“Man of Stone, The“

“Man of Stone, The“
   Short story (6,460 words); ghostwritten for Hazel Heald, probably in summer 1932. First published in Wonder Stories (October 1932); first collected in Marginalia; corrected text in HM Daniel “Mad Dan” Morris finds in his ancestral copy of the Book of Eibona formula to turn any living creature into a stone statue. Morris admits that the formula “depends more on plain chemistry than on the Outer Powers” and that “What it amounts to is a kind of petrification infinitely speeded up.” He successfully turns the trick on Arthur Wheeler, a sculptor who he believes had been making overtures to his wife Rose. He then attempts the same procedure on Rose herself, locking her in the attic and feeding her large amounts of salty meat along with water containing the solution; but she secretly manages to catch rain water from the window and does not drink the water. When Morris is asleep, Rose forces the lock on her door, ties up her husband in his chair (using the same whip with which he had repeatedly beaten her), and, with a funnel, forces him to drink his own solution. He is turned into stone. Rose, weakened and depressed over Wheeler’s death, then takes the solution herself. Morris’s diary, with a final entry by Rose, is found later by two visitors to the remote cabin. In a letter to August Derleth (September 30, 1944), Heald wrote: “Lovecraft helped me on this story as much as on the others, and did actually rewrite paragraphs. He would criticize paragraph after paragraph and pencil remarks beside them, and then make me write them until they pleased him” (note in The Horror in the Museum and Other Revisions [1970 ed.], p. 27). This would seem to suggest that HPL revised a draft by Heald, but the evidence indicates that he wrote the entire text himself, presumably from her plot outline. The story appears to be the first of the five Heald revisions.

An H.P.Lovecraft encyclopedia. .

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