J. Sheridan Le Fanu: Quotations


Extracts on this page
Uncle Silas (1864)
Carmilla (1872)
“Green Tea” (1871)
“Dragon in the Room Volant” (1872)


Full Text Versions in the RICORSO Library

The following texts are available at Gutenberg Project [accessed April 2008]

*recte J. S. Le Fanu’s Ghostly Tales

The Purcell Papers - Index and Contents of the Three Vols.
   
Gutenberg Project - Alphabetical List of Authors / "L" - browse for J. S. Le Fanu online

The following texts are available at Literature Online
[accessed Aug. 2011].
[ Clicking on any title will bring you directly to the named text in an new window. ]

Atrociousness & Victorian Ireland: Note the recurrence of the epithet atrocious in the following quotations (viz., the ‘atrocious lusts’ of the Karnstein family in Carmilla, and the idea of evil spirits presenting themselves by ‘correspondence’ in the shape of beasts (fera) which ‘represent their particular lust and life, in aspect direful and atrocious’ in “Green Tea”. In that story too, later on, we are told that the monkey which haunts the protagonist ‘exhibited an atrocious determination to thwart [him]’ in the discharge of his priestly duties - and, later still, the epithet ‘frantic and atrocious’ is used to describe the monkey’s behaviour. Is this cliché or something more? [BS]

Uncle Silas (1981 Edn.): ‘I am sure my father loved me and I know I loved him. With the sure instinct of childhood I apprehended his tenderness, although it was never expressed in common ways.’ (p.5.) ‘God help me! I don’t know where to look, or whom to trust. I fear my uncle more than all. I think I could bear this better if I knew what their plans are, even the worst. If ever you loved or pitied me, dear cousin, I conjure you, help me in this extremity. Take me away from this. Oh, darling, for God’s sake, take me away! - Your distracted and terrified cousin, MAUD. (p.367.)

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Uncle Silas (1889 Edn.) - Conclusion: ‘[...] my wretched uncle's religion what am I to say? Was it utter hypocrisy, or had it at any time a vein of sincerity in it? I cannot say. I don't believe that he had any heart left for religion, which is the highest form of affection, to take hold of. Perhaps he was a sceptic with misgivings about the future, but past the time for finding anything reliable in it. The devil approached the citadel of his heart by stealth, with many zigzags and parallels. The idea of marrying me to his son by fair means, then by foul, and, when that wicked chance was gone, then the design of seizing all by murder, supervened. I dare say that Uncle Silas thought for a while that he was a righteous man. He wished to have heaven and to escape hell, if there were such places. But there were other things whose existence was not speculative, of which some he coveted, and some he dreaded more, and temptation came. “ Now if any man build upon this foundation, gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble, every man's work shall be made manifest; for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.” There comes with old age a time when the heart is no longer fusible or malleable, and must retain the form in which it has cooled down. “ He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; he which is filthy, let him be filthy still.”’ (pp.433-34; Project Gutenberg edition - online.)

Uncle Silas (1981 Edn.): ‘I am not going to tell of my sorrows - how brief has been my pride of early maternity, or how beloved were those whom the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. But sometimes as, smiling on my little boy, the tears gather in my eyes, and he wonders, I can see, why they come. I am thinking - and trembling while I smile to think - how strong is love, how frail is life; and rejoicing while I tremble, that in the deathless love of those who mourn, the Lord of Life, who never gave a pang in vain, conveys the sweet and ennobling promise of a compensation by eternal reunion. So through my sorrows I have heard a voice from Heaven say, “Write, from henceforth blessed are the dead that die in the Lord.” (p.424; reflecting on the death of her child.) [See longer extracts.]

J. S. Le Fanu, Uncle Silas - Selected Quotations

I am sure my father loved me and I know I loved him. With the sure instinct of childhood I apprehended his tenderness, although it was never expressed in common ways.’ (p.5.)

§

‘But I think little Maud would like to contribute to the restituion of her family name. It may cost you something - are you willing to buy it as a sacrifice? Is there - I don’t speak of fortune, that is not involved - but is there any other honourable sacrifice you would shrink from to dispel the disgrace under which our most ancient and honourable name must otherwise continue to languish?’
 Oh, none - none, indeed, sir - I am delighted!’
 Again I saw the Rembrandt smile.
 ‘Well, Maud, I am sure there is no risk; but you are to suppose there is. Are you still willing to accept it?’
 Again I assented.
 ‘You are worthy of your blood, Maud Ruthyn. It will come soon, and it won’t last long .’
 I was lost in wonder. (p.103.)

§

Just at that moment Captain Oakley joined us. He was my first actual vision of that awful and distant world of fashion, of whose splendours I had already read something in the three-volumed gospel of the circulating library.
 Handsome, elegant, with features almost feminine, and soft, wavy, black hair, whiskers and moustache, he was altogether a knight as I had never beheld, or even fancied at Knowl - a hero of another species, and from the region of the demigods. I did not perceive that coldness of eye, and cruel curl of the voluptuous lip - only a suspicion, yet enough to indicate the prolifigate man; and savouring of death unto death.
 But I was young, and had not yet the direful knowledge of good and evil that comes with years, and he was so very handsome, and talked in a way that was so new to me (...; p.41.)

§

[Mme. de Rougière:} ‘... T]his is Lord Lollipop, here, a reg’lar charmer, wouldn’t hurt a fly, hey Lolly? Isn’t he pretty, Miss? And I’m Sir Simon Sugarstick - so called after old Sir Simon, ma’am; and I’m so tall and straight, Miss, and slim - ain’t I? and ever so sweet, my honey, when you come to know me, just like a sugarstick, ain’t I, Lolly, boy?’
 ‘I’m Miss Ruthyn, tell them, Madame,’ I said, stamping on the ground and very much frightened. (p.86.)

§

‘I had had a peep into Pandemonium’ (p.89.)

§

Was the, all his kindness but a phosphoric radiance covering something colder and more awful than the grave? (p.337.)

§

God help me! I don’t know where to look, or whom to trust. I fear my uncle more than all. I think I could bear this better if I knew what their plans are, even the worst. If ever you loved or pitied me, dear cousin, I conjure you, help me in this extremity. Take me away from this. Oh, darling, for God’s sake, take me away! - Your distracted and terrified cousin, MAUD. (p.367.)

§

[Reflecting on the death of her child:] I am not going to tell of my sorrows - how brief has been my pride of early maternity, or how beloved were those whom the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. But sometimes as, smiling on my little boy, the tears gather in my eyes, and he wonders, I can see, why they come. I am thinking - and trembling while I smile to think - how strong is love, how frail is life; and rejoicing while I tremble, that in the deathless love of those who mourn, the Lord of Life, who never gave a pang in vain, conveys the sweet and ennobling promise of a compensation by eternal reunion. So through my sorrows I have heard a voice from Heaven say, “Write, from henceforth blessed are the dead that die in the Lord.” (p.424.)

Source: The above quotations are given in Susan Parlour, ‘Vixens and Virgins in the Nineteenth-century Anglo-Irish Novel: Representations of the Feminine in J. S. Le Fanu’s Uncle Silas, E. O Somerville & Martin Ross’s The Real Charlotte, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula’ [MA Diss. Univ. of Ulster, 2008].

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Carmilla (1872) - Laura’s narrative: ‘In Styria, we, though by no means magnificent people, inhabit a castle, or schloss. A small income, in that part of the world, goes a great way. Eight or nine hundred a year does wonders. Scantily enough ours would have answered among wealthy people at home. My father is English, and I bear an English name, although I never saw England. But here, in this lonely and primitive place, where everything is so marvellously cheap, I really don’t see how ever so much more money would at all materially add to our comforts, or even luxuries. / My father was in the Austrian service, and retired upon a pension and his patrimony, and purchased this feudal residence, and the small estate on which it stands, a bargain. / Nothing can be more picturesque or solitary. It stands on a slight eminence in a forest. The road, very old and narrow, passes in front of its drawbridge, never raised in my time, and its moat, stocked with perch, and sailed over by many swans, and floating on its surface white fleets of water-lilies. Over all this the schloss shows its many-windowed front; its towers, and its Gothic chapel. […]’ (Cont.)

Carmilla - a plot summary

The narrator undertakes to copy an account written by a young patient (Laura) of Dr Hesselius (an expert on especially ‘our dual existence, and its intermediates’ - i.e., vampire).

Laura (in her script) tells of a childhood experience when she was attacked in her bedroom and suffered punctures in her breast.
Relates how company encounter racing carriage, which crashes.
Lady occupant invites them to look after her daughter, who is stunned in the accident, and departs.
Daughter, called Carmilla, becomes infatuated with narrator
Narrator begins to experience unease with Carmilla
Narrator begins to experience strange nocturnal sensations and dreams.
Narrator wakes to find Carmilla in her room
General mourns losss of his daughter
Narrator’s father calls doctor.
Doctor reveals puncture
Father and daughter set out for Schloss Karnstein
Encounter with General, who tells more of his child’s death - revealing ezact parellels with the narrator’s case.
Encounter with woodsman who explains desertion of village
Narrator, father, and General joined by the Baron
Encounter with Baron who explains how vampires are killed
Entry into chapel and ‘Inquisition’
Staking and beheading of the Vampire Carmilla
Explanation of the manner in which the Baron received the plan of the grave location from papers of an ancestor who was infatuated with Carmilla.

BS /Nov. 1997

Carmilla (1872) - cont.: ‘You may guess how strangely I felt as I heard my own symptoms so exactly described in those which had been experienced by the poor girl who, but for the catastrophe which followed, would have been at that moment a visitor at my father’s chateau. You may suppose, also, how I felt as I heard him detail habits and mysterious peculiarities which were, in fact, those of our beautiful guest, Carmilla! /  A vista opened in the forest; we were on a sudden under the chimneys and gables of the ruined village, and the towers and battlements of the dismantled castle, round which gigantic trees are grouped, overhung us from a slight eminence. / In a frightened dream I got down from the carriage, and in silence, for we had each abundant matter for thinking; we soon mounted the ascent, and were among the spacious chambers, winding stairs, and dark corridors of the castle. / “And this was once the palatial residence of the Karnsteins!” said the old General at length, as from a great window he looked out across the village, and saw the wide, undulating expanse of forest. “It was a bad family, and here its blood-stained annals were written,” he continued. “It is hard that they should, after death, continue to plague the human race with their atrocious lusts. That is the chapel of the Karnsteins, down there.” / He pointed down to the grey walls of the Gothic building partly visible through the foliage, a little way down the steep. “And I hear the axe of a woodman,” he added, “busy among the trees that surround it; he possibly may give us the information of which I am in search, and point out the grave of Mircalla, Countess of Karnstein. These rustics preserve the local traditions of great families, whose stories die out among the rich and titled so soon as the families themselves become extinct.” / “We have a portrait, at home, of Mircalla, the Countess Karnstein; should you like to see it?” asked my father. / “Time enough, dear friend,” replied the General. “I believe that I have seen the original; and one motive which has led me to you earlier than I at first intended, was to explore the chapel which we are now approaching.” / “What! see the Countess Mircalla,” exclaimed my father; “why, she has been dead more than a century!” / “Not so dead as you fancy, I am told,” answered the General.’

Extract from Chapter IV

 In these mysterious moods I did not like her. I experienced a strange tumultuous excitement that was pleasurable, ever and anon, mingled with a vague sense of fear and disgust. I had no distinct thoughts about her while such scenes lasted, but I was conscious of a love growing into adoration, and also of abhorrence. This I know is paradox, but I can make no other attempt to explain the feeling.
 I now write, after an interval of more than ten years, with a trembling hand, with a confused and horrible recollection of certain occurrences and situations, in the ordeal through which I was unconsciously passing; though with a vivid and very sharp remembrance of the main current of my story. But, I suspect, in all lives there are certain emotional scenes, those in which our passions have been most wildly and terribly roused, that are of all others the most vaguely and dimly remembered.
 Sometimes after an hour of apathy, my strange and beautiful companion would take my hand and hold it with a fond pressure, renewed again and again; blushing softly, gazing in my face with languid and burning eyes, and breathing so fast that her dress rose and fell with the tumultuous respiration. It was like the ardour of a lover; it embarrassed me; it was hateful and yet over-powering; and with gloating eyes she drew me to her, and her hot lips travelled along my cheek in kisses; and she would whisper, almost in sobs, “You are mine, you shall be mine, you and I are one for ever.” Then she has thrown herself back in her chair, with her small hands over her eyes, leaving me trembling.
 “Are we related,” I used to ask; “what can you mean by all this? I remind you perhaps of some one whom you love; but you must not, I hate it; I don’t know you—I don’t know myself when you look so and talk so.”
 She used to sigh at my vehemence, then turn away and drop my hand.

(For full text see RICORSO Library, Irish Literary Classics, infra.)

[ Note: The extract is given in part in the Wikipedia article on the story with the remark: ‘Though Le Fanu portrays his vampire’s sexuality with the circumspection that one would expect for his time, it is evident that lesbian attraction is the main dynamic between Carmilla and the narrator of the story’ - online; accessed 30.09.2017. ]

Carmilla (1872) - Reading Notes

In Styria, we, though by no means magnificent people, inhabit a castle, or schloss. A small income, in that part of the world, goes a great way. Eight or nine hundred a year does wonders. Scantily enough ours would have answered among wealthy people at home. My father is English, and I bear an English name, although I never saw England. But here, in this lonely and primitive place, where everything is so marvellously cheap, I really don’t see how ever so much more money would at all materially add to our comforts, or even luxuries.
 My father was in the Austrian service, and retired upon a pension and his patrimony, and purchased this feudal residence, and the small estate on which it stands, a bargain.
….
The young girl Carmilla professes passion: ‘you are mine. … What if a boyish lover had found his way into the house, and sought to prosecute his suit in masquerade, with the assistance of a clever old adventuress. But there were many things against this hypothesis, highly interesting as it was to my vanity. [12]

has the sharpest tooth [14] Mircalla, Countess Karnstein, [16]

“I have been in love with no one, and never shall,” she whispered, “unless it should be with you.” [17]

what I called her infatuations [18]

If it had not been that it had casually come out in one of our careless talks that she had been baptised, I should have doubted her being a Christian. Religion was a subject on which I had never heard her speak a word. If I had known the world better, this particular neglect or antipathy would not have so much surprised me. [19-20]

I cannot call it a nightmare, for I was quite conscious of being asleep. But I was equally conscious of being in my room, and lying in bed, precisely as I actually was. I saw, or fancied I saw, the room and its furniture just as I had seen it last, except that it was very dark, and I saw something moving round the foot of the bed, which at first I could not accurately distinguish. But I soon saw that it was a sooty-black animal that resembled a monstrous cat. It appeared to me about four or five feet long for it measured fully the length of the hearthrug as it passed over it; and it continued to-ing and fro-ing with the lithe, sinister restlessness of a beast in a cage. I could not cry out, although as you may suppose, I was terrified. Its pace was growing faster, and the room rapidly darker and darker, and at length so dark that I could no longer see anything of it but its eyes. I felt it spring lightly on the bed. The two broad eyes approached my face, and suddenly I felt a stinging pain as if two large needles darted, an inch or two apart, deep into my breast. I waked with a scream. The room was lighted by the candle that burnt there all through the night, and I saw a female figure standing at the foot of the bed, a little at the right side. It was in a dark loose dress, and its hair was down and covered its shoulders. A block of stone could not have been more still. There was not the slightest stir of respiration. As I stared at it, the figure appeared to have changed its place, and was now nearer the door; then, close to it, the door opened, and it passed out. [20]

My father, who saw at once that something very extraordinary had befallen, asked him, if not too painful to him, to detail the circumstances which he thought justified the strong terms in which he expressed himself.
 “I should tell you all with pleasure,” said the General, “but you would not believe me.”
 “Why should I not?” he asked.
 “Because,” he answered testily, “you believe in nothing but what consists with your own prejudices and illusions. I remember when I was like you, but I have learned better.”
 “Try me,” said my father; “I am not such a dogmatist as you suppose. Besides which, I very well know that you generally require proof for what you believe, and am, therefore, very strongly predisposed to respect your conclusions.”
 “You are right in supposing that I have not been led lightly into a belief in the marvellous—for what I have experienced is marvellous—and I have been forced by extraordinary evidence to credit that which ran counter, diametrically, to all my theories. I have been made the dupe of a preternatural conspiracy.”
 Notwithstanding his professions of confidence in the General’s penetration, I saw my father, at this point, glance at the General, with, as I thought, a marked suspicion of his sanity. [28]

the young lady, whom her mother called by the odd name of Millarca [30]

“How came the village to be deserted?” asked the General.
“It was troubled by revenants, sir; several were tracked to their graves, there detected by the usual tests, and extinguished in the usual way, by decapitation, by the stake, and by burning; but not until many of the villagers were killed.
“But after all these proceedings according to law,” he continued—“so many graves opened, and so many vampires deprived of their horrible animation—the village was not relieved. But a Moravian nobleman, who happened to be travelling this way, heard how matters were, and being skilled—as many people are in his country—in such affairs, he offered to deliver the village from its tormentor. He did so thus: There being a bright moon that night, he ascended, shortly after sunset, the towers of the chapel here, from whence he could distinctly see the churchyard beneath him; you can see it from that window. From this point he watched until he saw the vampire come out of his grave, and place near it the linen clothes in which he had been folded, and then glide away towards the village to plague its inhabitants.
“The stranger, having seen all this, came down from the steeple, took the linen wrappings of the vampire, and carried them up to the top of the tower tower, which he again mounted. When the vampire returned from his prowlings and missed his clothes, he cried furiously to the Moravian, whom he saw at the summit of the tower, and who, in reply, beckoned him to ascend and take them. Whereupon the vampire, accepting his invitation, began to climb the steeple, and so soon as he had reached the battlements, the Moravian, with a stroke of his sword, clove his skull in twain, hurling him down to the churchyard, whither, descending by the winding stairs, the stranger followed and cut his head off, and next day delivered it and the body to the villagers, who duly impaled and burnt them.
“This Moravian nobleman had authority from the then head of the family to remove the tomb of Mircalla, Countess Karnstein, which he did effectually, so that in a little while its site was quite forgotten.” [36]

“He asked me, before taking his leave finally, whether I would wish to see a man curiously learned upon the very subject, which, after I had read his letter, would probably interest me above all others, and he urged me earnestly to invite him to visit him there; and so took his leave. [37]

“Aye,” he said; “that is Millarca. That is the same person who long ago was called Mircalla, Countess Karnstein. Depart from this accursed ground, my poor child, as quickly as you can. Drive to the clergyman’s house, and stay there till we come. Begone! May you never behold Carmilla more; you will not find her here.” [39]

You have heard, no doubt, of the appalling superstition that prevails in Upper and Lower Styria, in Moravia, Silesia, in Turkish Servia, in Poland, even in Russia; the superstition, so we must call it, of the Vampire.
If human testimony, taken with every care and solemnity, judicially, before commissions innumerable, each consisting of many members, all chosen for integrity and intelligence, and constituting reports more voluminous perhaps than exist upon any one other class of cases, is worth anything, it is difficult to deny, or even to doubt the existence of such a phenomenon as the Vampire.
For my part I have heard no theory by which to explain what I myself have witnessed and experienced, other than that supplied by the ancient and well-attested belief of the country. [40]

The next day the formal proceedings took place in the Chapel of Karnstein. The grave of the Countess Mircalla was opened; and the General and my father recognised each his perfidious and beautiful guest, in the face now disclosed to view. The features, though a hundred and fifty years had passed since her funeral, were tinted with the warmth of life. Her eyes were open; no cadaverous smell exhaled from the coffin. The two medical men, one officially present, the other on the part of the promoter of the inquiry, attested the marvellous fact that there was a faint but appreciable respiration, and a corresponding action of the heart. The limbs were perfectly flexible, the flesh elastic; and the leaden coffin floated with blood, in which to a depth of seven inches, the body lay immersed. Here then, were all the admitted signs and proofs of vampirism. The body, therefore, in accordance with the ancient practice, was raised, and a sharp stake driven through the heart of the vampire, who uttered a piercing shriek at the moment, in all respects such as might escape from a living person in the last agony. Then the head was struck off, and a torrent of blood flowed from the severed neck. The body and head was next placed on a pile of wood, and reduced to ashes, which were thrown upon the river and borne away, and that territory has never since been plagued by the visits of a vampire. [40]

The amphibious existence of the vampire is sustained by daily renewed slumber in the grave. Its horrible lust for living blood supplies the vigour of its waking existence. The vampire is prone to be fascinated with an engrossing vehemence, resembling the passion of love, by particular persons. In pursuit of these it will exercise inexhaustible patience and stratagem, for access to a particular object may be obstructed in a hundred ways. It will never desist until it has satiated its passion, and drained the very life of its coveted victim. But it will, in these cases, husband and protract its murderous enjoyment with the refinement of an epicure, and heighten it by the gradual approaches of an artful courtship. In these cases it seems to yearn for something like sympathy and consent. In ordinary ones it goes direct to its object, overpowers with violence, and strangles and exhausts often at a single feast.
The following Spring my father took me a tour through Italy. We remained away for more than a year. It was long before the terror of recent events subsided; and to this hour the image of Carmilla returns to memory with ambiguous alternations—sometimes the playful, languid, beautiful girl; sometimes the writhing fiend I saw in the ruined church; and often from a reverie I have started, fancying I heard the light step of Carmilla at the drawing-room door.

[BS / Nov. 1997]

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Green Tea” (1871) - Dr Hesselius: ‘I may remark, that when I here speak of medical science, I do so, as I hope some day to see it more generally understood, in a much more comprehensive sense than its generally material treatment would warrant. I believe the entire natural world is but the ultimate expression of that spiritual world from which and in which alone, it has its life. I believe that the essential man is a spint, that the spirit is an organised substance, but as different in point of material from what we ordinarily understand by matter, as light or electricity is; that the material body is, in the most literal sense, a vesture, and death consequently no interruption of the living man’s existence, but simply his extrication from the natural body - a process which commences at the moment of what we term death, and the completion of which, at furthest a few days later, is the resurrection “in power.” / The person who weighs the consequences of these positions will probably see their practical baring upon medical evidence. This is, however, by no means the proper place for displaying the proofs and discussing the consequences of this too generally unrecognized state of facts.’ (In a Glass Darkly, Gill & Macmillan Edn. 1990, p.6.) Note that the outlook in question is elsewhere identified with Dr. Hesserlius’s Essays on Metaphysical Medicine, [being papers] which suggest more than they actually say.’ (Chap.1.) - and that the haunted subject of the story, Rev. Jennings, says to Hesselius later still, ‘You are a philosophical physician. You give spirit its proper rank. If this thing is real - ’ (See William Trevor, ed., The Oxford Book of Irish Short Stories, 1989, p.98.)

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Green Tea” (1871) - quotations from Emanuel Swedenborg’s Arcana Colestia:
 ‘When man’s interior sight is opened, which is that of his spirit, then there appear the things of another life, which cannot possibly be made visible to the bodily sight. ...’
 ‘By the internal sight it has been granted me to see the things that are in the other life, more clearly than I see those that are in the world. From these considerations, it is evident that external vision exists from interior vision, and this from a vision still more interior, and so on.’...
 ‘There are with every man at least two evil spirits.’...
 ‘With wicked genii there is also a fluent speech, but harsh and grating. There is also among them a speech which is not fluent, wherein the dissent of the thoughts is perceived as something secretly creeping along within it.’
 ‘The evil spirits associated with man are, indeed from the hells, but when with man they are not then in hell, but are taken out thence. The place where they then are, is in the midst between heaven and hell, and is called the world of spirits - when the evil spirits who are with man, are in that world, they are not in any infernal torment, but in every thought and affection of man, and so, in all that the man himself enjoys. But when they are remitted into their hell, they return to their former state. ...’
 ‘If evil spirits could perceive that they were associated with man, and yet that they were spirits separate from him, and if they could flow in into the things of his body, they would attempt by a thousand means to destroy him; for they hate man with a deadly hatred. ...’
 ‘Knowing, therefore, that I was a man in the body, they were continually striving to destroy me, not as to the body only, but especially as to the soul; for to destroy any man or spirit is the very delight of the life of all who are in hell; but I have been continually protected by the Lord. Hence it appears how dangerous it is for man to be in a living consort with spirits, unless he be in the good of faith. ...’
 ‘Nothing is more carefully guarded from the knowledge of associate spirits than their being thus conjoint with a man, for if they knew it they would speak to him, with the intention to destroy him. ...’
 ‘The delight of hell is to do evil to man, and to hasten his eternal ruin.’
See “Green Tea”, in William Trevor, ed., The Oxford Book of Irish Short Stories (OUP 1989 ), pp.86-87.

Green Tea” (1871) - cont.: ‘I was reading some pages which refer to “representatives” and “correspondents,” in the technical language of Swedenborg, and had arrived at a passage, the substance of which is, that evil spirits, when seen by other eyes than those of their infernal associates, present themselves, by “correspondence,” in the shape of the beast (fera) which represents their particular lust and life, in aspect direful and atrocious. This is a long passage, and particularises a number of those bestial forms.’ (William Trevor, op. cit., p.87.)

Green Tea” (1871) - cont.

[Rev. Mr. Jennings describes his monkey}: ‘I shall not continue in detail my narrative of this particular night. I shall describe, rather, the phenomena of the first year, which never varied, essentially. I shall describe the monkey as it appeared in daylight. In the dark, as you shall presently hear, there are peculiarities. It is a small monkey, perfectly black. It had only one peculiarity - a character of malignity - unfathomable malignity. During the first year it looked sullen and sick. But this character of intense malice and vigilance was always underlying that surly languor. During all that time it acted as if on a plan of giving me as little trouble as was consistent with watching me. Its eyes were never off me. I have never lost sight of it, except in my sleep, light or dark, day or night, since it came here, excepting when it withdraws for some weeks at a time, unaccountably.
  In total dark it is visible as in daylight. I do not mean merely its eyes. It is all visible distinctly in a halo that resembles a glow of red embers, and which accompanies it in all its movements.
  When it leaves me for a time, it is always at night, in the dark, and in the same way. It grows at first uneasy, and then furious, and then advances towards me, grinning and shaking, its paws clenched, and, at the same time, there comes the appearance of fire in the grate. I never have any fire. I can’t sleep in the room where there is any, and it draws nearer and nearer to the chimney, quivering, it seems, with rage, and when its fury rises to the highest pitch, it springs into the grate, and up the chimney, and I see it no more.
  When first this happened, I thought I was released. I was now a new man. A day passed - a night - and no return, and a blessed week - a week - another week. I was always on my knees, Dr. Hesselius, always, thanking God and praying. A whole month passed of liberty, but on a sudden, it was with me again. [...] It was with me, and the malice which before was torpid under a sullen exterior was now active.’ (Ibid.,p.97.)

[...]

‘When I entered on the discharge of my duties, another change took place. The thing exhibited an atrocious determination to thwart me. It was with me in the church - in the reading-desk - in the pulpit - within the communion rails. At last, it reached this extremity, that while I was reading to the congregation, it would spring upon the book and squat there, so that I was unable to see the page. This happened more than once.’ (Ibid., p.99.) Further: ‘I see, Dr. Hesselius, that you don’t lose one word of my statement. I need not ask you to listen specially to what I am now going to tell you. They talk of the optic nerves, and of spectral illusions, as if the organ of sight was the only point assailable by the influences that have fastened upon me - I know better. For two years in my direful case that limitation prevailed. But as food is taken in softly at the lips, and then brought under the teeth, as the tip of the little finger caught in a mill crank will draw in the hand, and the arm, and the whole body, so the miserable mortal who has been once caught firmly by the end of the finest fibre of his nerve, is drawn in and in, by the enormous machinery of hell, until he is as I am. Yes, Doctor, as I am, for a while I talk to you, and implore relief, I feel that my prayer is for the impossible, and my pleading with the inexorable.’ (Ibid., p.100.)

[...]

[Dr Hesselius’s response:] ‘[...] recollect, above all, that even if the thing that infests you be, you seem to suppose a reality with an actual independent life and will, yet it can have no power to hurt you, unless it be given from above: its access to your senses depends mainly upon your physical condition - this is, under God, your comfort and reliance: we are all alike environed. It is only that in your case, the “paries,” the veil of the flesh, the screen, is a little out of repair, and sights and sounds are transmitted. We must enter on a new course, sir, - be encouraged. I’ll give to-night to the careful consideration of the whole case.’ (Ibid., p.101.)

[...]

[Following the suicide:]  So, dejected and agitated, I passed from that terrible house, and its dark canopy of elms, and I hope I shall never see it more. While I write to you I feel like a man who has but half waked from a frightful and monotonous dream. My memory rejects the picture with incredulity and horror. Yet I know it is true. It is the story of the process of a poison, a poison which excites the reciprocal action of spirit and nerve, and paralyses the tissue that separates those cognate functions of the senses, the external and the interior. Thus we find strange bed-fellows, and the mortal and immortal prematurely make acquaintance.’ (Ibid., p.106.) Note that the proximate cause of the Rev. Jennings's affiction is said to be ‘green tea’ by means of which he ‘inadvertently opened’ the ‘inner eye’ which made the apparition of the demon-monkey possible, but the final diagnosis is said to be ‘hereditary suicidal mania’. (Ibid., p.108.)

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The Room in the Dragon Volant” (Richard Beckett, speaking with La Vallière, who has confided the way to meet the Countess in person, and apologising for suspecting a hoax): ‘Mademoiselle will forgive me. Remeber how very precious is the hope of seeing, and speaking to the Countess. Is it wonderful, then, that I should falter in my belief? You have convinced me, however, and will forgive my hesitation.’ (In a Glass Darkly, Gill & Macmillan Edn. 1990, p.182.) Further, under the chapter title “Strange Story of the Dragon Volant” (being Chap. XV), Beckett says: ‘“My servant”, I said, “gave me a confused account of some occurrences, and, as well as I recollect he described the same persons - I mean a returned French nobleman and a Russian gentleman. But he made the whoel story so marvellous - I mean in the supernatural sense - that, I confess, I did not believe a word of it.” / “No, there was nothing supernatural, but a great deal inexplicable.” Said the French gentleman. “Of course, there are many theories; but the thing was never explained, nor, so far as I know, was a ray of light ever thrown upon it.” (ibid., 184).

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Sundry remarks
Of a deceased wife: ‘One night soon after her death I was tortured with the thought that if she had secured the love of her saviour she would have had an assurance of it & a confidence that it was so. I felt as if my heart would break and in my agony I prayed to God my Redeemer for comfort … I loved her almost to idolatry. She was always doubting & somet[imes] actually disbelieved my love, though I was then both declaring & showing it day and night […]’ (Quoted in McCormack, Sheridan Le Fanu and Victorian Ireland, p,131; cited in Bernadette McFadden, UUC Diss., 1998, p.9.)

Of religious faith: ‘“I’d give something [if] I could believe all that.” He tapped with his finger the Bible that lay on the little table [...]. “But believing, unluckily, isn’t a matter of choice any more than loving ... just a sort of foreboding that makes me fancy I should like to have something to go upon - I mean belief, idolatry, anything.” (Quoted in W. J. McCormack, J. S. Le Fanu and Vicdtorian Ireland, 1991 edn., p.46.)

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