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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