The Tale of Inspector Legrasse

Theoldermatterswhichhadmadethesculptor’sdreamandbas-reliefsosignificanttomyuncleformedthesubjectofthesecondhalfofhislongmanuscript.Oncebefore,itappears,ProfessorAngellhadseenthehellishoutlinesofthenamelessmonstrosity,puzzledovertheunknownhieroglyphics,andheardtheominoussyllableswhichcanberenderedonlyas“Cthulhu”;andallthisinsostirringandhorribleaconnexionthatitissmallwonderhepursuedyoungWilcoxwithqueriesanddemandsfordata.

Thisearlierexperiencehadcomein1908,seventeenyearsbefore,whentheAmericanArchaeologicalSocietyhelditsannualmeetinginSt.Louis.ProfessorAngell,asbefittedoneofhisauthorityandattainments,hadhadaprominentpartinallthedeliberations;andwasoneofthefirsttobeapproachedbytheseveraloutsiderswhotookadvantageoftheconvocationtoofferquestionsforcorrectansweringandproblemsforexpertsolution.

Thechiefoftheseoutsiders,andinashorttimethefocusofinterestfortheentiremeeting,wasacommonplace-lookingmiddle-agedmanwhohadtravelledallthewayfromNewOrleansforcertainspecialinformationunobtainablefromanylocalsource.HisnamewasJohnRaymondLegrasse,andhewasbyprofessionanInspectorofPolice.Withhimheborethesubjectofhisvisit,agrotesque,repulsive,andapparentlyveryancientstonestatuettewhoseoriginhewasatalosstodetermine.ItmustnotbefanciedthatInspectorLegrassehadtheleastinterestinarchaeology.Onthecontrary,hiswishforenlightenmentwaspromptedbypurelyprofessionalconsiderations.Thestatuette,idol,fetish,orwhateveritwas,hadbeencapturedsomemonthsbeforeinthewoodedswampssouthofNewOrleansduringaraidonasupposedvoodoomeeting;

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