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- The Fiend's Delight - 1/22 -
Edited by Charles Aldarondo (email@example.com)
THE FIEND'S DELIGHT.
BY DOD GRILE.
"Count that day lost whose low descending sun Views from thy hand no worthy action done."
TO THE IMMUTABLE AND INFALLIBLE GODDESS, GOOD TASTE, IN GRATITUDE FOR HER CONDEMNATION OF ALL SUPERIOR AUTHORS, AND IN THE HOPE OF PROPITIATING HER CREATORS AND EXPOUNDERS, This Volume is reverentially Dedicated BY HER DEVOUT WORSHIPPER,
The atrocities constituting this "cold collation" of diabolisms are taken mainly from various Californian journals. They are cast in the American language, and liberally enriched with unintelligibility. If they shall prove incomprehensible on this side of the Atlantic, the reader can pass to the other side at a moderately extortionate charge. In the pursuit of my design I think I have killed a good many people in one way and another; but the reader will please to observe that they were not people worth the trouble of leaving alive. Besides, I had the interests of my collaborator to consult. In writing, as in compiling, I have been ably assisted by my scholarly friend Mr. Satan; and to this worthy gentleman must be attributed most of the views herein set forth. While the plan of the work is partly my own, its spirit is wholly his; and this illustrates the ascendancy of the creative over the merely imitative mind. Palmam qui meruit ferat-I shall be content with the profit.
"One More Unfortunate."
It was midnight-a black, wet, midnight-in a great city by the sea. The church clocks were booming the hour, in tones half-smothered by the marching rain, when an officer of the watch saw a female figure glide past him like a ghost in the gloom, and make directly toward a wharf. The officer felt that some dreadful tragedy was about to be enacted, and started in pursuit. Through the sleeping city sped those two dark figures like shadows athwart a tomb. Out along the deserted wharf to its farther end fled the mysterious fugitive, the guardian of the night vainly endeavouring to overtake, and calling to her to stay. Soon she stood upon the extreme end of the pier, in the scourging rain which lashed her fragile figure and blinded her eyes with other tears than those of grief. The night wind tossed her tresses wildly in air, and beneath her bare feet the writhing billows struggled blackly upward for their prey. At this fearful moment the panting officer stumbled and fell! He was badly bruised; he felt angry and misanthropic. Instead of rising to his feet, he sat doggedly up and began chafing his abraded shin. The desperate woman raised her white arms heavenward for the final plunge, and the voice of the gale seemed like the dread roaring of the waters in her ears, as down, down, she went--in imagination--to a black death among the spectral piles. She backed a few paces to secure an impetus, cast a last look upon the stony officer, with a wild shriek sprang to the awful verge and came near losing her balance. Recovering herself with an effort, she turned her face again to the officer, who was clawing about for his missing club. Having secured it, he started to leave.
In a cosy, vine-embowered cottage near the sounding sea, lives and suffers a blighted female. Nothing being known of her past history, she is treated by her neighbours with marked respect. She never speaks of the past, but it has been remarked that whenever the stalwart form of a certain policeman passes her door, her clean, delicate face assumes an expression which can only be described as frozen profanity. The Strong Young Man of Colusa.
Professor Cramer conducted a side-show in the wake of a horse-opera, and the same sojourned at Colusa. Enters unto the side show a powerful young man of the Colusa sort, and would see his money's worth. Blandly and with conscious pride the Professor directs the young man's attention to his fine collection of living snakes. Lithely the blacksnake uncoils in his sight. Voluminously the bloated boa convolves before him. All horrent the cobra exalts his hooded head, and the spanning jaws fly open. Quivers and chitters the tail of the cheerful rattlesnake; silently slips out the forked tongue, and is as silently absorbed. The fangless adder warps up the leg of the Professor, lays clammy coils about his neck, and pokes a flattened head curiously into his open mouth. The young man of Colusa is interested; his feelings transcend expression. Not a syllable breathes he, but with a deep-drawn sigh he turns his broad back upon the astonishing display, and goes thoughtfully forth into his native wild. Half an hour later might have been seen that brawny Colusan, emerging from an adjacent forest with a strong faggot.
Then this Colusa young man unto the appalled Professor thus: "Ther ain't no good place yer in Kerloosy fur fittin' out serpence to be subtler than all the beasts o' the field. Ther's enmity atween our seed and ther seed, an' it shell brooze ther head." And with a singleness of purpose and a rapt attention to detail that would have done credit to a lean porker garnering the strewn kernels behind a deaf old man who plants his field with corn, he started in upon that reptilian host, and exterminated it with a careful thoroughness of extermination.
The Glad New Year.
A poor brokendown drunkard returned to his dilapidated domicile early on New Year's morn. The great bells of the churches were jarring the creamy moonlight which lay above the soggy undercrust of mud and snow. As he heard their joyous peals, announcing the birth of a new year, his heart smote his old waistcoat like a remorseful sledge-hammer.
"Why," soliloquized he, "should not those bells also proclaim the advent of a new resolution? I have not made one for several weeks, and it's about time. I'll swear off."
He did it, and at that moment a new light seemed to be shed upon his pathway; his wife came out of the house with a tin lantern. He rushed frantically to meet her. She saw the new and holy purpose in his eye. She recognised it readily-she had seen it before. They embraced and wept. Then stretching the wreck of what had once been a manly form to its full length, he raised his eyes to heaven and one hand as near there as he could get it, and there in the pale moonlight, with only his wondering wife, and the angels, and a cow or two, for witnesses, he swore he would from that moment abstain from all intoxicating liquors until death should them part. Then looking down and tenderly smiling into the eyes of his wife, he said: "Is it not well, dear one?" With a face beaming all over with a new happiness, she replied:
"Indeed it is, John-let's take a drink." And they took one, she with sugar and he plain.
The spot is still pointed out to the traveller. The Late Dowling, Senior.
My friend, Jacob Dowling, Esq., had been spending the day very agreeably in his counting-room with some companions, and at night retired to the domestic circle to ravel out some intricate accounts. Seated at his parlour table he ordered his wife and children out of the room and addressed himself to business. While clambering wearily up a column of figures he felt upon his cheek the touch of something that seemed to cling clammily to the skin like the caress of a naked oyster. Thoughtfully setting down the result of his addition so far as he had proceeded with it, he turned about and looked up.
"I beg your pardon, sir," said he, "but you have not the advantage of my acquaintance."
"Why, Jake," replied the apparition-whom I have thought it useless to describe--"don't you know me?"
"I confess that your countenance is familiar," returned my friend, "but I cannot at this moment recall your name. I never forget a
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