After days of putting down The Turn of the Screw and Other Stories by Henry James in favor of other books, I finally got through reading it.
I read the first two stories on different earlier occasions but didn’t find much of it to my taste. I liked the third – “The Friends of the Friends” – best:
A lady – the narrator of the journal that made up the story – spiritedly arranged the meeting of two friends who share many qualities. Among others, the man, who is also the narrator’s fiancé, and the other lady, shared a history of seeing ghosts.
The meeting was delayed, appointments were passed up. And when it looked as if it was finally pushing through, the lady narrator herself sabotaged the acquaintance to avert her jealousy.
It was on the night of this missed encounter that the fiancé claimed to his having seen the other lady. The narrator, knowing that her friend died of heart failure that very night, told her fiancé that he saw a ghost.
In the end, the narrator accused the man of falling for the memory of her dead friend and eventually broke up. The man died shortly after and the narrator concluded that it was
a direct contribution to my theory… It was the result of a long necessity, of an unquenchable desire… a response to an irresistible call.
So much for the other two seeing ghosts: the narrator herself was the one who saw ghosts everywhere – nurturing them between herself and her fiancé. ■