The Vampyre, and Other Tales of the Macabre

By Robert Morrison; Chris Baldick | Go to book overview

THE VICTIM

Anonymous

SOME years ago, myself and a fellow-student went to Dawlish* for the summer months. An accident, which I need not narrate, and which was followed by a severe attack of pleurisy, chained me a prisoner to my room for several weeks. My companion, whose name was St Clare, was a young man of high spirits and lively temper; and though naturally kind and affectionate, escaped, as often as he could, from the restraint of a sick room. In one of his walks, he chanced to encounter a young lady, whom he fell in love with, as the phrase is, at first sight, and whose beauty he dwelt upon with a warmth of enthusiasm not a little tantalizing to one, like myself, who could not even behold it. The lady, however, quitted Dawlish very suddenly, and left my friend in ignorance of every other particular concerning her than that her name was Smith, and her residence in London. So vague a direction he, however, resolved to follow up. We returned to town sooner than we otherwise should have done, in order that the lover might commence his inquiries. My friend was worthy of the romantic name that he bore, Melville St Clare--a name that was the delight of all his boarding-school cousins, and the jest of all his acquaintance in the schools.

He was the sole son of Thomas St Clare, of Clare Hall, in the county of -----, No. -----, in Hanover-square, and Banker, No. -----, Lombard-street. An eccentric man did the world account him. 'Very odd,' remarked the heads of houses for wholesale brides, 'that the old man should insist upon his son studying medicine and surgery, when every one knows he will inherit at least ten thousand a-year.'--'Nothing to do with it,' was the argument of the father; 'who can tell what is to happen to funded, or even landed property, in England? The empire of disease takes in the world; and in all its quarters, medical knowledge may be made the key to competency and wealth.'

-87-

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