Thanks, Sawfish! One thing I dislike about "The Inmost Light" is the conclusion, in which the beautiful "jewel" is shattered and a rather nasty-sounding yellowish smoke, and then a "thin white flame," briefly appear. As I read it, these, or perhaps just the flame, are meant to be Mrs. Black's soul. The crudeness of the conception -- unless I'm misunderstanding what I have read more times than I recall -- is bathetic. I suspect, however, that Robert E. Howard was influenced by this scene when he wrote "The Tower of the Elephant." ----And suddenly [the sorcerer Yara] sank into the very heart of the jewel [the "Heart of the Elephant'], as a man sinks into a sea, and Conan saw the smoky waves close over his head. Now he saw him in the crimson heart of the jewel, once more crystal-clear, as a man sees a scene far away, tiny with great distance. And into the heart came a green, shining winged figure with the body of a man and the head of an elephant—no longer blind or crippled [Yara's erstwhile prisoner]. Yara threw up his arms and fled as a madman flees, and on his heels came the avenger. Then, like the bursting of a bubble, the great jewel vanished in a rainbow burst of iridescent gleams, and the ebony table-top lay bare and deserted—as bare, Conan somehow knew, as the marble couch in the chamber above, where the body of that strange transcosmic being called Yag-kosha and Yogah had lain.---- Machen had written of the "jewel" in his story: ----the whole room blazed with light — and not with light alone, but with a thousand colours, with all the glories of some painted window; and upon the walls of his room and on the familiar furniture, the glow flamed back and seemed to flow again to its source, the little wooden box. For there upon a bed of soft wool lay the most splendid jewel, a jewel such as Dyson had never dreamed of, and within it shone the blue of far skies, and the green of the sea by the shore, and the red of the ruby, and deep violet rays, and in the middle of all it seemed aflame as if a fountain of fire rose up, and fell, and rose again with sparks like stars for drops. Dyson gave a long deep sigh, and dropped into his chair, and put his hands over his eyes to think. The jewel was like an opal, but from a long experience of the shop-windows he knew there was no such thing as an opal one-quarter or one-eighth of its size. He looked at the stone again, with a feeling that was almost awe, and placed it gently on the table under the lamp, and watched the wonderful flame that shone and sparkled in its centre-----
Source: http://www.eldritchdark.com/forum/read. ... #msg-12134
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