Wednesday, August 5, 2015

"Negotium Perambulans"

"Negotium Perambulans"
by E.F. Benson

In an isolated Cornish fishing village, there are forces of good and evil at work, and those who dare desecrate the holy have reason to fear the dark...

My Reaction:
This was an interesting one-- not especially scary, but a decent short story.  "The Thing" reminded me of vampires-- but not the sparkly kind, not the steamy kind, nor even the old-school kind that wear capes and turn into bats.  It reminded me of Lovecraft.  It reminded me of another of Benson's own works ("The Caterpillars").  (Benson must've had some sort of caterpillar phobia.  I have to admit, I find many of them repugnant, myself.  I certainly don't like to just stand and admire them.) 

In contrast, the parts about the narrator's youth in the village were pleasant reading.  They feel so genuine that I think they must be based at least partly on Benson's own experiences and memories.  The fact that I preferred this part of the story reminds me that (in my own estimation, at least) Benson is deservedly much more famous for his humorous tales of the everyday world than for his horror.  I'm enjoying some of these "scary tales", but none of them are nearly as downright satisfying as the Lucia series.

Non-Spoilery Quote:
--"One of the main reasons of my stopping here all these years was a feeling that I must not let the old house starve.  Houses starve, you know, if they are not lived in.  They die a lingering death; the spirit in them grows weaker and weaker, and at last fades out of them."