Review: Ghost Story: "The Mystery of Barney O'Rourke" by John Kendrick Bangs

@msiduri (5743)
United States
April 26, 2017 8:45am CST
The narrator has come to think his house is haunted. Not that any tragedy ever occurred in it. He built the house himself and he’s not in the habit of committing crimes. No bloody reminders of murders lie in secret passages below his house crying for vengeance. Over the summer, he takes his family into the mountains for vacation and leaves the house in the care of his hired man, Barney O’Rourke, an “American citizen with much political influence.” In the haste to get everyone packed and gone, a box of cigars is left behind. On his return, the narrator, pleased with everything O’Rourke has done for him over the summer, offers him a cigar. O’Rourke stammers and declines, saying he’s given up smoking. The narrator opens the box and—whaddya know—it’s empty. But O’Rourke has an explanation. “Thim segyars was shmoked, sorr.” “And by whom? Cats?” “Shpooks.” Needless to say, the story that follows is absurd, but the narrator has to accept it because of an odd set of circumstance. This is a cute story, but it’s hampered by a couple of things. First, the narrator takes far too long to get to the point. He follows a rabbit trail down a page-long paragraph discussing the state of the English language, mentioning Henry James and “Miss Libby,” whoever she is, and “Sylvanus Cobb,” of whom I’d never heard, but at least I was able to track down with a cursory search. Sylvanus Cobb, Jr, 1823-1887, prolific writer of what looks to me like pulpy fiction, Gilbert-and-Sullivanish stuff. This is available in the collection Ghosts I Have Met and Some Others at Project Gutenberg: _____ Title: “The Mystery of Barney O’Rourke” Author: John Kendrick Bangs (1862-1922) First published: Harper's Weekly September 4, 1897 Source: ISFDB
https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/6995
2 people like this
1 response
@teamfreak16 (41407)
• Colorado Springs, Colorado
26 Apr 17
I got to the point where the ghost was keeping him cool, accidentally closed it out, and now I can't get back in. And I was kind of enjoying it.
1 person likes this
@msiduri (5743)
• United States
26 Apr 17
It may be a little corny, but it is fun. Probably will be able to get back in. PG sometimes has fits, but the don't last long.
1 person likes this
@teamfreak16 (41407)
• Colorado Springs, Colorado
26 Apr 17
@msiduri - I can't get back into my Gmail either. I hate this phone.
1 person likes this
@msiduri (5743)
• United States
26 Apr 17
@teamfreak16 That could pose a problem.
1 person likes this