Stoic Decay

pictures / projects by gElm / Lem de Grosnpreg

Illustrations for Oliver Onions' Widdershins

Breathless and With His Finger on His Lip

There was one spot in particular of his abode that he began to haunt with increasing persistency. This was just within the opening of his bedroom door. He had discovered one day that by opening every door in his place (always excepting the outer one, which he only opened unwillingly) and by placing himself on this particular spot, he could actually see to a greater or less extent into each of his five rooms without changing his position. […] He began, at successive hours of the day, one after another, to lower his crimson blinds. He made short and daring excursions in order to do this; but he was ever careful to leave his retreat open, in case he should have sudden need of it. Presently this lowering of the blinds had become a daily methodical exercise, and his rooms, when he had been his round, had the blood-red half-light of a photographer’s darkroom. → The Beckoning Fair One

Her Pallid Timbers

As Abel Keeling lay on the galleon’s deck, held from rolling down it only by his own weight and the sun-blackened hand that lay outstretched upon the planks, his gaze wandered… → Phantas

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS IMAGE USED: Plaster Cast of Hand of William Jennings Bryan

A Patchwork of Black and White

He couldn’t stand echoes. He’d go a mile round rather than pass a place that he knew had an echo; and if he came on one by chance, sometimes he’d hurry through as quick as he could, and sometimes he’d loiter and listen very intently. I rather joked about this at first, till I found it really distressed him; then, of course, I pretended not to notice. → Rooum

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS IMAGE USED: Old man who lives on South Side of Chicago

INTERNET ARCHIVE IMAGE USED: Ireland Illustrated pages 59 & 75

The Shape of the Crown Showed Through

He talked a lot about “hyper-space,” whatever that is; and at first I nodded, as if I knew all about it. But he very soon saw that I didn’t, and he came down to my level again. What he’d come to ask me was this: Did I know anything, of my own experience, about things “photographing through”? (You know the kind of thing: a name that’s been painted out on a board, say, comes up in the plate.) → Benlian

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS IMAGES USED: Hiram W. Johnson, half-length portrait & The latest style

The Bacchante Rioted in Her Eyes

The words seemed to move on the page. In her eyes another light than the firelight seemed to play. Her breast rose, and in her thick white throat a little inarticulate sound twanged. → Io

A Peculiarly Vicious Face

At first Romarin did not recognise him when he turned the corner of the street and walked towards him. He hadn’t made up his mind beforehand exactly how he had expected Marsden to look, but he was conscious that he didn’t look it. It was not the short stubble of grey beard, so short that it seemed to hesitate between beard and unshavenness; it was not the figure nor carriage--clothes alter that, and the clothes of the man who was advancing to meet Romarin were, to put it bluntly, shabby; nor was it… but Romarin did not know what it was in the advancing figure that for the moment found no response in his memory. → The Accident

Behind them a Great Cypress Wind-Screen Against the Sky

We dined by an open window, from which we could see the stream with the planks across it where the women washed clothes during the day and assembled in the evening for gossip. There were a dozen or so of them there as we dined, laughing and chatting in low tones--they all seemed pretty--it was quickly falling dusk--all the girls are pretty then, and are quite conscious of it--you know, Marsham. → The Cigarette Case

She Stood in the Latticed Porch

The women--they had four women with them--began that afternoon to weave the mats and baskets they hawked from door to door; and in the forenoon of the following day one of them, the black-haired, soft-voiced quean whom the bailiff had heard called Annabel, set her babe in the sling on her back, tucked a bundle of long cane-loops under her oxter, and trudged down between eight-foot walls of snow to the Abbey Farm. → The Rocker

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS IMAGE USED: Two girls near a fence in the snow

A Reflection Across One Eye

I don’t know what it was that caused me suddenly to see just then something that I had been looking at long enough without seeing--that portrait of himself that I had set leaning against the back of a chair at the end of my writing-table. It stood there, just within the soft penumbra of shadow cast by the silk-shaded light. The canvas had been enlarged, the seam of it clumsily sewn by Andriaovsky’s own hand; but in that half-light the rough ridge of paint did not show, and I confess that the position and effect of the thing startled me for a moment. Had I cared to play a trick with my fancy I could have imagined the head wagging from side to side, with such rage and fire was it painted. → Hic Jacet


The entire text of Widdershins can be found here for free.