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Weird Tales, NOVEMBER, 1936

Brother Lucifer

By CHANDLER H. WHIPPLE

 Strange and spectacular was the doom that lurked in that weird book from the old, ruined monastery 

IN THE book-lined study of the little cottage which stood beside the ancient church, John Druten, Vicar of Wenley, sat peering at the illumined volume before him. The hour was late; in the quiet English village, no light showed save here in the study of the vicarage; yet still John Druten read on.

The black Latin figures, painfully in scribed seven centuries before by the monks of that Wenley Abbey which was now but a tumbled ruin beyond the near by church, seemed to blur, to take on form and dance before the vicar's eyes. All unconscious that the lamp burned low, Druten shook his head, brushed one hand across his eyes to clear his vision. He could not pause now, though his eyes dimmed; here was a strange bit of monkish history which to his antiquarian's heart was as a green field to the husbandman. He had come upon many oddities in the years that he had pored over these ancient records; yet strangely, this intrigued him more than had all the rest.

"Brother Angelico——" he mumbled for the tenth time. "Yes, he was the last. And of Brother Lucifer there is no further mention. Up to this point, the book is full of his doings; after the Eve of Saint Walburga's Day, in the Year of Grace One Thousand, Two Hundred Eighteen, there is not a word said of him. And he was but twenty-eight then. Why, it is as if he had dropped dead in the prime of his youth.... Yet it could not have been death which took him, else it would have been recorded here. No, he did not die—that much is certain. Why, then, he must be still alive—and seven hundred years old!"

He chuckled at his little joke, a jest at which no one save a true antiquarian would have smiled. "Lucifer." He rolled the word upon his tongue, as if it were a sip of rare old wine from the cellars of the ancient refectory, now long since crumbled to dust. "Lucifer.... What an odd name for a monk, anyhow!... Might as well have named him Beelzebub.... Of course, the name at that time signified bearer of light more often than it did the Devil...."

Outside, a sudden wind howled weirdly around the corners of the ancient church. It was like a lost voice crying. Strange, that on this quiet spring evening a wind should so suddenly arise! It did not seem to blow elsewhere. . . .

Druten squinted, shook his head again, realized at last that the lamp was low. He turned the wide upward; but the oil was gone and little more light came. He shook his head sadly; realizing now how late was the hour, he strove for one last look at the printed page.

He shuddered from a sudden chill. It was as if that weird wind outsi...

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