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The Gentlewomen of Evil: An Anthology of Rare Supernatural Stories from the Pens of Victorian Ladies The Gentlewomen of Evil: An Anthology of Rare Supernatural Stories from the Pens of Victorian Ladies by Peter Haining
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The Gentlewomen of Evil Quotes (showing 1-15 of 15)
“There were many beautiful vipers in those days and she was one of them. ("Eveline's Visitant")”
Mary Elizabeth Braddon, The Gentlewomen of Evil: An Anthology of Rare Supernatural Stories from the Pens of Victorian Ladies
“I suppose every generation has a conceit of itself which elevates it, in its own opinion, above that which comes after it. ("The Open Door")”
Mrs. Oliphant, The Gentlewomen of Evil: An Anthology of Rare Supernatural Stories from the Pens of Victorian Ladies
“Just above the cavern's mouth was a narrow ledge of rock running horizontally, and of a few inches in width. On this natural shelf, reflected in the water, I saw, hanging downwards, a decayed fragment of goat-skin, rotten with age, but which might have been bound round something, long years before. Upon this, as if escaped from its folds, rested a Head.

It was a human head, severed at the neck, but fresh and unfaded as if but newly dead. It bore the features of a woman - of a woman of more perfect loveliness than was ever told of in tale, or sculptured in marble, or painted on canvas. Every feature, every line was of the truest beauty, cast in the noblest mould - the face of a goddess. But upon that perfect countenance was the mark of eternal pain, of deathless agony and suffering past words. The forehead was lined and knit, the death-white lips were tightly pressed in speechless torment; in the wide eyes seemed yet to lurk the flame of an unquenchable fire; while around the fair brows, in place of hair, curled and coiled the stark bodies of venomous serpents, stiff in death, but their loathsome forms still erect, their evil heads yet thrust forward as if to strike.

My heart ceased beating, and the chill of death crept over my limbs, as with eyes starting from their sockets I stared at that awful head, reflected in the pool. For hours it seemed to me I gazed fascinated, as the bird by the eye of the snake that has charmed it. I was as incapable of thought as movement, till suddenly forgotten school-room learning began to cross my brain, and I knew that I looked at the reflection of Medusa, the Gorgon, fairest and foulest of living things, the unclean creature, half woman, half eagle, slain by the hero Perseus, and one glimpse of whose tortured face turned the luckless beholder into stone with the horror of it. ("The Gorgon's Head")”
Gertrude Bacon, The Gentlewomen of Evil: An Anthology of Rare Supernatural Stories from the Pens of Victorian Ladies
“It was getting dark by the time I went out, and nobody who knows the country will need to be told how black is the darkness of a November night under high laurel bushes and yew-trees. I walked into the heart of the shrubberies two or three times, not seeing a step before me, till I came out upon the broader carriage-road, where the trees opened a little, and there was a faint grey glimmer of sky visible, under which the great limes and elms stood darkling like ghosts; but it grew black again as I approached the corner where the ruins lay. ("The Open Door")”
Mrs. Oliphant, The Gentlewomen of Evil: An Anthology of Rare Supernatural Stories from the Pens of Victorian Ladies
“They that go down to the sea in ships' see strange things, but what they tell is oft-times stranger still. A faculty for romancing is imparted by a seafaring life as readily and surely as a rolling gait and a weather-beaten countenance. A fine imagination is one of the gifts of the ocean-witness the surprising and unlimited power of expression and epithet possessed by the sailor. And a fine imagination will frequently manifest itself in other ways besides swear words. ("The Gorgon's Head")”
Gertrude Bacon, The Gentlewomen of Evil: An Anthology of Rare Supernatural Stories from the Pens of Victorian Ladies
“The minister paused in his narrative. At that moment there came a tremendous blast of wind which shook the windows of the manse, and burst open the hall door, and caused the candles to flicker and the fire to go roaring up the chimney. It is not too much to say that, what with the uncanny story, and the howling storm, we all felt that creeping sort of uneasiness which so often seems like the touch of something from another world - a hand stretched across the boundary-line of time and eternity, the coldness and mystery of which make the stoutest heart tremble. ("Sandy The Tinker")”
Charlotte Riddell, The Gentlewomen of Evil: An Anthology of Rare Supernatural Stories from the Pens of Victorian Ladies
“Brentwood stands on that fine and wealthy slope of country, one of the richest in Scotland, which lies between the Pentland Hills and the Firth. In clear weather you could see the blue gleam-like a bent bow, embracing the wealthy fields and scattered houses of the great estuary on one side of you; and on the other the blue heights, not gigantic like those we had been used to, but just high enough for all the glories of the atmosphere, the play of clouds, and sweet reflections, which give to a hilly country an interest and a charm which nothing else can emulate. Edinburgh, with its two lesser heights - the Castle and the Calton Hill - its spires and towers piercing through the smoke, and Arthur's Seat lying crouched behind, like a guardian no longer very needful, taking his repose beside the well-beloved charge, which is now, so to speak, able to take care of itself without him - lay at our right hand. From the lawn and drawing-room windows we could see all these varieties of landscape. The colour was sometimes a little chilly, but sometimes, also, as animated and full of vicissitude as a drama. I was never tired of it. Its colour and freshness revived the eyes which had grown weary of arid plains and blazing skies. It was always cheery, and fresh, and full of repose. ("The Open Door")”
Mrs. Oliphant, The Gentlewomen of Evil: An Anthology of Rare Supernatural Stories from the Pens of Victorian Ladies
“That he will haunt the footsteps of his enemy after death is the one revenge which a dying man can promise himself; and if men had power thus to avenge themselves the earth would be peopled with phantoms. ("Eveline's Visitant")”
Mary Elizabeth Braddon, The Gentlewomen of Evil: An Anthology of Rare Supernatural Stories from the Pens of Victorian Ladies
“The village lay in the hollow, and climbed, with very prosaic houses, the other side. Village architecture does not flourish in Scotland. The blue slates and the grey stone are sworn foes to the picturesque; and though I do not, for my own part, dislike the interior of an old-fashioned pewed and galleried church, with its little family settlements on all sides, the square box outside, with its bit of a spire like a handle to lift it by, is not an improvement to the landscape. Still, a cluster of houses on differing elevations - with scraps of garden coming in between, a hedgerow with clothes laid out to dry, the opening of a street with its rural sociability, the women at their doors, the slow waggon lumbering along - gives a centre to the landscape. It was cheerful to look at, and convenient in a hundred ways. ("The Open Door")”
Mrs. Oliphant, The Gentlewomen of Evil: An Anthology of Rare Supernatural Stories from the Pens of Victorian Ladies
“In the park which surrounded our house were the ruins of the former mansion of Brentwood, a much smaller and less important house than the solid Georgian edifice which we inhabited. The ruins were picturesque, however, and gave importance to the place. Even we, who were but temporary tenants, felt a vague pride in them, as if they somehow reflected a certain consequence upon ourselves. The old building had the remains of a tower, an indistinguishable mass of mason-work, overgrown with ivy, and the shells of walls attached to this were half filled up with soil. I had never examined it closely, I am ashamed to say. There was a large room, or what had been a large room, with the lower part of the windows still existing, on the principal floor, and underneath other windows, which were perfect, though half filled up with fallen soil, and waving with a wild growth of brambles and chance growths of all kinds. This was the oldest part of all. At a little distance were some very commonplace and disjointed fragments of the building, one of them suggesting a certain pathos by its very commonness and the complete wreck which it showed. This was the end of a low gable, a bit of grey wall, all encrusted with lichens, in which was a common doorway. Probably it had been a servants' entrance, a backdoor, or opening into what are called "the offices" in Scotland. No offices remained to be entered-pantry and kitchen had all been swept out of being; but there stood the doorway open and vacant, free to all the winds, to the rabbits, and every wild creature. It struck my eye, the first time I went to Brentwood, like a melancholy comment upon a life that was over. A door that led to nothing - closed once perhaps with anxious care, bolted and guarded, now void of any meaning. It impressed me, I remember, from the first; so perhaps it may be said that my mind was prepared to attach to it an importance, which nothing justified. ("The Open Door")”
Mrs. Oliphant, The Gentlewomen of Evil: An Anthology of Rare Supernatural Stories from the Pens of Victorian Ladies
“As Sandy and his wife warmed to the tale, one tripping up another in their eagerness to tell everything, it gradually developed as distinct a superstition as I ever heard, and not without poetry and pathos. How long it was since the voice had been heard first, nobody could tell with certainty. Jarvis's opinion was that his father, who had been coachman at Brentwood before him, had never heard anything about it, and that the whole thing had arisen within the last ten years, since the complete dismantling of the old house: which was a wonderfully modern date for a tale so well authenticated. According to these witnesses, and to several whom I questioned afterwards, and who were all in perfect agreement, it was only in the months of November and December that "the visitation" occurred. During these months, the darkest of the year, scarcely a night passed without the recurrence of these inexplicable cries. Nothing, it was said, had ever been seen - at least nothing that could be identified. Some people, bolder or more imaginative than the others, had seen the darkness moving, Mrs Jarvis said with unconscious poetry. ("The Open Door")”
Mrs. Oliphant, The Gentlewomen of Evil: An Anthology of Rare Supernatural Stories from the Pens of Victorian Ladies
“This was true enough, though it did not throw any light upon my perplexity. If we had heard of it to start with, it is possible that all the family would have considered the possession of a ghost a distinct advantage. It is the fashion of the times. We never think what a risk it is to play with young imaginations, but cry out, in the fashionable jargon, 'A ghost! - nothing else was wanted to make it perfect.' I should not have been above this myself. I should have smiled, of course, at the idea of the ghost at all, but then to feel that it was mine would have pleased my vanity. Oh, yes, I claim no exemption. The girls would have been delighted. I could fancy their eagerness, their interest, and excitement. No; if we had been told, it would have done no good - we should have made the bargain all the more eagerly, the fools that we are. ("The Open Door")”
Mrs. Oliphant, The Gentlewomen of Evil: An Anthology of Rare Supernatural Stories from the Pens of Victorian Ladies
“And there has been no attempt to investigate it,' I said, 'to see what it really is?'

'Eh, Cornel,' said the coachman's wife, 'wha would investigate, as ye call it, a thing that nobody believes in? Ye would be the laughing-stock of a' the country-side, as my man says.'

'But you believe in it,' I said, turning upon her hastily. The woman was taken by surprise. She made a step backward out of my way.

'Lord, Cornel, how ye frichten a body! Me! there's awful strange things in this world. An unlearned person doesna ken what to think. But the minister and the gentry they just laugh in your face. Inquire into the thing that is not! Na, na, we just let it be.' ("The Open Door")”
Mrs. Oliphant, The Gentlewomen of Evil: An Anthology of Rare Supernatural Stories from the Pens of Victorian Ladies
“(visions) of strange cities, of sandy plains, of gigantic ruins, of midnight skies with strange bright constellations, of mountain-passes, of grassy nooks flecked with the afternoon sunshine through the boughs: I was in the midst of such scenes, and in all of them one presence seemed to weigh on me in all these mighty shapes - the presence of something unknown and pitiless. For continual suffering had annihilated religious faith within me: to the utterly miserable - the unloving and the unloved - there is no religion possible, no worship but a worship of devils. And beyond all these, and continually recurring, was the vision of my death - the pangs, the suffocation, the last struggle, when life would be grasped at in vain. ("The Lifted Veil")”
George Eliot, The Gentlewomen of Evil: An Anthology of Rare Supernatural Stories from the Pens of Victorian Ladies
“I knew, of course, that I should be well paid for my services, but I would gladly have accepted half the sum I expected if I could have had it that night, for our little treasury was wholly exhausted, and we had not sixpence to purchase a breakfast for the following day. When the great hall door shut upon me, and I found myself on the pavement, with all the luxury and splendour on one side, and I and my desolation on the other, the contrast struck me cruelly, for I too, had been rich, and dwelt in illuminated palaces, and had a train of liveried servants at my command, and sweet music had echoed through my halls. I felt desperate, and drawing my hat over my eyes I began pacing the square, forming wild plans for the relief or escape from my misery. ("The Italian's Story")”
Catherine Crowe, The Gentlewomen of Evil: An Anthology of Rare Supernatural Stories from the Pens of Victorian Ladies