Sunday, 7 October 2012


Fiction ~ short story
First published in Hutchinson's Magazine, September 1924
(Collected in Spook Stories, 1928)
5,315 words
(First read 07/10/2012) 

EFB makes one of his exceedingly rare forays into the world of the North of England ~ Yorkshire, to be precise.  His Yorkshire has towns with names like 'Corstophine' and 'Helyat', but is otherwise more or less fairly authentic-ish.  Our Unnamed Narrator's pal Fred Bennet tells the tale of a vision he had of himself stranded for an hour between trains in a backwoodsy Northern town: the place is totally without any sign of life (other than the station porter) but he goes for a stroll which ends in a cemetery at a certain recent grave.  I'll not give the plot away, though it's pretty guessable for anyone who's ever read one of EFB's vision yarns.
On the plus side: the description of the 'netherworld' Yorkshire town is very nicely done.  On the other side: the story is far too long ~ there's really only enough material for a story half this length; too much of it is repetition; the plot is 'corseted' into the idea rather than flowing out of it; and the final 'sewing-up' robs it of all its power, as well as being a tad on the incoherent side.  Verdict: good stab, wide miss.
It's available online here.  TIP: read as far as "He paused, and I supposed the story was over" then stop.   Nah, just kidding.

What is the use of communications between this world and some other world inaccessible to the ordinary perceptions of mankind if these communications contain nothing that is of value or interest?

P.S. Fans of the Titanic might enjoy EFB's references to that ship in Corstophine.

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