The Wolf of St. Bonnot

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"The Wolf of St. Bonnot" is a short story by Seabury Quinn. Originally published in the December 1930 edition of Weird Tales,[1] it is one of numerous stories written by Quinn that feature the character of Jules de Grandin.[2]

Plot

The narrator Trowbridge accompanies Jules de Grandin to a house party where one of the guests, Mazie Noyer, decides to hold a seance. She successfully conjures up the spirit of a Frenchman named Gilles Garnier. The session ends with a mysterious howling being heard from outside; this causes one of the guests, Hildegarde Fleetwood, to faint. De Grandin is outraged at the party-goers' behaviour, seeing them as meddling with forces best left alone.

After this incident, Hildegarde begins acting strangely. The howling is heard again the following night, and Hildegarde imitates it in her sleep. Her husband reports that he woke up the following night and noticed that she had left the house; he went looking for her, and found her outside with a large white dog. When he approached her, she snarled at him. Her inexplicable behaviour continues on a nightly basis.

Hildegarde subsequently vanishes form her house again. De Grandin and Trowbridge find her outside, scratched and bleeding and wearing a torn negligee. The next morning, de Grandin comes across a newspaper report stating that a girl's grave had been opened at a local cemetery. De Grandin heads to the scene of the crime and speaks to the sexton, who reports seeing a devilish-looking woman and a large dog with strangely human eyes in the cemetery before the incident took place.

After examining the grave, de Grandin explains the situation to Trowbridge: the "dog" is actually the spirit of Gilles Garnier, who was a werewolf in life. Hildegarde has also become a werewolf; the two of them opened the grave in the hopes of eating the body inside, but were prevented from doing so by a rosary clasped in the corpse's hands.

De Garnier persuades Hildegarde Fleetwood's husband to partake in a ritual involving a pentagram and consecrated candles. Despite a last-minute interruption from a bewildered Mazie Noyer, he succeeds in conjuring up the spirit of Gilles Garnier in the form of a tiny wolf; after stabbing it with a knife, he burns it in a fire and rids Hildegarde of her curse.

Background

The story draws upon the historical case of Gilles Garnier.[3]

References

  1. Du Coudray, Chantal Bourgault; Curse of the Werewolf: Fantasy, Horror and the Beast Within
  2. The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction: Quinn, Seabury
  3. Frost, Brian J. (1973) "The Werewolf Theme in Weird Fiction". In Book of the Werewolf (p. 36). London: Sphere