Jennifer Help Us
3 minutes ago
That's the house itself, as described by the two men who are tramping through the "dismal and and sombre" wilds of west Ireland. They come upon a striking landscape, a rushing waterfall and an enormous rocky cavern. Across it stands this house on the borderland, its crumbled remains high above the abyss. One of the men finds a crumpled old notebook in the debris; before the men can make their way back to their camp, an eerie wailing rises from the woods. Filled with "haunting dread," they hightail it out of there and read the manuscript later. Said manuscript is a nameless narrator's account of his life before this house fell......perched almost at the extreme end of a huge spur of rock that jutted out some fifty or sixty feet over the abyss. In fact, the jagged mass of ruin was literally suspended in mid-air.
Far to my right, away up among inaccessible peaks, loomed the enormous bulk of the great Ass-god. Higher, I saw the hideous form of the dread goddess, rising up through the red gloom, thousands of fathoms above me. To the left, I made out the monstrous Eyeless-Thing, grey and inscrutable. Further off, reclining on its lofty ledge, the livid ghoul-Shape showed--a splash of sinister colour, among the dark mountains.
House is almost two books in one, and my reaction to it was in places mixed. I enjoyed the adventure/horror of the narrator's battle with the Swine-people in the first part of the narrative but later found the seemingly endless pages of space-travel tedious. There seemed to be no anchor to the flights of fancy; just more and more riffing on the bizarre nature of traveling through the space-time flux, colored globes floating about, the sun speeding across the sky and changing colors, the world spinning faster and faster into the void--much like Lovecraft's fantasy tales, which were never my favorite of his. But Lovecraft shares with Hodgson a fascination, an obsession really, with the unexplored deeps beneath homes, beneath the earth, of places where other realities can slip through into ours, of an indifferent malevolence threaded through the very warp and woof of our universe.Ace Books, 1962, cover by Ed Emshwiller, accurate depiction of events within!
"Elves, fairies, giants, magicians--certainly not just ordinary human beings must have raised these circles... a church chooses to sit up a heathen temple. perhaps these ancient stones hold down something far more ancient, something far stranger than the men who placed them understood. Some queer feet have danced here, I feel."She travels to Ringstones Hall and meets her charges: young teenage boy Nuaman and two girls, Ianthe and Marvan. They're not British, but she is unable to discern, or find out from the children themselves, where they're from or why they're there. The just are. But her time with them is idyllic, frolicking in the gardens or the green fields, splashing in nearby lakes and creeks, playing rambunctious athletic and made-up games: "They were creatures of summer and some country of the sun." The girls hardly speak but Nuaman is precocious, vibrant, secretive, and takes to Daphne with an open and eager manner, almost flirtatious even. It's all fun to read, as Daphne's writing is light but descriptive, insightful but not pedantic (compare to the unnamed narrator's convoluted stylings). Of the children, she writes:
Marvan and Ianthe followed [Nuaman and me] in our comings and goings, always reserved and shy and a little behind. He gave them little orders--or what seemed to orders--in their language, always softly and gaily, and they obeyed promptly, fetching and carrying for him as an English girl might fetch and carry for an adored brother years younger than herself...