I’m a bit late getting started this year, for which I apologize. A combination of work and a terrible cold that hit me last weekend are to blame. But I hope my selections this year will make up for my tardiness!
Today’s tale isn’t actually set around Christmas, or even in the winter, but it’s a short and quite fun little story that I think would be delightful read aloud. Indeed, it’s set as a story told by one person to his friends around an evening fire, which makes it appropriate as a winter tale, in my opinion.
A young woman and her brothers rent a delightful one-story house in Cumberland, called Croglin Grange. At first things go swimmingly: they love the house, their neighbors love them. Then one sultry summer evening, the young woman sees something coming across the lawn–and straight to her window. Scratch, scratch, scratch… will it get in? And what will happen if it does?
Augustus John Cuthbert Hare (1834-1903) was an English writer who wrote mostly, it seems, about his travels and his family. Why he thought anyone would be interested in his six volume autobiography (The Story of my Life), I don’t know; but from it, we do learn that he had a lot of friends who liked to tell ghost stories. And Hare wrote them down.
In that roundabout way that happens while doing research for a potential post, I found myself browsing the last three volumes of The Story of my Life. And I came upon an oddly familiar story, one that Hare records from a “Miss Broke,” the niece of the Gurdons, a family that Hare is staying with in Suffolk.
A woman living in Ireland begins having frequent dreams of “the most enchanting house I ever saw”—detailed dreams, about walking through all the rooms of the house, its garden and conservatory. Eventually the family decides to leave Ireland and move to England, and they proceed to search for a house in the vicinity of London. During their search, they learn of a house near Hampshire. Continue reading →