by John McGivering)
|notes on the text|
This is one of those stories it would be a pity to enlarge on for fear of tempering the finally atrocious impact it makes on the reader.Gilmour (p. 92) regards this as the most repellent story Kipling ever wrote. Others consider “The Mark of the Beast” (earlier in this volume) to be the most gruesome; we believe there is not much in it.
… a kind of thing that ought never to have been written …. nightmare literature...while the Spectator said:
...detestable, and …. not in the least saved by being extremely cleverly written.Hart, however, (p. 90) looking at the final words of this story says:
This, if you will, is a somewhat crude sensationalism . But it is the same art that gave us the far more subtle visit of Holden to his ruined home at the end of “Without Benefit of Clergy” (earlier in this volume) In each case the full emotional value of the story is impressively borne in upon us by the closing incident.Hart also discusses the setting of the stage for the death of Bertran’s wife. He concludes (p. 96) that it is not as subtle as the preparation by Edgar Alan Poe (1809-1849) for the climax of his story “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” (1841) in Tales of Mystery and Imagination, in which the killer is also an orang-outang.