Ghost Story Review: "The Wind in the Rose-Bush" by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
Rebecca Flint is going to go get her niece. Her sister has passed away and now her brother in-law as well. Their daughter, Agnes, is being raised by her brother-in-law’s widow, the current Mrs. Dent, Emeline. But now that Rebecca has a little money, she’d like to raise Agnes herself.
Mrs. Dent welcomes her. Just the same, the reader can understand her reluctance to let the girl she’s raised since she was small leave with a stranger. And at any rate, the teenager is with a friend right now. She’ll be home directly.
Author Mary E. Wilkins Freeman portrays the frosty relationship between the two women to perfection. The obstructionist Mrs. Dent almost seems thick at times. ("No, it's not." "Well, I can't help that.") As the two are sparring, waiting for Agnes to come home from a friend’s home, Rebecca thinks she sees the shadow of someone passing by on the road reflected in the glass.
“’How did she look in the glass?’
‘Little and light-haired, with the light hair kind of tossing over her forehead.’
‘You couldn’t have seen her.’
‘Was that like Agnes?’
‘Like enough; but of course you didn’t see her. You’ve been thinking so much about her that you thought you did.’
‘You thought you did.’”
This is not for the impatient reader. Before the end, I wanted to throttle Mrs. Dent, even though I had a good idea what was going on. It is an old-fashioned sad ghost story filled with death and loneliness.
Title: “The Wind in the Rose-Bush”
Author: Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
First published: Everybody’s Magazine Feb. 1902
©2016 Denise Longrie