Born 1847 Dublin
Dracula published 1897
Died 1912 London
In addition to publishing Dracula and starting a vampire craze the world still is gripped by in the same year he published an entertaining ghost story about the revenge of a woman scorned, “The Secret of the Growing Gold”.
As the story opens we learn of the history of two families, both with long histories in the same area of rural England. One family has an aristocratic linage, the other yeoman roots. The families have both seen better times. Stoker liked to write about declining aristocracy and we see that in the higher society family. A romance has developed between a woman from the common family and an aristocratic man. One day they are out for a carriage ride together. The man gets out briefly and during this time the carriage falls of a cliff, destroying it and killing one of the horses. The body of the woman and one of the horses is never found. An investigation finds nothing and in time people forget the incident. After a time the man, who went to Italy, sends word he is coming back with his bride, an Italian lady. He has the house renovated to look like the mansion of her father back in Italy. Now things get scary! The missing woman seems to return one night, horribly scarred from the wreck. He has no idea how she got in past the servants. Stoker has created a very powerful atmosphere befitting his many years in the theatre. A terrible revenge is taken on the man and his innocent pregnant bride.
Probably very few would still read this story if Stoker had not blessed or cursed the world with Dracula but in any case it was fun to read and if you accept things scary.
I read this story in a book I acquired on sale as a Kindle for $1.95, Irish Ghost Stories edited by David Davies. Ten classic writers are included, half of the 520 pages is devoted to Sheridan la Fanu and the Introduction is good. You can read the story at the link above. I hope to read a few more Irish Ghost Stories this month. Ireland has lots of ghosts.