Werewolf Wednesday: Wagner, the Wehr-Wolf by George W. M. Reynolds (1846-7) Part 4

ReynoldsMisc(This is the fourth part in a series; see also parts onetwo and three)

Chapters 8 and 9 of Wagner, the Wehr-Wolf are largely taken up by Wagner’s granddaughter Agnes narrating her backstory. This anecdote begins with Agnes encountering “a cavalier of strikingly handsome countenance” who claims to have got lost while hunting with the Baron von Nauemberg. The cavalier introduces himself as the Count of Riverola and proceeds to flatter Agnes, eventually persuading her to accompany him to Italy. Despite feeling “a dreadful pang” for her grandfather, she abandons him without notice and disguises herself as the count’s page. After arriving in Florence Agnes finds herself doted upon by the count (“To me he unbent as, doubtless, to human being he never unbent before”) but has a disturbing encounter with a mysterious woman:

At the same instant I glanced toward the stranger lady; she also drew back the dark covering from her face. Oh! what a countenance was then revealed to me—a countenance of such sovereign beauty that, though of the same sex, I was struck with admiration; but, in the next moment, a thrill of terror shot through my heart—for the fascination of the basilisk could scarcely paralyze its victim with more appalling effect than did the eyes of that lady. It might be conscience qualms, excited by some unknown influence—it might even have been imagination; but it nevertheless appeared as if those large, black, burning orbs shot forth lightnings which seared and scorched my very soul! For that splendid countenance, of almost unearthly beauty, was suddenly marked by an expression of such vindictive rage, such ineffable hatred, such ferocious menace, that I should have screamed had I not been as it were stunned—stupefied!

Continue reading “Werewolf Wednesday: Wagner, the Wehr-Wolf by George W. M. Reynolds (1846-7) Part 4″

Well, Here Comes Another Project

By this point, I really should know better than to keep shovelling new projects atop my to-do pile. But having received a few positive responses to the above tweet, well…

Werewolf Wednesday: Wagner, the Wehr-Wolf by George W. M. Reynolds (1846-7) Part 3

ReynoldsMisc

(This is the third part in a series; see also parts one and two)

Chapter six of Wagner the Wehr-Wolf opens with Agnes awakening from her fainting fit to find herself in a lavish room filled with paintings. Amongst these is a portrait depicting a man with “a countenance indisputably handsome, though every lineament denoted horror and alarm”, with a caption telling us that “F., Count of A., terminated his career on the 1st of August, 1517.” Another shows the title character, Agnes’ grandfather Fernand Wagner, as an elderly man “cowering over a few embers in a miserable hovel, while the most profound sorrow was depicted on his countenance”. There is also a mysterious frame covered by a black cloth.

Agnes is tended to by a handsome stranger who reveals himself an associate of Wagner. While she abases herself for having abandoned the elderly man, the stranger explains that Wagner is alive and well and in this very house. Agnes struggles to believe this — after all, Wagner’s portrait bears the inscription “F. W., January 7th, 1516. His last day thus”, clearly implying that the old man is dead.

Continue reading “Werewolf Wednesday: Wagner, the Wehr-Wolf by George W. M. Reynolds (1846-7) Part 3″