It's a chilly, rainy day here in the knobs. A good read is in order, since it's fit weather mainly for ducks. The four stories that follow are good reads. (Just click on the titles between quotation marks to link to the story.)
"Man-Size in Marble" by E. Nesbit. The British author Edith Nesbit did most of her best work in the genre in the Gay Nineties, but there are no decadent touches in this little shocker about two tomb effigies that get up and walk--with castrophic results.
"Count Magnus" by M. R. James. This piece, set in Sweden, is generally ranked as James's best. I love that bit where the priest frets about people who "should be sleeping, not walking." The Count, a nasty bit of goods dead or alive, scares the hell out of Anne Rice--and me too, for that matter.
"The Lady's Maid's Bell" by Edith Wharton. A very prim and Victorian story with subplots of hidden passions, domestic abuse, and a protective (though dead) lady's maid is among Wharton's best in the genre.
"The Water Ghost of Harrowby Hall" by John Kendrick Bangs. It's set at Christmas, and it's funny, not frightening, but it's one of my favorites, and has been since I first read it as a preteen in a collection called, I think, THIRTEEN GHOSTS. The master of the house manages to lay the ancestral ghost (who haunts mainly from pique) using the latest technologies. I always found it roll-on-the-floor funny.
During the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country; and at length found myself, as the shades of the evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher.
I've had Poe on my mind all day, for the weather has been very like this atmospheric description of the unnamed narrator's approach to the House of Usher, that place where madness and a possibly incestuous and vampiric relationship are ready, literally, to bring down the house. It's been rainy and cloudy and generally unsettled. Good day to settle into a corner and read his stories, perhaps even blog about them. You may want to check in tomorrow at http://fairweatherlewis.blogstream.com to see what came of that.