Title: Classic Ghost Stories
Publishing House: Vintage Classics
Date of Publication: October 12th 2017
Rating: 5 stars
‘’If the picture within was bright and cheerful, the prospect was dreary enough without. The fairy forest of snow-wreathed trees, the white valleys and undulating banks of snow had vanished, and the rain dropped slowly and sullenly upon a darksome expanse of sodden grass, and a dismal background of leafless timber. The merry sound of the sledge-bells no longer enlivened the air; all was silence and gloom.’’
In my household, Christmas is the time for mysteries, fairytales, Classics and ghosts. The ghosts of old, given voice in stories written by the Great ones, the writers that are always there to remind us of what Literature once was…
In this beautiful volume, the reader finds 19 ghost stories written by the likes of Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, Edith Wharton, H.G.Wells, M.R.Jones, O.Henry, Arthur Conan Doyle, Henry James and many more. You will experience disembodied cries and whispers in the dark, strange hands seen through windows, faces looking right into our souls, silent and sad. Apparitions of loves lost and forgotten and betrayed, of children seeking consolation, men and women trapped within curses and mortals who are left to tell the tale.
‘’Christmas came by and by – a real old English Christmas – frost and snow without, warmth and revelry within, skating on the great pond in the park, and sledging on the ice-bound high-roads, by day; private theatricals, charades, and amateur concerts by night.’’
A signalman witnesses a spectre that warns of danger, a young woman experiences the warmth of a child’s love while another is present in a powerful premonition of a death in the family. A skeleton apparition tricks a guest and a house-keeper understands the meaning of devotion beyond the grave. Two passengers on a train share a dark moment on a cold winter’s night and two old friends experience the odd events following the death of a rather unlikeable acquaintance. A girl elopes with a ghost while a woman haunts an old ship. In The Furnished Room by O.Henry, the story that moved me to the core, a desperate young man searches for his beloved in a room full of shadows and whispers.
No better way to start this year’s Christmas reads, methinks.
‘’He heard someone laughing, laughing in a manner that was neither happy nor pleasant. From other rooms he heard a woman talking too loudly; and he heard people playing games for money; and he heard a woman singing to a baby and he heard someone weeping. Above him there was music. Doors opened and closed. The trains outside rushed noisily past. Some animal cried out in the night outside.’’