Deal Me In, Week 4 ~ “The Slype House”

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Hosted by Jay @ Bibliophilopolis

“The Slype House” by A. C. Benson

From: Jay’s Top Ten Favorite Ghost Stories, found online at Project Gutenberg.
Card picked: King of Spades (which coincidentally happens to be the same card Jay assigned it.)

Thoughts:

Anthony Purvis is the son of a unloving father. His mother died when he was young. His mentor was an Italian necromancer and his “friends” in adulthood are a surgeon and a priest. Anthony lives in Slype House, formerly a monk’s college that overlooks a church, with two servants and everything he needs, including a small dark room which no one but himself enters. Nearing the end of his life, Anthony begins to wonder:

Was he so certain, he began to think, after all, that death was the end? Were there not, perhaps, in the vast house of God, rooms and chambers beyond that in which he was set for awhile to pace to and fro?

Calling on the teachings of his old mentor, Anthony endeavors on a rheumy October night to find answers using the black arts.

A. C. Benson maybe isn’t as skilled or crafty an author as M. R. James or Ambrose Bierce, but “The Slype House” still packs a creepy punch. The straight-forwardness of his writing, especially when describing Slype House, reminds me of Hammer Horror movies: clear and in color.  And just when you think Benson has left us with a good Anglican tale of grace, well, it’s not *that* simple.

About the Author:

Arthur Christopher Benson was the son of Edward White Benson, the Archbishop of Canterbury. He was, according to Wikipedia,

a distinguished academic…educated at Temple Grove School, Eton, and King’s College, Cambridge. From 1885 to 1903 he taught at Eton, returning to Cambridge to lecture in English literature for Magdalene College. From 1915 to 1925, he was Master of Magdalene. From 1906, he was a governor of Gresham’s School.

And a noted author of ghost stories.

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2 thoughts on “Deal Me In, Week 4 ~ “The Slype House”

  1. I love Project Gutenberg, there are so many amazing texts on there! RE Christopher Benson, this is not an author I’ve heard of, but then I don’t read many ghost stories. It sounds like he held some quite notable posts in his day!

  2. I am going to have to revisit this story. I remember pitying Purvis and the trajectory of his life, thinking, well, it’s not surprising he turned out the way he did, as the odds were kind of stacked against him.

    I too found his descriptions of the actual Slype House deliciously creepy.

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