There is another world, but it is in this one.

Paul Eluard. Œuvres complètes, vol. 1, Gallimard, 1968.

Friday, September 29, 2017

A double disaster: The Double Return by Arthur Machen

"The Double Return" by Arthur Machen 1890

Machen's use of ellipses and his contravention of the Jamesian unities of point of view make this story really starting and exciting. It starts out suggesting stalking, then doppleganger, then...?


A few excerpts:

....Halswell looked at his watch again and drummed his heels against the floor, wondering impatiently when they would be at Paddington, when, with a sudden whirl, a down train swept by them and the western express once more moved on. Halswell rubbed his eyes; he had looked up as the down train passed, and in one of the carriages he thought he had seen his own face. It was only for a second, and he could not be sure. “It must have been a reflection,” he kept on saying, “from the glass of one window to the other. Still, I fancied I saw a black coat, and mine is light. But of course it was a reflection.”

....Frank (he was a very popular artist in those days—a rising man, indeed) had been on a sketching tour in Devon and Cornwall: he had wandered along the deep sheltered lanes from hill to hill, by the orchards already red and gold, by moorland and lowland, by the rocky coast and combes sinking down to the wondrous sea. 

On the Cornish roads he had seen those many ancient crosses, with their weird interlacing carving, which sometimes stand upon a mound and mark where two ways meet; and as he put his portfolio beside him he could not help feeling a glow of pride at its contents. “I fancy I shall make a pretty good show by next spring,” he thought, Poor fellow! He was never to paint another picture; but he did not know it. Then, as the hansom verged westward, gliding with its ringing bells past the great mansions facing the park, Halswell’s thoughts went back to the hotel at Plymouth and the acquaintance he had made there. “Yes; Kerr was an amusing fellow,” he thought; “glad I gave him my card. Louie is sure to get on with him. Curious thing, too, he was wonderfully like me, if he had been only clean shaven and not ‘bearded like the pard,’ Dare say we shall see him before long; he said he was going to pay a short visit to London. I fancy he must be an actor; I never saw such a fellow to imitate a man’s voice and gestures. I wonder what made him go off in such a hurry yesterday. Hullo! Here we are; hi, cabman! There’s 153.”

Full story here:

http://www.e-reading.club/bookreader.php/88698/Machen_-_A_Double_Return.html

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