Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Re-entering "The Little Room"--this time with the help of the Internet!

Back in October, I wrote a post about Madeline Yale Wynne's "The Little Room" (1895), a short story whose delicacy in dealing with the inexplicable could serve as a model for writers of uncanny tales. A few days ago, Addie Harris came across that post and left a comment that is far too interesting to be left to mulch in the archives. If you've not read "The Little Room," I'd suggest you take ten minutes to go here and read it before you read Addie's comment. You'll be glad you did

Addie writes,
My husband and I own a house that once belonged to Madeline Yale Wynne's aunt and uncle. Before we bought the house we were given a tour by the real estate agent. When we went upstairs to see the bedrooms he pointed out that it was unusual for a Victorian house to have been built with original closets. He took us into the first bedroom at the top of the stairs, showed us the view out the double window and pointed out the closet. At the second bedroom he pointed out an identical double window and an identical closet. He followed the same routine in the third bedroom. The fourth and apparently last bedroom was full of furniture so we stayed behind as he squeezed around the foot of the bed to point to yet another double window and another closet but, as we were turning to leave the room, we found ourselves alone. A second later there was a faint "Are you coming?" from inside the closet. In the back of that closet was a doorway leading into another room with blue wallpaper that has no entrance from the hall. I read somewhere that Madeline Yale Wynne was probably inspired to write "The Little Room" by her home in Massachusetts but I don't believe that.
I love that they learn about the room because they're thinking of buying the house--a situation that has set up spooky stories for more than a century. I further love that the real estate agent doesn't even seem to think there's anything all that odd about the little room; maybe he has some strange power--maybe all the houses he shows suddenly have little rooms?

The wonderfully fortuitous nature of this discovery about Wynne's story threatens to send me into yet another rhapsody about the glories of the Internet. Instead, I'll merely thank Addie for taking the time to share her knowledge, and I'll remember to add the Internet to the list of things I'm thankful for this holiday weekend.

Things here will most likely be quiet through the weekend but should be back to normal by Monday. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

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