Summary (Masterplots II: Short Story Series, Revised Edition)
The narrator, apparently a woman, begins: “Whatever hour you woke there was a door shutting.” Along with her husband, the narrator experiences the sensations of a home literally alive with memories. She does not, however, try to keep the reader in suspense regarding the mysterious openings and closings of doors and windows that she and her husband witness. Despite the fact that she knows two ghosts wander through her home, she is not afraid. The ghosts, after all, mean the narrator and her husband no harm.
The ghosts clearly are conducting a search. They look for something that may have been left out in the garden, or perhaps up in the loft. The narrator is anxious to discover what the object of the ghosts’ search can be. The mystery is deepened by the response of the house itself to the searchers; it has a pulse that quickens as the ghosts seem on the verge of recovering whatever it is they have lost. The narrator hears the house’s heartbeat as the word “safe” repeated rhythmically. The house also speaks of a treasure hidden somewhere within its rooms. This must be what the ghosts are looking for.
Although she does not tell how, the narrator has learned a few details from the ghosts’ past. They lived in the house as man and wife hundreds of years before. After the woman died suddenly, the man abandoned the house and wandered throughout the globe. After his death, he returned to be reunited with his wife. The narrator realizes...
(The entire section is 392 words.)
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