The Collected Ghost Stories of E.F. Benson Quotes

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The Collected Ghost Stories of E.F. Benson The Collected Ghost Stories of E.F. Benson by E.F. Benson
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The Collected Ghost Stories of E.F. Benson Quotes (showing 1-4 of 4)
“...vicinity to the sea is desirable, because it is easier to do nothing by the sea than anywhere else, and because bathing and basking on the shore cannot be considered an employment but only an apotheosis of loafing. ("Expiation")”
E.F. Benson, The Collected Ghost Stories of E.F. Benson
“The subject dropped, and we sat on in the dusk that was rapidly deepening into night. The door into the hall was open at our backs, and a panel of light from the lamps within was cast out to the terrace. Wandering moths, invisible in the darkness, suddenly became manifest as they fluttered into this illumination, and vanished again as they passed out of it. One moment they were there, living things with life and motion of their own, the next they quite disappeared. How inexplicable that would be, I thought, if one did not know from long familiarity, that light of the appropriate sort and strength is needed to make material objects visible.

Philip must have been following precisely the same train of thought, for his voice broke in, carrying it a little further.

'Look at that moth,' he said, 'and even while you look it has gone like a ghost, even as like a ghost it appeared. Light made it visible. And there are other sorts of light, interior psychical light which similarly makes visible the beings which people the darkness of our blindness.' ("Expiation")”
E.F. Benson, The Collected Ghost Stories of E.F. Benson
“I wonder why he hastened to tell us that George Hearne was buried in the churchyard, and then added that naturally he was!'

'It's the natural place to be buried in,' said I.

'Quite. That's just why it was hardly worth mentioning.'

I felt then, just momentarily, just vaguely, as if my mind was regarding stray pieces of a jig-saw puzzle. The fancied ringing of the telephone bell last night was one of them, this burial of George Hearne in the churchyard was another, and, even more inexplicably, the ladder I had seen under the trees was a third. Consciously I made nothing whatever out of them, and did not feel the least inclination to devote any ingenuity to so fortuitous a collection of pieces. Why shouldn't I add, for that matter, our morning's bathe, or the gorse on the hillside? But I had the sensation that, though my conscious brain was presently occupied with piquet, and was rapidly growing sleepy with the day of sun and sea, some sort of mole inside it was digging passages and connecting corridors below the soil. ("Expiation")”
E.F. Benson, The Collected Ghost Stories of E.F. Benson
“He looked sharply towards the pollarded trees.

'Yes, just there,' he said. 'I saw it plainly, and equally plainly I saw it not. And then there's that telephone of yours.'

I told him now about the ladder I had seen below the tree where he saw the dangling rope.

'Interesting,' he said, 'because it's so silly and unexpected. It is really tragic that I should be called away just now, for it looks as if the - well, the matter were coming out of the darkness into a shaft of light. But I'll be back, I hope, in thirty-six hours. Meantime, do observe very carefully, and whatever you do, don't make a theory. Darwin says somewhere that you can't observe without theory, but to make a theory is a great danger to an observer. It can't help influencing your imagination; you tend to see or hear what falls in with your hypothesis. So just observe; be as mechanical as a phonograph and a photographic lens.'

Presently the dog-cart arrived and I went down to the gate with him.

'Whatever it is that is coming through, is coming through in bits,' he said. 'You heard a telephone; I saw a rope. We both saw a figure, but not simultaneously nor in the same place. I wish I didn't have to go.'

I found myself sympathizing strongly with this wish, when after dinner I found myself with a solitary evening in front of me, and the pledge to 'observe' binding me. It was not mainly a scientific ardour that prompted this sympathy and the desire for independent combination, but, quite emphatically, fear of what might be coming out of the huge darkness which lies on all sides of human experience. I could no longer fail to connect together the fancied telephone bell, the rope, and the ladder, for what made the chain between them was the figure that both Philip and I had seen. Already my mind was seething with conjectural theory, but I would not let the ferment of it ascend to my surface consciousness; my business was not to aid but rather stifle my imagination. ("Expiation")”
E.F. Benson, The Collected Ghost Stories of E.F. Benson

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