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´╗┐Title: The Fantasy Fan, Volume 2, Number 6,  February 1935 - The Fan's Own Magazine
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Fantasy Fan, Volume 2, Number 6,  February 1935 - The Fan's Own Magazine" ***

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6,  FEBRUARY 1935 ***



                      SPECIAL SHORT STORY NUMBER

                            THE FANTASY FAN

                        THE FANS' OWN MAGAZINE

                               Published
                                Monthly

                       Editor: Charles D. Hornig
                   (Managing Editor: Wonder Stories)

                            10 cents a copy
                            $1.00 per year

                        137 West Grand Street,
                         Elizabeth, New Jersey

                               Volume 2
                             February 1935
                               Number 6
                             Whole No. 18

      [Transcriber's Note: Extensive research did not uncover any
  evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.]



                                FINALE

This, the February 1935 number, is the last issue of THE FANTASY FAN.
The life of TFF has extended over exactly one and a half years--since
September 1933, and during that time we have learned that there are not
enough lovers of weird fiction who are interested enough in the subject
to pay for a fan magazine. We may call it an experiment that failed.
We have done everything in our power to keep TFF from going on the
rocks, but our worst fears have been realized. Our printer, a fantasy
fan himself, gave his services for an amount far below that charged by
others so that TFF could exist from the first, but a steady increase
in well-paying jobs has deprived him of the time he usually devoted to
printing it.

Our greatest regret is the necessity of breaking off H. P. Lovecraft's
"Supernatural Horror in Literature" in the middle of it. Dozens of
short stories, poems, weird articles and columns will have to be
returned to the authors. Writers who would like their unpublished
material to be turned over to the editors of _Fantasy Magazine_ should
advise us of it, all other contributions to be mailed back before May
first.

Subscribers can help us and themselves at the same time if they will
accept back numbers of TFF in payment for the future issues that they
cannot receive. This will lighten the burden upon the editor who has
already lost a couple of hundred dollars in the venture, and will
provide readers with the issues they missed or duplicates of those they
have. In the latter case, they will find that back issues of TFF are
steadily increasing in value. The first issue, September 1933, which
is out of stock long ago, now markets for a value between 50 cents and
$1. per copy. Prices of back numbers are as follows: Oct., Dec., 1933,
Jan., Feb., Mar., June, Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec., 1934, Jan.,
Feb., 1935--10 cents each; Nov., 1933, Apr., May, 1934--20 cents each;
Sept., 1933, July, 1934--out of stock. We would appreciate it if you
will take your refund in back issues, which, as we said, will soon
prove of considerable value. Subscribers who would not like to do this
will receive a refund in cash, charging them ten cents for each number
received in their subscriptions. All returns will be made before May
first.

So, good-bye, friend reader--it's been nice to have met you!

       *       *       *       *       *


                   SUPERNATURAL HORROR IN LITERATURE

                          by H. P. Lovecraft

                   (copyright 1927 by W. Paul Cook)

                            Part Seventeen

Many of Hawthorne's shorter tales exhibit weirdness, either of
atmosphere or of incident, to a remarkable degree. "Edward Randolph's
Portrait," in "Legends of the Province House," has its diabolic
moments. "The Minister's Black Veil" (founded on an actual incident)
and "The Ambitious Guest" imply much more than they state, whilst
"Ethan Brand"--a fragment of a longer work never completed--rises to
genuine heights of cosmic fear with its vignette of the wild hill
country and the blazing, desolate lime-kilns, and its delineation
of the Byronic "unpardonable sinner," whose troubled life ends with
a peal of fearful laughter in the night as he seeks rest amidst the
flames of the furnace. Some of Hawthorne's notes tell of weird tales he
would have written had he lived longer--an especially vivid plot being
that concerning a baffling stranger who appeared now and then in public
assemblies, and who was at last followed and found to come and go from
a very ancient grave.

But foremost as a finished, artistic unit among all our author's
weird material is the famous and exquisitely wrought novel, "The
House of the Seven Gables," in which the relentless working out of
an ancestral curse is developed with astonishing power against the
sinister background of a very ancient house--one of those peaked
Gothic affairs which formed the first regular building-up of our New
England coast towns, but which gave way after the seventeenth century
to the more familiar gambrel-roofed or classic Georgian types now known
as "Colonial." Of these old gabled Gothic houses scarcely a dozen are
to be seen today in their original condition throughout the United
States, but one well-known to Hawthorne still stands in Turner Street,
Salem, and is pointed out with doubtful authority as the scene and
inspiration of the romance. Such an edifice, with its spectral peaks,
its clustered chimneys, its overhanging second story, its grotesque
corner-brackets, and its diamond-paned lattice windows, is indeed an
object well-calculated to evoke sombre reflections; typifying as it
does the dark Puritan age of concealed horror and witch-whispers which
preceded the beauty, rationality, and spaciousness of the eighteenth
century. Hawthorne saw many in his youth, and knew the black tales
connected with some of them. He heard, too, many rumours of a curse
upon his own line as the result of his great-grandfather's severity as
a witchcraft judge in 1692.

From this setting came the immortal tale--New England's greatest
contribution to weird literature--and we can feel in an instant the
authenticity of the atmosphere presented to us. Stealthy horror
and disease lurk within the weather-blackened, moss-crusted, and
elm-shadowed walls of the archaic dwelling so vividly displayed,
and we grasp the brooding malignity of the place when we read that
its builder--old Colonel Pyncheon--snatched the land with peculiar
ruthlessness from its original settler, Matthew Maule, whom he
condemned to the gallows as a wizard in the year of the panic. Maule
died cursing old Pyncheon--"God will give him blood to drink"--and
the waters of the old well on the seized land turned bitter. Maule's
carpenter son consented to build the great gabled house for his
father's triumphant enemy, but the old Colonel died strangely on the
day of its dedication. Then followed generations of odd vicissitudes,
with queer whispers about the dark powers of the Maules, and peculiar
and sometimes terrible ends befalling the Pyncheons.

The overshadowing malevolence of the ancient home--almost as alive
as Poe's House of Usher, tho in subtler way--pervades the tale as a
recurrent motif pervades an operatic tragedy; and when the main story
is reached, we behold the modern Pyncheons in a pitiable state of
decay. Poor old Hepzibah, the eccentric reduced gentlewoman; childlike,
unfortunate Clifford, just released from undeserved imprisonment;
sly and treacherous Judge Pyncheon, who is the old Colonel all
over again--all these figures are tremendous symbols, and are well
matched by the stunted vegetation and anaemic fowls in the garden.
It was almost a pity to supply a fairly happy ending, with a union
of sprightly Phoebe, cousin and last scion of the Pyncheons, to the
prepossessing young man who turns out to be the last of Maules. This
union, presumably, ends the curse. Hawthorne avoids all violence of
diction or movement, and keeps his implications of terror well in
the background; but occasional glimpses amply serve to sustain the
mood and redeem the work from pure allegorical aridity. Incidents like
the bewitching of Alice Pyncheon in the early eighteenth century,
and the spectral music of her harpsichord which precedes a death
in the family--the latter a variant of an immemorial type of Aryan
myth--link the action directly with the supernatural; whilst the dread
nocturnal vigil of old Judge Pyncheon in the ancient parlour, with his
frightfully ticking watch, is stark horror of the most poignant and
genuine sort. The way in which the Judge's death is first adumbrated
by the motions and sniffing of a strange cat outside the window, long
before the fact is suspected either by the reader or by any of the
characters, is a stroke of genius which Poe could not have surpassed.
Later the strange cat watches intently outside that same window in the
night and on the next day, for--something. It is clearly the psychopomp
of primeval myth, fitted and adapted with infinite deftness to its
latter-day setting.

But Hawthorne left no well-dined literary posterity. His mood and
attitude belonged to the age which closed with him, and it is the
spirit of Poe--who so clearly and realistically understood the
natural basis of the horror--appeal and the correct mechanics of its
achievements--which survived and blossomed. Among the earliest of Poe's
disciples may be reckoned the brilliant young Irishman Fitz-James
O'Brien (1828-1862) who became naturalized as an American and perished
honourably in the Civil War. It is he who gave us "What Was It?" the
first well-shaped short story of a tangible but invisible being, and
the prototype of de Maupassant's "Horla;" he also who created the
inimitable "Diamond Lens," in which a young microscopist falls in love
with a maiden of an infinitesimal world which he has discovered in a
drop of water. O'Brien's early death undoubtedly deprived us of some
masterful tales of strangeness and terror, though his genius was not,
properly speaking, of the same titan quality which characterized Poe
and Hawthorne.

                     (Discontinued At This Point)

       *       *       *       *       *


                               GLEANINGS

                           by Louis C. Smith

I promise to write an article about that Great High God among fantasy
authors, M. P. Shiel; much of the best science-fantasy, from a literary
standpoint, has been written by him. Anyway, when you read "The Purple
Cloud," "Dr. Krasinski's Secret," "This Above All," or any of the other
two score novels penned by him, such little matters as scientific
accuracy never enter your head (which does not by any means imply that
his science is not correct to the N'th degree). A hypnotist with words
is M. P. Shiel.

And he is--and has been--almost as much a Heaven-born genius as some of
the characters he weaves through the pages of his novels. He is fluent
with a half-dozen languages, is literally a master of all sciences,
writes in a blinding, complicated style no one else on Earth could
imitate--much less create!--and has written as many books as Haggard,
Burroughs, and a few others combined. At 12 he wrote a novel; at 13,
printed a newspaper; and at 15, wrote novels for serialization in large
public papers.

       *       *       *       *       *

Lester Anderson, fantastiac extra-ordinary of Hayward, California, is
fortunate enough to count himself a very good friend and correspondent
of the lexicographical (hah!) Clark Ashton Smith.

Speaking of whom: Smith and H. P. Lovecraft are great friends, by
correspondence. Lovecraft refers to C.A.S. as "My good old friend and
correspondent, Klarkash-Ton, Hierophant of Atlantis and High-Priest of
Tsathoggua."

       *       *       *       *       *

Again Bram Stoker! His latest to chance my way is "The Jewel of Seven
Stars." With every reading of this English weird-tale master, I am
seized in profound melancholia, despairing the fact that he did not
live another twenty years, to pen another score novels. Not content
with being a master of superb plot (involved plot too!) Stoker went to
exquisite pains to instill that ultra-weird and chilling sense of the
unreal so characteristic of his work.

In "Jewel of the Seven Stars," he spins a yarn of Egyptian queens who
wield a strange and powerful influence over the lives of present-day
people; of mummified cats walking again and striking in the dark,
vampire-like; of hypnotic spells and influences; of developments
so utterly mystifying and gripping, the reader cannot put the book
down after once opening it. And Bram Stoker's novels are not the
abbreviated two-hundred page book so much in evidence today; they are
voluminous; though not, I might mention, as "infinite" as "Anthony
Adverse."

       *       *       *       *       *

Here is something--not strictly fantasy, but certainly of interest to
all who make fantasy a hobby--which I have deemed worthy of passing
on: about twenty years ago there lived in Honolulu, in the much-sung
Hawaiian Islands, a man, W. D. Westervelt by name, who spent all his
spare time in the collecting of legends and myths about volcanoes.
Perhaps the best result of his efforts was a little book called
"Legends of Hawaiian Volcanoes," small but crammed to the fly-leaves
with fascinating historical, scientific, and mythological data. Others
had the titles of "Legends of Ghosts and Ghost-Gods," "Legends of Old
Honolulu," "Legends of Maui," etc. No, not true fantasy, but they
read like first-rate weird stories. Incidentally, this is a field for
stories practically untouched; tales built around Hawaiian and other
old native legends have been scarce.

       *       *       *       *       *

Once, in those dear dead days when I first awakened to the call of
fantasy, I was seized with some strange outbreak of energy; and
typed two copies of Edmond Hamilton's first tale, "The Monster God
of Mamurth." The copies are still on had. Not faultless typing, but
readable. If anyone has not read this great little story by Hamilton,
I'll gladly send a copy to the first two fans writing me.

       *       *       *       *       *


                          The Slanting Shadow

                         by August W. Derleth

Mr. Abner Follansbee, investigator for the Society for Psychic
Research, stopped his car to peer out into the Wisconsin woods. To his
companion he said, "This is apparently the place, Fred. There's a sign
off to one side. Pretty well shot. 'Kroll's Inn'. Let's see that young
lady's letter again."

Fred Tenny took a letter from his inner coat pocket and thrust it
toward Follansbee, who opened it and regarded the scrawled writing
dubiously.

"Probably just another wild goose chase," he said presently. "Looks
to me more like a matter for the police. The girl's guardian, Uriah
Kroll, disappeared over a year ago--and since then his room has been
very strange. That's all it amounts to. I suppose the young lady thinks
she's got a ghost on her hands."

The younger man smiled. "Something about a shadow, isn't there?"

"Yes. 'There's a queer shadow on the bed in his room when the moon
shines,' she writes. 'I can't understand it. It shouldn't be there.'
That's all."

"Very lucid," commented Tenny laconically.

The inn itself was a quiet little house of stone, hugging the ground in
the middle of a clearing not very far from the heavily wooded roadside.
A flagstone walk led up to a low stone porch, where the key to the
front door lay under the mat, just where Miss Harriet Sears had said it
would be in her letter to Follansbee.

As he bent to unlock the door, Follansbee said, "At least we can thank
goodness we're alone. Miss Sears isn't likely to come bursting in on us
at all hours of the night--she vowed she'd never set foot inside the
building until we'd settled that shadow business."

He threw the door open on a short hallway leading directly into a
low, raftered sitting-room, into which Follansbee immediately strode,
followed by his companion. The room was comfortably and well furnished
with antique pieces. The chairs were curiously carved and obviously
hand-made. Follansbee, however, wasted no time in the sitting-room, but
led the way into another, smaller room, and around into a large bedroom
in the southeast corner of the building.

This was the room which had been occupied by Uriah Kroll, prior to his
disappearance, as described in Miss Sears' letter. It was a large,
oddly furnished room, with a bed against the south wall, and a single
chair next to it, the north wall of the room next the door being
occupied by what appeared to be a work-bench. Follansbee, having looked
cursorily at the bed, went over to the bench and bent above it.

Tenny came over and stood at his side.

"What do you make of it?" Follansbee asked.

"Queer outfit," Tenny replied. "Looks as if he might have been blowing
glass, doesn't it?"

Follansbee bent and took up a book. "Well, look at this," he said in
surprise. "Arbatel's _Treatise on Magic_."

"Yes," supplemented Tenny excitedly, "and see here--he's got a trident,
and incense, and oils--why, he dabbled in magic!"

"No doubt of it," assented Follansbee gravely.

He put the book down and examined the instruments on the bench. He
chuckled oddly to himself, held up a magical diagram made on a sheet of
stiff paper, and smiled at it with Tenny. Then he turned away, looked
once more about the room, and said, "If you brought the lunch kit,
we'll eat. The sun'll go down in about three-quarters of an hour, and
the moon'll be up shortly after. We might as well be ready."

"What's the procedure?"

"We sleep here--nice, comfortable double bed, as far as I can see,"
replied Follansbee.

Lunch eaten, the two investigators returned to the bedroom where they
were to sleep. The moon had already risen, so long had they sat in
the kitchen, but it was not yet throwing its light through the single
window to the south. Follansbee and Tenny sat talking for the better
part of an hour.

It was the older man who first noticed that the moonlight had reached
the counterpane of the bed. "There we are," he said. "Now for the
shadow."

They sat for a few minutes in silence, while the light of the moon
crept in a parallelogram across the counterpane. But there was no
shadow save the shadow of a tree, a few branches of which dipped into
the moonlight.

Presently Follansbee rose and went in some irritation over to the bed
and stood looking down at the patch of moonlight. "Batty as can be," he
murmured, obviously referring to Miss Harriet Sears.

Tenny, who had drifted to his side, said suddenly, "what a funny angle
those branches have!"

Follansbee bent abruptly closer. "As if they were coming from above,"
he murmured. "But look here--they're not just branches--they're like a
forest of little trees, and what odd spines for leaves!"

Suddenly he whirled to the window. "Oh, now I see," he said harshly.
"_There's no tree of any kind beyond the window!_"

"Nor anything to make that shadow," added Tenny.

They stood for a few moments scrutinizing the glass and looking through
it into the clearing outside. The line of trees to the south was too
far for any shadow to reach the house; the trees were shadowed in an
uneven line across the clearing below. Then they returned to the bed
and stood looking down at the counterpane.

"Well, there has to be some explanation," said Tenny.

Follansbee nodded. "But I don't get it," he said. Then he stopped
abruptly, staring down at the parallelogram of moonlight widening eyes.

Tenny followed the older man's startled gaze.

There, in the moonlight, was a tiny, moving shadow--a shadow only
slightly over two inches in height, moving with incredible rapidity,
yet achieving no distance in the parallelogram of moonlight--the figure
of a man!

Back and forth it ran within a space so small that it might have been
covered by the extended palm of a hand. The two men stared in growing
amazement. Then Follansbee turned to the window again. But there was
nothing there--nothing on the glass, nothing against the glass outside,
nothing flying against the moonlight in the sky.

He turned back to the bed. The shadow was still there. He bent, peering
intently. The incredible shadow was running wildly, this way and that,
its tiny arms outflung, its spindle-legs moving rapidly upon the
counterpane, a thing alive, yet without substance.

"Good God," muttered Tenny at last. "It's a man--it's a live man. But
where is he?"

"I don't know," Follansbee jerked out.

He stood for a few moments more, his fascination for the unbelievable
shadow holding him there; then he swung away and went over to the
work-bench, where he lit a lamp and began to thumb swiftly through a
group of the old books lying carelessly abandoned there.

Tenny followed, asking, "Can I help?"

The older man nodded. "Check up on all references to magical designs in
these books," he said. "I've got an idea. I don't know what's in it,
but it's worth trying."

It was Follansbee who found what they sought. "Here it is," he said
suddenly. "Magical designs on glass. It's been marked up by someone,
too--Kroll, most likely. Parts of it are illegible, but the sense of it
can be made out. Third paragraph down in the second column."

Tenny bent to read the printed lines on the yellow page:

"Certain mages have brought into being worlds of glass--invisible in
glass, the objects of such consistency that though they cannot be seen
in the light of the sun, they are shadowed by the moon.... The glass is
of no ordinary kind, but must be specially made. And the creatures to
be placed there may be drawn from the mind or from life."

"You see?" cut in Follansbee, drawing the book away. "That's what
he was doing--but something happened. He tried it on himself, and
vanished."

Tenny turned astonished eyes on the glass in the window.

Follansbee abruptly left the work-bench and, going over to the window,
raised it. "It's the upper pane we want," he murmured. "It must be
broken--there's no other way. But be careful that all the pieces fall
into the room."

As he spoke, the older man pulled down the upper half of the window.
Then he drew the curtain down outside the glass, and into the room
again below.

"All right," he said. "Break it, Fred."

Tenny rapped sharply against the glass of the upper pane. It did not
break. He struck it harder with the trident from the work-bench. Still
it did not break. Then he smashed into it with all his strength. The
glass broke into incredibly small fragments that slithered down the
drawn curtain to the floor.

Follansbee let the curtain snap up. Looking down, he and Tenny
exclaimed simultaneously. The window lay in silver fragments on the
carpet in the moonlight that stretched to the bed--but beyond the
fragments ran a tiny dark shadow, of substance now.

"Good God!" breathed Follansbee hoarsely. "_The dimensions didn't
change!_"

"It's Kroll," said Tenny. He swooped to seize hold of the figure on the
carpet, but at that moment it disappeared under the bed. He sank to his
knees. "Kroll!" he shouted. "Come out, Kroll!"

There was a vague scuttering noise beneath the bed.

Follansbee came to his knees at Tenny's side and peered into the
moonlit dusk beneath the bed. "Kroll" he whispered softly. Turning
abruptly, he said to Tenny, "Get over on the other side. He's skirting
the wall toward the door."

Tenny moved to obey.

Then suddenly there came a quick rustle, a dark shadow launched itself
from the wall upon the two-inch figure that crept toward the door,
there was a shrill squeal, a tiny human scream, and abrupt, unnatural
silence.

"_A rat_," whispered Follansbee shakily. "_My God!_"

He got up unsteadily and looked down at the bed. The moonlight lay
unbroken on the counterpane.

                                The End

       *       *       *       *       *


                           KARLOFF'S MONSTER

                        by Forrest J. Ackerman

An interview of extreme interest to fantasy film fans was that of Boris
Karloff with Jimmie Fidler over the air on the "Hollywood on the Air"
program earlier in the year. Karloff spoke: "I shall create a Monster
like Frankenstein's. No brain--just a huge creature which shall guard
against reporters and interviewers. Connect the electrodes!" A snap.
"Throw the switches!" A crackling of electricity. And Karloff, crying:
"It lives ... it moves! ... it lives.... Karloff's monster LIVES!" Then
the Monster spoke--with the voice of Jimmie Fidler, the interviewer.
"Alas"--Karloff was in despair; "I _have_ created a Frankenstein
monster: it's a fan magazine writer!" And Jimmie Fidler then proceeded
to question him. Proving himself to be anything but one of the many
monsters he has portrayed, William Henry Pratt (known on the screen
as the man from Karloffornia who is sure to never Boris) stated in a
private word addressed to his admirers that he greatly appreciated all
their letters, and that he was always grateful for criticism received
of his work.

       *       *       *       *       *

His next pictures will be "Frankenstein Lives Again!" "A Trip to Mars,"
"The Werewolf of London," and "The Raven."

       *       *       *       *       *


                              The Legacy

                        by Kenneth B. Pritchard

My friend, Frederick Brown, and I are lawyers. Lawyers often come up
against strange cases; but the case that Brown had a while ago, was the
oddest and by far the most weird I have ever heard of.

Brown and I were lunching together one noon, when the subject was
broached of the peculiar things that one sometimes meets up with.

"James," said Fred, "You never had anything happen to you that can
compare with a certain case of mine; I'll wager on it."

"Shoot," I said. "Let's have an earful. What's it all about?"

"I had a legacy," he began without hesitation, "a few weeks ago,
that was void to all concerned unless it was signed by one man. All
others involved had attached their signatures to the documents. But,
Ogleman's--that was his name--was missing."

"You mean the Ogleman that died a short time ago?" I broke in.

"The same," Brown admonished. "I must hasten to add," he went on, "that
a time limit was set, on this certain day, in which the signatures must
be obtained. Ogleman was not in town.

"The final limit was set for 8 P. M. For days, before the last one
arrived, my client had me sending out feelers in all directions trying
to contact this one man. The evening before the final day, I at last
got in touch with him, and he promised to come without delay. He wired
back that he would leave in the morning as he was situated in a place
where transportation facilities were not the best. All I could do then,
was wait.

"Ten o'clock the next morning I received a telegram. Ogleman had been
struck by a speeding auto. But as I read further, I realized that the
man would arrive anyway. His condition I did not know, as the message
had imparted no more than the two facts I've already given.

"It was half past seven that evening that the missing man showed up at
my client's home. He was quite a sight, I can assure you."

My friend paused as though to reflect upon the unusual scene. His eyes
widened for a moment in sudden horror, and then he continued in his
regular manner.

"I found myself looking at him as I shook his one good hand. The other
arm was in a sling that had been hastily made. His head had a bandage
around it, and his face was white; almost the color of several patches
adhering to it.

"My client shook hands with him also. 'Glad you came, Ogleman,' he
said, 'Everything depends on you, you know.'

"'Yes,' said Ogleman as he relinquished his hand, 'I know that the
legacy must be signed.'

"His voice seemed strangely hollow and unnatural, and there was an
unreal appearance about the man.

"He turned to me. I shuddered somewhat at the bits of blood that had
caked on the bandages. 'We must hurry,' he said, 'The time is short.
Have you the papers ready?' he asked eagerly.

"'Yes,' I replied, 'everything is ready. Come over to the table with
me. There is a chair there, and you can sit down and sign.'

"I felt that he would collapse if he did not be seated soon.

"I handed him the pen, and gave him the papers, showing him where to
sign. Being hurt as he was, it was very difficult for him to write.
However, he managed to scrawl his name on the last sheet. All was
legal, then.

"I took the pen from his hand and said, 'Now it is done. There won't be
any more trouble over it.' I somehow forced a smile.

"My client beamed approvingly. But Ogleman never stirred. I looked
at him. He pitched forward on the table. I was greatly alarmed and
hastened my client to summon a doctor.

"Ogleman was dead!"

"I've heard of tales like that before," I remarked dryly.

"Maybe," rejoined Brown, "But the doctor said that Ogleman had been
dead for ten hours!"

                                The End

       *       *       *       *       *


                           WITHIN THE CIRCLE

                           by F. Lee Baldwin

A. Merritt is contemplating a sequel to "Thru the Dragon Glass."

       *       *       *       *       *

Robert Bloch recently sold his second story to WT. Title: "The Feast in
the Abbey."

       *       *       *       *       *

H. P. Lovecraft is working on a tale called "The Shadow Out of Time."

       *       *       *       *       *

Adolph de Castro, author of "The Last Test" and "The Electric
Executioner," is 74 years old, a graduate of Bonn, and master of 7
languages. He has had published work of undoubted importance. Some of
his unpublished books are of great potential interest and value....
He lived in Mexico from 1922 to 1925 and had interviews with Villa
and his generals in 1923; from whom he derived an account of the
end of his associate and colleague Ambrose Bierce at the hand of
these revolutionists. There are three slightly differing reports as
to Bierce's death, all of which are probably carelessly transmitted
variants of the actual facts. De Castro's original name is Gustav
Adolf Danziger--he changed it during the World War, taking the name
of a remote Spanish ancestor. He came to America in 1886 and was a
dentist for a long period. Also pursued politics to some extent and was
American consul at Madrid for a time. The piece of work he did with
Bierce was translating the German novel of Richard Voss--"The Monk and
the Hangman's Daughter." He was German-speaking and (1889) was not
fluent in English. Bierce, on the other hand, was a master of English
but knew no German. De Castro--or Danziger--admired the Voss novel and
made a rough translation, with certain modifications, into such English
as he knew. Then Bierce took that crude translation and made the
present admirable English novelette out of it. The book as it stands is
a curious three-man job. It is not a weird tale.

       *       *       *       *       *


                              The Mirror

                       (Annals of the Jinns--9)

                            by R. H. Barlow

Upon a certain day in the year of the Plague of Dragons, the Emperor
of Yondath held court in his ancient palace above the crypts. Many of
his subjects had come from sheer curiosity, and when he cast sentence
upon Khalda, at least two of the more squeamish shuddered. For he had
condemned the sorcerer Khalda to the tortures of the Green Fungi, and
of course every one knew what meant. Even if they had been obtuse or
ignorant of the ways of the torturers in the subterranean rooms, the
austere and saturnine look upon the face of His Majesty would have
implied much that was not pleasant.

But Khalda, the only pupil of the wise one Volnar, stood scornfully
before the throne and gave no sign of terror, although his doom was
a fabled and terrible one. He even contrived an ironic obeisance
before they took him away. The two ugly slaves that held him exchanged
significant looks as they silently led him out of the gorgeously-hung
room. Then those who had gathered began to depart, and many resolved
not to anger their ruler after that.

Khalda's crime, it had been proclaimed, was that of high sacrilege.
Not only had he sought through ancient and unwholesome magic the
creation of artificial life, but he had spat upon the greenstone feet
of the great idol in the market place, and asserted that the deity was
impotent and its priests humbug. Perhaps this iconoclastic behavior
was regretted by Khalda, since his destination was not pleasant to
contemplate, but he gave no sign as the slaves led him through a series
of connected chambers. Each of these dimly-lit rooms was more ancient
in appearance than the one preceding, and after he had traversed some
dozen, the very bricks of the wall were so slimy with old moss that
they emitted a noxious odour. Likewise the passages grew steadily
darker.

Legend told of the things that lay beneath the palace, and of the Head
Torturer Malyat that had dwelt in his crypt for untold years without
being seen by man. It was said that his face was obscured from even his
victims, by an ancient and grotesque mask. On this Khalda reflected as
the guards paused to light their tapers at a sconce tipped by a pool
of sulphurous flame that seethed and boiled endlessly. He wondered at
this, for no tracks disturbed the settled dust, yet the torch was as
if newly kindled. Guided now by this melancholy light, they descended
again, their torch but little dispelling the gloom. In this manner they
made their way toward the lower chambers. Khalda wondered at the labor
that must have gone into chiseling these chambers from the rock, and at
the ponderous ornamental masonry that remained yet immovable after so
long a time.

At length they came to an ultimate passage fronting a huge door of iron
curiously decorated and covered with the patina of aeons. This appeared
most formidable to the prisoner. It was upon this ancient portal that
the guards smote with their clanging brazen swords and then retired,
leaving Khalda alone. He wondered what evil thing would appear as he
saw the door slowly opening.

Then, in a terrible silence that his shrieks did not wholly dispel, a
metal projection not unlike a tentacle rhythmically emerged, swayed a
moment, and wrapped itself about him.

And he was drawn into the chamber of Malyat.

       *       *       *       *       *

Four cycles of the crimson moon elapsed before rumours found their way
to the ears of the emperor. A tale was told of the last creation of the
sorcerer, a masterpiece of malign sorcery, that had escaped destruction
by the zealots of the greenstone god.

It was said that all the work of Khalda was evil, but that this last
creation was supreme. Even unto his last days he had labored and
expended his talents upon a certain mirror of strange design. No man
knew the purpose for which it was shapen; but it was certain that
Khalda had not constructed it for the dubious vanity of reflecting
his withered visage. The polished glass in it had come from the
subterranean artizans of Saaldae, and it was polished and silvered
by devious means. And the frame was of ebony strangely wrought with a
monstrous carving. Great skill had gone into this, yet none knew its
precise whereabouts, and the tales could find no definite origin.

So the Emperor had scrolls lettered in the hieroglyphs of the land, and
these were posted about the capitol and all the outlying provinces.
And they said that any man that could produce this mirror would have a
reward bestowed upon him.

At first there came many with false claims, but a supplementary
proclamation was issued, to the effect that imposters would be
painfully disposed of, and thereafter the ruler was little annoyed.

But in time there came an ancient one, unbelievably filthy, and clad
in garments of odorous antiquity. His face was hideously wrinkled,
yet it held a certain inscrutable wisdom. This repulsive being came
unto the palace gates and demanded entrance. And the guards at first
laughed, and then grew angry, and would have run him through with their
long lances, had not the Emperor intervened and called upon his men
to desist. For he had heard the commotion and became curious. Thus
admittance was granted to the beggarly person, and he entered as if he
had expected this from the start.

In dignity he went, and bowed before the throne, strangely incongruous
amid the richly clad servants that shrank from him in repugnance. The
Emperor's dwarf sought to make mock of the foul being, and rolled
completely off his cushion in gales of false amusement; but he saw the
eyes of the stranger and straightway climbed back, mumbling in a surly
tone to himself.

The Emperor bade him state his mission, and the old one spoke in a
manner remarkable for one so uncouth, saying, "I have brought the
object you desire."

With great interest, the Emperor bade him display it, but the old one
refused, stating in tones of certainty that he wished to make a few
observations first.

"I might press my claim," observed the Emperor, somewhat amused by this
effrontery.

"I believe I have likewise the right of naming my price," suggested the
old man.

"Truly," assented his majesty, "but first tell me, what is this mirror?"

"It is the mirror of Truth," was the reply.

"A pretty allegory," remarked the Monarch, and settled back.

So it was, the unclean person spoke freely in the court of the ruler.

"You will recall that this mirror was constructed by a certain
sorcerer," he began in an unpleasant tone. "And you will also recall
that this sorcerer did you a great service once ... did he not,
Majesty?"

The Emperor looked startled, and then very grave.

"He did ... but how came you to know of this?"

"I shall elucidate when the time has come. Likewise, did you promise
certain things to this sorcerer in return for his labors?"

The Emperor's eyes smoldered with secret fury, but he said nothing.

"This you ignored, and some moons agone had the wonderworker--I believe
he was referred to as a blasphemer in the sentencing--this man you had
brought before you and sent to the terrible tortures of Malyat. Am I
not correct?"

"That is common knowledge," asserted the ruler, uneasily.

"And he was taken to his doom?"

"My slaves seldom fail me."

"I am grateful to your majesty, for truth was essential. I have the
mirror here," said the old one, abruptly.

"What wish you in return?"

"It is yours--my payment will be given me in due time."

And as the Emperor leaned forward, the man announced his identity and
drew back his tattered robe, revealing the horror that lay beneath.

Then as the Emperor gazed in fascinated repulsion, Khalda drew forth
the mirror, with its strangely shapen handle, and held it up that all
might see.

And when the ruler looked therein, no man may know what was reflected,
for a strange and terrible thing occurred. Some dire magic was at work,
for the doom that came unto his majesty was alien to all accepted lines
of death.

                                The End

       *       *       *       *       *


                          The Little Old Lady

                           by P. J. Searles

Connors was genuinely puzzled. What had happened to the old lady?
Surely she could not have fallen from the car. On the other hand why
should she have left before reaching her destination and how could she
have got out without his notice? Her disappearance was perplexing.

He had first seen the old lady when he had stopped to admire the
picturesque church on the outskirts of Huntsville. Wearing an old
fashioned, rather shabby, taffeta dress ornamented at the throat
and wrists with bits of yellowed lace, a bonnet that proclaimed her
adherence to the fashions of 1880; and with a sole jet pendant hanging
from her neck, she was standing near the car as Connors came out of the
church and strolled through the adjoining grave yard reading quaint
inscriptions on the tombstones. Her manner was forlorn and pathetic
as she edged timidly up to Connors to ask in a low voice if he were
driving on to Milltown. When Connors replied in the affirmative the old
lady hesitantly mumbled that she had not seen her daughter in Milltown
for five years and could she ride into the city with him.

Since the front seat was loaded with bundles Connors had placed the old
lady in the rear and driven on. Some twenty miles had been traversed
and the outskirts of Milltown reached when Connors discovered he was
out of cigarettes. Stopping the car at a corner drugstore he went
in to buy his favorite brand. Once inside he recalled the old lady's
presence and, stepping out again, asked if she would like an ice cream
soda. Her pleasure and gratitude seemed all out of proportion to the
offer until she said she had not tasted ice cream for over five years.

When they were ready to drive on again Connors asked the old lady
where she wanted to be taken. At first she was certain she could walk
the rest of the way but finally agreed with Connors' insistence that
he could easily drive her to the daughter's home which she had never
visited. Number 17 Portland street was the address she gave, an address
that took Connors far out of his normal route into an unfamiliar
section of the city. After perhaps fifteen minutes of driving he
reached Portland street and stopped the car at a corner to inquire
directions for number 17. The first person he asked pointed to a house
four doors from the corner.

It was at this moment that Connors turned around and discovered the old
lady was missing.

Her disappearance was puzzling. It seemed unbelievable that she could
have left the car without being noticed by Connors, or that she would
have left without so much as "Thank you," but the fact remained that
she was gone. Connors jumped out of his seat, looked up and down the
street, glanced behind the car, peered into the corner there was no
sight of the old lady.

Connors was both perplexed and irritated. After a moment's indecision
he stepped across to number 17 and rang the bell. His summons was
answered by a pleasant looking, young woman.

"Pardon me," said Connors, "I am afraid I don't know your name, but are
you expecting your mother today?"

"My mother," replied the woman with a gasp, "why--why, what do you
mean?"

"A nice old lady in Huntsville this morning asked me to drive her to
17 Portland street to visit her daughter whom she hadn't seen for five
years. I brought her into town but when I stopped at the corner there
to inquire the way I found she was no longer in the car. So I came on
here to ask if she had already arrived."

"What did she look like?"

"A sweet old lady, short and slender, snow white hair, pale thin
cheeks, wearing an old fashioned taffeta dress with yellowed lace and a
jet necklace. Is that your mother?"

"Yes, that is my mother but she died in Huntsville five years ago
today."

                                The End

       *       *       *       *       *

                           Good-bye, Friends

       *       *       *       *       *


                            ADVERTISEMENTS

CLARK ASHTON SMITH presents THE DOUBLE SHADOW AND OTHER FANTASIES--a
booklet containing a half-dozen imaginative and atmospheric
tales--stories of exotic beauty, horror, terror, strangeness, irony and
satire. Price: 25 cents each (coin or stamps). Also a small remainder
of EBONY AND CRYSTAL--a book of prose-poems published at $2.00, reduced
to $1.00 per copy. Everything sent postpaid. Clark Ashton Smith,
Auburn, California.

       *       *       *       *       *

WEIRD TALES 1924-25-26-27 and Ghost Stories. Have several incomplete
issues W. T. 1927-28-29 to sell at 10 cts each, also some 1931-32
covers and five issues TFF. Joseph Robinsky, 241 Lincoln Ave.,
Elizabeth, N. J.

       *       *       *       *       *

                           FANTASY MAGAZINE
                 expresses its sincerest regrets that
                            THE FANTASY FAN
                        can no longer continue.

       *       *       *       *       *

If you have not yet read FM, try it now, for in the April issue, which
is dedicated to _Weird Tales_, the following outstanding features
appear:

                          "Nymph of Darkness"
                            by C. L. Moore

                    A new "Northwest" Smith story,
                       illustrated by Miss Moore

                     H. P. Lovecraft, a biography
                           by F. Lee Baldwin

also articles by Farnsworth Wright, Seabury Quinn, and others.

FM features many articles and poems by such foremost authors as Clark
Ashton Smith, A. Merritt, Francis Flagg, and H. P. Lovecraft regularly.

                  10 cts a copy, 25 cts for 3 months

                    Science Fiction Digest Company
                   87-36--162nd St., Jamaica, N. Y.



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