The Black Cat, No. 6, March 1896

Welcome to the March issue of The Black Cat and the Black Cat Project!

Only five stories in this issue, but one of them is a whopper!

Stories

“Eleanor Stevens’ Will” by Isabel Scott Stone

A curious newspaper ad in the personals section brings together a group of Eleanor Stevens’ rejected suitors. Miss Stevens wasn’t one of those eccentrics; no, she was smart, charming, beautiful, rich, and very self-possessed. No one is really surprised that she died mysteriously abroad, but they do find it odd that she might have included spurned suitors in her will. Of course, things aren’t what they seem and the ending of this story offers up the smallest bit of a zinger.

The only other writing credit I find by Ms. Scott is a book called The Little Crusaders which presumable about the Children’s Crusade.

“To Let” by Alice Turner Curtis

It’s a “very attractive modern house with a history.” The (presumably) first owners of the house die mysteriously, leaving behind a tale and ghosts. This was a chilling story, perfect for the beginning of spring. I rather liked its open-ended quality. The initial deaths are never explained and it ends with “The house it still to let.” My favorite of the month.

Alice Turner Curtis went on to write dozens of historical fiction books with little girl protagonists.

“Of Course—Of Course Not” by Harry M. Peck

There seems to be a whole genre of short story around this time about handsome, successful young men who are afraid to approach the woman they are interested in. This one begins with Neil Richards bemoaning his fate to his aged dog. A further complicating factor? His best friend is intending to propose to the young lady he’s interested in. …And then she shows up seeking advice from him about that situation. Luckily, this is a magazine of light fiction.

“The Marchburn Mystery” by A. Maurice Low

This was the prominent story of the issue, running a full twenty pages. A few issues back, “The Missing Link” by James Buckham gave us a mystery whose resolution relied on a photograph. “The Marchburn Mystery” relies on a telephone call. Unfortunately, there is a lot of investigation that goes nowhere. That’s realistic, but a little boring.

There is a A. Maurice Low who was a journalist and author, but his works seem very political and serious. I wonder it this is the same fellow.

“Their Colonial Villa” by Charles Barnard

Young Mrs. Arburton really wishes that she and her husband could have two houses in town: one at the top of the bluffs where all the fashionable people live (including her parents) and one at the bottom of the bluffs so that her husband can easily come home from lunch. Mr. Arburton really wants to please his wife, but also doesn’t want to go into debt forever. He comes up with a fanciful solution, which I guessed early in the story while Mrs. Arburton remained confused.

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Lovely art in this full-page article for Sponge Crépon.

Want to read for yourself?
Here’s the link to Issue No. 6, March 1896

Or find out
More about the Black Cat Project

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