Today's story: the curiously named "Clara Lawson; or, The Rustic Toilet", written by Nathaniel Covington Brooks and published in Godey's Lady's Book in 1836, available here.
Brooks himself was a familiar presence in the literary magazines of the antebellum period. He's best known now for his associations with - thunderclap, lightning bolt, brimstone - Edgar Allan Poe. Yes, Poe has finally made his way into this Halloween countdown. Brooks was actually responsible for publishing a number of Poe's stories in his own magazine, The American Museum. The Edgar Allan Poe society has a letter from Poe to Brooks, written in 1838, in which Poe thanks his editor for a payment of $10 but declines his offer to write something on the works of Washington Irving. Interestingly enough, though, Poe suggests that Brooks should write the piece himself: "I fancy you are conversant with Irving’s works, old and new", he notes. And indeed, you don't have to have read much Irving to be struck by his apparent influence on this story, which in many ways feels like a reworking of his "Legend of Sleepy Hollow". That'll serve as a recommendation, I think.