Monday, February 12, 2007

More On The Transition of Juan Romero & Ambrose Bierce

Bierce’s "The Night-Doings at ‘Deadman’s", has a slight element of connection. He narrates, "…For a moment there was silence, then, from somewhere among the pines, came the snarling yelp of a coyote…". Lovecraft narrates, "At two in the morning a lone coyote on the mountain began to howl dismally.

Elsewhere, there is the narrative fragment, "…In ten hours the Gulch [Deadman’s Gulch] was deserted…". In Juan Romero, Lovecraft narrates, "We encountered no living creature, for the men of the night shift had been released from duty, and were doubtless at the Dry Gulch settlement pouting sinister rumours into the ear of some drowsy bartender."

And compare Lovecraft’s, "A storm was gathering around the peaks of the range, and weirdly shaped clouds scudded horribly across the blurred patch of celestial light which marked a gibbous moon attempts to shine through many layers of cirro-stratus vapours…" with Bierce’s narrative, "The moon was moving mysteriously along behind the giant pines crowning the South Mountain…", and later, "There was no connection between the two incidents other than that the coyote has an aversion to storms, and the wind was rising; yet there seemed somehow a supernatural connection to the two …". Bierce repeats, "The wind was now fairly abroad, and the pines along the mountain-side sang with singular distinctness.". And elsewhere, Bierce speaks not of clouds, but of a fire’s vapours, "… projecting spectral shadows … shadows that moved mysteriously about…".

The last textual connection seems to be with Bierce’s "The Damned Thing: 1. One does not always eat what is on the table". Lovecraft narrates, "When I awakened, I was safe in my bunk and the red glow of dawn was visible at the window. Some distance away the lifeless body of Juan Romero lay upon a table, surrounded by a group of men, including the camp doctor. The men were discussing the strange death of the Mexican as he lay asleep … and an autopsy failed to show any reason why Romero should not be living…". Bierce narrates, "… for besides the reader, eight other me were present. Seven of them sat against the rough log walls, silent, motionless … not very far from the table … any one of them could have touched the eigth man , who lay on the table, face upward, partly covered by a sheet, his arms at his sides. He was dead." And later, "… he was a coroner … the inquest was now taking place." In Bierce’s story, which has clear connections with the "Colour From Out Of Space", the dead man had been killed by an invisible beast, a reporter and story teller (a doppelganger Bierce) being the only witness.

Gentle Reader, you be the judge !!

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