No, I haven’t yet returned to my coverage of Arthur Machen. But I did nominate this story for discussion as a pairing with Alfred Noyes’ “The Lusitania Waits”.
Review: “The Happy Children”, Arthur Machen, 1920.
This story starts out similarly to Machen’s The Terror.
The narrator is a journalist, as Machen was during World War One, who has been sent up to the northeastern part of England to investigate rumors of a German dugout there — which, of course, he doesn’t find.
The first page of the story is taken up with noting how vague the rumors are in regard to its location. Machen discusses assorted rumors and myths of the war: Russian soldiers in England and, of course, the legend he inadvertently created, the Angel of Mons.
Returning from his investigations, he decides to visit the scenic port of Banwick which Machen evocatively describes.
Walking around at night, he is delighted to hear the sounds of children playing, perhaps hundreds, outside. Remarking on this to an innkeeper, he is told that the children run wild and their mothers can’t make them obey and their fathers are at the front.Continue reading ““The Happy Children””