A French Viscount – de Morieve – by name, was one of the very few French noblemen who managed to retain their estates during the troublous times of the French Revolution. He was an extraordinary-looking man, very tall and thin, with a high, almost pointed forehead, and four very protruding teeth.
Under an air of suave courtesy and kindness, he concealed a ferociously cruel disposition, which showed itself when the fires of the great Revolution burned themselves out and all was once more quiet. To get level, as it were, with the working classes, he sent for his retainers and work-people, one by one, and after he had interviewed them, cut their heads off. It is not surprising to hear that in return he himself met his death by assassination at the hands of some of thepeasantry.
No sooner was the Viscount laid in the grave, than an appalling number of young children died in the neighborhood, all of whom bore vampiric marks at their throats. Later on, when he had been buried some time, and while the tomb was being repaired, there were nine more cases in a single week. The awful series went on until seventy-two years passed away and the Viscount’s grandson suceeded to the title.
Young de Morieve, hearing the appalling stories of his late grandfather, consulted a priest, withthe idea of laying his horrible ancestors ghost, and after some discussion and delay it was decided to open the tomb. The services of a man specially successful in such cases were obtained, and the vault was opened in the presence of the authorities.
Every coffin was found to have undergone the usual process of rotting away, except that of the old Viscount, which – after seventy-two years – was perfectly sound and strong. The lid was removed and the body was found quite fresh and free of decomposition. The face was florid, and there was blood in the heart and chest. The skin was soft and and natural. New nails had grown on the hands and feet. The body was removed from the coffin, and a white thorn stake was driven, by the expert through the heart of the corpse, with the ghastly result that blood and water flowed and the corpse groaned and screamed.
Then the remains were burnt on the sea-shore, and from that day, the child-deaths ceased and there was no more mystic crime in the neighborhood. The family archives were searched, and it was fund that the old Viscount had originally come from Persia, where he married an Indian wife, and afterwards took up residence in France, wherehe became a naturalized citizen. The vampiric taint was in his mother.