Story 9: “Schalken the Painter” by J. Sheridan Le Fanu

Best story of the nine I’ve read so far, hands down!  This was the most scary, if not the most well written then close to it, the best paced, the most oppressive, and the downright creepiest.  Granted, a lot of the fear factor here is rooted in 19th century values that us more modern folks might consider abhorrent, but still!  The final scene will definitely stick with me for a long time.  I have to wonder, too, if H.P. Lovecraft had read this story and if so, to what extent if any did it influence his story “Pickman’s Model”?

 

Summary:  A mysterious, heavily cloaked and clothed gentleman of some apparent wealth and standing calls upon the home of a modest artisan to propose his marriage to the artist’s daughter.  The only problem is, the man is completely unknown to the artist or his daughter, not to mention because of his clothing, it is impossible to tell just exactly what he looks like.  But the artist isn’t paying attention to who the man is so much as he is to how much the man is offering for his daughter’s hand and in the end, he agrees.  But this arranged marriage doesn’t turn out to be all that the marital life ought to be.  Indeed, it takes a rather foul turn.

 

Writing:  10/10

Personal Fright: 8/10

General Horror/Oppressiveness: 10/10

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