Short Story: “A Haunted House” by Virginia Woolf

“A ROnteT RWs” PX FdKHnLa MOlf.

 

A ROnteY RWs?

A ROnteY RWs?

MbtEFd Wd LU MGk YEr MBS A TOr zBthN. frBm rUm tU rUm YC MEnt, RVnT hn RVnT, lHfthN RHd, GpenhN YEr, mCkhN zUd … A KGstlh kBpl.

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PBt Ht MBSnt YVt LU MGk Bs. G, nG. “YEr lQkhN fOr Ht; YEr TrOhN Y kDthn,” MBn mXt sC, + sG RIT On A pCZ Or tU. “nW YCF fWnT Ht,” MBn MQT PI sDtn, stOphN Y pEnsl Hn Y mArJhn. + YEn, TXdT OF rIThN, MBn mXt rXS + sI fOr MbnsElf, Y RWs Ol Empth, Y TOrS stVnThN Gpen, Gnlh Y MQT pHJenS PBblhN MHy kontEnt + Y RBm BF Y yrEzhN mazIn sWnThN frBm Y fArm. “MBt THT X kBm Hn RHd fOr? MBt THT X MOnt tU fXnT” mX RVnTS MD Empth. “pdRVps Hts bpstErS YEn?” Y VplS MD Hn Y lOft. + sG TWn bKEn, Y KArTen stHl VS EFd, Y PWk slHpt intU Y KrVs.

PBt YX RVT fWnT Ht Hn Y TrOhN rUm.

But they had found it in the drawing room. Not that one could ever see them. The windowpanes reflected apples, reflected roses; all the leaves were green in the glass. If they moved in the drawing room, the apple only turned its yellow side. Yet, the moment after, if the door was opened, spread about the floor, hung upon the walls, pendant from the ceiling–what? My hands were empty. The shadow of a thrush crossed the carpet; from the deepest wells of silence the wood pigeon drew its bubble of sound. “Safe, safe, safe” the pulse of the house beat softly. “The treasure buried; the room . . .” the pulse stopped short. Oh, was that the buried treasure?

A moment later the light had faded. Out in the garden then? But the trees spun darkness for a wandering beam of sun. So fine, so rare, coolly sunk beneath the surface the beam I sought always burned behind the glass. Death was the glass; death was between us, coming to the woman first, hundreds of years ago, leaving the house, sealing all the windows; the rooms were darkened. He left it, left her, went North, went East, saw the stars turned in the Southern sky; sought the house, found it dropped beneath the Downs. “Safe, safe, safe,” the pulse of the house beat gladly. ‘The Treasure yours.”

The wind roars up the avenue. Trees stoop and bend this way and that. Moonbeams splash and spill wildly in the rain. But the beam of the lamp falls straight from the window. The candle burns stiff and still. Wandering through the house, opening the windows, whispering not to wake us, the ghostly couple seek their joy.

“Here we slept,” she says. And he adds, “Kisses without number.” “Waking in the morning–” “Silver between the trees–” “Upstairs–” ‘In the garden–” “When summer came–” ‘In winter snowtime–” “The doors go shutting far in the distance, gently knocking like the pulse of a heart.

Nearer they come, cease at the doorway. The wind falls, the rain slides silver down the glass. Our eyes darken, we hear no steps beside us; we see no lady spread her ghostly cloak. His hands shield the lantern. “Look,” he breathes. “Sound asleep. Love upon their lips.”

Stooping, holding their silver lamp above us, long they look and deeply. Long they pause. The wind drives straightly; the flame stoops slightly. Wild beams of moonlight cross both floor and wall, and, meeting, stain the faces bent; the faces pondering; the faces that search the sleepers and seek their hidden joy.

“Safe, safe, safe,” the heart of the house beats proudly. “Long years–” he sighs. “Again you found me.” “Here,” she murmurs, “sleeping; in the garden reading; laughing, rolling apples in the loft. Here we left our treasure–” Stooping, their light lifts the lids upon my eyes. “Safe! safe! safe!” the pulse of the house beats wildly. Waking, I cry “Oh, is this your buried treasure? The light in the heart.”