loredani, and the second is Zofloya.

Victoria de Loredani is a beautiful, intelligent woman living in Venice in the 15th century. She is quite beautiful, and all the men who meet her find her irresistable. She�s also amazingly libidinous, with an enormous taste for physical love. That is, she likes sex, lots of it and with lots of people. She�ll stop at nothing to have whatever man she sets her sites on. She�s also cruel, enjoying not only the seduction but the heart-break she causes. She is, in other words, a female version of Matthew Lewis� monk Ambrosio. Victoria�s character comes in part from a corrupt upbringing (her brother Leonardo is almost as evil as Victoria is and was the one who introduced her to a life of sin) but mostly because she just enjoys being herself. Victoria is also the leader of a group of banditti, and enjoys running with them.

Unfortunately for Victoria, her latest choice in victims is Henriquez, a virtuous man who is served by Zofloya, a mysterious Moor. Henriquez resists Victoria for a time, but she drugs him, kills his wife, and then has her way with them. But when Victoria meets Zofloya, it�s all up for her (he even inserts himself into her daydreams), and she becomes fascinated with him, allowing herself to be seduced by him. He seems to exercise various powers, including creating poisons which can kill or change love to hate. At the end of the novel, when Victoria and her gang of thugs are trapped in a cave, surrounded by soldiers. Zofloya promises to save Victoria if she agrees to devote herself to him. She agrees, and he reveals himself as "the sworn enemy of all created nature, by men called--SATAN!" and �whirls her headlong down the dreadful abyss!�

Neat stuff, eh?

emon Duelist. The Demon Duelist was created by Colonel Thomas Hoyer Monstery and appeared in �The Demon Duelist; or, The League of Steel. A Story of German Student Life� (Beadle�s New York Dime Library, v10 n126, 23 March 1881). Colonel Monstery (1824-1901) was one of the more interesting characters of the 19th century, a fencing teacher whose life was colorful enough and whose reputation was impressive enough for Edgar Rice Burroughs to name drop Monstery as the fencing instructor in The Mad King (1914) and for no less than Frederick Whittaker to write a dime novel about him: �The Sword Prince: The Romantic Life of Colonel Monstery, American Champion-at-Arms� (Beadle�s Boys Library of Sport, Story & Adventure 28, 24 May 1882).

�The Demon Duelist� is a very interesting dime novel, produced with greater skill than similar stories and containing the kind of bloodthirstiness and gore not seen since the Gothics. Set in 1816 in Heidelberg, Germany, at the University, it is about Emil St. George, the Count of St. George, a Frenchman whose brother, a General under Napoleon, was killed by the Prussians while a prisoner. St. George himself was decorated by Napoleon on the morning of Waterloo. But Napoleon lost and was exiled, and St. George was left embittered because of the loss and with a burning hatred for all Prussians because of the ignoble way in which his father was killed. So Emil enrolls in the University. Now, this being the University of Heidelberg, dueling is all the rage, and there are five Corps: the White Caps, made up of Austrians; the Red Caps, made up of Prussians; the Green Caps, made up of Bavarians; and the Blue and Yellow Caps. The rivalry between the Corps is intense, and duels, though outlawed, are a daily occurrence. Emil does not join any one of the Corps, but is on good terms with all of them�except the Red Caps, who he takes particular pleasure in picking quarrels with. He doesn�t fight any of the other Corps unless they insist, but he goes out of his way to provoke fights with the Red Caps. Such quarrels always result in duels, and such duels, which Emil insists on fighting a l�outrance rather than in armor, always result in Emil killing his opponent, rather than just scarring him, as is the custom. Emil fights at least one duel a week, sometimes against four or more men in a row, and not only kills his opponent but displays a terrifying skill with the short sword and saber. It is because of his bloodthirstiness, and the evil smile across his face as he fights, that he is known at school as the �Demon Duelist.�

At the same time a gang of bandits is ravaging the countryside, preying on travelers. Their secret is that they are all veterans of Napoleon�s Grande Armee, and Emil is their chief, leading them on raids and shielding them from the students. This gang only robs Prussians�they did not surrender at Waterloo and are continuing the war as best they can. Per Emil�s orders, however, they refuse to victimize any women. (Emil may be hell with the blade but he�s otherwise a gentleman). This state of affairs continues until Emil and his gang hold up a coach in which rides, among others, a beautiful young woman. Emil refuses to rob her but also refuses to identify himself, telling her to call him �Karl Moor� (see the Karl von Moor entry. The woman is taken with Emil, but as it turns out she is Emilia, the sister of Steinmark, a Prussian who is the best swordsman of the Red Caps and is known as �Devilshead� for his ferocity and skill. After Steinmark is told about Emil�s depredations, he vows to fight Emil, the Demon Duelist, and forms a �League of Steel� of all the Red Caps to trap Emil and force him to fight Steinmark. But Emil by this time has taken a leave of absence from the University due to his having slaughtered four men in a duel, and so Steinmark does not encounter him. Steinmark does, however, encounter Emil�s sister, Diane, the Countess of St. George, with whom he establishes an interesting flirtation.

Some months later, in St. Petersburg, Russia, Emil (now posing as �Monsieur Dion, le Comte de Mauprat�) and Steinmark meet. Countess Diane and Emilia von Steinmark are there as well, and Steinmark and Diane fall in love, as do Emil and Emilia. Emil and Steinmark duel, with Emil the victor�but for Emilia�s sake he spares Steinmark�s life. Steinmark accidentally kills Diane and is heartbroken; Emil decides that he can�t be with Emilia, and treats the remorseful Steinmark in a very brutal way. Emil eventually becomes a Marshall of France and dies on the field of �Sedan� (sic), while Steinmark thinks well of Emil to the very end.

�The Demon Duelist� is better written than most dime novels and much more intense. Emil�s hatred for the Prussians is intense, and his bloodthirstiness is remarkable. One duel is provoked when a Red Cap throws a glass full of ale in Emil�s face. Emil�s response is to pick up the glass and tell the man that he, Emil, will fill the mug with the man�s blood before the man dies. In the duel following Emil does just that, cutting the man�s throat and filling the mug with the man�s blood. In another duel Emil disarms his opponent and then kills him. �The Demon Duelist� is really quite remarkable for its violence and its attitude toward violence; Monstery was no stranger to real life bloodshed, and he invests �The Demon Duelist� with an air of charged violence and an almost nonchalant attitude towards killing. Emil positively revels in the deaths of his opponents. Monstery also puts his personal knowledge of dueling and Heidelberg to good use in �The Demon Duelist,� creating a convincing (for dime novels, of course) portrayal of the time and place.

Emil is very handsome. Young-looking, he has an aquiline face and skin tone which betray his southern/Mediterranean heritage. He has long black hair and �dangerous eyes.� He is a gentleman toward all, except the Prussians, toward whom he is quite cruel and pitiless.

emon of the Night. A Demon of the Night was created by M.R. James and appeared in "Canon Alberic's Scrap-Book" (1893, first published in the National Review in March 1895). Montague Rhodes James (1862-1936) was the Dean and later provost of King's College in Cambridge and was in his lifetime one of the foremost medievalists in Europe. As far as this site is concerned, however, he is one the top writers of the supernatural, both during his lifetime and afterwards. In the words of E.F. Bleiler, "His first collection, Ghost-Stories of an Antiquary, is generally taken to mark the beginning of the modern era of supernatural fiction." "Canon Alberic's Scrap-Book" is a fine way to begin your reading of James, as it was for me.

In the spring of 1883 an English academic, Dennistoun, arrives at the decayed town of St. Bertrand de Comminges. St. Bertrand is not far from Toulouse and was the site of a bishopric until the Revolution and is the site of a cathedral. Dennistoun had come to St. Bertrand to see the church, to take notes and photographs. To do so he needs the company of the verger/sacristan, a wizened old man who has a "curious furtive or rather hunted and oppressed air" about him; he keeps looking over behind him, and his shoulders are perpetually hunched, "as if he were expecting every moment to find himself in the clutch of an enemy." The verger's nervousness does not infect Dennistoun, who is too absorbed in his photographs and note-taking to really become anxious, but he does notice two oddities. Dennistoun later tells the narrator, "Once...I could have sworn I heard a thin metallic voice laughing high up in the tower. I darted an inquiring glance at my sacristan...'It is he--that is--it is no one; the door is locked,' was all he said...." Dennistoun also examines a painting of St. Bertrand; the picture is faded with age, but the caption of the painting reads, in Latin, "How St. Bertrand delivered a man whom the Devil long sought to strangle."

When the day ends the sacristan invites Dennistoun to his home: "if monsieur is amateur des vieux livres, I have at home something that might interest him." Dennistoun, seized by the notion of finding some invaluable and previously lost manuscript, agrees and accompanies the verger to his home. The verger's daughter, when they come home, is clearly afraid for them, and when told "he was laughing in the church" is terrified. The verger shows Dennistoun the book, a large folio, possibly bound in the late 17th century, with the arms of Canon Alberic de Mauleon on the front. The folio is obviously quite valuable, containing very rare material. But in the back of the book are two sheets of paper which Canon Alberic used for his own work. On one sheet is a plan of part of the church, along with writing in Latin: "Answers of the 12th of December, 1694. It was asked: Shall I find it? Answer: Thou shalt. Shall I become rich? Thou wilt. Shall I live an object of envy? Thou wilt. Shall I die in my bed? Thou wilt."

There is also a painting of King Solomon confronting something awful. Four of Solomon's troops, quite horrified, surround the something, and a fifth soldier lies dead on the ground; Solomon himself is horrified and disgusted but is confident in his power over the thing. The creature is skeletal but quite muscular, covered with coarse, thick black hair, taloned claws, burning yellow eyes, and in sum is an "appalling effigy." Dennistoun is frightened by the picture but is determined to have the book, which the verger lets go for the relatively small sum of 250 francs. Dennistoun tries to pay more, but the verger will only accept 250 francs. When Dennistoun leaves the verger's daughter presses on him a silver crucifix. Back at the inn the landlady is obviously alarmed at hearing that Dennistoun bought a book from the verger. Dennistoun reads the book in his room, charmed by it, but also gripped by a growing feeling of discomfort, resulting in "a conviction that there was someone behind him, and that he was far more comfortable with his back to the wall." The crucifix the verger's daughter gave him is a bit heavy and so he takes it off. And then he notices an object on the red cloth next to his left elbow. He can't figure out what it is, at first, so he looks closely at it and realizes that it's the hand of the creature in the picture in the book. The creature resolves itself out of the darkness and stands up behind Dennistoun's seat as he flies out of his chair. He's horrified, seized with "the intensest physical fear and the most profound mental loathing," and grabs the crucifix; there's a confused moment of the creature moving at him and he screaming, and then he passes out. Two serving men rush in and find him unconscious but alone.

The next morning the verger comes in and says, "It is he--it is he! I have seen him myself." On being questioned he will only say, "Deux fois je l'ai vu; mille fois je l'ai senti" (I've seen him twice; I've felt him a thousand times). Dennistoun later quotes Ecclesiasticus: "Some spirits there be that are created for vengeance, and in their fury lay on sore strokes." On the back of the frightful drawing are lines which read "The Dispute of Solomon with a demon of the night. Drawn by Alberic de Mauleon...o Lord, make haste to help me...Saint Bertrand, who puttest devils to flight, pray for me most unhappy. I saw it first on the night of Dec. 12, 1694; soon I shall see it for the last time. I have sinned and suffered, and have more to suffer yet....�

There are certain names to conjure with among the late Victorian and Edward horror writers: Arthur Machen (creator of The Great God Pan, among others), Algernon Blackwood, and Robert Chambers, among others. M.R. James is in their company, and deservedly so. James� work is sometimes described as �donnish horror,� in the same way that the work of Michael Innes and other, similar writers is described as �donnish mysteries,� but I don�t think that�s a particularly helpful way to describe James� work. James puts his knowledge of antiquities to good use and often has academics as his main characters, but rather than using an academic setting James usually sends his professorial protagonists out into the world. James� work is erudite, of course, but he carries his knowledge lightly, so that one isn�t bludgeoned with it (as, for example, in the work of Robertson Davies, to take a name more or less at random), but rather informed by it. James� narrative style is conversational, but the phrasing is modern and naturalistic, and his descriptions, though short, are vivid enough to be memorable. He does very well at building an ominous environment, so that the readers� fright builds as the danger does. One way in particular James does this is by having the protagonist/victim warned about what is to befall him and for the protagonist to ignore the warning(s), so that the reader knows what is coming but the protagonist does not or thinks it unlikely.

All of these aspects of James� work are on display in �Canon Alberic�s Scrap-Book.� Dennistoun is warned about what�s coming but ignores the warnings, which of course adds to the scare when the demon of the air finally appears. There are a couple of chilling moments in the story, actually, but the appearance of the demon, behind the chair in which Dennistoun is sitting, is the best of them. James adds a different kind of scare in the picture in the folio and the Latin writing on the picture; in what the writing implies about St. Bertrand and the demon of the night, the reader will likely receive a less visceral and more intellectual chill. Interestingly, James lets us know relatively early in the story that Dennistoun survives whatever is going to occur to him, so that the prospect of his death is not one of the concerns of the readers. This in some small way reduces the terror of the story, although it�s plenty scary as it is.

The description of the demon of the night in the picture is given as follows

I entirely despair of conveying by any words the impression which this figure makes upon anyone who looks at it. I recollect once showing the photograph of the drawing to a lecturer on morphology - a person of, I was going to say, abnormally sane and unimaginative habits of mind. He absolutely refused to be alone for the rest of that evening, and he told me afterwards that for many nights he had not dared to put out his light before going to sleep. However, the main traits of the figure I can at least indicate. At first you saw only a mass of coarse, matted black hair; presently it was seen that this covered a body of fearful thinness, almost a skeleton, but with the muscles standing out like wires. The hands were of a dusky pallor, covered, like the body, with long, coarse hairs, and hideously taloned. The eyes, touched in with a burning yellow, had intensely black pupils, and were fixed upon the throned King with a look of beast-like hate. Imagine one of the awful bird-catching spiders of South America translated into human form, and endowed with intelligence just less than human, and you will have some faint conception of the terror inspired by this appalling effigy. One remark is universally made by those to whom I have shown the picture: 'It was drawn from the life.'
When it appears later, this is what Dennistoun sees:
The shape, whose left hand rested on the table, was rising to a standing posture behind his seat, its right hand crooked above his scalp. There was black and tattered drapery about it; the coarse hair covered it as in the drawing. The lower jaw was thin - what can I call it? -shallow, like a beast's; teeth showed behind the black lips; there was no nose; the eyes, of a fiery yellow, against which the pupils showed black and intense, and the exulting hate and thirst to destroy life which shone there, were the most horrifying features in the whole vision. There was intelligence of a kind in them - intelligence beyond that of a beast, below that of a man.

ene, Dorcas. Dorcas Dene was the creation of George R. Sims and appeared in Dorcas Dene, Detective (1897). I've been unable to discover whether the stories were published separately before being collected in Dorcas Dene, but I assume they were. (Such was usually the case). Sims (1847-1922) was an English writer and journalist; another of his creations, an early policeman character, will appear on this site sooner or later.

The Dorcas Dene stories are rather enjoyable, more so in some respects than some other female detectives' stories. (Yes, Amelia Butterworth, I'm looking at you). As Dorcas Lester she was a very successful stage actress; her father died unexpectedly, leaving her and her mother with large bills, and so she took to the stage to pay them off. However, Dorcas's painter husband, Paul Dene, was struck blind by an illness, which forced her to leave the stage and find a job which would pay her enough to support her and pay for her husband's medicine and treatments. The Denes' next door neighbor, a retired superintendent of police turned consulting detective, used her on one case, and she proved so capable at the job that he took her on as a partner. When he retired he sent her all his customers, and so she went solo, becoming an independent consulting detective. She's quite good at it, becoming known as "the famous lady detective." She is well-known and respected by the lawyers and policemen who call on her when a case can't otherwise be solved. She's even consulted by the head of the "French detective police" on certain delicate investigations, such as one involving the son of one of the noblest houses in France. She is assisted by Saxon, the narrator of the stories. He is a playwright who gave her some parts while she was still acting and later, when she began detecting, became first her friend and then her Watson.

She is an actual consulting detective in the Holmes style. Clients come to see her at her house, even at late and unladylike hours. While active on a case she is away from home for days and even weeks on end. While on the job she uses disguises, asks questions of anyone who might prove useful, eavesdrops, enlists herself in the service of suspects, and generally uses her skills as an actress to help her catch the criminals. She's a close observer of people and places and sees things others miss. She's modest about her own talents, but she doesn't have any reason to be. She's intelligent, fearless, possessed of a good deal of sang froid, and is fearless--much more so than Saxon. Dorcas is always game for a hunt, and finds the work very interesting, but she's mortal and gets tired after weeks of investigating. She isn't infallible and makes mistake, but she readily admits to them. When a case becames too difficult for her, or if there's a specific problem she's having trouble solving, she turns to her "Council of Four:" Mrs. Lester, her mother-in-law, who is a bossy shrew but who has a bull-headed, common sense approach to things that sometimes points out things that Dorcas has overlooked; Paul, who is not distracted by vision and so sees things which Dorcas overlooks; and Toddlekins, Dorcas' bulldog, who is very protective of Dorcas.

Dorcas Dene is very much a middle class detective dealing with middle class clients and middle class crimes. The criminals are thieves and swindlers, bigamists, and even a man attempting to kill a woman by "alcoholic starvation." The stories themselves are fairly standard woman detective stories, and Dorcas is a fairly standard woman detective, but the characterisation of Paul and Mrs. Lester is relatively well done, and there's a clear affection between Dorcas and Paul. Sims' style in telling the stories is utilitarian. The mysteries are adequate, and the stories are genial and quick-reading, if not immortal.

Derelict Hunters. A group of "young men" whose job was salvaging wrecked, abandoned, and out-of-luck ships, the Derelict Hunters appeared in The Popular Magazine starting in January 1904. I've been unable to read their stories to date, but will be getting to them soon and will increase the information here when I can.

etectives. There were, of course, a large number of fictional detectives in Victorian literature. Doyle's Sherlock Holmes was hardly the first, and while he was arguably the most prominent and popular he had a number of challengers. However, as with the Lady Detectives (see their entry below), I have not devoted extensive time and space to them, and will include most of them here, rather than giving them separate entries. For some of these detectives, I haven't read their adventures, so I can't describe the characters in detail. For others, they are--let's be honest--mediocre and unremarkable, and not worth a separate entry of their own.

Paul Beck was created by M. McDonnell Bodkin, the creator of Dora Myrl (see her entry in Lady Detectives). Beck first appeared in "Murder by Proxy," which appeared in Pearson's Magazine in 1897. Beck is known as the "rule-of-thumb" detective because that is how he says he solves his cases: "I have no more system than the hound that gets on the fox's scent and keeps on it. I just go by the rule of my thumb, and muddle and puzzle out my cases as best I can." His best happens to be fairly good; he has a well-earned reputation of being the cleverest detectives in London, who succeeds when all others failed. Sun-tanned and weather-beaten, with light brown hair and reddish-brown whiskers, he always looks pleasant, even genial, and his smile is quite innocent. He carries himself with a very friendly air, and is relaxed, though methodical, in his investigations...except in the courtroom, where he can be remorseless. Usually, though, he is placid and composed in manner. He ends up working with Dora Myrl in a later investigation, and after sundry adventures they marry, producing a son who carries on the family tradition. The Paul Beck stories aren't really that extraordinary; Beck's pleasant, firm, placid manner is amusing, but other than that there's not much to him or his stories.

Broadway Billy was created by J.C. Cowdrick and appeared in Beadle's Half Dime Library from 1892 through 1894. He was a bootblack in New York City (working the Broadway, of course) who aims to be a self-made man and works hard towards that end by succeeding as a detective. He has a number of successes and gains the confidence of the chief police inspector of New York City (who is clearly meant to be Thomas Byrnes (1842-1910), the most prominent police chief of this time and the man responsible for turning the New York City police force into an efficient, professional organization). Billy and his best friends James "Skinny Callahan" and Roger Watts succeed in escaping from the curbside and become professional detectives, with Billy traveling first to England and then to the Continent. Near the end of the series he hires two assistants, Happy Harry and Silent Seth.

Bob Brooks appeared in The Bob Brooks Library from 1893 to 1894; his author is unknown. He is a young and peppy chief of detectives in New York City, reporting to Thomas Byrnes (see Broadway Billy's entry above) but investigating crime in every city. He has Mum, a boy assistant, and Kit, a girl assistant, with his third assistant, Eddie Hart, appearing much later. To quote the worthy J. Randolph Cox, the Bob Brooks issues feature "stories in which the villains are more prominent and more interesting than the detective." Brooks himself was an imitation of Nick Carter.

Thaddeus Burr was created by George C. Kelly and appeared in Beadle's Dime Library from 1892 through 1895. He was a married detective in NYC under the command of Thomas Byrnes (see Broadway Billy's entry above).

Tony Clark was created by Alfred Tozer and appeared in Magnet Library and New Magnet Library from 1904 to 1911. He was a detective in New York City.

Jeff Clayton was created by the pseudonymous "William Ward" and appeared in Adventure Series from 1910 through 1912. He is a NYC detective who is assisted by Snoopy Havens and Harper Gordon and by his Chinese manservant Pong. Among his enemies were Jesse James himself. Clayton's adventures may have been rewritten Sexton Blake stories. Even more interestingly, in Boys' Best Weekly #54 Clayton has the following phone conversation while requesting a bloodhound: "Yes...I've wired to Tinker to send Pedro down by the next train." The allusions, of course, are to Sexton Blake's assistant and bloodhound, respectively, thus making this a sort of team-up.

Calvert Cole was created by T.W. King and appeared in Old Cap Collier Library in 1897 and 1898. He was a Californian detective who was shown, in the stories, as being married with a son, a rather unusual state of affairs for a dime novel detective.

Burt Cromwell appeared in Magnet Library and New Magnet Library from 1905 to 1911. He was an ordinary detective.

Dash Dare was created by Edward Stratemeyer and appeared in Old Cap Collier Library in 1892. He is essentially a copy of Nick Carter.

Dick Doom was created by Prentiss Ingraham and appeared in Beadle's Half-Dime Library in 1892 and 1893. His real name was Richard Granger, and he was a boy detective, located in New Orleans. He was orphaned as a boy but felt that it was his destiny to become a detective and so began fighting crime as a kid, defeating a counterfeiting ring in N'awlins and becoming an agent of the Secret Service. His duties carried him as far North as Chicago and Boston, and he eventually meets up with his birth mother and learns the meaning of the red leaf birthmark on his chest.

Dodger Dick was created by T.C. Harbaugh and appeared in a short series of stories in Beadle's Half-Dime Library. Dick was a street Arab boy detective.

Dick Dobbs appeared in Dick Dobbs Detective Weekly in 1909. He was a gentleman detective and millionaire who labored under the pseudonym of Dick Dobbs, his real name never being revealed. He had numerous special abilities, from playing the violin to singing to charming poisonous snakes. He is assisted by Shadow Steve, his teenaged biographer. His nemesis is the Red Dagger, an associate agency of the Black Hand. When the Dagger is finally broken, the surviving members form the Brown Thumb and continue to emperil Dobbs and society at large.

Dave Dotson appeared in Old Cap Collier Library in 1894 and 1895. He is a teenaged detective working in New York City and reporting to Inspector Thomas Byrnes (see the Broadway Billy entry above).

Caleb Drage was introduced in Diamond Library n1 (11 October 1907) and also appeared in the Aldine Half-Holiday Library. He was a Sherlock Holmes lift who was assisted in crime-fighting by his school-age son.

T.C. Harbaugh's Felix Fox was a boy detective working in New York City in Beadle's Half-Dime Library.

Gideon Gault appeared in Old Cap Collier Library in 1897 and 1898. He was "the great Brooklyn detective," serving under a character clearly meant to be Inspector Byrnes (see Broadway Billy's entry above).

Guy Clifford's Robert Graceman is another of these undistinguished detectives. Clifford is an author I've not been able to find much about, and as far as I know Graceman only appeared in two stories in The Ludgate Monthly in 1895. Graceman is one of many Sherlock Holmes imitations, and while he's not so nakedly a rip as many others, he's not that much different, either--certainly not worth the reading. (I make these sacrifices for you, Dear Reader, so that you will not have to know the pain that I have known) Clifford's style isn't horrendous, but, honestly, Graceman's adventures have very little to distinguish them from many another Holmes clone.

Clear Grit was a fairly ordinary detective who appeared in Old Cap Collier Library in 1896 and 1897.

Sheridan Keene was created by Frederick Davis and appeared in Shield Weekly from 1900 to 1901. Sheridan Keene was a Boston policeman, working for Chief Inspector Watts (an actual person). He is in his twenties, has blue eyes and chiseled, shaved features, is tall and thin, graceful and strong. He is intelligent but also capable of action, when need be. Interestingly, some of his stories were later reprinted in The New Magnet Library as Nick Carter stories.

Gordon Keith appeared in Brave and Bold Weekly between 1906 and 1907, beginning with #159, "That Boy Checkers; or, Chased Halfway Around the World." His stories were Sexton Blake adventures rewritten with the permission of the British publisher of Blake. As you might expect, Keith is a Blake clone. He is a famous detective and adventurer with a flat on Baker Street. His boy assistant is named Checkers, rather than Tinker; he is also helped by a man named Lord Daker. Keith is a master of disguise, able to speak many languages with ease, and is a world-traveler, having previously spent several years in India and going to many foreign lands over the course of his series. Interestingly, he teams up with Lobangu on a few occasions, one of them being Brave and Bold Weekly #227, 27 April 1907.

Just as Gordon Keith is a Sexton Blake lift, so is Harrison Keith (appearing in New Magnet Library beginning with #93 in 1899) a copy, this time of Nick Carter and done with the permission of Carter�s owners. Keith is a Carter-like adventurous detective who solves cases in New York and around the world with the help of his colleagues Dick Rogers (Chick), Mike Donovan (Patsy), and Hans Brinkerman (Ten-Ichi).

Captain Thomas Kyle was created by Edward A. Cobleigh, an author I've been able to find little about. Kyle appeared in "Perils and Escapes of a Detective," in The New-York Fireside Companion in 1872. According to one critic, this makes Kyle the first detective character on whom a short story series was based. He is, from all accounts (I haven't been able to read "Perils and Escapes" yet, the only copies of Fireside Companion being over a thousand miles away from me), an only lightly altered copy of Allan Pinkerton. Kyle is "Captain Thomas Kyle, of the National Detective Force, from Saint Louis," a rough-and-tough, two-fisted, square-jawed, heroic, upright, virtuous (etc etc etc by now you know the dime novel drill). The fifteen stories in "Perils and Escapes" cover his career from its beginning, when he joins the "National Detective Force," to its end, when he retires, having been involved in the Civil War (on the side of the Union, of course) and expanded the National Detective Force into the West and then to London and Paris.

Larry Murtagh appeared in Old Cap Collier Library from 1893 to 1894. He is a detective of Irish descent who works for Inspector Byrnes (see the Broadway Billy entry) in New York City. He has an unusual amount of independence, being much closer to a gentleman adventurer in his approach than most police detectives.

New York Nat was created by Col. Prentiss Ingraham and appeared in Beadle's Half-Dime Library from 1894 to 1895. His real name is Nathan Chandler, and he is an orphan of unknown origin. He lives in an unused vault in a graveyard in New York City, leading to his nickname of "Graveyard Jack." He fights crime undercover in New York City, posing as a messenger boy,  and reports to the "Chief of the Secret Service Bureau of New York City." He is helped by his sister Olive and by the Boy Police League, who are Shorty, Slim, Chub, Keno, Blow, Teaser, Doc, Flip, Fatty, Parson, Freckles, and Sykes (he's the bad one).

Old Broadbrim appeared in Old Cap Collier Library from 1884 to 1887, and then in Old Broadbrim Weekly in 1902 and 1903. Josiah Broadbrim is a Quaker detective, called "Old Broadbrim" because of his age and his broadbrimmed hat (Quakers were called "broadbrim" because of their headgear). He is, in proper Quaker fashion, a pacifist (only reluctantly using his fists) and given to wearing grey clothing. Josiah is generally soft-spoken, using the Quaker "thee" and other Quaker-ish language. He is also a master of disguise. In his second series he takes on a partner, Harry Wilson, a teen of 15 or 16 who saves Josiah's life. Harry becomes "Young Broadbrim," and solves cases with his friend "Dandy Dick" Burton. Young Broadbrim is somewhat wilder than Josiah, being just as alert, modest, and methodical but more full of vim and vigour. Old Broadbrim also teamed up with Nick Carter in the pages of Old Broadbrim Weekly #46-48, on August 8, 15, and 22, 1903.

Old Search was created by Major A.F. Grant and appeared in Old Cap Collier Library in 1891 and 1892. He is the "greatest detective the country as ever seen" and "renowned for his brilliant work." More than that, though, I can't tell you.

Tod O'Neil is a New York detective who appeared in Old Cap Collier Library. He is a New York City detective.

Joe Phenix was created by Albert W. Aiken and appeared in Saturday Journal and Banner Weekly from 1878 through 1894. He's actually Gilbert Barlee, a bank clerk falsely accused and convicted of theft and sentenced to Sing Sing. He dies, or so it is thought. Gilbert, post-mortem, takes on the new identity of "Joe Phenix" and goes after the men who put him away. For a time he is a spy for the police, but later on he becomes a simple private detective. He is assisted, as a private detective, first by Helen Lodega and later by the Amazonian "actress-detective" Mignon Lawrence. Phenix is grey-eyed, cold and hard, and "one of the most successful man-hunters that the metropolis has ever known."

Rory Rogan appeared in Old Cap Collier Library in 1897. He's an Irishman, living in New York City, given to a heinous Irish brogue and smoking a pipe. He is helped by Patrick Riordan, but is not always successful in solving his cases.

Mark Spicer appeared in Old Cap Collier Library in 1886 and 1887. He is a New England detective, working with partners like "Dr. Trueblood" and "Nervy Nat Noble."

Telegraph Tom appeared in nine stories in Nugget Library and New York Five Cent Library from 1891 to 1893. Tom is a street-smart young man whose job is to deliver telegraph messages but who spends most of his time tracking down evil criminals in Chicago and New York. He learns how to be a detective from Mr. Crane and eventually becomes a full partner in Mr. Crane's detective firm.

V-Spot appeared in Old Cap Collier's Library in five stories in 1896. His real name was H.C. Brown, but he took his sobriquet after the nickname for the five dollar bill. He works in Chicago as a private detective, and is one of the more successful ones in the city. He is "small, dark and quick," clean-shaven with a very short haircut. He acts and may be emotionless and is completely unflappable.

Nat Woods appeared in eleven stories in New York Five Cent Library from 1892 to 1894. He is "one of New York's youngest and most famous detectives," in charge of his own detective agency with at least four people working under him, and so good at what he does that he is occasionally called upon by Superintendent Byrnes (see Broadway Billy's entry above) to help solve cases. He is also famous enough to be recognized by state Senators in Chicago. He is an expert at disguise as well as detection.

Young Sleuth, no relation to Old Sleuth, was created by divers hands and appeared in Boys of New York from 1877 to 1896. He's actually Jack Sleuth, the son of Captain Corney of the New York Police Department, although later issues present contradictory information about him. He's around 18 years old, with light hair, blue eyes, slender hands, and a somewhat androgynous overall appearance, so much so that in at least a few stories he dresses up as a girl and flirts with his own father. (!) Young Sleuth, in the later stories, works with Miles Darke, a police agent, and Jean Guillaume St. Croix Jenkeau, Sleuth's French valet (and comic relief) and a man who was formerly employed by a "celebrated French detective."

evil-Bug. The Devil-Bug was created by George Lippard and appeared in The Quaker City; or, the Monks of Monk Hall (1844-1845). Lippard (1822-1854) was an interesting man. In addition to writing The Quaker City and Ladye Annabel (see the Doomsman entry below), both notable Gothics, he founded the Brotherhood of the Union, a secret society that was violently jingoistic and is seen by some as an ancestor of the KKK.

But I prefer my villains fictional, rather than real, so I�ll move from the KKK to Devil-Bug, the very entertaining protagonist and villain of the very entertaining (and not a little strange) The Quaker City. The Quaker City has been described as the �quintessential porno-Gothic novel,� and it certainly fits that description. In the words of the critic Heyward Ehrlich, Quaker City is �crammed with false identities, disputed inheritances, dubious manuscripts, magical drugs, furtive murder, and living portraits.� Frederick Frank amends this to include �innumerable voyeuristic episodes of cadaverous strip-tease, incestuous rapes, mesmeric sexual assaults, bleeding bosoms, slimy voluptuousness, and quivering close-ups of naked flesh.� The Quaker City really is a trip into Gothic urban Hell; no depths are too far to sink, and no evil too vile for Lippard to rub the readers� faces in it.

Quaker City is about Monk�s Hall, a men�s club in Philadelphia. Monk�s Hall is a combination brothel, gambling den, underground torture hall, and hang-out for criminals, rakes, politicians, and pillars of society wishing to maintain love nests. Beautiful young women are taken to Monk Hall to be seduced or raped. Quaker City features a rotating set of characters, both men and women, and Ravoni, a two-hundred year old alchemist who sets up a cult in Monk Hall, with himself as the cult�s god. (Ravoni can raise the dead and paralyse with one look, so it�s understandable that he�d be worshiped by the weak-minded). Devil-Bug, the doorman of Monk Hall and its de facto ruler, is at first enslaved by Ravoni, but eventually Devil-Bug breaks free of Ravoni�s control and stabs him in the back. More murders follow, and eventually the apocalypse which Devil-Bug has dreamt of comes to Monk Hall, which burns to the ground, taking Devil-Bug with it.

Abijah K. Jones, a.k.a. "Devil-Bug," is the doorman of Monk Hall and is responsible for admitting or denying entrance to its members and visitors. Devil-Bug is a physically ugly cripple of great strength. He essentially rules Monk Hall, and he glories in its depravity. He is himself licentious and cruel, and his appearance shows it:

It was a strange thickset specimen of flesh and blood, with a short body, marked by immensely broad shoulders, long arms and thin distorted legs. The head of the creature was ludicrously large in proportion to the body. Long masses of stiff black hair fell tangled and matted over a forehead, protuberant to deformity. A flat nose with wide nostrils shooting out into each cheek like the smaller wings of an insect, an immense mouth whose heavy lips disclosed two long rows of bristling teeth, a pointed chin, blackened by a heavy beard, and massive eye-brows meeting over the nose, all furnished the details of a countenance, not exactly calculated to inspire the most pleasant feelings in the world. One eye, small black and shapen like a bead, stared steadily in Byrnewood�s face, while the other socket was empty, shrivelled and orbless. The eyelids of the vacant socket were joined together like the opposing edges of a curtain, while the other eye gained additional brilliancy and effect from the loss of its fellow member.

The shoulders of the Devil-Bug, protruding in unsightly knobs, the wide chest, and the long arms with talon-like fingers, so vividly contrasted with the thin and distorted legs, all attested that the remarkable strength of the man was located in the upper part of his body.

...his soul was like his body, a mass of hideous and distorted energy.

Devil-Bug's got a "grindstone voice" and a charming way of speaking:
"So I s'pose," grunted Abijah - "Here Musquito, mark this man - here, Glow-worm, mark him, I say. Thiss is Monk Gusty's friend. Can't you move quicker, you ugly devils?"
(Musquito and Glow-worm are the two "Herculean negroes" (and, regrettably, racist stereotypes) who assist Devil-Bug in policing Monk Hall).

Devil-Bug isn�t a good man, exactly--"the same instinctive pleasure that other men, may feel in acts of benevolence, of compassion or love, warmed the breast of Devil-Bug, when enjoyed in any deed, marked by especial cruelty." But he is haunted by one particular act, his first murder, "six long years" ago:

He riz on his feet. Just as he lays on the floor - in his shirt sleeves, with his jaw broke and his tongue out - he riz on his feet. Didn't he groan? I put him down, I tell ye! Down - down! Ha! What was a sledge hammer to this fist, in that pertikler minnit? Crack, crack went the spring of the last trap-door - and the body feel - the devil knows where - I don't, I put it out of my sight, and yet it came back to me, and crouched down at my side, the next minnit. It's been there ever since.
The corpse continues to dog him, and eventually Devil-Bug begins to long to
lay another corpse beside his solitary victim. Were there, he thought, two corses (sic), ever at his side, the terrible details of the mangled form and crushed countenance of the first would loose half their horror, all their distinctness. He longed to surround himself with the Phantoms of new victims. In the number of his crimes, he even anticipated pleasure.
Devil-Bug is a combination of wretched guilt and sneaking, covert bloodthirstyness. He's also a voyeur, enjoying watching the sins of Vice Hall:
"The trap - the bottle - the fire, for the brother - "he muttered as his solitary eye, glanced upon the Libertine and his struggling victim, neither of whom had marked his entrance - "For the Sister - ha! ha! ha! The 'handsome' Devil-Bug - Monk Gusty - 'tends to her! 'Bijah did'nt (sic) listen for nothin' - ha, ha! this beats the charcoal, quite hollow!"
Devil-Bug's background is as base as the rest of the characters in Quaker City:
Born in a brothel, the offspring of foulest sin and pollution, he had grown from very childhood, in full and continual sight of scenes of vice, wretchedness and squalor.

From his very birth, he had breathed an atmosphere of infamy.

To him, there was no such thing as good in the world.

Devil-Bug does change, somewhat, as the novel goes by. He begins to fear God and believe in His existence and in afterlife punishment after Devil-Bug murders an old woman in Monk Hall. Devil-Bug then learns that he has a daughter, Mabel, from whom he was separated at birth. Devil-Bug begins to long for the cleansing apocalypse, and it eventually comes in the fiery destruction of Monk Hall.

It�s hard to call The Quaker City a good novel. Lippard was no expert storyteller, certainly, and the novel is crudely told, both in terms of subject matter and style. While there are racist and anti-Semitic stereotypes to be found in the book, the overall view of humanity is a dire one. The Quaker City does not set up binary oppositions of blacks=bad/whites=good or Jews=bad/Christians=good; the viewpoint of the novel is humanity=bad, Jews & blacks=worse. But it�s very, very vigorous; the pages are full of energy, and for all its other sins it is never boring. It also has the courage of its convictions; Lippard does not shy away from the worst than he can show us, and his principles, about the awful conditions of the city and of the working class, are consistently adhered to through the novel.

The Quaker City is over-the-top porno-Gothic, but it has momentum and the Devil-Bug, and is worth reading.

evil of the Marsh.The Devil of the Marsh was created by H.B. Marriott-Watson and appeared in �The Devil of the Marsh� (Diogenes of London, 1893). Marriott-Watson was the creator of Marahuna, and I cover him there. �The Devil of the Marsh� is more of a vignette than a story, though I suppose this is part of its allure. The nameless narrator has met a nameless woman on the moors and has fallen in love with her. She insists that they tryst in the depths of the Great Marsh, and so he makes his way there, despite the forbidding and desolate scenery and weather and the strange and unwholesome noises he hears. They embrace, and he vows to take her away from the marsh, but she tells him first that �I am a creature of this place...I had sworn you should behold me in my native sin ere you ravished me away� and then �Look, my friend, you who know me, what I am. This is my prison, and I have inherited its properties. Have you no fear?� He vows he has none, that he does not care about her powers or senses or habits, only that they be together. �She moved her head nearer to me with an antic gesture, and her gleaming eyes glanced up at me with a sudden flash, the similitude (great heavens!) of a hooded snake,� but before she whatever she was going to do next, a horrid creature lurches out of the fog, �its face...white and thing, with long black hair; its body gnarled and twisted as with the ague of a thousand years.� It calls the woman out and tells the man that �She is the Presence of the marshes...the accursed marsh has crept into her soul and she herself is become its Evil Spirit; she herself, that lives and grows young and beautiful by it, has its full power to blight and chill and slay.� The Devil of the Marsh took the creature, he warns, as she plans to take the narrator, and drained him of health, mind, and soul. But the narrator tells him to go away. The creature grabs the Devil, and the mists envelop them, and then the narrator hears �the dim noise of a struggle, a swishing sound, a thin cry, and then the sucking of the slime over something in the rushes.� The narrator rushes forward and sees the Devil looking at the bog and smiling, and he then flees, �and as I ran the thickening fog closed round me, and I heard far off and lessening still the silver sound of her mocking laughter.�

Marriott-Watson does a very good job at conjuring up the atmosphere of the swamp, visually and tactilely, and the Devil is a memorable enough femme fatale in her way, but �The Devil of the Marsh� feels too short by half to me. It is a vignette rather than a story, as I said, and would have been strengthened by the missing first half of the story, where we properly meet the narrator and see how he first meets the Devil. �The Devil of the Marsh� was entertaining, certainly, and the cumulative effect is good enough as it is, but the story could have been a masterpiece had Marriott-Watson expanded it to its proper length.

The Devil of the Marsh is beautiful, and enticing, and seemingly honest to her swain, but there�s something about her cold eyes and heartless laughter that should make foolish, lovestruck men wary.

inglet, Dorothy. Dorothy Dinglet was created by R.S. Hawker and appeared in �The Botathen Ghost� (All The Year Round, 18 May 1867). Robert Stephen Hawker (1803-1875) was the poet vicar and antiquarian of Morwenstow in Cornwall. He�s best known as the author of �The Song of the Western Men,� the unofficial anthem of Cornwall. He was known during his lifetime as an eccentric, and the Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould wrote a kind of biography, The Vicar of Morwenstow (1875). I don�t know if Hawker wrote any other supernatural fiction, but if �The Botathen Ghost� was his only one, it was a fine one to leave behind as his sole output.

Clergy in the west of England in the 17th century were in positions of peculiar power, being geographically isolated and left to run their own parishes in their own way. So individual parsons developed their own habits and tendencies. One of these men was Parson Rudall, a very learned man who was �a powerful minister, in combat with supernatural visitations.� In 1665 a pestilence broke out in his town, which led to Rudall preaching the funeral sermon of one of the local gentry. After the sermon one Mr. Bligh, of the local hamlet of Botathen, approached Rudall and asked him for help. Mr. Bligh�s son was usually high-spirited and a good boy but had lately become sullen and withdrawn, and Mr. Bligh wanted Parson Rudall to see what was wrong. Rudall went to Bligh�s house and there met another minister, who told Rudall what young Master Bligh said was the matter. He was seeing the ghost of Dorothy Dinglet, who he�d known since childhood. Seeing the ghost, who lingered along a path the boy traveled every day, was quenching his spirits. The boy never varied his story, either, which convinced the minister that the boy was telling the truth. Parson Rudall speaks with the boy and decides to walk along the path with the boy. Both see the ghost, and the Parson is left speechless and amazed by her. Rudall tells the boy that he will do what he can. Rudall goes through his books and finds out what is to be done, and then, following Church canon law, visits his bishop and gets his blessing for what is about to happen. The bishop is reluctant to let Rudall perform the exorcism but eventually gives in, and Rudall returns to Botathen and performs the requisite magical ceremony. Rudall traps the ghost in a magic circle and questions her, trying to find out why she is unquiet. Dorothy first proves that she is a true spirit by predicting the plague of the coming year, and then tells Rudall the reason for her return. That night Rudall questions the elder Bligh: �At even-song, a long discourse with that ancient transgressor, Mr. B. Great horror and remorse; entire atonement and penance; whatsoever I enjoin; full acknowledgement before pardon.� The next morning Rudall meets with Dinglet�s ghost again and tells her Mr. Bligh�s penitent words and �the satisfaction he would perform.� She is satisfied and leaves permanently after Rudall dismisses her.

�The Botathen Ghost� is the kind of religious ghost story which is out of vogue now, but which was done, and done well, by a certain kind of clergyman in the 19th century. I�m thinking, for example, of the Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould�s �Master Sacristan Eberhart� and similar stories, which made use of ministers and Christian dogma in neither a didactic nor a contemptuous way. In the 19th century the ghost story had not yet become completely divorced from Christianity, and so it was not unusual for the protagonists and heroes of ghost stories to be ministers and reverends. So, too, with �The Botathen Ghost.� �The Botathen Ghost� is different in tone from �Master Sacristan Eberhart,� less sweet and more learned, but similar in approach. �The Botathen Ghost� didn�t pluck the heart-strings the way that �Master Sacristan Eberhart� did, but it was as entertaining. Hawker creates a setting with a nicely historical feel to it, so that �The Botathen Ghost� reads as if it is a story out of an actual (if idiosyncratically written) contemporary history. �The Botathen Ghost� is based on a real (or �real�) Cornish ghost, but the important point is that �The Botathen Ghost� is written so that it feels real. Lesser writers would not have achieved that. Hawker�s style is sophisticated but also an accurate recreation of 17th century diaries, a combination that in lesser skilled hands would jar but in �The Botathen Ghost� works well. Hawker puts his knowledge of historical Church custom and law, and of medieval sorcerous practices, to fine use. The characterization of Rudall is slyly amusing. Hawker takes a smart approach to the supernatural aspect of the story. The description of what the ghost looks like is vivid and memorable, but the description of her grievance, and what Mr. Bligh�s crime was, if indeed it was a crime and not some kind of accident, are wisely left ambiguous, which leaves �The Botathen Ghost� lacking the neatness of fiction but bearing the messiness of real life.

Dorothy Dinglet�s ghost is not angry. She�s sad, really, and forced to haunt the younger Bligh because that is the law: �we must seek a youth or a maiden of clean age, and under age, to receive messages and admonitions.� Although the fact of her existence is frightening, in appearance she isn�t menacing:

The hair of the not like anything alive, but it is so soft and light that it seemeth to melt away while you look; but her eyes are set, and never blink�no, not when the sun shineth full upon her face. She maketh no steps, but seemeth to swim along the top of the grass; and her hand, which is stretched out away, seemeth to point at something far away, out of sight.

octor Coppelius. Dr. Coppelius was created by E.T.A. Hoffmann and appeared in �Der Sandmann� (�The Sand-Man,� from The Night-Pieces, 1817). Hoffmann (1776-1822) was a major figure of the German Romantic movement and is now remembered for his music and fiction, which is regarded quite highly. Hoffmann is an important historical figure, both in the Romantic movement and in the history of fantastic fiction.

�The Sand-Man� is set in Germany early in the 19th century and is about Nathanael, a young college student. As a child he was terrified by the story of the Sand-man, who

comes to little children when they won�t go to bed and throws handfuls of sand in their eyes, so that they jump out of their heads all bloody; and he puts them into a bag and takes them to the half-moon as food for his little ones; and they sit there in the nest and have hooked beaks like owls, and they pick naughty little boys� and girls� eyes out with them.
His father would often send Nathanael to bed early, saying that the �Sand-man� was coming. When this would happen Nathanael would hear heavy footsteps in the second floor of the house, and these steps would go into his father�s study. Naturally, Nathanael becomes more than a little neurotic. Adding to his miseries is one of his father�s visitors, the old lawyer Coppelius, a grotesque, malicious figure who hates and taunts Nathanael and his siblings. Nathanael is convinced that Coppelius is the Sand-man. One night Nathanael decides to solve the mystery of his father�s visitor, and so hides in the study when he is sure that �the Sand-man� is coming. Nathanael discovers that it is Coppelius who was visiting his father, and that the pair of them were working together on some mysterious project. Coppelius� cry, �Eyes here! Eyes here!� scares Nathanael into screaming. Coppelius is furious at being discovered and tries to throw blind Nathanael, but Nathanael�s father pleads with Coppelius not to do so, and Coppelius satisfies himself by squeezing Nathanael�s limbs and saying, �That�s not quite right altogether! It�s better as it was!�the old fellow knew what he was about.� Nathanael passes out from the pain. When he awakens, Coppelius is gone, and he does not return for a year�s time. When he does, his experiment with Nathanael�s father leads to an explosion which kills Nathanael�s father. Coppelius vanishes again.

Years later, Nathanael and Clara, the sister of Nathanael�s best friend Lothar, exchange letters (most of �The Sand-man� is epistolary). Nathanael, now at university in Italy, tells Clara about how he is bothered by an Italian peddler of optical goods, Coppola, who Nathanael is certain is Coppelius. Nathanael begins to be haunted by his past, and Clara tries persuade him that the only influence Coppelius has over Nathanael is in Nathanael�s mind. Nathanael changes his mind about Coppola�s true identity, but becomes increasingly mentally erratic. Coppola continues to bother Nathanael, and Nathanael buys a �small, very beautifully cut pocket perspective� (a kind of binoculars) from him to make him go away. Nathanael is attending the classes of Professor Spalanzani and falls under the sway of Spalanzani�s daughter Olimpia and furiously woos her, both at a kind of coming out ball for Olimpia and afterwards. Nathanael does not realize that Olimpia is a robot designed to perfectly resemble a beautiful young woman (although she has a very limited vocabulary) until he discovers Spalanzani and Coppola (who turns out to be Coppelius after all) quarreling over Olimpia (Spalanzani describes her as �my best automaton�). Coppelius escapes with Olimpia, but not before Nathanael notices her �pallid waxed face� in which there are �no eyes, merely black holes in their stead; she was an inanimate puppet.� Nathanael has a breakdown, and Clara nurses him back to health. But then Nathanael looks at Clara through the pocket perspective he bought from Coppelius and he sees something which makes him go insane. Nathanael tries to throw Clara out a window, but is prevented from doing so by Clara�s brother. Coppelius is watching the struggle, and when Nathanael sees Coppelius he throws himself through the window and kills himself.

�The Sand-man� is an odd and disturbing story. It�s one of the first psychological horror stories, something which impelled Freud to write �The Uncanny,� his famous analysis of Hoffmann�s story. What makes the story unsettling to readers, even now, is that it�s never clear whether the events are actually taking place or whether Nathanael�s perception of them is seriously at odds with reality. Nathanael�s more than a bit of a self-obsessed wanker�written deliberately so by Hoffmann, I have to add�and so some of his behavior can be ascribed to immaturity, vanity, and stupidity. He reads his poetry to Olimpia, for example, and never realizes that her only response, �Ach!� does not mean that she�s in love with him or that she, alone understands him. And the speed with which Nathanael forgets about Clara and falls in love with Olimpia says something about the immaturity of Nathanael, as does his temper tantrum when, in response to his rattling on about Coppelius� evil influence, Clara tells him that �I shall have to scold you as the Evil Principle which exercises a fatal influence upon my coffee.� And his mental breakdowns and final flight into murderous insanity show that his grasp upon reality was very loose. He is a character whose perspective (and version of events) is an unreliable one, and it is this unreliability and sense of insanity which can make �The Sand-man� an unnerving read.

Even taking Nathanael�s shaky mental state into account, though, there are one or two moments when the supernatural seems a viable explanation for events. Olimpia�s �Good-night, dear� to Nathanael might be in his head. Spalanzani�s visual similarity to Cagliostro might be a coincidence or might be something only Nathanael sees. Coppelius� statement about Nathanael�s limbs, �That�s not quite right altogether! It�s better as it was!�the old fellow knew what he was about,� might have no meaning at all. But interpreted supernaturally, these things taken on a darker hue.

It�s this ambiguity that makes �The Sand-man� so effective as a horror story. It�s a shame that Hoffmann put in the number of authorial asides and comments that he did. He was clearly trying for a conversational tone in his asides, as when he relates his difficulty in coming up with the best way to begin the story, but the asides disrupt the flow of the story and interrupt the quite creepy tone that Nathanael�s narration establishes.

Finally, the �Sand-man� has a few moments of humor and even satire, so that we might reasonably wonder if Hoffmann was, to a limited degree, sending up certain aspects of the Romantic tradition. At the beginning of the story Nathanael explicitly compares himself with Franz Moor, the jealous brother of Schiller�s räuberroman Der Räuber (see the Karl von Moor entry). Der Räuber was an influential play, and Hoffmann�s invocation of him shows that Hoffmann was aware of the genre he was working in. But Nathanael is so clearly a self-important and humorless wanker�I should really come up with a new term to describe him, but it fits him so well�and Clara�s statement about him being the �Evil Principle� which affects her coffee so nicely puts the needle to him that I can�t help but wonder if Hoffmann was, on some level, taking the piss to Nathanael-like Romantic leads.

Coppelius is a distasteful old coot. He is physically unattractive, and he hates kids; knowing that Nathanael dislikes anything that Coppelius ever touches, he always touches or just waves his hands across the food on Nathanael�s plate. Coppelius is, obviously, a brilliant craftsman, a great maker especially of eyes for Spalanzani, but he might also be an alchemist�it�s never exactly clear what he and Nathanael�s father were doing together. Coppelius� influence on Nathanael might be unnatural, or Nathanael might simply have been mentally and emotionally scarred in childhood by his encounter with Coppelius and so never recovered. Coppelius might have crafted eyepieces, his pocket perspectives, which show Nathanael something horrible, or Nathanael might simply have chosen that moment to snap. Coppelius might exercise mind control or mesmerism, and forced Nathanael to throw himself to his death, or Nathanael might have noticed him and done so out of insanity.

It�s all quite ambiguous and uncertain, and that�s why �The Sand-man� is such a classic horror story.

octor Materialismus. Doctor Materialismus was introduced in Frederic Jesup Stimson's "Dr. Materialismus," which first appeared in the November 1890 issue of Scribner's. Stimson wrote seven novels and four collections of short stories but was better known as a lawyer, professor, diplomat, and very vocal defender of capitalism. The story of Dr. Materialismus is set in 1870, at "B---- College" in a "small town in Maine." As a graduate of Bates College, in Lewiston, Maine, I of course would like to think that Stimson had Bates in mind for this story. Some might say that the logical choice for "B----- College" is Bowdoin College, that inferior academy of academic lackwits, second-raters, and social maladepts, but the story makes clear that "B---- College" is a coed institution, something Bates was from the very beginning, in 1864, and which Bowdoin did not become, I believe, for some years afterwards. (There's also a town, "A-----," right across the river from "B----"; this is clearly a reference to Auburn, Maine)  But then, Bowdoin and its graduates have always been drunk on their own imagined importance and too self-satisfied with their own supposed masculine virtues to notice women. Why, one could easily conceive of a Bowdoin senior breaking up with a woman during her finals week, after four years of putting up with his ego and nonsense. Yes, one could easily conceive of that...

Anyhow. Dr. Materialismus comes to town during the sophomore year of the narrator, one "Rousseau Tetherby." Materialismus is described this way:

a German professor, scientist, socialist...practising hypnotism, magnetism, mesmerism, and mysticism; giving lectures on Hegel, believing in Hartmann, and in the indestructibility of matter and the destructibility of the soul; and his soul was a damned one, and he cared not for the loss of it.
Tetherby is fascinated by Materialismus, enough to continue to hang around him, play chess with him, etc. On the one hand, Materialismus is well-spoken, erudite, and an interesting personality; on the other hand, he is an extremely strict materialist and has an abrasive side to him. Moreover, Materialismus is attracted to Althea, the coed that Tetherby has the hots for.  Materialismus maintains, to the great exasperation of Tetherby, that man is only a machine, that there is no such thing as the "soul" and that the passions are produced by solely physical phenomena. Tetherby rejects this idea, at which point Materialismus invites Tetherby to his lab for a demonstration. Materialismus does just that: he demonstrates, with the use of his machine, how emotions can be manufactured in humans. He produces a religious peace, homicidal impulses (the "Murder-motif"), deep yearning, sleep ("the pulse of the world"), love, and all of the negative emotions.

Then, foolishly, Materialismus steals Althea away from Tetherby, and Tetherby goes in pursuit of Materialismus and Althea with a knife. They escape, and thirty years later Tetherby dies, a broken man. The implication is left in the epilogue that perhaps Althea was also subjected to Materialismus' machine, and that she really loved Tetherby deep down.

Dr. Materialismus
The e-text of the story.

octor Moreau. Dr. Moreau was of course created by H.G. Wells and appeared in The Island of Doctor Moreau. A Possibility (1896). I'm not going to spend any time on Wells, the Father of the Science Fiction; odds are that if you�re here, you know about him, and if you don�t, you shouldn�t be here.

The Island of Dr. Moreau is fairly well-known, but just in case you haven�t read it: Edward Prendick is shipwrecked and rescued by a ship bound for Noble�s Isle, the uncharted island on which Moreau lives after his exile from Europe. (Prendick initially doesn�t recall where he�d heard the name before, but it eventually comes back to him: Moreau had to leave the country because of his egregiously cruel experiments in vivisection). Once on the island he discovers that Moreau and his assistant Montgomery are conducting experiments and creating creatures who are human-animal hybrids. Prendick assumes that Moreau is vivisecting humans into animal-like creatures and runs away. Prendick encounters Moreau�s creations, the Beast Folk, in the wild and in the novel�s best section is taken in by them and learns something of their culture. (�Are we not men?�, used so memorably by Devo, is the refrain of the Beast Folk�s laws, ala �Not to go on all-Fours; that is the Law. Are we not Men?�) Moreau and Montgomery finally catch up to Prendick and manage to convince him that he's wrong and that Moreau is not turning humans into animals, but rather trying to do the reverse through anesthesia-free vivisection in �the House of Pain.� Moreau and Montgomery are only intermittently successful, though, as the test subjects continue to revert. Eventually this catches up to them and both are killed. Prendick manages to escape and returns to England, but he becomes a recluse, finding that the humans he meets remind him of Moreau's subjects.

The Island of Dr. Moreau is one of Wells� best-regarded works, and with reason. It�s a landmark of science fiction and of horror. Although the characterization is not the novel�s strength�the narrator is flat and colorless and Montgomery�s characterization is rather perfunctory�the character of Moreau is given enough life to become frighteningly real. I�m writing this in 2003, of course, and so I (and you) have a perspective on the Mad Scientist archetype which Wells could never have had. We know about Josef Mengele and Unit 731; Wells and the Victorians could only have seen such things as fantasies. Quite possible fantasies, to be sure, for the Victorians were not naifs about the horrors men are capable of, but fantasies nonetheless. We see things in Moreau which Wells perhaps never intended. Moreau�s mind-set is a sadly recognizable one to us, while to Wells and to his public Moreau would have been a product of horror literature, an updated version of Dr. Frankenstein rather than an all-too-real possibility.

As usual, Wells creates verisimilitude through the layering of homely details and the use of sound-seeming scientific terms and theories. Wells devotes a fair amount of space to the Beast Folk, enough to make them seem real and inspire some pathos at their plight�they�re neither animal nor man, in constant mental and physical pain, and the subject of a dispassionate sadist�but the reader is still left wanting to learn more about them. (If this novel were written today the Beast Folk would get a lot more time and space. But then, Wells� intention in writing this novel was different than a modern author�s would be). Although there are a few moments of anti-Semitism in the novel (but what would a Wells novel be without one of his anti-Semitic comments?), on the whole the novel is an excellent examination of the horror and hubris of a truly mad scientist.

I�m not foolish enough to try to say definitively what Wells� intent was on writing this novel, and I agree with Neil Gaiman that you can say what some of the themes of a work are but you can�t say what the only themes of a work are. That understood, these are a couple of the main themes of the book.

The first is Moreau and his attempt to circumvent and supercede evolution. Moreau ultimately wants to reform human nature, and is using the animals of the island as test subjects. Wells writes that Moreau

proceeded to point out that the possibilities of vivisection do not stop at a mere physical metamorphosis. A pig may be educated. The mental structure is even less determinate than the bodily. In our growing science of hypnotism we find the promise of a possibility of replacing old inherent instincts by new suggestions, grafting upon or replacing the inherited fixed ideas.
Moreau�s hubris is such that he believes that he can duplicate God�s work:
But I will conquer yet. Each time I dip a living creature into the bath of burning pain, I say, This time I will burn out all the animal, this time I will make a rational creature of my own.
Indeed, Moreau�s hubris is such that he sets himself up to the Beast Folk as God; much of the rhetoric of Moreau and of the Law of the Beast Folk have echoes of Deuteronomy and Paradise Lost:
His is the House of Pain.
His is the Hand that makes.
His is the Hand that wounds.
His is the Hand that heals.
His is the lightning-flash.
His is the deep salt sea.
But Wells� intent in drawing Moreau was not to present a mad scientist or even a negative moral lesson. Wells meant Moreau to be the hero of the piece. Wells held a number of frightening views, about eugenics and race, and said that The Island of Doctor Moreau offers �a novel definition of Education, which should be the careful and systematic manufacture of the artificial factor in man;� in another essay he wrote that the thesis of the novel is �the possibility of constructing a rational code of morality to meet the complex requirements of modern may dream of an informal, unselfish, unauthorized body of workers, a real and conscious apparatus of education and moral suggestion, held together by a common faith and a common sentiment, and shaping the minds and acts destinies of men.� Wells, you see, believed that the ends, in eugenics/racial terms, justified the means, and that Moreau�s ends justify his horrible means.

The other theme is tied to the first. Moreau�s relationship to the Beast Folk is a deliberate parody of the Christian (and, knowing Wells, Jewish) conception of God. Moreau is cruel to and capricious to the Beast Folk, as God is cruel (in Wells� view) to man, and man worships God out of ignorance and fear (again, in Wells� view) as the Beast Folk worship Moreau.

As for Moreau, he�s a dispassionate sadist, as I said. He performs his cruelties for the purpose of making better men, of reforming human nature itself. In his view pain is �the goad to keep them (future men) out of danger.� For Moreau evolution is a part of nature (�I have seen more of the ways of this world�s Maker than you�for I have sought his laws, in my way, all my life�), but Nature is cruel, and so has Moreau become: �the study of Nature makes a man at last as remorseless as nature.� And he is remorseless�one might even say sociopathic: �The thing before you is no longer an animal, a fellow-creature, but a problem. Sympathetic pain�all I know of it I remember as a thing I used to suffer from years ago.�

Chilling, isn�t he?

The Island of Dr. Moreau
A collection of quotes "pertaining to the marginal concept of humanity as is shown in...The Island of Dr. Moreau."

r. Mystery. Dr. Mystery was created by "Paul Deleutre" and appeared in several novels, beginning with in Docteur Mystère (Doctor Mystery, 1899). "Paul Deleutre" was the pseudonym of Paul D'Ivoi (1856-1915), who I have more information in the Lavarède entry.

Mystery was a two-fisted, romantic scientist-adventurer who fights against crime in Paris, using his electric car, with its parabolic mirrors, and his "cyanide pistols" against the worst scum that the Parisian crime lords can throw at him. He is assisted in this by Cigale, who appears in Cigale en Chine, which also features Jean Fanfare. D'Ivoi, like Balzac and Gaboriau (see the Monsieur Lecoq entry), created a shared universe among many of his novels.

Dr. Mystery is in several ways an anticipation and precursor of several of the pulp heroes to come, including Doc Savage. Dr. Mystery is also a kind of imitation of Verne's Captain Nemo, although more heroically minded. Dr. Mystery was in turn the inspiration for the Italian hero Martin Mystère.

octor Nikola. The good doctor was the creation of Guy Boothby, about whom you can read in the Simon Carne entry above. Doctor Nikola, one of the classic (and sadly forgotten) arch-villains, appeared first in an eight-part sequel in Windsor Magazine in 1895 and then in collected form in A Bid for Fortune, or Doctor Nikola's Vendetta (1895). He was popular enough to appear in four sequels: Doctor Nikola (1896), The Lust of Hate (1898), Doctor Nikola's Experiment (1899), and Farewell, Nikola (1901). A Bid For Fortune sold very well initially (easy to see why, after reading it), giving Boothby a certain amount of fame, and it is something of a shame that Dr. Nikola has been forgotten about; although he is clearly derivative of Svengali and Dr. Moreau, the character is still an entertaining one. Of A Bid For Fortune, Professor John Sutherland said, "If ever a yarn rattled, this one does."

The plot...well, for some reason Dr. Nikola wants revenge over a certain lord, and so develops a double for the lord's son. And then he wants a certain walking stick, and so finally gets that--it's going to lead to him getting ultimate power, or something. (A Bid for Fortune's plotting is...well, "confused" is a kind way to put it) (It's fun for all of that, however)

Nikola himself is physically prepossessing:

In stature he was slightly above the ordinary, his shoulders were broad, his limbs perfectly shaped and plainly muscular, but very slim. His head, which was magnificently set upon his shoulders, was adorned with a profusion of glossy black hair; his face was destitute of beard or mustache, and was of oval shape and handsome moulding; while his skin was of a dark olive hue, a colour which harmonized well with his piercing black eyes and pearly teeth. His hands and feet were small, and the greatest dandy must have admitted that he was irreproachably dressed, with a neatness that bordered on the puritanical. In age he might have been anything from eight-and-twenty to forty; in reality he was thirty-three.
The good Doctor is much more than his appearance, however. A point is made, by the narrator (one of those bluff and hearty "book learning is no good for a real man" Victorian types) (Dick Hatteras is his name, and his presence and narration are the single worst part of the book {besides the plot holes, I mean}. Boothby would have been much better advised to stick to Nikola and leave the very aggravating Hatteras to the sidelines) of Nikola's physical strength, which was extraordinary (in the literal sense).

The Doctor is a vivisectionist, creating something that the narrator's Victorian sensibilities (or perhaps Boothby's) are too delicate to describe. His laboratory is filled with

what looked, to me, only too much like human specimens pickled in some light-coloured fluid resembling spirits of wine. Between these gigantic but more than horrible receptacles were numberless smaller ones holding other and even more dreadful remains; while on pedestals and stands, bolt upright and reclining, were skeletons of men, monkeys, and quite a hundred sorts of animals. The intervening  spaces were filled with skulls, bones, and the apparatus for every kind of murder known to the fertile brain of man...mixed up with them were implements for every sort of wizardry known to the superstitious; from old-fashioned English love charms to African Obi sticks, from spiritualistic planchettes to the most horrible of Fijian death potions.
Beside all of that is
a native of Northern India, if one might judge by his dress and complexion. He sat on the floor in a constrained attitude, accounted for by the fact that his head, which was at least three times too big for his body, was so heavy as to require an iron tripod with a ring or collar in the top of it to keep it from overbalancing him and bringing him to the floor. To add to the horror of this awful head, it was quite bald; the skin was drawn tensely over the bones, and upon this great veins stood out as large as macaroni stems.
Across the lab is a "creature half-ape and half-man...a Burmese monkey-boy." Near him is an "albino dwarf, scarcely more than two feet eight inches high."

That is not the least of Nikola's charms, however. He is a potent mesmerist, capable of hypnotising the strongest mind (although he should not be judged on his success with the narrator, an Aussie pearl diver and thug who couldn't spell "cat" if you gave him the c and the a). (He makes reference to having learned at least one mesmerist "trick" from "an old woman in Benares.") His pet/companion is an enormous black cat with an unnatural (literally) intelligence. And he is a very skilled chemist; in the sequel to A Bid for Fortune he creates a drug that can extend life indefinitely.

He is charming and genial in person, with obviously great intelligence, and despite his world-conquering aims (his exact goals are never clearly defined, and his goal at the end of his first book is to get the token of a  medieval Chinese executioner--a small black walking stick. With this he plans to rule the world. Somehow) is relatively reluctant to kill, sparing Hatteras a number of times. When he kidnaps Hatteras' fiancée he acts as a perfect gentleman towards her, and at the end of the first novel, when Hatteras marries his simpering, milquetoasty bride, Nikola sends them a collet of diamonds with a note reading "With heartiest congratulations and best wishes to Lady Hatteras, in memory of an unfortunate detention and a voyage to the Southern Seas, From her sincere admirer, Dr. Nikola."

A Bid for Fortune is by no means perfect. While Boothby's style is only a little dated, there are many plot holes, Nikola gets far too little screen time and Hatteras far too much (he's really and truly annoying, and my fervent desire--that he die a horrible, slow, lingering death--was, alas, not fulfilled), and Boothby gives every indication that he didn't know where he was going with the novel as late as the ending of it. Nor are the sequels worth reading; Boothby reformed Nikola at the end of the fourth and final novel. But for those pages that Nikola appears or is directly active in A Bid for Fortune, he and the book are great fun.

A Bid for Fortune
The e-text of the novel. From Marcus Rowland's excellent Forgotten Futures site.

oni, Count Filiberto. Count Filiberto Doni was created by John Polidori and appeared in Ernestus Berchtold (1819). Polidori was the creator of Lord Ruthven, and I have information on Polidori in that entry.

Ernestus Berchtold is about Ernestus Berchtold and his friend Olivieri, two young men traveling about Europe. Their adventures eventually bring them to Milan, where Ernestus meets Olivieri�s father, Count Filiberto Doni. The Donis are Swiss, living in Milan, and are fabulously wealthy. The Count himself is known to have supernatural powers. Every seventh day Doni does not touch �animal food,� and every seventh night he retreats into his room, from which strange sounds emerge and which is always left in the greatest confusion. Ernestus finds this very interesting, but he�s even more interested in the Count�s daughter Louisa, who falls in love with Ernestus and he with she. She is sickly and ailing, however, and the course of love between Ernestus and Louisa does not run smooth. At one point Ernestus�s heart is broken, or so he thinks, and he loses himself in gambling and debauchery in Milan. Ernestus is wretched, but the Count simply asks Ernestus how much he needs, and then reappears with that money, saying, �Take it, it is no loss to me, but your wonted happiness I see is fled, that grieves me. Believe one who is older than yourself, Vice is not the path of happiness."  This doesn�t stop him from a downward slide, and the Count continues to pay off Ernestus� mounting gambling debts. Finally Ernestus hits rock bottom and pulls himself out of it. He and Louisa are reconciled, and they marry, producing one of the great lines of any Gothic: "At that moment happiness seemed to be descending from Heaven to be our handmaid, while in fact despair and horror were preparing their flight from the lowest abyss to wait upon our nuptials."

Things go downhill. Olivieri seduces Ernestus� sister, who dies wretched and dishonoured. Olivieri dies, imprisoned and disgraced. And Count Doni dies, but not before revealing the secret of his wealth.

As a young man Count Doni had traveled to the East. He had returned rich but had never spoken about it until his final conversation with Ernestus. Doni had saved the life of an Armenian merchant. The merchant was grateful, and before he dies he tells Doni the secret of his own wealth: how to summon a spirit to grant him wealth. Doni is appalled by this but of course gives in and calls the spirit up. Of the spirit, he says, "his hideous form might have appalled a stronger heart than mine." The spirit offers Doni a choice, Doni can choose to get a little money (great riches by the world�s standards) once, and then gain a bit more in successive rituals, each one bringing �some human domestic infliction worse than the preceding.� Or Doni can choose "unlimited power, and constant domestic prosperity, on the condition of giving myself up for ever to the will of a malignant being."

Doni chooses the former, vowing not to call up the spirit again. He returns to society and is well-regarded�he�s handsome, successful, a Swiss nobleman, and, of course, very very rich�but he married a beautiful woman who did not love him back. The woman bears Doni two children and then leaves him for another man. Doni has a brief nervous breakdown, and then recovers and devotes himself to caring for and educating his children. He later returns to the whirl of society, but finds that he does not enjoy it as he once did: "grief had weighed down his energies, and sorrow had broken his faculties."

Doni was successful in not bringing up the spirit until Ernestus entered his life. Doni was initially content to let Ernestus ruin his life with gambling, but Louisa kept pleading for the Count to help Ernestus, and so the Count eventually gave in and conjured up the spirit and got more money to help Ernestus. The �domestic affliction� proviso kicked in, and live for the Count, his family, and Ernestus quickly spiralled downhill after that, with each summoning of the spirit bringing about further misfortune for everyone.

The final kicker was the revelation that Ernestus was Count Doni�s son from a previous marriage. (Can�t have a good Gothic without some sort of hidden incest, right?) So Olivieri seduces and dishonors Ernestus� sister, who is also Count Doni�s daughter and Olivieri�s half-sister. And Ernestus marries Louisa, who is his own half-sister.

Ernestus Berchtold was Polidori�s first novel, and is almost completely forgotten about today. It�s not very good, to be frank; Count Doni is Polidori�s Me character, and it�s all too obvious that Polidori poured his own misery into Doni�s isolation and helplessness�his angst, in other words, and how much fun is that to read about?

onovan, Dick. Dick Donovan was the creation of "Dick Donovan," the pseudonym of James Edward Preston Muddock (1843-1934), an English overseas journalist and detective story writer. He wrote widely, producing more than 50 detective novels (which he found inferior to his other work) as well as a number of other works, both fictional and non-fictional, and even an autobiography.

Dick Donovan was a police detective who appeared in a wide range of dime novels and magazines. Many of his stories were collected in 15 books, the first being The Man Hunter: Stories from the Note-Book of a Detective (1888), but there remain over 200 uncollected Dick Donovan stories. In many of the stories Donovan is only the narrator, rather than the protagonist, and he tells the reader stories of crime and criminals. In those stories in which Donovan is the detective�and there are hundreds of them�he deals with a variety of criminals and threats. The Dick Donovan stories, both the ones in which he was the hero and the ones which he narrated, varied in tone, ranging from relatively realistic life-on-the-street proto-police procedurals�casebook stories, in other words�to spectacular melodramas involving witchcraft, Asian supervillains, sinister secret societies, and the like. In the beginning Donovan is a street-level detective working in Glasgow. He is a policeman, but like several of the other casebook detectives he takes cases for pay from private citizens. The criminals he investigates, at the start of his career, are similar to those of other casebook detectives: murderers, female sharpers, murderesses, criminal gang conspiracies, American female swindlers, and counterfeiters. But even in The Man Hunter there is a hint at the later, more fantastic elements of the Donovan stories: a brutal thief who is called �The Knave of Spades.� (This name reminds me not just of comic book villains but also of the more colorful opponents of the story paper detectives, especially Sexton Blake).

Donovan as a detective is careful rather than brilliant. He goes through crime scenes and draws conclusions based on the evidence he finds there. He makes intelligent use of what evidence he does find, in one case comparing the hair fibers found under a murder victims fingernails to the hair and cuts he finds in the bearded face of a suspect. He uses deductive logic when required. He is dogged, which accounts for a lot of his success�perspiration rather than inspiration, as it were. He also can depend upon physical strength and the occasional coincidence thrown his way by the author. He is boastful, but usually deservedly so, for he is successful at what he does.

The stories are entertaining, but exceptional in any way. Although Muddock does show some rather gruesome crime scenes, there is not the wealth of information and scene-setting of Glasgow as in the James M�Govan stories, and Donovan as a character is not as fleshed-out as M�Govan. The stories are competently written, but nothing more. And there is a trace of anti-Semitism in the portrayal of a Fagin-like Jewish character.

(I had a nice e-mail from Beverley Rowe, a relative of Mr. Muddock, pointing out that the common form of Mr. Muddock�s name, and the one which I initially used, is wrong. Most sources have Mr. Muddock�s name as �Joyce Emmerson Preston Muddock.� This was a pseudonym which Mr. Muddock himself adopted early in his career and which various reference sources have since mistakenly identified as his real name).

Dick Donovan
A very nice site devoted to Donovan, and done better than I could have managed.

on Q. Don Q was created by Kate & Hesketh Prichard and appeared in various stories, collections, and novels, beginning with �The Parole of Gevil-Hay� in Badminton Magazine in 1898. Hesketh Prichard (1876-1922) was a successful author (with his mother Kate he created Flaxman Low), big-game hunter, and cricketer. Kate Prichard (1851-1935), Hesketh's mother, is a relative unknown.

Don Q, a.k.a. Don Quebranta Huesos (�the bone smasher,� the local name for the �bone-breaking vulture� whose features Don Q seems to share), is a grim Spanish bandit active in the mid- and late-19th century, operating with his gang in �the Andalusian highlands, stretching from Jerez to Almeria and beyond.� Don Q is no ordinary thief, however; he is a sequestrador, one who kidnaps and holds for ransom, �the noblest rank of brigand� in Don Q�s words. When his men discover a traveler making their way across the �magnificent desolation� which is Don Q�s home, they capture the traveler and escort them to the mountain headquarters where Don Q resides. Don Q then chats with his victim�usually quite cordially, for Don Q is an aristocrat to his bones and thoroughly believes in the duties of the host, which include a kindly courtesy. Don Q then disposes of �the disagreeables of business,� the setting of the ransom, which is always what he believes his victim, or the victim�s friends and family, or the victim�s country, can afford to pay. If the ransom is not paid, �regrettable consequences� follow. If not all of the ransom is paid, the consequences are equally regrettable; if only 75% of the ransom is forthcoming, only 75% of the kidnap victim will return to freedom.

But as might be expected, Don Q is considerably more complicated than that. The Don Q stories are late Victorian versions of the räuberroman, the genre of heroic bandit novels. The modern version of the räuberroman began with the Germans, who gave the genre the name; prominent examples include Abällino and Rinaldo Rinaldini. The räuberroman was enormously popular at the start of the 19th century with Rinaldo Rinaldini being one of the best-selling novels of the first half of the 19th century and inspiring any number of imitations, particularly in England. A popular mid-century räuberroman was Edmond About�s Le Roi des Montagnes, which featured Hadji Stavros. The final iteration of the form was Prichard�s Don Q.

Don Q differs from his predecessors in a few ways. He�s not a noble-minded patriot, like Rinaldini; Don Q, though patriotic, views himself as an artist and is quite happy to kill, in varied and creative ways, those who displease him. Nor is Don Q a conscienceless murderer, like Stavros. Don Q has a strict code of honor from which he never deviates. Don Q is, really, unique, although he�s a part of the larger räuberroman genre.

Don Q�s origins are tragic. Exactly what happened to him is not spelled out, but the implications and hints are that once, long ago in his youth, he was an aristocrat of very noble blood, the intimate of presidents and kings. But a �blackness of treachery� descended upon him, preventing him from marrying his young love and forcing him into a loveless marriage. He fathered children but was unhappy, and finally �he knew but one way remained to carry the honour of his ancient name clear, and that was to give up all his great possessions and to die.� He faked his death�so well that all the world thought him dead�took the name �Don Q,� and made his way into the mountains and became the widely feared sequestrador. His love went to a convent, eventually becoming a Mother Superior.

Don Q is the undisputed ruler of the mountains. He is greatly disliked by the Governor of his province and by the government, because his work humiliates the local Civil Guard (who never succeed in capturing him and are repeatedly defeated and embarrassed by him) and because, under his rule, the mountains (and Spain itself) become known for his work, rather than for more genteel things. But the poor of the mountains and the plains love him, because he deals out local justice according to his own code, so that those who prey on the poor face his quite violent and final vengeance, rather than the inconstant and venal justice of the courts. Don Q: �I hold rule over a large region; I administer strict justice, which the law cannot do, since I know the true particulars in each case, and the executive relies on witnesses more or less prejudiced if not perjured. Truth up here is undiluted and pure as our own springs; down in the plains it has grown foul and corrupted.�

Don Q sympathizes with the poor and protects them, never holding any of them for ransom and punishing those who do. When Don Q does kidnap those of somewhat reduced circumstances, the ransoms are always low. When the poor do him a service, they are always amply rewarded. He is notably chivalrous toward women, never holding any of them ransom and always treating them as gallantly as possible. And although the Spanish court does not love him, he is a staunch patriot, and when Queen Christina is threatened, he arranges matters so that the villain is killed. And although many local clergy are afraid of him Don Q is the patron of a local church, giving greatly to it and expecting in exchange only the occasional confession said for himself or his men or masses sung for the souls of those Don Q is about to kill.

He is quite vengeful, going to great lengths to punish those who betray him. He is very proud, and those who besmirch his name regret it, painfully and at length. He has a savage sense of humor, which manifests itself in grotesquely humorous deaths for his enemies and victims; one such was blindfolded and told that he could take ten steps and then be free�the ninth step was over a cliff�s edge. And he always keeps his word, regardless of the difficulties in which it places him. But he is also honorable by his own lights, and when one prisoner, given the chance to shoot Don Q at the cost of his breaking his promise not to do so, passes it up, Don Q releases the man: �Señor...when I find one like you, I do not spoil the good God�s work in him. You are not the type of man who comes to harm at my hands. A man who can keep his honour as you have done is worthy of life.�

Don Q is very clever, even ingenious, in dealing with his enemies. He thinks well of himself (of course) but he is prey to fits of despondency and depression, and when those overtake him he sits huddled beneath his cloak, by the fire in the cave he calls his home, for days on end, and during these periods those who speak to him are either ignored or verbally abused. He doesn�t think much of his own men, seeing them as either jackals or wolves in need of harsh leadership. He is writing his autobiography, in the hopes that sooner or later (preferably sooner) it will be published and those in Spain and elsewhere who believe him to be evil will gain a different and better view of him. He is not a pretty man:

...the livid, wrinkled eyelids, the white wedge-shaped bald head narrowing down to the hooked nose, the lean neck, the cruel aspect, all the distinct features of the quebranta-huesos transmuted into human likeness.
He is physically quite strong, surprisingly so given his slight frame, and is an excellent swordsman and shootist.

The Don Q stories are similar in several ways to Gilbert Parker�s Pierre stories. The Don Q stories aren�t immortal, but they are quite entertaining and very readable. The Prichards are skilled technicians and create memorable and moderately well-written tales. Many of the stories have a significant plot twist to them, often good enough to catch a clever reader (which I am perhaps immodest enough to think myself) off-guard. They are picaresque, of course, but told in a kind of knowing, straight-faced, wry and sardonic way that elevates them above more humdrum picaresques. They are great fun, basically, and well worth reprinting.

As an aside, the stated origin of Don Q in The Chronicles of Don Q, his first collection, is at odds with the origin provided in Don Q�s Love Story (1909). Don Q�s Love Story has Don Q as a young aristocrat who was framed for the murder of one of the Spanish Hapsburgs. Don Q then faked his death, assumed the alias of Don Q, and took to the mountains. A few years later�and Don Q�s Love Story is set in 1879�Don Q proves his innocence, marries his true love, and abandons the Don Q identity.

on Rodrigo. Don Rodrigo was created by Count Alessandro Manzoni and appeared in I Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed, 1825-6). Manzoni (1785-1873), an Italian, was a patriot, Senator, and Catholic advocate. He is best known in Italy for his literary works, including his dramas, which were experimental (for the day). His masterpiece, and the single work on which his reputation outside of Italy rests, is The Betrothed. Historically The Betrothed is important because it came at a time when Sir Walter Scott's Waverly series (including the ponderous Rob Roy) were the vogue among writers of historical romances. The Betrothed offered readers and writers an alternative to Scott's style. The result was an international bestseller and a work called by many critics (even as late as 1900) "Italy's greatest modern novel." In The Betrothed Manzoni concentrated on peasants rather than the nobility and on the psychologies and emotions of his characters rather than on feats at arms and the acquisition and loss of titles, estates, and wealth.

While this is laudable, in theory, the result is (alas) turgid. (I acknowledge that the fault may lie in the translator rather than Manzoni himself. I don't think this is so, however). Manzoni's concern with the sentiments and personalities of his characters leads to five and six page sequences of nothing but internal monologue, so that for nearly every piece of action there is an equal and opposite section devoted to how one of the main characters feels about what just happened. Between that and the rather stilted and too-formal style of dialogue/monologue, the 600+ pages of The Betrothed can easily seem to run four times that length.

The main story is about the efforts of sweet Lucia and courageous Renzo, two peasants in Lombardy in the 1620s, to marry, and the attempts by Don Rodrigo (thought I'd never get to him, didn't you?) to stop their wedding. Don Rodrigo, you see, desires Lucia, but she has eyes only for Renzo. Despite Don Rodrigo's best effors, however, Renzo and Lucia eventually do wed, but not after a lengthy forced separation, her kidnaping, the invasion of German troops, and an outbreak of the plague.

Don Rodrigo, for his part, is rather a weak reed with which to carry the role of villain in a historically important novel. He's a stock Gothic villain without even the heights of passion or intellectual/physical capabilities of the Gothic Hero-Villain to enliven him. He's a standard wicked noble out to seduce/rape the fair, pure maiden and who is willing to do anything to achieve that goal, even kidnapher and forbid the local priest to perform the marriage. Don Rodrigo is quite uninteresting, and the only reason he's here rather than Renzo or Lucia is that the latter pair are so stupefyingly simple and dull that I couldn't bear to write them up. Slightly more interesting is "The Unnameable," a local mercenary/assassin/thug who is hired by Don Rodrigo to kidnap Lucia. Her innate goodness and innocence ends up converting the Unnameable and all of his men, and they eventually let her go and devote their lives to doing good.

The plague was by far the most interesting part of The Betrothed.

oomsman. The Doomsman was created by George Lippard and appeared in The Ladye Annabel; or, The Doom of the Poisoner (1844). For information on Lippard see the Devil-Bug entry above.

As you know if you�ve read the Devil-Bug entry, George Lippard�s Gothic work was really quite something, and The Ladye Annabel is quite worthy of comparison with The Quaker City. Frederick Frank gets it right in his description of The Ladye Annabel:

The novel�revels in the lugubrious stuff of the shilling shockers or the grisly stock-in-trade of Victorian proletarian fiction, the penny dreadfuls and Victorian bloods. Encyclopedic in its horrors, the novel bombarded its readers�with lingering descriptions of live burial, necrophilia, and the craft of the torture chamber, with occasional forays into social commentary about human misery and the inhumanity of human beings.
The Ladye Annabel is over-stuffed with plot; each of the four sections of the novel has enough plot for an individual Gothic. The Doomsman himself does not appear after the novel�s early goings, so I�ll content myself with describing the first half of the novel. It�s set in the Castle di Albarone, somewhere in Europe shortly after the rule of Richard the Lionhearted. Events begin with the murder of the noble Crusader Count Julian di Albarone by his brother, Aldarin. The Count�s cousin Adrian Albarone is framed by Aldarin for the Count�s murder. Aldarin wants the Castle and the Count�s riches; Urbano, the Duke of Florence, countenances the murder because he wants to marry the sweet, innocent Ladye Annabel, the niece of Count Julian. Adrian falls into the hands of the Doomsman, but the Order of the Monks of the Holy Steel overthrow the corrupt Urbano, the �tyrant, assassin and betrayer,� and Aldarin is forced to flee for his life. (All that happens in the first quarter of Ladye Annabel. Like I said, the novel has a surfeit of plot).

The Doomsman is really a secondary character in this section of the novel. Ladye Annabel herself is essentially a plot device. It is Aldarin who is the main character. He�s a wizard who fought in the Crusades. While there, �on the battle-plain amid the Syrian wilds,� he saved the live of the Arab prince Ibrahim. In exchange Ibrahim gave Aldarin the �Mighty Book� from which Aldarin gets his various powers. Since then, as Aldarin says,

My life has been strange and dark. I have loved the shadow rather than the light. I have courted the glare of corruption in the midnight charnel house, rather than the blaze of the noonday sun. I have made me a home amid strange mysteries, and from the tomes of darksome lore I have wrung the secrets fo the hidden world...And from my hidden lore have I learned the mystery of mysteries.
But Aldarin is not happy in his power. He�s actually rather wretched, and has constant, very vivid, nightmares of a Hell stocked with his victims. Nonetheless, he continues his work, using the Red Chamber of the Castle as a location for human dissection and vivisection.

Much more jolly is the Doomsman. He enters the story swinging from the ceilings. Literally. Aldarin delivers Adrian to the Doomsman for torture. The Doomsman swings down from the rafters, crowing, �So ye gave him to the Doomsman! So ye gave him - Lord Adrian - to me, to the pincers and the knife, to the hot lead, and the wheel of torture! You are brave fellows - ha, ha, he dies at day-break - and thee Doomsman thanks you!" The Doomsman takes great pleasure and pride in his work and suffers from no pangs of conscience. The following are his gleeful descriptions of executions he�s been a part of:

Hand me the iron�red-hot�and hissing�give me the bowl of melted lead, dipped from the boiling cauldron. H-i-s-s�it touches the eyeball, the eye is dark forever. H-i-s-s it licks up the blood, it turns round and round in the socket. Now fill the hollow socket with the lead, the hissing lead�and, ha, ha, now bring another iron pointed like this, and heated to a white heat. Let the iron touch the skin to the eyeball, it shrivels like a burnt leaf, deeper sinks the hissing point, turn it round and round, let it lap up the gushing blood. Now the lead, the thick and boiling lead, pour it from the ladle, fill the socket, it hardens, it grows cold�ha, ha, ha, behold the eyes of lead.

Hark - hear you that hissing sound? His muscular chest is bared to the light, these talon-hands guide the red hot iron over the warm flesh, with the blood blackening as it oozes from the veins. He writhes - but utters no groan. Now lay down the iron and the lead; seize the knotted club, aloft it whirls, it descends! D'ye see the broken arm bone, protruding from the flesh? Hurl it aloft again, nor heed the sudden struggle and the quick convulsive agony, never heed them - all writhe and struggle so. It grows exciting, Balvardo, it warms me, Hugo.

The Doomsman is an old man, but the torture and the descriptions of the torture give him vitality and keep him going. (That, or they turn him on, which is a prospect I�d rather not think about). He is described this way:
the distorted face, the wide mouth, opening with a hideous grin, the retreating brow and the large, vacant, yet flashing eyes, that marked the visage of the Executioner of Florence. A dress made of coarsest serge, hung rather than fitted around his deformed figure, while a long-bladed knife, with handle of unshapen bone, glittered in the belt of dark leater that girdled his body.
The Ladye Annabel is sado-Gothic-porn, told with great vigor if not skill. For that reason alone it�s better reading than a number of other Gothics and, to be honest, some of the historical romances I�ve included here. The Ladye Annabel is depraved, but still more entertaining than With Fire And Sword.

oomswoman. Dona Chonita Iturbi y Moncada, the Doomswoman, was created by Gertrude Atherton and appeared in The Doomswoman, a Romance of Old California (1900). Atherton was, for a time, a notable and noted American author; although her style is quite dated these days, she was popular and her books, mostly historical romances like The Doomswoman, sold well. The Doomswoman is, indeed, a romance of Old California, being set in the days when America and Mexico/Spain vied for true control of California. Dona Chonita is the daughter of an old, old Castilian family, one with long roots in Mexico and a great patriotism for Mexico and Spain. Naturally, when she meets Don Diego Estenega, the scion of her house's hated rival (yes, it's Romeo and Juliet all over again), it's love/hate at first sight. There's a great deal of high-flown purple persiflage, political intrigue, Dona Chonita's twin brother dying at Don Diego's hands, and so on; the book is hardly a page turner and, truly, not with the effort. (Did I mention that Atherton's style has not aged well?)

But there is Dona Chonita, the Doomswoman. She is tall and blonde, "quite beautiful enough to plant thorns where she listed." (I'm still trying to figure out what that means). She is pale and fine-featured in the way of Castilian beauties. She is high-spirited, passionate, aristocratic, devoutedly Catholic, and variously quite immature and exceedingly old, depending on how high her temper is running. And, "she had the power, as twin, to heal and curse,--I had named her the Doomswoman, and by this name she was known far and wide." She is, indeed; she regularly has the peasants and natives, who think quite well of her, line up so that her touch can heal them. (Well, that, and her father's medicines, and to her credit she does not know which is more efficacious). She can also curse, as mentioned; when a dark-haired Mexican beauty presumes to flirt too seriously with Don Diego, Dona Chonita brings down a curse on the woman, causing her to fall into a raging fever and then for her hair to fall out. And, finally, she not only has prophetic dreams but even astrally projects during them.

orrington, Horace. Horace Dorrington was created by Arthur Morrison and appeared in a series of short stories first published in The Windsor Magazine (the first of which was "The Narrative of Mr. James Rigby," The Windsor Magazine, January 1897) which were eventually collected in The Dorrington Deed Box (1897). I provide a small bit of biographical detail on Morrison in the Martin Hewitt entry.

In 1896 the concept of the rogue hero was not exactly new to readers in England. Robin Hood, after all, was a rogue hero, of sorts, and the räuberroman craze at the turn of the 19th century--see the Rinaldo Rinaldini entry for more on this--provided more examples. But the idea of a criminal--not a noble outlaw, not a hero wanted for a crime he did not commit, but an actual criminal--being the hero (or at least the protagonist) of a series of stories was somewhat new. 1896 saw Grant Allen's creation of Colonel Clay, the first real rogue hero. Following relatively quickly on the heels of Colonel Clay was Horace Dorrington, and within a year came Don Q and then the flood of rogue heroes of the early 20th century; I have a number of them listed on my Pulp Heroes site (which, I feel the need to add, will be published as an encyclopedia toward the end of 2005, in the same way that this site is being published as an encyclopedia toward the end of 2004. World domination, one reader at a time, is my motto). But Dorrington is quite different from the rogue heroes who preceded him, and can be seen as the precursor to the more lethal and villainous fictional "heroes," characters like Fantomas and Fu Manchu. Dorrington, you see, is an unabashed scoundrel, an unrepentant thief and murderer whose response to the discovery of a clever way to murder someone is to adopt the method for his own use.

The Dorrington Deed Box traces Dorrington's rise and fall, but in the reverse fashion from normal. The first story tells of Dorrington's only defeat, when his associates fail to completely drug one of their victims, who escapes from drowning in a cistern and leads the police to Horrington's door. Horrington has fled, but his guise as a respectable member of society is ruined. The remaining five stories in the collection trace his career backwards in time, starting with Dorrington's discovery of the couple who use a cistern to drown their victims--the same couple who Dorrington blackmails into being his assistants in the first story--and ending with Dorrington's first big break, when he makes enough to escape the East End and his job as muscle for a local criminal and start his own business.

Dorrington's business is as a "private inquiry agent"--the Victorian equivalent of a private eye. He and his partner Hicks form "Dorrington and Hicks,� a very well-respected detective firm. Thanks to their reputation they are consulted on cases for the rich and well-heeled. This is exactly as Dorrington likes it�Hicks handles the office end of business, and Dorrington is the field man as well as the brains of the operation�because this positions Dorrington to enrich himself, either through actually doing his job and solving the crime he was hired to look into, as he does when there is no way to profit from a case, or by finding a way to make money either from his clients or from the criminals he is hired to catch. Dorrington is always keen to take advantage when the latter situation arises; if his client holds the deeds to a large amount of valuable land in Australia, Dorrington will persuade his client that he should hold on to the deeds�for safe keeping, you understand�and then will have his client murdered. If a diamond is stolen and Dorrington is hired to recover it, he will find the guilty parties and then blackmail them into giving him the diamond. If Dorrington investigates a clever investment scam, he will force (through the threat of revelation, disgrace, and imprisonment) the swindler to accept him as a partner in the scam. Dorrington is cheerfully ruthless in his pursuit of lucre, willing to do anything to enrich himself. He appears to lack any sort of morality whatsoever and to be a near sociopath.

Dorrington is a �tall, well-built fellow, rather handsome, perhaps, except for a certain extreme roundness of face and fulness of feature; he had a dark military moustache, and carried himself erect, with a swing as of a cavalryman, and his eyes had, I think, the most penetrating quality I ever saw.� He�s very knowledgeable about criminals, both the English variety and those on the Continent. He�s great company, very genial and seemingly generous as well as a good raconteur. He�s very skilled with things like lockpicks and safecracking. He�s clever at playing a bluff well and taking advantage of a situation, a very smart plotter, he�s good at disguise (although he usually positions himself so that none is needed and his victim can only accede to his demandes), he�s usually very careful to avoid placing himself in danger, and he�s a clever solver of a locked room murder mystery. In sum, he�s quite a formidable character, his skills being the equal of his amorality, and his failure in the first story, the error that led to his being forced to flee, was due as much to authorial plot contrivance (and perhaps the expectations of the publishers/audience that such a character could not be allowed to ultimately triumph) as to any real failing on his own part.

The Dorrington stories are anything but cozy. Dorrington is ruthless and his crimes equally so. Morrison tells the stories in a straightforward style; there aren�t any particularly memorable lines or passages, but neither are there any howlingly bad ones. The schemes of the criminals are often clever, and Dorrington�s solutions are even more clever. And Morrison uses his own knowledge of Asian art and culture to good effect in one story.

The Dorrington stories are not immortal, but they are quick-reading and very entertaining, and the character of Dorrington is one you will not soon forget.

ow, William. William Dow was created by �René de Pont-Jost� and appeared in three novels, Le No. 13 de la rue Marlot (No. 13 Rue Marlot, 1877), La Femme de cire (mémoires d�un détective) (The Wax Woman�Memoirs of a Detective,  1883), and Le Cas du Dr. Plemen (mémoires d�un détective), (The Case of Dr. Plemen�Memoirs of a Detective 1887). �René de Pont-Jost� (also �René de Pont-Jest�) was the pseudonym of Léon René Delmas (1830-1904), a French writer of mysteries and adventure novels and stories who is best known  for having unsuccessfully sued Jules Verne in 1877, Delmas alleging that Verne plagiarised Delmas in Journey to the Center of the Earth.

The William Dow novels are in many ways very typical French romans policier. Written in the wake of Émile Gaboriau�s very popular M. Lecoq novels, the Dow novels have many of the same elements that worked so well for Gaboriau. There is the strict attention to detail, the way in which the French police actually go about the business of solving crimes; the Dow novels, like other romans policier, are proto-police procedurals. There is the straight factual narration of the stories, the you-are-there-and-this-is-how-things-happened drive of the stories. There is the use of legal testimony and aspects of the law. And there is the use of then-modern science in the solving of the crime.

Unlike Gaboriau, however, Delmas does not engage (too much) in melodrama or the other excesses of the sensational novel. Delmas� stories involve murder and jilted lovers, but the melodramatic elements (with the exception of things like Dow appearing at the last minute to solve a case, something that is common to many different types of detective stories, not just sensation novels) are kept to a minimum. Delmas does indulge in the occasional stylistic excess, when he clearly wanted to add a personal touch as well as heighten the readers� identification with the characters: �One would have said the poor mother was baptizing her daughter with her tears� and �It was truly a horrible sight that these two men offered, alone in this gloomy place: one, intelligent and distinguished, questioning the dead to wrest some mysterious secret from him; the other, common and brutish, a silent witness of the exciting scene, which caused him no other fear than that of being caught.� These come from a desire to evoke empathy with the characters; Delmas pays a great deal of attention to the lives of minor characters and the witnesses of the crime, so that Dow is not the central character of the story. The crime itself is the story, and Dow is a secondary character, as are the witnesses, victims, and villains. Too, Delmas pays attention to the poor and their condition, displaying hostility to a cruel and merciless legal system, so that the readers see that those arrested are victims of a state-sponsored crime even if they are criminals as well.

Dow himself is of interest, in that he does not seem to have been modelled on any one particular pre-existing character. In first appearance he�s a cool operator who acts on his own and is finally revealed to be the �chief of detectives of the metropolitan police of New York.� His background had changed by his third appearance, so that he was now an amateur investigator, a former doctor who had killed a man through a tragic mistake and then devoted himself to righting wrongs and avenging victims.  But Dow isn�t notably similar to any of his predecessors.

Dow isn�t a Pinkerton knock-off. The image of the Pinkerton detective became widespread in the 1870s, with Allan Pinkerton publishing The Gypsies and the Detectives in 1872 and his very popular non-fiction work The Expressman and the Detective in 1875. Pinkerton�s books helped propagate the image of detectives of the Pinkerton detective agency�the �Pinkertons�--as ultra-efficient detectives, so that by the 1890s �Pinkerton� was another word for �detective.� (For more on this see the �Nat Pinkerton� entries in the French Heroes and Russian Heroes sections of my Pulp Heroes site). The Pinkerton phenomenon was certainly being felt in France by 1877, although private detectives were still viewed with distrust and scorn when Delmas wrote Rue Marlot. (The French began to see private detectives as professionals rather than a crook and con man began with the translation of the Sherlock Holmes stories as well as those of Nick Carter and other dime novel detectives). But Dow doesn�t really have much in common with the Pinkerton character; he�s efficient and cool, but he�s a single operator and someone who keeps himself above the evil hurly-burly of the criminal underworld, rather than the Pinkertons who immersed themselves in the underworld.

Dow isn�t a Great Detective lift. Dow precedes Sherlock Holmes, of course, but French detective fiction has a tradition of Great Detectives which precedes Holmes by decades. It all starts with François Eugène Vidocq, whose four-volume Mémoires de Vidocq (1828-1829), a heavily sensationalized and ghostwritten account of his career as a criminal and then founder of the Police de Sûreté, was very popular. Vidocq virtually created the image of the brilliant crime-solver (as well as the brilliant crook posing as a policeman), an image which was to become quite common. The criminal Vidocq was to reappear in Balzac�s Vautrin (in Le Père Goriot, 1834-5 and other books of the Comédie Humaine); the Great Detective Vidocq would reappear in Eugène Sue�s Rodolphe and in Victor Hugo�s Jean Valjean, from Les Miserables (1862). Most importantly, Vidocq would reappear, in an altered fashion, in Edgar Allan Poe�s C. Auguste Dupin, who set the template for the Great Detective. Holmes was greatly influenced by Dupin (although Holmes was graceless enough, in �A Study in Scarlet,� to describe Dupin as �a very inferior fellow�); Maximilien Heller was likewise influenced by Dupin. But Dow is not. He is a hands-on detective, investigating crimes on the scene rather than solving crimes from the luxury of his lodgings. Dow is not brilliant, either. He is intelligent and educated, well aware of advances in criminal science and forensic pathology, but he is not a Holmes-like genius.

Dow isn�t a dime novel detective. Although Old Sleuth was popular in the United States in 1877, he wasn�t internationally known, and Old King Brady and Old Cap Collier were not popular in France when the latter two William Dow novels were written. Those three figures were the most likely models for dime novel detectives which Delmas would have known. And Dow is not nearly as physical as those three characters. Dow is a crime-solver, not someone who is particularly adept with his fists. He uses his brain, rather than his muscles, to catch criminals and see that justice is done.

And Dow has little in common with the British detectives who preceded him. Although Dow is a police inspector in his first appearance, he is really an amateur, and when he solves crimes he does so on his own or to help the French police, rather than as an agent of the British police force, as Inspector Cutting or Inspector Bucket were.

So Dow is unique, if not overly memorable. He�s very cool. His sang-froid is remarked upon, and he has that in abundance. He�s unflappable to the point of impassivity. Nothing throws him off. That�s his main character trait (the internal life of Dow was not a big concern of Delmas in writing Rue Marlot). In a moment of deserved pride he says of himself,

I am a great hunter, sir, and a physician, indeed, a member of the faculty at Philadelphia; but in America, with our civilization of yesterday, which forces us often to defend ourselves, we have all, more or less, preserved something of the trapper and adventurer.
While the information about his being from Philadelphia is a lie, the rest, I think, can be taken as an indication about how he feels about himself. But that�s it for his personality. As a detective he�s quite good. He�s up-to-date on scientific advancements in criminology, he knows his forensice sciences, he uses his medical skills to inspect corpses (even looking at a corpse�s brain for clues), and he pays close attention to the evidence at hand. He thoroughly inspects crime scenes, uses disguises (but in a realistic fashion, rather than a Nick Carter quick change), and makes use of paid informants. He�s crafty, too, easily outwitting a tail and fooling even the Paris police commissioner.

owling, Ruth. Ruth Dowling was introduced in Ruth the betrayer; or, The female spy, a 51-part serial circa 1865, by Edward Ellis, the creator of Rook the robber. Ruth the betrayer is an odd little dreadful, not least for its choice of heroines. There are certainly other female heroines during this time, not just in Victorian literature as a whole but also in fantastic, mysterious, and adventurous literature. But this role (in literature, at least), was usually the province of men, which is why it was a noteworthy choice on Ellis' part to use a woman.

Ruth Gergensen is beloved of "The Kaiser" (nothing more specific was given about him, but it was clear who Ellis was referring to), engaged to marry him and secure in his confidences. They are seen everywhere in Berlin and Paris, chatting and laughing gaily. He tells her things that he would say to no one else, including state secrets, because he knows she can be trusted.

He's wrong. She is not Ruth Gergensen, but is actually Ruth Dowling, the most beautiful woman in Europe and a true patriot and servant of the British Crown. Ruth is the daughter of a highly respected M. P. from a long and honored line of British nobility who number many knights in their past. The Dowling brothers are officers serving in the Army and Navy in various parts of the Empire, and Ruth wants to be their equal, and insists that her father give her a chance to prove herself. An opportunity presents itself, and the Home Secretary himself gives her the mission: to meet the Kaiser at a Season ball in London at the Palace, get to know him, woo him, make him fall in love with her, get Important State And Military Secrets from him, and then escape back to London. Ruth is daunted--slightly--at this task, but recovers quickly--she's spirited and headstrong and determined to prove herself the equal of her brothers--and sets to the job.

She does it too well, and the Kaiser thoroughly falls for her. Unfortunately for her, the Kaiser's head of security, the Graf Jacob Friederich Veitshans, suspects her--the cover story that the Home Secretary's men put together for Ruth is flawed--and he keeps a very close watch on her, surrounding her with guards whenever Ruth leaves her apartment and subverting her personal servants. Time runs out on Ruth as the wedding draws near, and she faces The Fate Worse Than Death at the hands (and other body parts) of the Kaiser, who is an unhygienic and unattractive brute.

Luckily, and all too predictably, Ruth is rescued by St. John Edgehill, one of several suitors she never had time for while in England. There's a thrilling (well, mildly exciting by current standards) midnight escape from Ruth's apartments and chase to the coast, and Ruth and St. John escape via his small sloop. They sail back to London, the Crown is pleased to hear Ruth's report, the Kaiser is humiliated, Ruth decides that she's had enough of excitement and resolves to marry St. John...but for a while there Ruth is really quite something.

racula, Count. Dracula was created by Bram Stoker and appeared in Dracula (1897). Stoker (1847-1912) was a friend of Henry Irving and the actor-manager of his theatre for almost 20 years. Stoker also wrote a variety of novels, including the twisted and misogynistic Lair of the White Worm (which may have been written while Stoker was suffering from the advanced stages of syphilis). But he remains best known, and will likely always be known, for Dracula. It�s not that Dracula was such an overwhelming hit when it first came out. It was only a modest success, and Richard Marsh�s The Beetle, reportedly written in competition with Stoker, sold far better. But Dracula, helped by media portrayals of the novel as well as by the novel�s potent brew of symbolism, sex, and horror, eclipsed The Beetle within a few decades and is now as immortal as the undead Count himself.

Dracula, for those of you who have somehow never read the book (which is different than the films), is about Count Vlad Tepes Dracula, a Transylvanian nobleman turned into one of the Un-Dead. In the 1890s (1893, by the novel�s internal evidence), he decides to move from his ancestral castle near the Borgo Pass, in Transylvania, to London. So after sufficient research he engages an English law firm to buy him properties in and around London. The firm sends one of its clerks, Jonathan Harker, to Castle Dracula to close the deal. Harker initially sees nothing unusual about the Count, but fairly quickly becomes alarmed at some of his more unusual behavior. Harker eventually realises that his life is in danger, but he is a prisoner in the Castle and can do nothing. After several frightening moments, including the startling sight of Dracula crawling head-first down the castle�s walls, and an erotically-charged attack by three vampire women, Harker watches Dracula depart for England and makes his own escape attempt. Back in England Harker�s fiancée Mina Murray visits her best friend Lucy Westenra, meets Lucy�s fiancee Arthur Holmwood, and sees a ship run aground near them, its crew dead and the only living creature on board a gray wolf-like dog, which soon escapes into the countryside.

Soon after that the bad things start. Lucy begins sleepwalking, and Mina, following her one night, sees her in a churchyard, a tall, thin man bent over her. Lucy remembers nothing, but begins deteriorating physically, so much so that Mina is forced to ask for help from Dr. Seward, one of Lucy�s rejected suitors. Lucy improves but then grows worse, and Dr. Seward asks for help from his old friend and tutor Dr. Abraham Van Helsing. Van Helsing discovers two bite marks on Lucy�s neck and immediately recognizes Lucy�s problem. He orders blood transfusions for her, first from her fiancé and later from the other men protecting her, as well as hanging garlic around her, and her condition improves, but thanks to Dr. Seward�s sloppiness and then to Lucy�s mother�s ignorance Dracula is able to get at her again, and eventually she is drained so badly she dies. Harker returns to England, having escaped from the castle but becoming very sick for some months and requiring lengthy care. Soon after that some children in the neighborhood are attacked by the �bloofer lady,� and Van Helsing is forced to reveal to Holmwood, Seward, Harker, and Quincey Morris (the American friend of Holmwood, Seward and Harker) that he believes Lucy was victimized by a vampire and became one in turn, and that the only way to save her soul is to exhume her corpse, drive a stake through its heart, cut off its head, and stuff its mouth with garlic. Dr. Seward is horrified, but a midnight investigation of Lucy�s tomb reveals that she�s not there, and when daylight comes Lucy returns to the tomb, now clearly a vampire, and the group destroy her.

Dracula, a bit piqued, then preys on Mina, drinking her blood and, worse still, making her drink his blood, in an erotically-charged scene. The men turn their sites on the Count. They first destroy the boxes of Transylvanian earth which he brought with him from home; he needs those to sleep in. Dracula decides that London is too much trouble and leaves by sea. The group follows him, using Mina as a spy; because she has fed on Dracula�s blood, she has a link to him, and when put in a trance she sees what he sees. Van Helsing and the men pursue Dracula to Transylvania, and after a fight with his Romany followers they succeed in killing him. The novel ends with a seven-years-after epilogue in which Mina and Jonathan have a young son who they have named after Quincey, who died while fighting Dracula.

Dracula is in those class of novels, with The Count of Monte Cristo (see the Edmond Dantes entry) and Frankenstein, which are powerful and enjoyable, even today, while also being flawed. Dracula is not Art or Literature (as that fatuous blowhard Sven Birkets might say), but it is a work of symbolism and terror whose potency has grown, not diminished, in the century since its inception.

Stoker was not a particularly good writer. He was sloppy and hasty, his Victorian sensibilities overwhelmed his storytelling sensibilities, and he over-indulged in the bathos so common to the late Victorians. But even acknowledging the book�s many flaws, it is still a work of great power, and a seminal one in the horror genre. Even those of us jaded by horrors Stoker couldn�t imagine can still glory in the horripilation Dracula causes. And Stoker is capable of some quite memorable lines as well as surprisingly lyrical ones.

Dracula shares certain things in common with the Gothics, including beautiful young women (Lucy and Mina) threatened with ravishment (both physical and spiritual) and pursued (through subterranean corridors or crumbling ruins in the Gothics, through more prosaic quarters and both physically and spiritually in Dracula) by a dreadful, superhumanly evil being. And as in the Gothics sexuality and its threat is a central, if submerged, theme. But the sexual symbolism is far more common, and overt, in Dracula than in any Gothic. Whether Stoker knew it or not�and there are moments, certainly in some of Van Helsing�s speeches, that hint at a greater understanding on Stoker�s part of what he was writing than is commonly assumed�Dracula is virtually sodden with sexuality and with a commingling and equivalence of blood and sex. The �langurous ecstasy� which Jonathan Harker feels as he is about to be penetrated by the fangs of one of the vampire women and then sucked by her; the vampires� repeated use of �kiss� in the place of �blood-sucking;� the good mood the single, flirtatious Lucy feels, post-coitally, after Dracula�s visit versus the guilt and depression the married Mina feels after a similar visit; the desire Mina feels for Dracula�s �kiss;� the almost pornographic scene of Mina feeding on Dracula�s blood, her face pressed against his naked breast; the open acknowledgment and articulation that Mina, having taken the bodily fluids (the blood) of several men (transfusions to replace the blood Dracula has taken), is the �bride,� not just of Jonathan, her husband, but also of Dracula, Arthur, Quincy, Van Helsing, and John Seward; the transformation in death of the proper (if flirtatious) Lucy to the carnal and �voluptuous� vampiress; the phallic weaponry of the men�stakes and knives�sexuality is a constant in Dracula. (As a side note, it�s curious to me how the figure of the vampire, who is nothing if not a rapist, has been transformed over the past thirty years into a romantic anti-hero, if not an outright hero. The 1992 film version of Dracula is a perfect example of this. The Count of Stoker�s novel is a very long way from the vampire who Gary Oldman portrays. This is not one of the more salutory developments in popular culture, to be certain).

The high point of the novel�s eroticism comes in the first four chapters, with the appearance of the vampire brides and their near attack on Jonathan Harker. I would tend to agree with those who feel that the first four chapters are indeed the novel�s high point. The horror and atmosphere are best sustained there, with the (still!) creepy visual of Dracula crawling head-first down the castle wall, and with Dracula giving a baby to the vampire brides in the place of Harker; the horror and atmosphere are�not lost, exactly, but interrupted with the shift to London, and while there are many moments of terror they don�t reach the peaks of those first four chapters.

But while the transition to England and to the use of rotating documents�memoes, diaries, letters�to narrate events does interrupt the momentum, they are still effective (even if somewhat obtrusive) in establishing character and building suspense. There is, if anything, rather too much of the documents. The novel could do with some tightening, the elision of superfluous detail and the excision of the more bathetic and over-indulgent prose. There�s a definite surfeit of bathos, the �slough of feeling� (Leonard Wolf�s phrase) which can make the late Victorian novels such a chore to read. Additionally, there are a few too many instances of Stoker�s prejudices influencing the text. Class prejudices are common, with the English working classes being figures of derision. The novel is full of sexism, misogyny, and condescencion to women (although it is Mina who is most often responsible for helping the men, and they who are responsible for her being victimized). Stoker has Mina mouth some contemptuous lines for the New Woman, although Mina is herself a New Woman in all but name.

And then there is Dracula. Curiously, for all his importance to the novel we see relatively little of his personality. He�s off-stage for most of the novel�good for heightening suspense and increasing the sense of danger, but bad for giving us the opportunity to get to know him. He�s malevolent, obviously, and as seen in the first few chapters he�s very proud, not just of himself but of his land and his people. He is an ardent patriot and quite vocal about it and his people�s achievements. But we see little else of his personality. He speaks to Harker of his loneliness, but we can�t be sure of his truthfulness. Is the Count simply practising his social skills on Harker? Mina asks the others to feel for Dracula, to sympathize with him, but are those her sentiments, or is Dracula speaking through her? We see later how contemptuous he is of humans, but what else do we know of him? The movies change so much of the character�adding the romantic anti-hero characterization, adding restrictions to his powers (the book Dracula can walk about during the day, Dracula can assume the guise of another human, as he does in the novel�s beginning when he turns into the horseman who escorts Harker to Castle Dracula�that we project film representations of the Count on to the literary version.

Dracula is a classic. Not in the sense of, say, the best of Henry James, but a work which retains its power and is read for pleasure a century after its inception and will likely stay that way for at least another century. If you have never read it, you should, because despite its flaws it still entertains and even, at one or two points, frightens.

ucayne, Lady. Lady Ducayne was created by M. E. Braddon and appeared in �Good Lady Ducayne� (The Strand Magazine, February 1896). Braddon  (1835-1915) was the author of �Eveline�s Visitant� (see the Andre de Brissac entry) and �The Cold Embrace� (see the Gertrude entry), and although �Good Lady Ducayne� isn�t the equal of the latter it is still an entertaining horror story.

Bella Rolleston is in desperate straits. She is eighteen and uneducated, but her family is quite poor�her poor mother�s caddish husband deserted the family six years before and provided no support for them�and needs whatever money Bella can earn for them. So Bella approaches a London employment agency and pays them five shillings (�told off reluctantly from one of those sovereigns which were so rare with the mother and daughter�) to place her. This proves difficult, however, as Bella, though a hard worker and a sweet person, lacks the qualities that most aristocratic ladies require. The agency, in the person of the quite snooty Superior Person, does not give Bella a job for weeks, but eventually appears: the wealthy and quite elderly Lady Ducayne is in need of a strong, active young woman as an companion. Lady Ducayne has been �unfortunate� with her previous companions, and so she needs a new one, and Bella is all too eager to take the job, especially since it will require her to spend the winter in Italy (�Italy! The very word was magical.�) with Lady Ducayne. So Bella takes the job, sends her advance money to her mother, and goes to Italy with Lady Ducayne. Initially Bella is quite happy there, going on long walks through the lovely landscape and making two new friends, a young student, Lotta, and Lotta�s older brother Dr. Herbert Stafford. But soon Bella sends long letters back to her mother every week. But soon enough Bella begins to feel a weakness and a lassitude creep upon her, and her friends leave Cap Ferrino to travel around Italy. Bella overhears two elderly English discussing her predecessors, who both died in Ducayne�s service. The pair also mention Ducayne�s age (�I have heard her say things that showed she was in Parisian society when the First Empire was at its best�before Josephine was divorced�) and Ducayne�s Italian doctor, Parravicini, a �wicked old quack.� Bella is not alarmed by all of this, but she begins to have an alarming dream, one which recurs. She also finds a would on her arm which she ascribes to mosquitoes. Parravicini agrees and treats the wound, but it �recurred now and then at longish intervals.� Lady Ducayne and her household eventually go to Bellagio, where Bella meets up with Lotta and Herbert. Herbert is looking forward to seeing Bella again, even though Lotta somewhat frowns on what she sees, as Bella�s mother is a pauper, far below the Staffords� social class. But when Herbert sees Bella, he is shocked at how pale, weak, and aged she looks. Herbert eventually finds out about the dream and the �mosquito bites,� and when he examines the �bites� he is quite certain that she has been bled�and without her knowledge, from what she says. So Herbert confronts Lady Ducayne and Parravicini. Herbert discovers that Ducayne is in search of anything that will prolong her life, that she claims to have been born �the day Louis XVI was guillotined,� and that Parravicini has been taking blood from Ducayne�s young female companions and giving it to Ducayne to keep her alive, but also that she is dissatisfied with Parravicini. Stafford tells Ducayne that he is removing Bella from her employ and threatens her with the law if she takes another girl into her service. In a fury Ducayne sends both Herbert and Parravicini away. Ducayne then discharges Bella and gives her a large check for her trousseau, and Bella agrees to marry Herbert.

�Good Lady Ducayne� falls into that class of vampire story which escaped  the Stoker influence by being published before Dracula. Readers of the site are, of course, well aware that the 19th century produced a wide  range of vampire stories, from the hallucinogenic horror of the Horla (gee, with alliteration like that I sound like Stan Lee) to the Gothic hijinks of Varney the Vampyre to the straightforward, if erotic, scare of �Ken�s Mystery� (see the Ethelind Fionguala entry).  �Good Lady Ducayne� isn�t like those three or any of the others which preceded it. Though there is vampirism, it�s of the quack/medical  variety, through the transferral of blood, rather than of the supernatural variety. �Ducayne� was written in the 1890s, so even more than �Ken�s Mystery� it has the late Victorian slickness of storytelling, the stress on realistic and spare dialogue and characterization. And the nature of the vampire itself is different in �Ducayne� than in its predecessors. Braddon does not present Ducayne as unalloyed evil, ala Carmilla, or as an alluring, supernatural temptress, ala Clarimonde. Lady Ducayne is an old, frail woman scared of dying, and although her complicity in  the deaths of Bella�s predecessors was evil, her reasons for doing it  are far more understandable, and realistic, than the supernatural  motivations of Carmilla et al. Ducayne�s is a more tawdry and base  wickedness than normal vampires, but more true to life as well.

Braddon leaves the nature of Ducayne herself somewhat ambiguous. Although the text of the story describes her as �wicked,� and Dr. Stafford says that she �missed being very dear to you,� Ducayne�s dismay and anger at Parravicini seems due as much at his methods (which, admittedly, she made use of when she thought they were effective) as at their ineffectiveness. And although Ducayne was willing to drain Bella, and spoke of her in somewhat callous terms, Ducayne�s farewell note is kindly phrased. I suppose this ambiguity simply reinforces the realistic feel of the story. Ducayne is not wholly evil, but is more complicated than that, as real people tend to be.

�Good Lady Ducayne� isn�t a classic of the horror/vampire genre, but it�s still quite entertaining. It has the slick style I mentioned along with some good landscape descriptions, realistic dialogue, and some effective and even ominous lines. The plot is predictable, but we still enjoy seeing how the story plays out. The character of Bella is particularly well done. She is not overly clever, and is more a victim/object than a heroine/subject, but Braddon makes her quite sympathetic. She�s a good person, and the reader is likely to identify with her. Braddon also nicely handles Bella�s poverty. Bella is no Girton Girl. She is someone who is really poor, and to whom a tenner is a vast sum, and so she feels far more realistic than the charming but unreal Lois Cayley.

Lady Adeline Ducayne is no supernatural creature. She is simply a scared old woman doing what she has to do to continue living. If that means that her young female companions are slowly and mortally drained of their blood, well, that�s a price Lady Ducayne is willing to pay.

uclos, Marcel. Marcel Duclos appeared in "Neck and Neck; or, Tom Pinkney's Race Around the World with Nelly Bly," a serial appearing in Golden Hours from 21 December 1889 to 22 February 1890. The serial was written by "Anonymous." Duclos is a French inventor, renowned the world over for his contributions to French society and to alleviating poverty. His latest and greatest invention is the airship Nellie, which is powered by a fantastic new energy source (which is never revealed in the story itself). Duclos is taking the Nellie for a test drive when he encounters Tom Pinkney, who is accompanying "Nelly (sic) Bly" around the world in an attempt to best Phileas Fogg's record. Duclos picks up Pinkney, Pinkney's corrupt guardian Edward, and Nelly in Hong Kong and carries them across the Pacific, first to Japan and then to Hawaii and the United States. Over San Francisco Edward's hired assassin (it's a long story) tries to kill Tom but instead has an attack of the d.t.s and falls out of the Nellie, with Duclos following him. My interest in "Neck and Neck" left with Duclos' death, so I can't tell you how it ended.

udu. Dudu was created by Mrs. Molesworth and appeared in The Tapestry Room (1879). Mary Louisa Molesworth (1839-1921) was the creator of Maud Bertram, and I have a little information on her there. The Tapestry Room is about Mademoiselle Jeanne, a French girl, and her English cousin Hugh, who moves in to her parents house, in the tapestry room. Jeanne is lonely and bored, and so the arrival of Hugh is a godsend for her. They begin playing together and quickly become friends. Jeanne tells Hugh about Dudu, the raven who hangs around her house, and soon Hugh begins seeing Dudu in his dreams and talking with him, although Hugh can�t remember just what Dudu tells him. But then one night he meets Dudu in his dreams, and they have a conversation he does remember, about the tapestry in the room and how to enter it. And Hugh does, and in the faerie world of the tapestry he meets Jeanne, and after that the two of them have several fine adventures and hear some wonderful stories, including a sad and sweet tale from Dudu himself about the great-grandmothers of Jeanne and Hugh. And then Dudu says goodbye to Jeanne and Hugh ("...and on the whole, my dears, even if I had my choice, I don't think I should care to live another two or three hundred years in a world where changes come so quickly") and disappears.

The Tapestry Room is a sentimental and good-natured children�s domestic fantasy, the kind E. Nesbit would later do so well. The Tapestry Room is very much a collection of individual adventures and stories, rather than a novel of separate elements, but each adventure and story is entertaining on its own. The Tapestry Room isn�t Art and isn�t even adventure fiction on the same level as Lorna Doone (see the John Ridd entry for what I thought of that classic). But it�s amiable and entertaining children�s fiction--and by that I mean children rather than teenagers/young adults--and Mrs. Molesworth writes in a simple style with enough descriptions to engage the imagination without particularly inspiring it.

Dudu is much the best thing about The Tapestry Room. He is an old, lame raven who hobbles up and down the terraces of Jeanne�s house, and appears on the windowsill of her room when he wants to. And inside the room. And inside her dreams, and Hugh�s. He�s mysterious and solitary and somewhat forbidding, and Hugh quite wisely decides that it�s best to be polite to him. (Jeanne, who describes him as an �ogre fairy� and a �wicked enchanter,� is not so polite to him, but he indulges her, presumably because of her age and her friendship with him). This is the right tack to take, and Dudu proves to be a helpful, if somewhat superior, friend to them, giving them sage advice and offering his services if they are ever in need. Dudu is the guardian of the castle in the tapestry. He�s somewhat self-important, especially about his character and reputation, and has a great deal of dignity and responds negatively when it or he is impugned. He is old, at least a century, and is crotchety and enigmatic, avoiding any explanations about himself, why he speaks, how he moves through dreams, or the nature of the faerie land the children travel through. He�s enigmatic and arch and very Lewis Carrollian, and it�s a shame we only have the one novel with him in it.

upin, C. Auguste. C. Auguste Dupin was created by Edgar Allan Poe and appeared in three stories: �The Murders in the Rue Morgue� (Graham�s Lady�s and Gentleman�s Magazine, April 1841), �The Mystery of Marie Rogêt� (Snowden�s Lady�s Companion, November 1842), and �The Purloined Letter� (The Gift, 1845). Poe (1809-1849) was somewhat well-regarded in his own time, but since his early and untimely death he has become a major figure in world literature, regarded as �the architect of the modern short story,� a major poet and literary critic, and a writer extremely influential on the French Symbolists of the late 19th century.

Poe is also viewed as the creator of the modern mystery short story through his Dupin stories and through �The Gold Bug� (1843). This is not entirely true. There were mysteries before Poe, just as there were detective characters before Dupin; I�ve listed some of them here, from Mademoiselle de Scudéry to M. Favart, and some other will eventually be included here. The idea that Poe created something entirely new in the Dupin stories is not true. Although writers had not articulated or even formed the concept of mystery fiction, Gothics and novels had what we now consider mystery elements and even focused on policemen and detectives at work solving crimes. The estimable Lucy Sussex politely dismissed my designation of L_____ (see her entry in the Lady Detectives section) as a female detective (although I disagree with her, somewhat, about that, but more on that in my book rather than here), but the story itself is nothing more or less than a mystery, albeit an early one. So was Susan Hopley. So were the stories in which  Tom Richmond appeared. The essential elements of the mystery�the crime, the criminal the crime-solver (whether as amateur detective, professional detective, or policeman), the presentation of the evidence, the following of the crime-solver as she or he unravels the plot, the exploration of the character and psyche of the criminal, and the punishment of the criminal�were all present in fiction before Poe wrote �The Murders in the Rue Morgue.�

So even if the phrase �detective fiction� hadn�t been formulated yet, writers before Poe were clearly aware of the idea and the elements which make it up. Poe�s importance lies in the elements he created and his approach to the subject matter.

The figure of the Great Detective�an eccentric, nearly omniscient amateur investigator who uses rationality and logic to solve the crimes which mystify the police; the armchair detective; the slower-witted confidant of the Great Detective who narrates the stories and is the voice of the ordinary person, as opposed to the voice of the Great Detective; the trail of false clues; the tactic of misleading the reader into making incorrect assumptions about the crime or the criminal; the tactic of playing fair with the reader by presenting all the clues necessary to solve the mystery; the least likely suspect being the criminal; the notion of the secret clue or piece of evidence being hidden in the most obvious location; the locked room mystery or �impossible� crime; the inept police force�all of these genre conventions were created by Poe in the Dupin stories.

Poe�s approach was to place the solving of the mystery at the center of the story and to present the mystery as a puzzle whose solving the reader could take part in, even if only vicariously. Similarly, Poe introduced the concept that a story should follow the detective as he reveals the circumstances and mysteries around the crime, not just apprehend the wrongdoer. Poe emphasized the use of logic, inductive as well as deductive, in the solving of a crime, and made the methods used in the committing of the crime, the How of the crime, as important to the story as the motives and guilty party, the Why and the Who of the crime.

This preceding two paragraphs give you an idea of Dupin�s importance to the mystery genre. But his stories, as both mystery and fiction, are very uneven. �Rue Morgue� begins with a seven page long lecture on memory and �the analytical power� before introducing Dupin. The rest of the story is a mystery, and an intriguing one, but Poe lets Dupin lecture for far too long on his methods before resolving the crime. The story is surprisingly graphic in its description of the bodies of the murder victims. Poe thought of �Rue Morgue� as a character piece, but the actual characterization of Dupin is relatively small. �Marie Rogêt� is the worst of the three stories, combining egregious lecturing, graphic descriptions of the body of Marie Rogêt, an endless rehashing of minutiae about the murder, endless discussions of alternate explanations for the cause of the murder, all to prove the excellence of Dupin�s logic. Poe wrote �Marie Rogêt� as an application of his methods to the real life murder of Mary Cecilia Rogers, and Poe�s didactic intent is clear. Most frustratingly, the story ends without any sort of resolution; Dupin proves the method of the murder and is uninterested in actually catching the murderer. �Purloined Letter� is the most enjoyable of the three stories. Except for a brief and tedious screed on the flaws of mathematicians, the lecturing of the previous two stories is absent and is replaced with an interesting premise, good characterization, impeccable deductions, and solid execution, resulting in a very readable and entertaining story.

Dupin is in many ways the model of the Great Detective archetype. Although Sherlock Holmes is undoubtedly better known, he was modeled on Dupin. Holmes� dismissal of Dupin is well-known:

"No doubt you think that you are complimenting me in comparing me to Dupin," he observed. "Now, in my opinion, Dupin was a very inferior fellow. That trick of his of breaking in on his friends' thoughts with an apropos remark after a quarter of an hour's silence is really very showy and superficial. He had some analytical genius, no doubt; but he was by no means such a phenomenon as Poe appeared to imagine."
This statement not only hints at Holmes� ego but also was a joke on Doyle�s part. Doyle�s opinion of Poe and Dupin was much higher than Holmes�. Nor was Holmes the only copy of Dupin; M. Lecoq�s brilliant friend Pére Tabaret was also modeled on Dupin, as undoubtedly was Henri Cauvain. But Dupin was not wholly original to Poe. Poe modeled Dupin on the notorious Eugène François Vidocq (1775-1857). Vidocq was a criminal who in 1809 volunteered himself to the police as a plainclothes agent. By 1811 Vidocq was training new agents, and in 1812 he was put in command of the Brigade de La Sûreté, the security police of Paris. By 1824 Vidocq commanded dozens of detectives, and was responsible for several important reforms in French police work. Vidocq�s influence on Poe, however, came not so much from Vidocq�s real-life accomplishments as from Vidocq�s �autobiography,� Mémoires de Vidocq (Memoirs of Vidocq, or Vidocq the Police Spy, 1828-9). Memoirs of Vidocq is at least partially fictional and is greatly exaggerated; Vidocq presents himself as a real-life Great Detective, surrounded by fools but nonetheless triumphing over evil-doers and seeing that justice is done. The character of Vidocq, as seen in the Memoirs, is an obvious precursor to Dupin, although Dupin�s dispassionate, emotionless personality is a far cry from the fictional Vidocq�s self-congratulatory, boastful and vain character. Poe also based the character of Dupin on the real life Baron Pierre-Charles-François Dupin (1784-1883), a well-known mathematician and politician.

Dupin himself is not exceptionally characterized, despite the length of his three stories. He is one of the most colorless of the great fictional detectives�not as bad as Lew Archer or Ellery Queen, who are so colorless as to be pellucid, but no nearly as distinctive as Sherlock Holmes or Nero Wolfe or any of the other Great Detectives who succeeded Dupin. Dupin�s physical appearance is never given. Poe�s intent undoubtedly was to focus on Dupin�s personality and capabilities, but the lack of description leaves Dupin somewhat nebulous in the reader�s mind, and Poe�s descriptions of Dupin�s character do not improve this.

Dupin is described as a young gentleman of �an illustrious family� who �by a variety of untoward events, had been reduced to such poverty that the energy of his character succumbed beneath it, and he ceased to bestir himself in the world, or to care for the retrieval of his fortunes.� On the �small remnant of his patrimony� he lives the life of a recluse in Paris, indulging in his only luxury, books, and bending his mind to those few pursuits which divert him�specifically, the solving of the odd and unusual case. At this he is quite successful. At some point in his past he was awarded the title of �chevalier� for his services, and by the time of �Rue Morgue� he is well-known to G�, the Prefect of Police in Paris, who is willing to grant him permission to inspect crime scenes. By the time of �Purloined Letter� G�, who thinks Dupin intelligent but odd, is consulting with Dupin on those particularly unusual cases which will attract his interest. Dupin can be acerbic toward the police, and he shows a genial, amused, and not ill-minded contempt for his friend, the narrator of the stories, who is not Dupin�s equal in intellect or analytical skill. Dupin�s view of G� is only a little less kindly; Dupin thinks G� is a fine policeman for ordinary crimes but a failure in solving the unusual. He is not above a gloating gesture of triumph, as when he leave D----, his opponent in �Purloined Letter� and someone who once, in Vienna, did Dupin �an evil turn,� a note with a gloating quotation which D---- is sure to know is Dupin�s.

Dupin is Watsoned by a nameless narrator, whose background and nationality is not described but who acts as Dupin�s roommate, his only friend, his sounding board and his assistant when necessary. The narrator shares with Dupin a taste for sitting in the dark and cogitating.

uval, Claude. Claude Duval, like his English counterpart Dick Turpin, was a real person who was fictionalized and became a part of British popular culture. The real Claude Duval was a French-born highwayman, 1643-1670, who worked in England and was famous, accurately or not, for his romantic ways with women as well as his daring and bravery. (There's a somewhat-contemporary account of him here and a good short biography of him here) . He became so renowned that he became a figure of folklore without the help of a romanticizing author, ala W. Harrison Ainsworth, who immortalized Dick Turpin, inaccurately but memorably, in Rookwood. Duval in fact became the archetype for the chivalrous highwayman, a figure which can be seen in places as varied as the German rauberroman (see the Rinaldo Rinaldini entry) and Don Q�and, again, unlike Turpin the myth of the chivalrous Duval had some basis in fact.

It is, naturally, the fictional Claude Duval I�m writing about, rather than the real one. The fictional Claude Duval appeared widely, in at least three American dime novel series, the Ten Cent Claude Duval Novels, the DeWitt's Nightshade Series, and the Tales of Celebrated Highwaymen and Housebreakers, and Heaven only knows how many stories in the British penny dreadfuls. In these stories he becomes the quintessential highwayman, the French version of Dick Turpin or Deadwood Dick. Duval is heroic and criminal at the same time, a figure to be both cheered and decried. He's brave and dashing, romantic and adventurous. He robs the rich and gives to the poor, fights the truly evil and evades the truly good. His horse is superequine, and his sidekick and possible lover Mary is scarcely less brave and good with the pistols.

In Rookwood Dick Turpin describes him in this way:

�Even the French borrow from us�they have only one highwayman of eminence, and he learnt and practised his art in England.�

�And who was he, may I ask?� said Coates.

�Claud Du-Val,� replied Jack; �and though a Frenchman, he was a deuced fine fellow in his day�quite a tip-top macaroni�he could skip and twirl like a figurant, warble like an opera singer, and play the fageolet better than any man of his day�he always carried a lute in his pocket, along with his snappers. And then his dress�it was quite beautiful to see how smartly he was rigged out, all velvet and lace; and even with his vizard on his face, the ladies used to cry out to see him. Then he took a purse with the air and grace of a receiver-general. All the women adored him�and that, bless their pretty faces! was the best proof of his gentility. I wish he�d not been a Mounseer. The women never mistake. They can always discover the true gentleman, and they were all, of every degree, from the countess to the kitchen-maid, over head and ears in love with him.�

Riccardo Barbagallo very kindly sent in information on Duval's publication history:
CLAUDE DU VALL (1643-1670)

A Frenchman who, coming to England, became by his Politeness and Gallantry on the Road the Romantic Darling of the Ladies.

Written by Riccardo N. Barbagallo

Some References:

CLAUDE DU VALL. In : THE NEWGATE CALENDAR. c. 1774, and various other versions subsequently.

CLAUDE DU VAL (?). By Anon. c. 1841. Thomas White.

CLAUDE DU VAL, THE ARISTOCRATIC HIGHWAYMAN. By Anon. (Henry Downes Miles). 1848. Edwin Dipple.


CLAUDE DUVAL (?). H.D Miles. 1850.

NIGHTSHADE OR CLAUDE DUVAL THE DASHING HIGHWAYMAN. By "the author of Jane Brightwell". nd. John Dicks.

Claude Duval by Instalments:

CLAUDE DUVAL, OR THE DASHING HIGHWAYMAN. By Anon. Concluding in 1854. Llyod, 202 issues.

CLAUDE DUVAL, THE ARISTOCRATIC HIGHWAYMAN. By Anon. n.d. Thomas White, about 48 issues.


NIGHTSHADE; OR, CLAUDE DUVAL THE DASHING HIGHWAYMAN. By James Rymer. c. 1865. John Dicks, 60 issues.

CLAUDE DUVAL LIBRARY. By Charlton Lea. 1902�1906. Aldine Publishing Co., 48 issues.

CLAUDE DUVAL. HISTORISCHER ROMAN AUS DER PURITANERZEIT. Von Charlton Lea. 1907-1908. Eichler Verlag Dresden, 46 issues.

CLAUDE DUVAL, OU LE TEMPS DES PURITAINS D�ANGLETERRE. Par Charlton Lea (traduit de l�anglais par B.H. Gausseron). 1910-1912. A. Eichler (Dresde, Londres, Paris), 50 issues.

werrihouse, John. John Dwerrihouse was created by Amelia B. Edwards and appeared in �The Four-Fifteen Express� (All The Year Round, Christmas Number, 1867). Edwards was the author of "The Phantom Coach," and I have some information on her there. �The Four-Fifteen Express� is one of Edwards� most anthologized stories, but while a �classic� is only a decent ghost story.

William Langford, a junior partner in a business firm, is home in England after months away on business and is happily looking forward to spending the Christmas holidays with his friend Jonathan Jelf in Clayborough in East Anglia. So he gets on to the 4:15 express to Clayborough and takes a seat in an unoccupied compartment. Somewhat to his dismay another gentleman enters the compartment. Langford recognize the man; he is John Dwerrihouse, a rich lawyer and friend of Jonathan Jelf who Langford had met some years before at Jelf�s house. The two chat, and Dwerrihouse tells Langford, at tedious length about a new railway line that he is involved in constructing, about all the difficulties involved in its construction, about the amount of money Dwerrihouse is carrying--£75,000 pounds�which will be used for paying a deed of sale, and so on and so forth. Langford tells Dwerrihouse that he is visiting the Jelf�s on holiday, and Dwerrihouse tells Jelf about the fire in his room the last time he visited. Dwerrihouse exits the train at his stop, but Langford sees that he left his leather cigar-case behind, and runs after Dwerrihouse to return it to him. Langford sees Dwerrihouse walking with another man, but he is momentarily interrupted while running after the pair, and when he looks up they are gone, and no one else saw them. Langford is nonplused by their disappearance, and later, at Jelf�s manor, he mentions to the company that Dwerrihouse sent them his best wishes. Ghastly silence ensues, and it emerges that Dwerrihouse absconded three months ago with seventy-five thousand pounds of his company�s money, and has not been heard of since. Langford�s story is doubted by others, but he has the cigar-case, which is monogrammed and which everyone remembers Dwerrihouse carrying, and the being on the train told Langford details about his stay at the Jelfs which only Dwerrihouse would now. Then Dwerrihouse�s employers ask to speak with Langford. They doubt him, and one of their under-secretaries, the man who Langford saw speaking with Dwerrihouse, has an alibi for when Langford saw him with Dwerrihouse, but Langford puts the right questions to the right people, and it is eventually revealed that Dwerrihouse had the money but that the under-secretary assaulted Dwerrihouse, meaning only to rob him. Raikes, the under-secretary, struck Dwerrihouse too hard and killed him, and so, not being able to go to America with the money, as he�d planned�for he�d be extradited from America for murder, which he wouldn�t have been for robbery�returned to work and hid the money. And it was Dwerrihouse�s ghost Langford saw on the train....

I was underwhelmed by the �Phantom Coach� and under impressed by �The Four-Fifteen Express,� and despite the praise of critics I find myself dissatisfied with Edwards� stories when I finish them. Perhaps I�ll feel differently about �The Story of Salome� when I read it, but I think the problem is that Amelia Edwards� stories just don�t work for me. I found �The Phantom Coach� almost disjointed in its plot swerve. There was none of that here, but instead Edwards works through the set-up, delivery, and investigation almost laboriously. Worse, she indulges in some histrionics: ��Merciful heaven!� he whispered. �What was it, then, that you saw on the train?�� This kind of overstatement generally mitigates against enjoyment of a horror story; we�re more frightened by what we don�t see than what the characters shriek at us that they�ve seen.

Dwerrihouse is a bore. His lecture to Langford about the intricacies of the new railway line has Langford nodding off. And he was dishonest, embezzling £75,000 pounds from his company. He�s �loquacious, elf-important, full of his pet project, and apparently unable to talk on any subject.� An odd vehicle for ghostly vengeance, one would think, but murder must out, and so Dwerrihouse makes his appearance and ensures that Langford will see that justice is done.

yke, Clarice. Clarice Dyke was created by "Harry Rockwood" and appeared in Clarice Dyke, the Female Detective (1883). "Harry Rockwood" was one of the house names for Street & Smith, and Clarice Dyke was later reprinted in a Street & Smith dime novel; I'm unaware as to who actually created Clarice Dyke. Clarice Dyke is the husband of Donald Dyke (see below), and I assume she first appeared in one of his stories, although I'm unable to confirm this.

Clarice is described in the novel this way: �As the wife and confidante of one of the most skillful detectives living, she had become an enthusiast in the profession. More than once had her wit and forethought proven themselves equal to Donald Dyke�s, and more than once had she rendered him substantial aid in the ferreting out of mysterious crimes.� Clarice lives in the suburbs of Boston with her husband, and when a case presents itself which is too much for her husband to handle, or in which her husband might actually be in danger, she's quite willing to act the detective herself. It's no act, either; she is quite as capable at the job as her husband, and in Clarice Dyke Donald is captured by a gang and is only rescued, and the crime solved, by Clarice. She's very willful and won't accept being relegated to the sideline during a case; she's quite willing to put herself in danger to rescue her husband or anyone else in danger. She's equally ready to assumer his authority and act in his name, and even carries some of Donald's police badges while on the job so as to acquire the cooperation of the police. Generally, however, she prefers working on her own rather than bringing in the police, not least because she's afraid of ruining whatever case the police or Donald might be working on. She knows the criminals of Boston as well as Donald does, and when on the job arms herself with a revolver and knife (no doubt named Ike and Mike), thus proving that the streets of Southie and the North End were as unfriendly 120 years ago as they are now. She has the self-assurance and hauteur of a woman of the upper classes, and takes no sass from servants. She is smart and has hunches and "feminine logic" which are quite handy to her. And she has no small amount of grit; during the novel she gets shot but perserveres through. As a detective she's basic: she's got sharp eyes and uses them, uses basic deduction, skillful disguises (down to staining her skin, dyeing her hair, changing her voice and dressing as and impersonating a man), following suspects, and eavesdropping on them. At the end of the story Donald says that she has "more genuine detective genius than himself."

Clarice Dyke is a very basic dime novel mystery. The dialogue is padded out ("Rockwood" is obviously paid by the word), the mystery rather straightforward, and the criminals (a child abductress and her posse) nasty but stupid--when Clarice is captured they gloat and give away the game to her. Clarice is aided (greatly) by coincidence in her search for Donald. And there's a certain amount of grue; after Donald is captured Clarice is sent a box with a severed finger in it and Donald's ring on the finger. (Thankfully Clarice sees that the finger lacks a scar which Donald's ring finger has).

yke, Donald. Donald Dyke is something of a puzzle, compounded by the fact that I've yet to find any of his original appearances. I've read what is presumably a spin-off from his own adventures: Clarice Dyke, the Female Detective, which stars Donald's wife Clarice (see above) and in which Donald appears. And I know from one reference work--J. Randolph Cox's wonderful Dime Novel Detectives, I think--that Donald Dyke was the first Boston detective and that he appeared in The Boston Globe in the 1880s. But I don't have exact appearance dates for him or the identity of the man (or woman) who created him. I don't know, either, whether the "Harry Rockwood" who wrote Clarice Dyke was the same person who wrote the Boston Globe stories, or how a character appearing in the Globe made the shift to a Street & Smith dime novel. It's all quite curious.

Here's what I do know, based on his appearance in Clarice Dyke. Donald lives in the suburbs of Boston with his beautiful wife Clarice. He has a great reputation among the police of Boston, who give him as much assistance as he requires and feel quite grateful to do so. Donald has many enemies among the criminals of Boston, for he has terrified them for years; he's described as a "persistent bloodhound." He makes use of various assistants, disguised and otherwise, although one of them betrays him in Clarice Dyke. He's quite confident, although his record would support his confidence. And his friend and contact on the Boston Police Department is Detective Fleck.

yson. Dyson was created by Arthur Machen and appeared in �The Inmost Light� (The Great God Pan, 1894), The Three Impostors (1895), �The Shining Pyramid� (The Unknown World, 15 May 1895), and �The Red Hand� (Chapman�s Magazine of Fiction, December 1895). Arthur Machen, née Arthur Llewellyn Jones (1863-1947), is one of the seminal writers in the history of horror and fantasy literature; �The Great God Pan� was an extremely influential work on following writers, and I discuss Machen�s style in Pan�s entry.

Much of Machen�s supernatural work is linked in two ways, through the ancient throwback Little People and through the figure of Dyson. While I am tempted to do away with Dyson, since he is in usually unimportant to the main story, I�d rather have one too many entries for Machen�s work than one too few, and so I�m keeping him.

Dyson is an opinionated and pompous young man. He�s financially secure, thanks to an inheritance, and so he can afford to write books which will never be published and to play the London boulevardier and to wander the streets and byways of London and to familiarize himself with the city he loves, in hopes of finding the unusual and the outré. He�s also something of an amateur detective, and is enthusiastic about thrusting himself into crimes so that he can solve them. In this he is not usually successful�or, rather, he solves the crimes, but too late to forestall the victory of the criminals.

Dyson is in some ways Machen�s reaction, deliberate or not, to Sherlock Holmes. Dyson isn�t the rationalist that Holmes is; he enjoys the �wonderful and the improbable� and is rather more credulous when it comes to the supernatural than not. But Holmes had set the standard for detectives by 1895, and many and many were the detectives created then and after who were imitations of Holmes or at least heavily influenced by him. Dyson tries to practice the same kind of deductive logic toward the end of solving crimes, and lectures at length about his conclusions in the Holmesian way, but Machen�s world is different from A. Conan Doyle�s world, and so Dyson is usually left either as an observer or explaining to his friends Mr. Salisbury or Charles Phillipps what has occurred. In Machen�s world the figure of the Great Detective is essentially helpless in the face of the wonders and horrors of London and the evil of the Little People and the occult past. It�s well known, of course, that The Three Impostors was also Machen�s (self-admitted) reaction to Robert Louis Stevenson�s work, both the Dynamiters and New Arabian Nights. But the figure of Dyson and his function in the stories is a reaction to Doyle.

Dyson�s London is wonderful and awful, full of ancient and terrible powers and cruel modern persons. In �The Inmost Light� he and Salisbury discuss the case of Dr. Black, whose wife died in suspicious circumstances; an autopsy showed that her brain was not that of a human being, but was �the brain of a devil.� Dyson and Salisbury coincidentally come into possession of an opal-like gem and Dr. Black�s diary and discover that Black had discovered the means to trap human souls, and had put the soul of his wife (very much against her will) into the gem. Black then killed her body. On finishing the diary Dyson breaks the gem and burns the diary. In �The Red Hand� Phillipps and Dyson begin by arguing over some flint fish-hooks and end up investigating a murder case, using what Dyson calls his �theory of improbability� (which is more prosaically persistence wedded to cleverness) and some Holmesian deduction, which involves the Little People. In �The Shining Pyramid� Dyson and his friend Vaughan investigate a disappearance in the country and a mysterious set of symbols made up of ancient flints; they end up watching the Little People perform a human sacrifice, creating a pyramid of flame. And in The Three Impostors Dyson and Phillipps are gulled by three agents of a sinister crime lord who is searching London for a former agent who stole a valuable gold coin.

A. Abällino to Axel
B. Hajji Baba to Amelia Butterworth
C. Cahina to Inspector John Cutting
D. The Damned Thing to Dyson
E. Robert Easterley to Pedro Arbuez d'Espila
F. Fantomas to the Fulgurator
G. "G" to Dr. Ginochio Gyves
H. Les Habits Noir to the Hypnotist
I-J. Ichor to Rob Joslyn
K. Kai Lung to Kreuzgang.
L. Lady Detectives to Arsène Lupin
M. Madame Koluchy to Dora Myrl
N. Nameless Child to Alice Nutter
O. Jack O'Halloran to Ozmar the Mystic
P. Pan to Psammead
Q. Dr. Jack Quartz to Quong Lung
R. A.J. Raffles to Lord Ruthven
S. Mr. Sabin to Count Szémioth
T-U. Adrian Temple to Undine
V. Vaila to Vril
W. Hilda Wade to Wung-Ti
X-Y. Xipéhuz to Yuki-onna
Z. Zaleski to Zoe

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