The Treasure of Abbot Thomas

And so from the Graham Greene (To Unswallow God), we make the perfect segue to the unreliable narrator who later dared not ‘divulge’ something, plus half hints of an explanation …

“I labour under a grave disadvantage as narrator of this story…”

“‘…back – to keep – something – No; I can’t speak of it yet. Do you mind calling Brown?’
‘Well, Somerton,’ said Mr Gregory, as he crossed the room to the door; ‘I won’t ask for any explanations till you see fit…’”


M. R. JAMES: The Treasure of Abbot Thomas

“There was no bond of connection between them, either historic, symbolic, or doctrinal,…”

Well, everyone must already know this classic terrifying story — i.e. terrifying when its accruing of gestalt is complete following the connection of cryptic clues from Germany to England of three prophets depicted in stained glass and the counting of 38 stones etc and and the common man servant called Brown who wrote an epistle containing, inter alia, these words: “it will be a Pleasure to see a Honnest Brish Face among all These Forig ones.”

A story of subtle fumbling hints outside bedroom doors, towards the reported — after being withheld — narration of more substantial horror of clambering down a well, after decoding many garbled letters of the alphabet, and antiquarian or ecclesiastical men terrified at monstrous forces let loose, i.e. forces I dare not describe here for fear they will become the prey of T.F. Powys’ spoiler.

But I can clearly allow myself the indulgence of pointing out, perhaps for the first time, that it was one of those ‘elbow’ triggers — often discovered while gestalt real-time reviewing — that let Things loose… “…my left elbow knocked over and extinguished the candle. …”


Context anthology of this review here:

Above image by Reggie Oliver

3 thoughts on “The Treasure of Abbot Thomas

  1. Pingback: “I cannot think there is anything so heart-breaking in hell.” | The Des Lewis Gestalt Real-Time Reviews

  2. Pingback: M. R. James: The Stalls of Barchester Cathedral | The Gestalt Real-Time Reviews of Books

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