Thursday, March 15, 2012

Uncle Silas A Tale of Bartram-Haugh - by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

Free Kindle Classic:
Uncle Silas A Tale of Bartram-Haugh
by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
Uncle Silas A Tale of Bartram-Haugh is an 1864 Gothic novel by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu.  (US Edition)  (UK Edition) It is narrated by a teenager and it is creepy, so it could have been written this year!  (Novels narrated by teenagers are nothing new and do not go out of fashion.)

Setting the stage, the narrator speaks of her father:
Rather late in life he married, and his beautiful young wife died, leaving me, their only child, to his care. This bereavement, I have been told, changed him—made him more odd and taciturn than ever, and his temper also, except to me, more severe. There was also some disgrace about his younger brother—my uncle Silas—which he felt bitterly.
And some spooky goings on about a key . . .
Then he looked steadfastly upon the key, and from it to me, suddenly lifting it up, and said abruptly, 'See, child,' and, after a second or two, 'Remember this key.' It was oddly shaped, and unlike others.

'Yes, sir.' I always called him 'sir.' 'It opens that,' and he tapped it sharply on the door of the cabinet.

'In the daytime it is always here,' at which word he dropped it into his pocket again. 'You see?—and at night under my pillow—you hear me?'

'Yes, sir.'

'You won't forget this cabinet—oak—next the door—on your left—you won't forget?'

'No, sir.'

'Pity she's a girl, and so young—ay, a girl, and so young—no sense—giddy. You say, you'll remember?'
The narrator accepts “girl” in this context, albeit with irony; but often chafes at being overlooked or condescended too.  You will find this plot does not condescend!

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