Posts from 7th May 2011

7
May 11

HAUNTOGRAPHY: The Rose Garden

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To read the story, click here; to read about our ‘hauntography’ project, click here.

There are female visitations aplenty, of course, and female servants and relatives and bystanders, and a wife or two, and of course the witch in The Ash Tree: but Mrs Anstruther is very close to the only time in 30-odd in M. R. James stories that a woman is protagonist-victim; and when it’s not what he considers manstuff that gets the demon’s motor running. The other — that I’m aware of — is a rarely anthologised fragment called The Experiment: and we never actually meet the woman character in that.

But we very much do meet Mrs Anstruther — she’s the one strong character, and everyone else (such as her husband) we only really recognise in terms of their relationship with her. At its simplest, the story is this: Mrs A wants to convert a neglected corner of her small estate into a rose garden; orders the gardener to remove the decayed garden seat and uproot an old post attached to it; something is disturbed, which brings unpleasantness…

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