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From: "Tony Ellis" <tony.ellis@futurenet.co.uk>
Subject: (urth) The Haunted Boardinghouse
Date: Sat, 24 Jun 2000 15:55:33 +0100

I don’t think that Greek myth is the key to this story. There’s a case
for seeing the house as the Labyrinth, in which case I would call burly,
red-faced Headmaster Seely the minotaur, rather than Minos, but I think
that’s about as far as it goes. I think you’ll find that, this being the
Second Punic War and all, the “great animal, a fighting bull or a
buffalo” that Enan hears at the end of the story had a trunk, not horns.

As for Wade being Icarus etc. The boy who fell out of the window did so
a long time ago, when it was still an outside window. So Wade isn’t the
boy isn’t Icarus. The bundle of feathers is on the roof because a bloody
great falcon is also on the roof.

I also don’t feel that the architecture is that significant, beyond the
extended tribute to Little, Big. The different faces of the house don’t
open onto their respective time periods. The bedroom door Enan opens
onto the darkling landscape is in the Tudor side of the house. Enan is
able to go back to the early days of Rome because he’s dead, and because
that’s where Death is nice enough to take him.

The pale maiden Enan sees is Death. That’s why when Enan says that she
is Mrs Seely she agrees “Yes. I am his bride.” And why she says of the
cutthroat “he tries so hard to win a smile from me.” Terrible, terrible
pun there. Her shadow races with the death-bringing falcon, and she
hangs around Enan because he’s at death’s door for most of the story.

Enan only sees the past of the boardinghouse when he is in her presence,
when the light from her lamp makes the walls transparent. The first time
she walks with him is an out of body experience, I’m not sure about the

Now here’s the thing that’s really doing my head in. When Enan meets
Seely, Seely says that the Doctor has recently seen him, although Enan
has no memory of this. Mrs Boyle goes to fetch the feversish Enan
another blanket. He awakes with it over his head, meets Death again. As
they stroll he notices that his arm stings. So far so good.

Then Wade says something that turns all this upside down. He says “Mrs
Boyle came in with another blanket, and you were dead. They sent for the
doctor… and he gave you injections.” Now it –sounds- like he’s talking
about Enan when he first comes to the boardinghouse. That’s what Enan
assumes. But what about that blanket?

When Enan wakes up after meeting Seely, the blanket Seely sent Mrs Boyle
for is over Enan’s head. There’s only one time when we leave people like
that. Right on cue, Death turns up. And then, when they walk, he gets
that pain in the arm. Because the doctor injected it earlier? Or because
wherever his body is, the doctor is currently injecting it?

Tony Ellis
On-line Editor, PC Format magazine
01225 442244 x2349

*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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