Monday, January 31, 2011
Review: A School Story and The Rose Garden by M.R. James
More Ghost Stories:
A SCHOOL STORY and THE ROSE GARDEN
by M.R. James
Edward Arnold & Co. (1911)
A School Story
‘Si tu non veneris ad me, ego veniam ad te’
(If you don’t come to me, I’ll come to you) (page 13)
Two men were talking of their school days, especially concerning ghost stories.
During Latin grammar lessons, Mc Leod stops thinking, maybe feeling something strange coming from the teacher, Mr. Sampson.
One night Mc Leod is watching at the professor’s window: ‘there was a man sitting or kneeling on Sampson’s window-sill … beastly thin … looking around and whispering as if he hardly liked to hear himself.’ (page 15)
The next day Mr. Sampson was gone.
The Rose Garden
Quieta non movere
or Are ghosts noisy?
Mr. Anstruther and his wife are talking about their rose garden, he disagrees with his wife because the spot is not very nice: there are shrubs, and it is not sunny. Eventually Mrs. Anstruther makes sure that her husband starts the job.
A previous owner of the estate, Miss Wilkins, visits Mrs. Anstruther; they talk about the rose garden. But when Mrs Anstruther is telling to Miss Wilkins her project, the latter thoughts ‘were evidently elsewhere.’ When Miss Wilkins and his brother Frank were children, he disappeared for a while and reappeared on the bench of the rose garden. Frank had been asleep and he had had ‘a very odd disjointed sort of dream.’ Frank was in a court for a trial, and after he was walking towards the gallow. ‘He never saw much of what was around him, but he felt the scenes most vividly.’ (page 30)
The same night, Mr. Anstruther had had the same dream.
‘Mrs. Anstruther … was sure some rough had got into the plantation during the night.
- And another thing, George: the moment that Collins is about again, you must tell him to do something about the owls.’ (page 35)
Are ghosts among us? or are they just owls?