“Roaring Tower”

This week’s weird story the Deep Ones is discussing over at LibraryThing.

Review: “Roaring Tower”, Stella Gibbons, 1937.

Many British readers will recognize the name of Stella Gibbons, author of the beloved Cold Comfort Farm (a novel I only know from its movie adaptation). She’s also the aunt of famed weird fiction author Reggie Oliver.

The story opens with our narrator, Clara, veiled, and being packed off with a bouquet of white roses, a “copy of a ladies’ journal”, and something to eat. She is being sent from Islington to her Aunt Julia in Cornwall, and she is sulking, “her heart like stone”. She only says “yes” to her mother and father before departing. 

Given the veil and black gloves, we wonder if she is a widow. But we soon learn she is a 19-year-old and that she is narrating her story 50 years later. As she says of herself at that time,

“no heart could have been fiercer, and yet colder, than mine. One voice, which I should never hear again, sounded in my ears, and one face, which I had promised to forget, filled my eyes.

‘All else’ (as that German philosopher wrote) ‘was folly.’ 

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