Thursday, February 15, 2018

Lost Hearts

Lost Hearts is a 1904 ghost story by M.R. James. It begins,
It was, as far as I can ascertain, in September of the year 1811 that a post-chaise drew up before the door of Aswarby Hall, in the heart of Lincolnshire. The little boy who was the only passenger in the chaise, and who jumped out as soon as it had stopped, looked about him with the keenest curiosity during the short interval that elapsed between the ringing of the bell and the opening of the hall door. He saw a tall, square, red-brick house, built in the reign of Anne; a stone-pillared porch had been added in the purer classical style of 1790; the windows of the house were many, tall and narrow, with small panes and thick white woodwork. A pediment, pierced with a round window, crowned the front. There were wings to right and left, connected by curious glazed galleries, supported by colonnades, with the central block. These wings plainly contained the stables and offices of the house. Each was surmounted by an ornamental cupola with a gilded vane.

An evening light shone on the building, making the window-panes glow like so many fires. Away from the Hall in front stretched a flat park studded with oaks and fringed with firs, which stood out against the sky. The clock in the church-tower, buried in trees on the edge of the park, only its golden weather-cock catching the light, was striking six, and the sound came gently beating down the wind. It was altogether a pleasant impression, though tinged with the sort of melancholy appropriate to an evening in early autumn, that was conveyed to the mind of the boy who was standing in the porch waiting for the door to open to him.

The post-chaise had brought him from Warwickshire, where, some six months before, he had been left an orphan. Now, owing to the generous offer of his elderly cousin, Mr Abney, he had come to live at Aswarby. The offer was unexpected, because all who knew anything of Mr Abney looked upon him as a somewhat austere recluse, into whose steady-going household the advent of a small boy would import a new and, it seemed, incongruous element. The truth is that very little was known of Mr Abney’s pursuits or temper.
It can be read online here. It was adapted for television in 1973:


Ghost stories have a long history in the English language, and I've found that the older ones can be much scarier than modern stories that depend on blood and gore.

14 comments:

  1. Oh - this is the same author Lovecraft has in his collection as well with ghost stories ... no not my genre....
    I googled him - he was a Britsih man of science and even has translated the New Testament apocrypha - wow.
    Thanks for sharing - I have learnt something new today - hopefully I will remember him.
    oxo Susi

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    1. He was an impressive scholar, but his ghost stories are what he's mainly known for. One of his stories was in a collection I read long ago. He's worth reading :)

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  2. I was most impressed by this and am off to read the story online now. I am glad you mentioned blood and gore, because that is what they all seem like these days.

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    1. I hope you like it. They went in more for eerie back then and less for graphic gore. More subtle, maybe.

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  3. I love a good ghost story! Thanks for the links!

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    1. I hope you like it. He's a good author :)

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  4. You do find the most interesting stories! Hope your week is going well. Hugs-Erika

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  5. Glad you found a great ghost story and how fascinating that the old ones are more scarier too 😁. Happy Friday and wishing you a lovely weekend! J 😊

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    1. I'm surprised at how many ghost stories there are and how popular they continue to be.

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  6. Loved that the ghost kids got their just revenge--LOL! :)

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    1. Good wins, Evil is vanquished. These old stories don't always end that way ;)

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  7. Love when you post these.

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    1. I started looking for books and stories to read during October one year and overflowed the October time frame lol

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