From out of the Silence: Seven Strange Tales

by Bessie Kyffin-Taylor

Undated First edition, first printing published in 1920 by Books Limited, Fleet Street, London


Description: 284pp, Vg, Powder blue cloth with blind-stamped borders and publisher's rose device to the upper board, black titles to the spine. Corners are still rather sharp/square, cloth has general, light soiling and a faint ring mark to the upper board, light rubbing to spine tips, the black titles are strong, the lower board is very clean indeed. The pages are uniformly toned/browned due to the cheap paper stock used on this post-war production. No inscriptions, former owners names etc etc, the binding is tight, inner hinges have cracked ever so slightly. 


'From out of the Silence' is a deeply unsettling and weird collection of short, supernatural tales, the best of which evoke Machen and Lovecraft with Bleiler sighting her as being 'somewhat reminiscent of the work of E F Benson'. There are stories here which deal directly with the horrors/trauma of the Great War, 'Outside the House' is a Weird Fiction masterpiece in my opinion and reminds me of Hodgson's finest, more than it did Lovecraft with whom it has been compared. 'Room No Ten' is unforgettably terrifying, whilst 'The Wind in the Woods' has a fatalistic, hypnotic quality of impending doom which certainly made me think of Benson. The other stories, 'The Twins', 'Sylvia', 'The Star Inn' are all very strong and in 'Two Little Red Shoes' you can't help but feeling that you are hearing the author's own voice through the female protagonist whose deepest psychological feelings are excavated. 

It is a stunning collection which has been woefully neglected by everyone but 'those who know' and to those who do know how good it is, also know just how rare it is. The production standard here is poor, like Drane's bindings and paper quality, not built to last, and indeed they don't last, this is only the second copy I've ever seen.


Two Little Red Shoes "All my life, or at least as far back as I can remember, empty houses have always had an irresistible attraction for me… In spite of passing years, in spite of work, in spite of all, I have never outgrown my fondness for empty houses and uninhabited gardens, and to this day I am known to visit a tenantless house, light a fire, from a hidden store of coal and wood, seat myself in an old broken-down chair, and there, in the silence—a silence unbroken by the ring of telephone or any other bells—I dream my dreams and revel in unbroken solitude—with every nerve at rest, sure in the knowledge that none can disturb my peace, since none know my whereabouts…”

From out of the Silence: Seven Strange Tales by Bessie Kyffin-Taylor