Short Story review: "The Terrible Old Man" by H. P. Lovecraft
The Terrible Old Man lives on Water Street in an old house that the good New England folk shun. He keeps to himself, but it’s believed that he was once a captain of East India clipper ships. Among the gnarled trees in his front yard stand oddly arranged stones. Even the adults in town, when peering through the windows of the decrepit old house, have seen The Terrible Old Man talking to an various bottles on a table on the ground floor of the house. The bottles had pendulums inside them and he named them: Jack, Scar-Face, Long Tom, Spanish Joe… There seemed to be vibrations about when these conversations took place. No one ever came back for a second look. It’s also rumored that The Terrible Old Man keeps a treasure in his decrepit house.
Tonight, The Terrible Old Man will have three visitors: Angelo Ricci, Joe Czanek and Manuel Silva who will be coming to call in a professional capacity. Unfortunately, their profession is robbery. They see their prize in a defenseless old man who pays for his goods in town in Spanish gold and silver mined two centuries ago. But there’s a lot that they don’t see.
This was short story and while the ending wasn’t a great surprise, it was, well, almost light-hearted. There’s a lot of irony in this one. I liked this one.
Title: “The Terrible Old Man” written in 1920, first published in the magazine The Tryout , July 1921.
Author: H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937)
Source: ISFDB http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/ea.cgi?165
©2015 Denise Longrie
Image Credit » http://pixabay.com/en/ferry-captain-wheel-steering-sea-651579/ by annuskap