FREEBIE: The Vampire Maid by Hume Nisbet

The Vampire Maid by Hume Nisbet, Freebie!

James Hume Nisbet was born in Stirling, Scotland, arriving in Melbourne at the age of sixteen where he became involved in theatrical life. He returned to Britain to study art, and went on to teach and exhibit in Edinburgh. He became a prolific book illustrator, and was later commissioned by Cassell and Co. to visit Australia and New Guinea, contributing articles and sketches for Cassell's Picturesque Australasia (1887-89). Nisbet published seventeen novels, many of which were set in and around Australia and the Pacific.

4 out of 5, here's why:
My lovely friend Rane helped me discover this little, lost gem from yesteryear. It was a joy to read .

“It was the exact kind of abode that I had been looking after for weeks, for I was in that condition of mind when absolute renunciation of society was a necessity. I had become diffident of myself, and wearied of my kind. A strange unrest was in my blood; a barren dearth in my brains. Familiar objects and faces had grown distasteful to me. I wanted to be alone.”

Wow, I guess some things never change. This was written in the 1900’s and I feel like this guy has peered into my head and pulled out some of my most secret thoughts . . .

The narrator of this little tale goes on to say that this is a sign that a retreat has become needful and he packs it up, hops a train and searches out solitude, bracing air and romantic surroundings.

He finds all of the above straight-away, way out in nowhere land.

“My city-dried brains were becoming juicy.”

Looking for a place to camp, he comes across a solitary cottage at the edge of lofty cliffs and decides this is where he will rest his weary head. A widow greats him at the door and offers him lodging. The place is perfect for his needs but that night he has strange dreams that keep him tossing and turning. Hmmm, an omen, perhaps? The next morn, he meets the lady’s daughter who was sick the previous day and is still very pale. He is smitten and thinks,

“I succumbed instantly before the weird charms of my landlady’s daughter, Ariadne Burnnell.”

Who says romance is dead?

I won’t say much else because this story is so short and you may guess, seeing as the title sort of gives things away, what fate has in store for our weary traveler.

This was a lush little read busting at the seams with atmosphere and purple prose.

“The loneliness of the moor, with the singing of the ocean, had gripped my heart with wistful longing.”

I haven’t read prose like this in a very long time and it was so much fun. Sure it’s predictable, especially for someone jaded like myself, but it was also vert atmospheric and amusing in its overly dramatic prose and foolish, love-sick hero. I love a silly fool, am a sucker for them really, and this guy ranks right up there with the best of them.

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  1. Well that sounds fun. I totally would have skipped over it because of the cover. But hmmm.

    1. It was a nice surprise. Yeah, it's in the public domain and has several different covers, all of them blah!


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