Comment on Bram Stoker – The Watter’s Mou’ by The Spectator.
If we remember aright, Ireland gave him the scenery for a novel of mystery and exciting adventure. Here Scotland and the wild Buchan coast in Aberdeenshire supply him with the material for a story of storm and smuggling, and of the eternal struggle between love and duty. The word “smuggling” suggests that the time of The Watter’s Mou is considerably anterior to the present day.
The abundant descriptions of the wild scenery in the vicinity of Peterhead, and the wild waves that dash upon a dangerous coast, suggest the possibility of Mr. Stoker’s having studied both upon the spot, and having made a background for them in a quite imaginary tragedy.
His descriptions, taken altogether, are better than his story, which, although good enough in its way, is slightly conventional. The villain of the piece, the “merchant” Mendoza, who is the true inspirer and capitalist of the smuggling which is carried on at ‘The Watter’s Mou’ and elsewhere, is rather conventional, being “an elderly man with a bald head, a ragged grey beard, a hooked nose, and an evil smile.”
At the same time, it is only fair to say that Mr. Bram Stoker has made no pretence of writing an elaborate novel. He has tried to write an idyll that closes in tragedy, and he has succeeded admirably.
(26th January, 1895)