Count Magnus by M.R. James

“‘I must remember,’ he writes, ‘to ask the sexton if he can let me into the mausoleum at the church. He evidently has access to it himself, for I saw him to-night standing on the steps, and, as I thought, locking or unlocking the door.’”

Locking or unlocking? I am not sure what I am doing with this story, or what I should do with it! 

“By what means the papers out of which I have made a connected story came into my hands…” and now a ‘connected’ review of it as “chatty” as the papers themselves, and “quasi-journalistic”, now quasi-academic, half-literary, or one third mad! All I seem to know is about a man called Wraxall, but we gather what? — what from his so-called chatty papers, and whether that was indeed his name? Doubt was sown in my mind by this amazing bit of the text, the unreliable narrator’s text or Wraxall’s, I am not sure — “The manor-house, or ‘herrgård’, in question is to be called Råbäck (pronounced something like Roebeck), though that is not its name?”
My italics. 

I happen to live quite close to Harwich, and the ‘pursuers’ may be pursuing me here, even now, that I have dared to re-read this story with much too much of my attention to it.

“…crying souls, and brown and smiling demons.”

And the three padlocks, one by one, unlock as slowly as Zeno’s Paradox allows?

“…the pulpit was like a doll’s-house,…”

The thirty words of the toad…

“…we are sure you will meet with persons walking who should not be walking. They should be resting, not walking.”
Note the ‘we’, there.

That domed mausoleum with copper and something about peasant revolts, and Count Magnus being “phenomenally ugly.” What have I brought back from my re-reading as a personal ‘black pilgrimage’ into this story? We shall see. We shall certainly see. And I say ‘we’ there advisedly as you have no doubt already absorbed  most of this review that filters this story….

“But your curiosity on the point must remain unsatisfied for the time being, just as his did.”

“It seemed to me that I must have been behaving in this nonsensical way for some time.”

“What is this that I have done?”


Just as I finished that review, my broadband suddenly went down in my area, a unique event! – and it is still down! I’ve just managed to link up to a hotspot to post the above…

PS: my reviews of other MRJ stories:

4 thoughts on “Count Magnus by M.R. James

  1. Pingback: Separate horror stories from many years ago… | The Gestalt Real-Time Reviews of Books

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

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