Chapter 2

ItwasinthetownshipofDunwich,inalargeandpartlyinhabitedfarmhousesetagainstahillsidefourmilesfromthevillageandamileandahalffromanyotherdwelling,thatWilburWhateleywasbornat5a.m.onSunday,thesecondofFebruary,1913. ThisdatewasrecalledbecauseitwasCandlemas,whichpeopleinDunwichcuriouslyobserveunderanothername; andbecausethenoisesinthehillshadsounded,andallthedogsofthecountrysidehadbarkedpersistently,throughoutthenightbefore. LessworthyofnoticewasthefactthatthemotherwasoneofthedecadentWhateleys,asomewhatdeformed,unattractivealbinowomanofthirty-five,livingwithanagedandhalf-insanefatheraboutwhomthemostfrightfultalesofwizardryhadbeenwhisperedinhisyouth. LaviniaWhateleyhadnoknownhusband,butaccordingtothecustomoftheregionmadenoattempttodisavowthechild;concerningtheothersideofwhoseancestrythecountryfolkmightanddidspeculateaswidelyastheychose. Onthecontrary,sheseemedstrangelyproudofthedark,goatish-lookinginfantwhoformedsuchacontrasttoherownsicklyandpink-eyedalbinism,andwasheardtomuttermanycuriouspropheciesaboutitsunusualpowersandtremendousfuture. 

Laviniawasonewhowouldbeapttomuttersuchthings,forshewasalonecreaturegiventowanderingamidstthunderstormsinthehillsandtryingtoreadthegreatodorousbookswhichherfatherhadinheritedthroughtwocenturiesofWhateleys,andwhichwerefastfallingtopieceswithageandwormholes. Shehadneverbeentoschool,butwasfilledwithdisjointedscrapsofancientlorethatOldWhateleyhadtaughther. TheremotefarmhousehadalwaysbeenfearedbecauseofOldWhateley’sreputationforblackmagic,andtheunexplaineddeathbyviolenceofMrsWhateleywhenLaviniawastwelveyearsoldhadnothelpedtomaketheplacepopular. 

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