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This one was really perplexing wasn't it! After a couple of readings, I came to the same sort of conclusion that you did, Danielle. Whether we're right or not is another matter so I'll be interested to read the other comments you receive!


I loved this story, my first of Edith Wharton. I got the sense that they didn't use the bell because it summoned the ghost of Emma (and that one night perhaps it was rung out of desperation or Mrs. Brympton just forgot). I think Emma was trying to get Hartley to protect her mistress (and keep secret the affair) but I was a little stumped when Emma had Hartley follow her to Mr. Ranford's house. And in writing this I find I have more questions popping up. Perhaps a re-read for me as well! I am reading the others stories in this book right now, each one equally enjoyable and mysterious as this one.


Ha! I've just read Stefanie's post and commented that I recalled you reading this. I can see I will have to give it a go myself, and am interested to see how that opaque ending will affect me!


I posted on this story probably about the same time you were. I liked it but it took awhile for it to sink in. I think the open endedness of the story with all the possibilities of what the truth really is but no definite answers is what makes it so good.

Dorothy W.

Stefanie's post and yours have gotten me curious about this story! I fee like I need to read it too to see what I think. I'll add it to the list! We might even have the Wharton ghost stories book around here, although I'm not sure.


Elizabeth--It's true--the more you think about the things that happen in this story, the more questions you come up with! I was thinking that maybe Hartley was supposed to try and stop Ranford from doing something--coming to the house? But it wasn't clear. I was a little frustrated with this the first time around, but a second read felt more clear--not that I've figured it all out. I need to try more of her ghost stories. And I highly recommend Roman Fever by Wharton--an excellent story!
Litlove--I would love to hear what you think of it and what you think it means. I don't think Wharton really meant to leave her readers totally hanging, but I sort of like that she left things a little loose so they could be interpreted. I wonder if all her ghost stories are like this!
Stefanie--I was wondering if you were reading it this weekend--perfect timing! :) I like the open end now, too, though the first time around I was somewhat frustrated and remember trying to search for some sort of criticism--I didn't look too hard, but I would still be curious to know if she ever wrote more about her work!
Dorothy--I think this is online--you should read it if you have a little spare time, I would love to hear what you think as well. She's such a good writer--even if she left things unexplained. Maybe this is her response to Henry James and his Turn of the Screw.


I finaly got a chance last night and checked my Edith Wharton books. One contains a collection of stories and- yes- this one is in it. I really want to read it but was too tired when I finally found it.


Caroline--This story isn't too long, so when you have a chance it should be a fast read. You'll have to tell me your take on it as well--it seems like a perfect story for discussion!


Thank you for the Roman Fever suggestion, I've added it to my list. :)


Elizabeth--I wrote about it somewhere. I should reread it myself--it's a favorite short story!

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