This dreadful was written by anonymous and you can… tell. It’s redundant, poorly written, and makes very little sense.
Let’s dive in shall we?
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A young boy and girl are brought up together under a single guardian and are taught the ways of deism, deism being a more natural, empirical approach to religion. Deists don’t jump too quickly to the conclusion of which creator made the universe, only that there is some creator. (This is important to the story, I promise.)
Eventually their guardian dies, the two children are separated, and they are taught by their individuals guardian the ways of revealed religion (declared religions like Christianity.)
This apparently shakes them up so much that they correspond with one another and make a promise: whoever dies first shall appear to the other one in the afterlife and declare who the true Supreme Being is.
Yeah, this is the premise of the story. I’m not about it, either.
The children grow up to be Lord Tyrone and Lady Beresford. One morning, Lady Beresford comes down to breakfast with her husband, Lord Beresford, wearing a black ribbon on her wrist. She declares that her friend, Lord Tyrone has died last Tuesday.
When the mail arrives, she discovers that she’s right. Her husband obviously freaks out, but she also tells him that she will bear him a son, and oh, he’s happy again. Honest to God, this man doesn’t dwell on his wife’s weird new psychic powers for more than 2 seconds. This story would have been way scarier if, true to the times, Beresford had been locked up in a mad-house.
A few years after her son his born, Lady Beresford’s husband dies and she gets remarried to this little King Joffrey-like toolbag.
If I read this right (and I’m not sure I did, seriously it’s terribly written) the kid she marries is the son of her 2nd adopted father. Which… why?
This kid is terrible to her, too. He’s just the most cruel person. Thankfully, they get divorced. But in the very next sentence they remarry because he’s already a changed man. Ugh.
On Lady Beresford’s 48th birthday, she asks all her friends and family to come celebrate with her. Her adopted father asks after her and she tells him she is 48 that very day.
In a frightening twist of events, her father tells her that he just checked her original birth certificate and she’s actually…
Maybe you should sit down.
Lady Beresford is actually 47. So she goes berserk and orders everyone to leave except her best friend and her eldest son. And to them she tells the whole story involving the ribbon and Lord Tyrone and the Supreme Being.
Lord Tyrone did tell Lady Beresford about religion, stating sadly that revealed religion (he doesn’t say which one) is correct and deism is not. But he also had predicted that Beresford’s husband would die a few years after their first son was born. He warned that if Beresford dared to get remarried she would die in childbirth in her 47th year.
Lady Beresford then reveals that she tried as hard as she could to shut everyone out so she wouldn’t be tempted to remarry, but when she saw her adopted father’s son, who she admits meeting the first time as a young boy who wasn’t yet of marrying-age, she apparently couldn’t help herself. Even though she mentions knowing he would be cruel to her.
Let me just take a few minutes to scream.
So I think we can all agree that Lady Beresford is the stupidest, least self-preserving woman that ever walked the face of the fictional earth.
But remember how she broke it off with the boy? She did that intentionally right before she was due to have the son that would kill her in childbirth. But she married him again, which just shows Lady Beresford’s lack of ability to learn a goddamn thing.
So just before she is about to die Beresford tells her eldest son that he is going to get married to Lord Tyrone’s daughter (which adds literally nothing to the plot, anonymous just thinks there aren’t enough people on earth so he/she just keeps recycling relative’s offspring.)
Beresford also asks her son and friend to look under the ribbon around her wrist. Where Lord Byron’s apparition had touched her, her nerves and sinews had shriveled up and shrunk.
This new information might have been scary, had the story not already given the answers to the reader in the first few paragraphs. The way I’ve written it here it seems as if Lady Beresford didn’t reveal this information to the us until the very end.
Her meeting with Lord Tyrone is written almost exactly as she relates it to her friend and son, which means the reader gets the same version twice: ribbon, predictions, and all.
Way to go, anon.
Sorry this one wasn’t scary, guys. But if you want the Penny Dreadful book you can buy it here on Amazon. I promise it has other good stories like the original Frankenstein and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
Check out yesterday’s tale, “Sawney Beane: The Man Eater,” and stay tuned for tomorrow’s, “The Buried Alive.”