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Tenants keep leaving, and eventually there's a lawsuit over whether the house is haunted.


  • The Uninhabited House by Mrs. J. H. Riddell.
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Finally, one of the law firm's clerks undertakes to live in the house and uncover its secrets I'm reading this as part of a collection of Victorian ghost novels, and it's quite enjoyable. It's got some of the failings of Victorian popular lit, in that it's occasionally flowery and quite sentimental.

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While many Victorian novels have characters who are either independently wealthy or seem to live on air, Riddell's characters have well-established economic lives. There's law clerks, real-estate developers, and pensioners, and many struggle to simply get by.


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Everyone is solidly middle-class; there's no dukes or earls. The hauntings in this are eerie enough, and Riddell's concepts of the supernatural are fairly restrained.

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The ghosts are here for a reason, and once that reason is met, they move on. No Lovecraftian cosmic horror here, or that nasty randomness of Wakefield's later work. And some of the book's goings-on parallel Mrs.

ISBN 13: 9781161479867

Riddell's life. Charlotte Riddell was an enormously prolific author, and while popular in her time she was never rich and died in near-poverty.


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  • oddly weird fiction: The Uninhabited House, by Mrs. J.H. Riddell.
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There happened nothing remarkable to us till the last night of our journey, when taking up our lodging at a place belonging to the Empress, a declared enemy to all Catholics, and in particular to the missionaries, we met with a kind reception in appearance, and were lodged in a large stone house covered with wood and straw, which had stood uninhabited so long, that great numbers of red ants had taken possession of it; these, as soon as we were laid down, attacked us on all sides, and tormented us so incessantly that we were obliged to call up our domestics.

Well, my friend, this earth will one day be that cold corpse; it will become uninhabitable and uninhabited like the moon, which has long since lost all its vital heat. It was a ring of land round a deep lagoon, uninhabited , and covered only with scrub and wild guava. And every morning, perched on our stays, rows of these birds were seen; and spite of our hootings, for a long time obstinately clung to the hemp, as though they deemed our ship some drifting, uninhabited craft; a thing appointed to desolation, and therefore fit roosting-place for their homeless selves.

We set sail with the first favourable wind, and after a long voyage upon the open seas we landed upon an unknown island which proved to be uninhabited.

The Uninhabited House – FictionFan's Book Reviews

As the incubator had been placed far north of their own territory in a supposedly uninhabited and unfrequented area, we had before us a tremendous journey, concerning which I, of course, knew nothing. Between the Union Pacific road and the branch which unites Kearney with Saint Joseph it formed a great uninhabited island. These valleys must form the grand points of commencement of the future settlement of the country; but there must be many such, en folded in the embraces of these lower ranges of mountains; which, though at present they lie waste and uninhabited , and to the eye of the trader and trapper, present but barren wastes, would, in the hands of skilful agriculturists and husbandmen, soon assume a different aspect, and teem with waving crops, or be covered with flocks and herds.

The sea-reach of the Thames is straight, and, once Sheerness is left behind, its banks seem very uninhabited , except for the cluster of houses which is Southend, or here and there a lonely wooden jetty where petroleum ships discharge their dangerous cargoes, and the oil-storage tanks, low and round with slightly-domed roofs, peep over the edge of the fore-shore, as it were a village of Central African huts imitated in iron. The herbage is parched and withered; the brooks and streams are dried up; the buffalo, the elk and the deer have wandered to distant parts, keeping within the verge of expiring verdure, and leaving behind them a vast uninhabited solitude, seamed by ravines, the beds of former torrents, but now serving only to tantalize and increase the thirst of the traveller.