On Christmas Eve, a party of friends descends on a purportedly haunted country retreat, charged with the task of discovering evidence of the supernatural. Sequestered in their rooms for the holiday, the friends reconvene on Twelfth Night at a great feast and share their stories of spectral encounter. “Conducted” by Charles Dickens and counting Elizabeth Gaskell and Wilkie Collins among its contributors, The Haunted House examines quintessentially Victorian themes–sex and longing, nostalgia and loss–in ways that continue to resonate today. Ingeniously conceived and written, and spiked with flashes of Dickensian humor, this volume is a strange and sheer delight.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: The Haunted House|
|Release Date: 12-18-2007|
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|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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The Haunted House
The Mortals in the House
Charles Dickens under none of the accredited ghostly circumstances, and environed by none of the conventional ghostly surroundings, did I first make acquaintance with the house which is the subject of this Christmas piece. I saw it in the daylight, with the sun upon it. There was no wind, no rain, no lightning, no thunder, no awful or unwonted circumstance, of any kind, to heighten its effect. More than that: I had come to it direct from a railway station; it was not more than a mile distant from the railway station; and, as I stood outside the house, looking back upon the way I had come, I could see the goods train running smoothly along the embankment in the valley. I will not say that everything was utterly common-place, because I doubt if anything can be that, except to utterly common-place people—and there my vanity steps in; but, I will take it on myself to say that anybody might see the house as I saw it, any fine autumn morning.
The manner of my lighting on it was this.
I was travelling towards London out of the North, intending to stop by the way, to look at the house. My health required a temporary residence in the country; and a friend of mine who knew that, and who had happened to drive past the house, had written to me to suggest it as a likely place. I had got into the train at midnight, and had fallen asleep, and had woke up and had sat looking out of the window at the brilliant Northern Lights in the sky, and had fallen asleep again, and had woke up again to find the night gone, with the usual discontented conviction on me that I hadn’t been to sleep at all;—upon which question, in the first imbecility of t