Saturday, February 5, 2011

Review: Mr. Humphreys and his Inheritance by M.R. James

More Ghost Stories:
Mr. Humphreys and his Inheritance
by M.R. James
Edward Arnold & Co. (1911)

Mr. Humphreys has inherited a property from an uncle: ‘neither the property nor the uncle had he ever seen.’ (page 219)
Mr. Cooper, the property’s bailiff, has gone to the train station to pick up Mr. Humphreys.
Soon after arriving at the house, Mr. Humphreys and Mr. Cooper start an exploration of the property. Mr. Humphreys enters into the maze or labyrinth, where he finds a strange sundial. But the first impression is wrong, instead of a sundial on the top there is a stone column with a metal globe engraved with figure of the patriarchs of evil.

The dessecretion of the maze follows a series of strange events.

When Mr. Humphreys is tracing a maze’s plan, he finds a dot or a hole on the plan:
‘An ugly black spot about the size of a shilling. Ink? No.
It resembles a hole, but how should a hole be there? …
It seemed to go not only through the paper, but through the table … and through the floor below that, down, and still down, even into infinite depths.’ (page 269) and ‘far, far down there was a movement, and the movement was upwards - towards the surface. … waving black arms prepared to clasp the head that was bending over them.’ (page 270)

Quid multa?

I didn’t believe in ghosts, not until I became one.

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