Showing posts from January, 2023

A 1920 Short Story by Jan Gordon in The Strand: Haunted Houses

In the July 1920 volume of "The Strand," Jan Gordon published a short story called "Haunted Houses," illustrated by Chas. Crombie.  The story describes an encounter between a musical country vagabond and a hungry London orphan girl in an abandoned house and muses on the meaning of freedom. The tramp concludes that "if you live in brick boxes, you pay for it, that's all. Haunted - all houses are haunted, haunted by what man could a been and wasn't, by dreams left to rot - we're all haunted - every bloomin' one." The vagabond asks the girl about her home ("Brixton") and parents (no father and mother dead, looked after by her aunt when not drunk). He offers to teach her the flute and when she doesn't respond he sets off alone, playing a tune. She makes her decision and runs after him. Jan Gordon later developed this story into a novel, "Piping George," published in 1930. The book starts with the motto " Alterius no