Bram Stoker is, essentially, the reason vampires are such a long-lived genre. Yes, they've been reinvented time and again by many talented creators, but Stoker is still the reason for the season. Which makes unearthed writings of his even more exciting. And that's exactly what we've got for you today.
The new release, The Forgotten Writings of Bram Stoker, has got just what you'd want from a Stoker collection—12 totally unknown works, three pieces that have never been reprinted, 12 rare writings about Stoker by his contemporaries, and the estate sale catalog of Stoker's personal library. Not too shabby.
One story, "A Baby Passenger," has been released online to whet our appetites and make us want to buy this new collection all the more. And we're not complaining.
So here's a taste:
One night we were journeying in the west of the Rockies over a road bed which threatened to jerk out our teeth with every loosely-laid sleeper on the line.
Traveling in that part of the world, certainly in the days I speak of, was pretty hard. The travelers were mostly men, all overworked, all overanxious, and intolerant of anything which hindered their work or interfered with the measure of their repose. In night journeys the berths in the sleeping cars were made up early, and as all the night trains were sleeping cars, the only thing to be done was to turn in at once and try and sleep away the time. As most of the men were usually tired out with the day's work, the arrangement suited everybody. You can understand that on such journeys women and children were disturbing elements. Fortunately they were, as night travelers, rare, and the women, with that consideration for the needs of their men folk which I have always noticed in American female workers, used to devote themselves to keeping little ones quiet.
The weather was harsh, and sneezing and coughing was the order of the day.This made the people in the sleeper, all men, irritable: all the more that as most of them were contributing to the general chorus of sounds coming muffled through quilts and curtains, it was impossible to single out any special offender for general execration. After awhile, however, the change of posture from standing or sitting to lying down began to have some kind of soothing effect, and new sounds of occasional snoring began to vary the monotony of irritation. Presently the train stopped at a way station: then ensued a prolonged spell of shunting backward and forward with the uncertainty of jerkiness which is so peculiarly disturbing to imperfect sleep; and then two newcomers entered the sleeper, a man and a baby. The baby was young, quite young enough to be defiantly ignorant and intolerant of all rules and regulations regarding the common good. It played for its own hand alone, and as it was extremely angry and gifted with exceptionally powerful lungs, the fact of its presence and its emotional condition, even though the latter afforded a mystery as to its cause, were immediately apparent. The snoring ceased, and its place was taken by muttered grunts and growls; the coughing seemed to increase with the renewed irritation, and everywhere was the rustling of ill-at-ease and impotent humanity. Curtains were pulled angrily aside, the rings shrieking viciously on the brass rods and gleaming eyes and hardening mouths glared savagely at the intruder on our quiet, for so we now had tardily come to consider by comparison him and it. The newcomer did not seem to take the least notice of anything, and went on in a stolid way trying to quiet the child, shifting it from one arm to the other, dandling it up and down, and rocking it sideways.
All babies are malignant; the natural wickedness of man, as elaborated at the primeval curse, seems to find an unadulterated effect in their expressions of feeling.
The rest is, thankfully, provided by the Huffington Post. Happy reading, and let us know what you think of this unearthed tale.
(via the Huffington Post)