Hawkins’ massive mandible, and the blemished thing…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s expletive is Go to Bath! – a rather pissy (and no, I don’t mean prissy) Victorian Southern English euphemism for Go to hell!

2899Look out – he’s behind you!…
No, no, it’s alright, it’s just another 1960s British pulp science fiction and supernatural paperback packed with wonderful  tales – a Badger Book – it’s strange, it’s weird, and it’s eerie, and it cost two-shillings-and-sixpence. Shall we see what the blurb on the back cover can tell us about this super collection?
‘The Shrouded Abbot’ by leading supernatural author R. Lionel Fanthorpe, S.M.B.I.S., is the gripping tale of a young student’s night of horror in a ruined, derelict church.
Bron Fane’s contribution ‘The Lake Thing’ is the story of a terrible supernatural menace to civilisation lurking below the turgid waters of a peaceful lake. (By the way most of these stories are written by R. L. Fanthorpe under different names, ‘Bron Fane’ being one of many.)
The phrases: ‘indescribable living dead things’ – ‘a whimsical story of Death’s harbinger’ – ‘a saga of mysterious Transylvania’ – ‘the man who joined the crew of a ship that no longer existed’ and ‘nerve chilling’… are also employed.
Let’s now turn the book back over and examine this lovely cover painting; I see that it is by the usual Badger cover artist good old Henry Fox – I love his work! Just look at those eyes, those eyebrows, those red parted and surprised lips, and those stark leafless lifeless listless trees thrashing around in the windblown spooky churchyard – marvellous!…
This worried-looking chap in the nice robes must be the eponymous Shrouded Abbot – I expect he’s saying, ‘Excuse me Miss, sorry to bother you, but do you happen to have a tissue I could borrow?… I’ve had an accident with a couple of leaky ball-point pens…’
Let’s find out who this girl is… Ah-ha, it’s Christabel Jordan – she who was beckoned into the twilight by the ivy covered walls of the ruined church, or so it says. I’ll bet that she is wishing that she’d slipped a cardigan over her shoulders before going out on her midnight jaunt – she must be freezing her clavicles off in that wind. She’ll know better next time…
Would you like one or two samples of the writing style dear reader?
‘He (the Vicar) hurried down the steps with Dale and Hawkins close on his heels. They reached the crypt and hesitated in momentary terror and awe at the sight of the blemished thing which squatted behind the altar…’
It was as though a great supernatural force was focussing itself upon this man who called himself Gaston Lestrange.
“Who are you? What are you?” whispered Pierre Dupont.
“I am a drud.”
“A drud?” screamed the becloaked vampire, “they don’t exist, they don’t.”…
“Druds have no eyebrows; I know, I know…”‘
He boasted a pair of eyebrows which most women would have admired and many men would have envied. They framed his face and gave him and outstanding, though rather ferocious, expression…. When his square jaw set in a (sic) expression of bulldog determination, and his brows knitted themselves into a determined counterpart of his massive mandible, there were few defenders who were enthusiastic about tackling the stocky Hawkins…’



About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
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