At a Winter's Fire

by Bernard Edward Joseph Capes

In the safe sheltered comfort of a winter's fire, as the title suggests, these stories of horror will rouse tolerable shudders; but elsewhere they had best be avoided. They are worse than ghost stories, for they haunt the mind even more than they work on the nerves. Even the cheerful nightmares among them, like "Dinah's Mammoth," and such flippant ones as "William Tyrwhitt's 'Copy,'" have this effect. Science--probably quite bad science--has inspired a few; not one has been suggested by a commonplace circumstance. On the whole, they are difficult reading--which is some defence against their powers of haunting--the produce of a restlessly inventive brain, which frets itself overmuch in its task of entertaining a stupider public than it has any notion of. The tales are clever and original; but we don't advise Mr. Capes to continue this task, where Mr. Wells easily surpasses him.

Contents: The moon stricken -- Jack and Jill -- The vanishing house -- Dark Dignum -- William Tyrwhitt’s "copy" -- A lazy romance -- Black Venn -- An eddy on the floor -- Dinah's mammoth -- The black reaper -- A voice from the pit.

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