The old man shedding a new light on this great horror story?
“‘My own idea,’ said he, ‘is that if a ghost ever does come in one’s way, one ought to speak to it.’”
Instead he tries to disassemble it!
A rather convoluted introduction about British colonial men abroad, and who is telling which story to whom! But when we finally get to the core story, it is genuinely horrific, its horror seemingly for horror’s sake, without rhyme, reason or moral. Fair enough. I always enjoy it on that level.
The man telling this story to a relative stranger on a sea voyage, however, seems to suspect a horrific hoax within his own story, but perhaps in truth his story itself — like Jorkens’ earlier tall story in this book (he mentions ‘Jorrocks’ here in the ironic Aickman-like context of meeting a lady who has discussed “modern fiction” with him and the need, she felt, for “melancholy” in all good literature!) — was the real hoax, in order to rationalise or excuse or hide the concupiscent impulse of his otherwise strange request to the listener to share the listener’s cabin even though the storyteller had a cabin of his own on the ship!
“…and we talked of partridges past, partridges present, and pheasants to come.”
nullimmortalis Cf the jaunts and jollities of Jorrocks…
The full context of this review here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2021/03/25/the-2nd-fontana-book-of-great-ghost-stories/#comment-21606