*Title: The Old Nurse’s Story by Elizabeth Gaskell
Date Read: 26 October 2009
Available Online?: YES
Briefly: Forced by circumstance to stay at the Manor House at the foot of the Cumberland Fells, an old nursemaid relates a tale of haunting; revealing in the end why an east wing of the manor remains strangely locked.
Afterthoughts: As this is an old story (1852), the prose is often labourious and difficult to engage with. That said this turns out to be rather a good tale if one can stick with it. It’s a story which is satisfyingly scary, and it’s got a great ending too.
Notable Quote: The afternoon was closing in and the hall, which had no fire lighted in it, looked dark and gloomy, but we did not stay there a moment. The old servant, who had opened the door for us bowed to Mr Henry, and took us in through the door at the further side of the great organ, and led us through several smaller halls and passages into the west drawing-room, where he said that Miss Furnivall was sitting. Poor little Miss Rosamond held very tight to me, as if she were scared and lost in that great place, and as for myself, I was not much better. The west drawing-room was very cheerful-looking, with a warm fire in it, and plenty of good, comfortable furniture about. Miss Furnivall was an old lady not far from eighty, I should think, but I do not know. She was thin and tall, and had a face as full of fine wrinkles as if they had been drawn all over it with a needle’s point Her eyes were very watchful to make up, I suppose, for her being so deaf as to be obliged to use a trumpet. Sitting with her, working at the same great piece of tapestry, was Mrs Stark, her maid and companion, and almost as old as she was.
*Story read as part of my 31 Shots of Shock reading challenge.