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A Nice Taste In Murders Post by :kwsoo Category :Essays Author :Robert Cortes Holliday Date :November 2011 Read :3487

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A Nice Taste In Murders

WE are much interested in the picturesque character of Caroline. Caroline is twelve. She is like a buxom, rosy apple. Her dress is a "Peter Thompson." Her physical sports are running like the wind, and, in summer, fishing. Our concern, however, is more with her mind. Caroline is a voracious reader. We are somewhat bookish ourselves, and the conversations between us are often frankly literary. Caroline's taste in this matter, for one of her sex, is rather startling.

"Oh, you ought to read the 'Pit and the Pendulum,'" says Caroline. "Is it good?" we ask. "Fine!" Caroline replies. "It's at the time of the Inquisition, you know," she explains. "They take a man and torture him. It's fine," declares Caroline. "The demon's eyes grow brighter and brighter" (phrases we recall from her synopsis of the tale), "the pendulum comes nearer and nearer--but I think he deserved to escape," says Caroline, "because he tried so hard." Now that is really a deep moral observation, "because he tried so hard," and a sound questioning of the philosophical verity of a work of art.

"There's a good murder in here," says Caroline.

"I like Sherlock Holmes," Caroline says.

She reads the "Mark of the Beast" and the "Black Cat" with great satisfaction. For comedy or for psychological moments she does not care, but there is nobody, we believe, with greater capacity for enjoyment of terrible murder in horrible dark places in the land of fiction.

Night after night we heard her voice reading aloud to her visitor Emily after the two had retired, until we fell asleep; and in the morning we saw that the relish of horror was still upon her.

Emily had gone. Caroline had retired alone. We read by the lamp in the living-room. We were startled and mystified to hear suddenly mingle with the sound of the night rain all around, a long, uncertain wailing, a melancholy, haunting, sinking, rising, halting, gruesome sound, uncannily redolent of weird Gothic tales; the "Castle of Otranto" came into our mind. This apparently proceeded from an "upper chamber," as would be said in the type of story mentioned.

"That," said brother Henry, in replying doubtless to a blank face, "is Caroline playing the flute."

No one alive, of course, has not in his head a picture of another that in the still hours sought solace in and loved a flute, Mr. Richard Swiveler propped up in bed, his nightcap raked, fluting out the sad thoughts in his bosom. So in the night and the storm, does another bizarre soul, Caroline, speak with the elements.

(The end)
Robert Cortes Holliday's essay: Nice Taste In Murders

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