In the farming community of Steerford, a freakish child with a forked tongue and reddish, scaly skin was born to the young daughter of a cattle herder, Julia, and her husband, wealthy industrialist Thomas Compton. For fear of Compton’s reaction, Julia’s recently widowed mother, Jeanette, who had acted as midwife, procured a stillborn child from the village and persuaded her daughter, who was still disorientated by the pain of the breach, to pretend that her child had come into the world dead. Jeanette need not have concerned herself, for Compton, who had been called away on urgent business, was a…
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