Sunday, December 9, 2018

Stories of Horror: Edith Wharton and The Ladies Maid Bell.

Book stack for the LOHF Podcast announcement

We have a new series on the LOHF podcast, Stories of Horror. Stories of Horror is a spotlight an original lady of horror fiction with a reading of a story that is out of copy right. Up first is Edith Wharton….She is truly a badass.

Edith Wharton

Edith WhartonEdith Wharton was born Edith Newbold Jones in New York on January 24, 1862. She was born into a rather well to do family and spent her formative years traveling through Europe where she developed a love for languages. During a prolonged covalence from typhoid a 9-year-old Edith was introduced to a books of ghost stories by some playmates that would cause her nightmares and leave her perpetually frightened for many years.  After Edith was well and she returned to New York she was tutored by one of the best governesses at the time Anna Catherine Bahlmann. Edith had full run of her father’s extensive library. At the age of 26 she married Edward Robbins Wharton who she would later divorce in 1913.

At the beginning of WWII is when Edith’s life really gets exciting. During WWI Edith was living in Paris. As she was wealthy, she started many charitable organizations such as workrooms, convalescent homes, hostels for refuges and schools for refugee children. On top of her humanitarian work Edith was one of the few writers and reporters allowed on the front lines in France to write about the horror she witnessed. She was awarded the French Legion of Honor in 1916.

From 1921 to the end of her life Edith split her time between the village of St.Brice-Sous-Foret and Chateau St.Claire.  In 1923 Wharton was awarded an honorary doctorate from Yale. Edith died August 11th 1937 and is buried in Cimtereies De Gonads in Versailles.

Interestingly enough, until the age of 27 or 28 Edith could not sleep in the same room with a book that contained ghost stories. She also reported that she would have to burn books that contained ghost stories in them.

The Lady’s Maid’s Bell

Synopsis: A ladies maid (Alice Hartley) who has been ill, is employed in the country house of a rich woman. But there is something that isn’t quite right in the home in which she is employed. Who is the woman that Alice Hartley saw in the hall?

The Lady’s Maid’s Bell was published as part of a collection of short stories in The Descent of Man and Other Stories which was published in 1903.  The Lady’s Maid’s Bell was also made into a episode of Shades of Darkness in 1983.

If you would like to read along or finish the story Project Gutenberg has the collection up on their site.

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