Théophile Gautier was a noted French writer, poet and critic during the 1800s. Born 1811, Gautier grew into a highly influential figure in French literature and was the author of the well-known novels Mademoiselle de Maupin (1835) and Le Capitaine Fracasse (1863). His interest in the supernatural eventually led him to write the captivating vampire tale La Morte Amoureuse (The Dead Lover), which was first published in the Chronique de Paris on June 25, 1836.
Known in English as Clarimonde and The Beautiful Vampire, this incredible tale tells the story of a young priest named Romuald who becomes entranced by a stunning courtesan, Clarimonde. Sadly, the lovely woman dies, however, she returns from the grave and visits the lovestruck Romuald every night. For three long years he serves as a priest during the day and at night a wild and passionate lover to his undead mistress, letting her feed off his blood in return of her favors. Eventually an elderly priest learns of Romuald ungodly affair and leads him to Clarimonde’s grave. Exhuming the body, the old priest pours holy water on the corpse, which then crumbles to dust. The story ends with an older Romuald revealing that this was his greatest regret and warns that his listeners never look upon a woman, to keep their eyes to the ground, lest they meet the same fate.
Except from La Morte Amoureuse:
“Alas! she spoke truly indeed. I have regretted her more than once, and I regret her still. My soul’s peace has been very dearly bought. The love of God was not too much to replace such a love as hers. And this, brother, is the story of my youth. Never gaze upon a woman, and walk abroad only with eyes ever fixed upon the ground; for however chaste and watchful one may be, the error of a single moment is enough to make one lose eternity. lose eternity.”
If you would like to read the full story you can find it free HERE on Project Gutenberg, where you can either read it from your computer or download it for your e-reader.