The Strange Adventures of Mr. Middleton

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Publisher Description

A collection of 15 fantasy short stories, similar to the "Arabian Nights", set in Chicago.

Manner in Which Mr. Edward Middleton Encounters the Emir Achmed Ben

It was a lowering and gloomy night in the

early part of the present century. Mr. Edward Middleton, a gallant

youth, who had but lately passed his twenty-third year, was faring

northward along the southern part of that famous avenue of commerce,

Clark Street, in the city of Chicago, wending his way toward the

emporium of Mr. Marks Cohen. Suddenly the rain which the cloudy

heaven had been promising for many hours, began to descend in great

scattered drops that presaged a heavy shower. Mr. Middleton hastened

his steps. It was possible that if the dress-suit he wore, hired for

the occasion of the wedding of his friend, Mr. Chauncey Stackelberg,

should become imbued with moisture in the shower that now seemed

imminent, Mr. Cohen, of whom he had hired the suit, would not add to

the modicum  agreed upon, a charge for pressing it. But if

his own suit for everyday wear, which he was carrying under his arm

with the purpose of putting it on at good Mr. Cohen’s

establishment, should become wet, that would be a serious matter. It

was, in fact, his only suit and that will explain the anxiety with

which he scanned the heavens. Suddenly, Pluvius unloosed all the

fountains of the sky, and with scarcely a thought whither he was

going, Mr. Middleton darted into the first haven of refuge, a little

shop he happened to be just passing. As the door closed behind him

with the tinkle of a bell in some remote recess, for the first time

he realized that the place he had entered was utterly dark. His ears,

straining to their uttermost to make compensation for the inability

of his eyes to be of service to him in this juncture, could no more

than inform him that the place was utterly silent. But to his nose

came the powerful fragrance of strange foreign aromas such as he had

never had experience of before,—which, heavy and oppressive in

their cloying perfume, seemed the very breath of mystery. All traffic

had ceased without, as the night was well advanced and the rain beat

so heavily that the few whom  business or pleasure had

called abroad at that hour, had sought shelter. But though the rain

now fell with a steady roar, Mr. Middleton, perturbed by a nameless

disquiet, was about to rush forth into the tempest and seek other

shelter, when a door burst open and, outlined against a glare of

light, stood a gigantic man who said in a deep, low voice that seemed

to pervade every corner of the room and cause the air to shake in

slow vibrations...

About Wardon Allan Curtis:
(1867-1940) US author, a contributor to several pre-sf fiction magazines. His most important sf is a short Identity Transfer story about a brain transplant, "The Monster of Lake LaMetrie" (September 1899 Pearson's), in which the brain is human and the recipient body that of a prehistoric survival – an elasmosaurus (see Dinosaurs) – from a bottomless lake that may lead into a Symmesian Hollow Earth. Curtis also wrote an Arabian Nights fantasy, "The Seal of Solomon the Great" (February 1901 Argosy) and The Strange Adventures of Mr Middleton (coll 1903), which contains a mixture of Oriental fantasy and bizarre mystery.  (from Science Fiction Encyclopedia)

Sci-Fi & Fantasy
August 15
Midwest Journal Press
PublishDrive Inc.

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