Gruesome Cargoes

Horror fiction 1925-1937: ‘Not At Nights’ & ‘Creeps’

Archive for the ‘By Daylight Only’ Category

By Daylight Only

Posted by demonik on August 15, 2007


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Many thanks to Robert Weinberg for kindly granting me permission to use his cover scans.

By Daylight Only, ed. Christine Campbell Thomson, (Selwyn & Blount, 1929)

H. Warner Munn – The Chain
John Dwight – The Fates
H. P. Lovecraft – Pickman’s Model
C. Franklin Miller – The Last Laugh
Flavia Richardson – At Number Eleven
Bassett Morgan – Devils Of Po Sung
Charles Lawrence Edholm – The Rose Window
Morgan Johnson – Panthers of Shevgoan
Royal W. Jimerson – Medusa
Oscar Cook – Piecemeal
Arthur J. Burks – Bells Of Oceana
Signe Toksvig – The Devil’s Martyr
William R. Hickey – The Cave of Spiders
R. Anthony – The Witch-Baiter
Douglas Newton – The Trimmer
Rupert Grayson – Blood
August Derleth – The Tenant
Harold Markham – White Lotus Flower
Oscar Schisgall – In Kashla’s Garden
Captain George Fielding Eliot – The Copper Bowl

H. Warner Munn – The Chain: The unnamed victim wakes to find himself in the rat-infested oubliette of Rutzau Castle. The man who stands atop the pit is his cousin, Franz. Evidently Franz has found out just who caused the ‘accident’ that left him a cripple, and who has been sleeping with his fair wife, Olga. He lowers a chain, and beckons to his captive to climb …

Flavia Richardson – At Number Eleven: Bernard and Maureen move into a flat in Bloomsbury, pretty much their dream home … save for the ghost of the grey lady. At first she seems rather a benevolent spirit, but now they sense evil and there’s a horrible smell pervading the building. And what caused the crippled Mr. Robinson to come racing down the stairs? A slower than usual build-up gives way to a gloriously gruesome denouement.

H. P. Lovecraft – Pickman’s Model: “God, how that man could paint! There was a study called ‘Subway Accident’, in which a flock of the vile things were clambering up from some unknown catacomb through a crack in the floor of the Boylston Street subway and attacking a crowd of people on the platform …”

North End, Boston. Thurber explains to Eliot why, after a nightmarish guided tour around his secret subterranean studio, he no longer patronises the brilliant morbid artist Pickman, whose ‘Ghouls Feasting’ caused a scandal and saw him ostracized by his fellows at the Art Club …

Bassett Morgan – The Devils Of Po Sung: New Guinea. Captain MacTeague falls foul of a sadistic Chinese, Po Sung who (as usual) snuffs out his rivals by transplanting their brains into orang-utangs, crocodiles and co. It’s unlikely MacTeague would have survived had he not rescued a native girl from a whipping when she was still human. Po Sung meets a suitably ghastly doom when his apes mutiny, and his assistants are stuffed into the bulbs of the obligatory vampire plants. They just don’t write them like this any more.

Rupert Grayson – Blood: “The blood flowed sluggishly, impeded by a congealed mass of mottled sputum …”
A girl, alone with her father’s corpse, guards against the dreaded Volpine, the village monster, who warned her in the most sinister fashion that “I will know” when the old man, her only protection, dies. The Volpine carries a vulture on his shoulder and is himself no less ugly than the creature, what with his “loose mouth, smiling in a row of fangs.”
Sure enough, the lecherous fiend breaks into her home and makes quite clear his intentions, but first he must feed his pet. “I will be satisfied to taste love my pretty … but there are others who prefer blood”, and so saying, he cuts her father’s throat.
The vulture is at once upon the corpse dipping it’s beak in gore. A struggle ensues. The girl stakes the vulture, which turns on its master …

R. Anthony – The Witch-Baiter: Justice Mynheer van Ragevoort tries and condemns ‘witches’ with commendable impartiality: one a confession has been tortured from them, they’re hung and quartered in keeping with the law.
Comes the night when he’s blindfolded and bundled from his home by the men of the village to preside over the trial of ‘the witch of witches’.
Having passed sentence, he’s again abducted, this time by members of the Vehmgericht, a secret society who’ve decided that his insane reign of terror must be curtailed. He’s given an extended session in the dungeon, and then released to discover his latest victim ..

George Fielding Eliot -The Copper Bowl: Lieutenant Fournet of the French Foreign Legion has been captured by the evil Yuan Li, mandarin and bandit chief. Yual Li wants to know the location of a riverside Legion fort so that he can sneak his boats up the river, but the heroic Fournet withstands all the Chinaman’s tortures…until Yuan Li produces another captive, Fournet’s beloved Lily, and subjects her to the ordeal of the copper bowl. Xenophobic and with a hero straight out of Bulldog Drummond, all the same this one is written with a certain flair, and the copper bowl torture is certainly stomach churning. Roger Pile

August Derleth – The Tenant: “He wasn’t, if you happen to remember, just exactly a reputable character.”
“I do remember that there were ugly rumours current about him. Nothing was ever proved as far as I remember.”
“No, nothing was ever proved; that’s true. His name was connected with the disappearance of several small children from the countryside.”
“It was about the time of the agitation about vampires wasn’t it?”
“Yes, I believe it was.”

The man under discussion is ‘pseudo scientist’ Roxy Camburn, a researcher of bacteria. His grandson, Michael Sanbury, has just inherited the estate which is locally regarded as being haunted. The taciturn butler Jenkins certainly thinks so and murmours darkly of his late employer’s mysterious pet. And what’s the cause of that “kind of wet, sloshy noise, as if someone were throwing a wet sponge on the floor”?

Splendid ‘man-eating blob of slime’ nonsense.

Charles Lawrence Edholm – The Rose Window: Tuebinger, Germany. The narrator falls asleep studying the gargoyles and grotesques at St. Peters. He dreams of a previous life and a terrible crime which resulted in his brother being wrongly convicted of a murder and broken on the wheel. When the real culprit is discovered, he is given a taste of the same.

Royal W. Jimerson – Medusa: “Don’t attempt to cut her hair. Her mother tried it, once … Grin and bear it or else leave her. But forget those scissors.” So warns Dr. Berg, but a drunken Win Bardwell can’t help but attempt to trim his wife’s unruly tresses as she sleeps.

Arthur J. Burks – Bells Of Oceana; “Her breasts, nude and unashamed, were the breasts of a buxom woman, her lips as red as full blown roses, her hair as black as the wings of a crow, a mantle of loveliness all about her wondrous body, whipping this way and that in the storm.”
A thousand miles north of Honolulu, the ships crew are lured to their doom by a beautiful mermaid who invites them to share her bed of seaweed. Only when they feel the kiss of her corpse-lips do they snap out of her spell and awaken to the full horror of death by drowning.

Douglas Newton -The Trimmer : Sam kills Micky O’Brien with a shovel as they trim the coal aboard The Conception. He thinks he’s got away with it when the boat survives a tempestuous storm to reach Lisbon with O’Brien’s body still undiscovered but, as expected, the corpse comes out on top of the pile …

Harold Markham – White Lotus Flower: During the Indian mutiny, Christina McBride is raped by six natives and left to die in her burning house as the rioters go about their orgy of death. Seta Ram, the Hindoo servant who worshipped Christina, wreaks terrible vengeance on his dead mistress’s behalf. When he discovers one of the murderers dying of cholera, he slowly decapitates him and throws his head down a well. The locals are soon dropping like flies. Seta Ram proudly proclaims what he’s done and is torn to pieces by the mob.

William R. Hickey – The Cave Of Spiders: Seton, Graves and Clara are exploring beyond the Peruvian Andes in search of a lost civilisation. Seton and Clara are having an affair and the problem of her husband is resolved when he is half-devoured by more monstrous arachnids. Did he fall or was he pushed?

Oscar Cook – Piece-Meal: Cook is cornered by the ghoulish hack Warwick who extracts from him the gory details of the Mendingham case. As is so often the case, it centres around a love-triangle, this one involving Mendingham and Gregory and the latter’s wife, Moyra. While Gregory is on a year long tour of Dutch Borneo, his wife elopes with his best friend. When he returns to England, Gregory takes a houseboat on the Thames and becomes a virtual recluse. And then Mendingham disappears, although bits of him are soon clogging up the postal system.

Cook pays a visit to the houseboat. It’s a fair bet he won’t be eating any kebabs in the foreseeable future.

Morgan Johnson – Panthers Of Shevgaon: Indian Jungle. Jim, the second-in-command, relates his terrifying experience of the Gond tribe and a withered old hag who nightly transformed herself and the other women into panthers, killing a number of the men. Jungle Jim shoots one of their number – which reverts to human form, revealing the corpse of … his wife!

C. Franklin Miller – The Last Laugh: Anthony Bane, Tod Harrington and Godfrey Allen are hunting big game in Rhodesia. Bane sabotaged his friends rifles and left them stranded in the jungle, then spread the sad news that they’d been eaten by cannibals – all this so he could get his hands on Godfrey’s wife, Joan. Five years later he receives a visit from what’s left of a Harrington, who informs him of what happened to the pair after he abandoned them to fire-worshipers and lepers …

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