Tuesday, March 6, 2012

"Oh Whistle and I'll Come to You, My Lad"

"Oh Whistle and I'll Come to You, My Lad" 
from Ghost Stories of an Antiquary, by M. R. James

I hadn't gotten very far at all before I realized that I recognized the story-- and that, in fact, it hadn't been more than a year (I think...) since I read it in an anthology of ghost stories.  Still, such are my immense powers of forgetfulness that I was able to enjoy reading it again with only a few vague plot points "spoiled".

I'm under the impression that this may be one of James' most famous works, and it's clear why.  This is a good old-fashioned ghost story-- just the right combination of shuddery horror and humor.  You'll be smiling or chuckling one moment, only to find your skin crawling by what happens a page or two later.

I forgot that I meant to mention that this story had more references to golfing, including this one, which made me laugh:
 "But I'm afraid you would find it rather dull; you don't play golf, do you?"

"No, thank Heaven!" said rude Mr. Rogers. 
I think at least three of the stories in this collection refer to golf, but I can't tell if that's because the author liked or disliked the sport.