Ghost Story Review: "Debt of Honor" by J. Sheridan Le Fanu

@msiduri (5750)
United States
July 8, 2016 9:13am CST
This ghost story (the subtitle assures the reader it is thus) begins in a suitably gothic manner: hearing cries of sorrow in a churchyard. The narrator, Reginald Westcar, is making a tour of the European continent, having just finished his degree at Oxford some time in 185—. He’s “watching the calm glories of the moonlight illuminating with silver splendor the lake of Lucerne.” He’d thought he was alone, but comes across a man who seems to know him. This is explained by Westcar’s name being the only other English name in the hotel registry. When he returns to London, he finds, much to his surprise, he’s inherited a small estate in Cumberland. It takes a bit to explain the family relationships leading to his inheritance, known as the Shallows, but all this is relevant, if tedious. It also explains the neighbors and their estate, the Mere. While Reginald is sleeping the first night at the Shallows, he has a dream—or is it a dream?—of his late maiden aunt Aldina telling him the Mere is his and he should compel the present owner, Mr. Maryon, to pay him the debt of honor. While the premise of the story is solid, the execution is clunky to say the least. There are so many see-‘em-comings the only thing author J. Sheridan Le Fanu left out was a dark and stormy night. And DANG are the ghosties chatty! No spirit pointing silently at Ebenezer Scrooge’s tombstone silently and letting him figure it out for himself; these spirits from the great beyond leave nothing to the imagination. And of course, the bad guys get their comeuppance is spades. The good guy gets the girl. Le Fanu’s writings include many ghost and supernatural pieces. He influenced such writers as M. R. James and may have even influenced aspects of Jane Eyre. His vampire novella, Carmilla, influences Bram Stoker’s Dracula. This short story is available in the collection A Stable for Nightmares or Weird Tales at Project Gutenberg: _____ Title: “Debt of Honor” Author: Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (1814-1873) First published: in the collection A Stable for Nightmares or Weird Tales1896 Source: ISFDB
https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/26451
4 people like this
5 responses
• New Delhi, India
8 Jul 16
Let's start discussion on this. Do you afraid of ghosts?
1 person likes this
@msiduri (5750)
• United States
8 Jul 16
No. I don't believe such things exist, but I love a good ghost story.
• New Delhi, India
8 Jul 16
@msiduri do you afraid of dark?
1 person likes this
@msiduri (5750)
• United States
8 Jul 16
@ModernDayWriter No. As long as I can see well enough not to stumble over anything. How about you? Believe in ghosts?
@teamfreak16 (41181)
• Colorado Springs, Colorado
10 Jul 16
I'll have to see if I can find time to get back to this. Sounds like it might be good.
1 person likes this
@msiduri (5750)
• United States
10 Jul 16
Okay. Let me know what you think if you get to it. Hope things are going well.
1 person likes this
@silvermist (20100)
• India
9 Jul 16
@msiduri As I do not want to listen to too much talk from the ghosts I will give a miss to this story.While I am not sure about ghosts,I am glad to say I am not afraid of the dark.
1 person likes this
@msiduri (5750)
• United States
9 Jul 16
I can't say as I blame you. Chatty ghosts aren't all the interesting. Only things I'm afraid of in the dark is tripping over something.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (123435)
• Bunbury, Australia
9 Jul 16
I probably won't bother with this. I'm not really into ghost stories. I have enough trouble sleeping without being scared out of my wits by books!
1 person likes this
@msiduri (5750)
• United States
9 Jul 16
Fair enough. Though I think the real danger from these ghosts is having your ear talked off.
1 person likes this
@JohnRoberts (57224)
• Los Angeles, California
8 Jul 16
Were chains rattling and things can go bump in the night?
1 person likes this
@msiduri (5750)
• United States
8 Jul 16
Oh, I only wish it were so subtle! It was yack, yack, yack!