Lines to Love: Gothic Goodness


Last week I posted about Gothic novels (see post here)- my particular genre of choice for the brumous days of October. Okay, so the days here in Tennessee haven’t been exactly brumous, but I’m a writer- as A Knight’s Tale’s Chaucer said, “I give the truth scope.” Writing the post served to fuel my desire for all things Gothic and over the weekend, I hunkered down to do some reading. Truly. I surrounded myself with all the hardback novels I’ve collected over the years and engrossed myself in the Gothic annals of Victoria Holt, Madeleine Brent, Daphne DuMaurier, Barbara Michaels, and many more. I especially loved re-visiting the Holt’s. The faint mustiness of the pages, coupled with the yellow tinge the paper possesses, made this bibliophile’s heart very happy indeed.

I reveled in the atmosphere of these books. I quaked with brimming uncertainty in my Uggs through the suspense and intrigue. I laughed in those moments when the tension needed release. I smiled at the triumphs and joys of requited love and fulfilled truths. AND… I collected several lines to share with you, for, as Oscar Wilde’s Lord Goring said, “I always pass on good advice. It is the only sensible thing to do with it.” While these lines might not be advice by any stretch of the imagination, they do deserve to be passed on, for they are either beautiful writing or captivating sentiment. 

We are born, we suffer, we love, we die, but the waves continue to beat upon the rocks; the seed time and the harvest come and go, but the earth remains.
— Mistress of Mellyn, Victoria Holt
The road to Manderley lay ahead. There was no moon. The sky above our heads was inky black. But the sky on the horizon was not dark at all. It was shot with crimson, like a splash of blood. And the ashes blew towards us with the salt wind from the sea.
— Rebeccca, Daphne DuMaurier

Just as in the quote above regarding Manderley- the ancestral home of Max de Winter in DuMaurier’s Rebecca- houses in Gothics seem to possess a spirit all their own, a personification of persons who have lived and died with their walls. 

This house was a vampire, feeding on the pain, the insecurity, the despair of these men… It knew my weaknesses, my fears, and it was only a matter of time before it fed on me.
— Silence for the Dead, Simone St. James
In the shadowy light it was not difficult to imagine that she had gone back several centuries in time; the ravages of age and poverty were concealed by darkness, and the basic atmosphere of the house was revealed- the smell of centuries of dust and polish and drying wood, the creak of boards underfoot and the muted howl of the wind outside, the rattle of window frames and shutters…
— Wait For What Will Come, Barbara Michaels

How deliciously thrilling, not to mention, chock full of foreboding. Premonitions, dreams, visions, spiritual foreshadowings… they abound in Gothics. They are the eerie thread woven into the fabric of the plot that provides a constant sense of unease throughout the whole read. This is a trope I adore- so much, in fact, that I weave something similar into the plot of my second novel, that one on which I’m working right now.

On that day in summer, the day that Lucien Farrel came into my life, I awoke in the morning with a strange sense of uneasiness that was close to fear.
— Tregaron’s Daughter, Madeleine Brent 
Even if she be not harmed, her heart may fail her in so much and so many horrors; and hereafter she may suffer—both in waking, from her nerves, and in sleep, from her dreams.
— Dracula, Bram Stoker

Along with the suspense and supernatural, all augmented by the atmospheric, comes the romantic tension. Gothic romances are a thing unto themselves, and, I confess, I thoroughly enjoy the tension found therein. I particularly like the men. (I don’t know how I would react to them in real life, but I endure them most amiably on the page.)

Even now you do not know what to make of me and I will not own what I am. I want you to think of me when you leave this place and wonder whether I am merely a mortal or something beyond. A better man would release you and want you to love another. I am no better man. I am selfish and flawed and I have nothing to offer you that is not broken or imperfect including myself, and so I offer you nothing but I love you until the day I die and no man will love you more.
— The Dead Travel Fast, Deanna Raybourn

And, since nearly every Gothic I’ve ever read has at least one of these, I give you the minstrels’ gallery.

Then my sense of humor asserted itself. I was amused by the solemnity of the occasion, and as we made our slow progress down the long, high, echoing hall I felt that the only thing needed was sacred music. I glanced up. Sure enough, there was a minstrels’ gallery.
— Dragonmede, Rona Randall 

As to the tapestries I mentioned last week, I’ll just have to quote Indiana Jones on that one: "This is a castle, isn’t it? There ARE tapestries." Trust me, you’ll read about tapestries. 

These last two quotes remind me of the Never, Never, Never Settle post I wrote several weeks back. It appears, even whilst reading my popcorn literature, I can’t escape this ‘out of your comfort zone’ theme.

It’s too easy, you see, to get trapped in the past. The past is very seductive. People always talk about the mists of time, you know, but really it’s the present that’s in a mist, uncertain. The past is quite clear, and warm, and comforting. That’s why people often get stuck there.
— Mariana, Susanna Kearsley
It seemed I had briefly stepped into a world where people did wild things and paid for them; but it had made me see that there was more to life than being comfortable and living one day after another, quietly, unadventurously, almost like waiting for death.
— The India Fan, Victoria Holt

And there you have it, dear readers: the atmosphere, the drama, the suspense, the romance, the minstrels’ gallery, AND the moments of profound thought that surprise a body because truth is found anywhere you look for it. 

Do you have any quotes that evoke potent, thrilling atmosphere to mind? What about quotes dealing with romantic tension? Or fear? Would you consider said quotes Gothic in nature? They can be from anywhere: novels, poems, movies, lyrics… Please share. I would love to hear them.