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‘Cold-Eyed Woman of the Ages’
Out of the Deep by Robert E. Howard
Written in 1928, unsold in Howard’s lifetime, first published in November, 1967, in the Magazine of Horror, reading from Marchers of Valhalla, Berkley, 1978 pages 137-45
Out of the Deep was a story of Faring Town, the same setting for the story, Sea Curse, published in May, 1928, in Weird Tales.
This tale is marginally better written than Sea Curse, with some of the same characters. This reader gets the idea that Howard envisioned a set of stories located in Faring Town.
It’s a simple, well-wrought story, so much so that it can review itself with two passages:
First Paragraph
“Adam Falcon sailed at dawn, and Margaret Deveral, the girl who was to marry him, stood on the wharfs in the cold mist to wave a good-bye. At the dusk Margaret knelt, stony-eyes, above the still white form that the crawling tide had left crumpled on the beach.”
Page 3, Paragraph 2
“And beyond the friendly warmth of the town’s lights, the dusky green titan brooded along the strand, silent now as if in sleep, but ever ready to leap with hungry talons. I wandered down to the beach and, reclining on the white sand, gazed out over the slowly heaving expanse which coiled and billowed in drowsy undulations like a sleeping serpent.
“The sea—the great, grey, cold-eyed woman of the ages. Her tides spoke to me as they have spoken to me since birth—in the swish of the flat waves along the sand, in the wail of the ocean-bird, in her throbbing silence.”
The fact that the man from Cross Plains, Texas wrote this and wrote so many other tales depicting sea life, marks him as a writer of the imagination who did not require related experiences to soulfully describe a setting or a pursuit.
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