It’s another Pan story.
Review: “The Man Who Went Too Far”, E. F. Benson, 1904.
Saki’s “The Music on the Hill” uses Pan in a more restricted way than Benson does here. Saki’s Pan is the center of an old religion and keeps his association with hunting, fertility, and music. Benson’s story is closer to E. M. Forester’s “The Story of a Panic”. Pan is terrifying because he blurs distinctions, goes against the Ancient Greek tendency and talent for categorizing the world.
The story is set near the village of St. Faith in Hampshire, England. Its pleasant, rural nature is somewhat marred, the narrator notes, with a local legend about a monstrous goat skipping with “hellish glee” in the woods. It is a story linked to a very handsome, in fact beautiful, young artist who lived there.
The tale the narrator will tell was related to him by Darcy, a mutual friend of that artist and our narrator. Darcy, who hasn’t seen the artist Frank Halton in six years, is convalescing after a bout of typhoid fever and goes to visit Frank in June.
Just before Darcy arrivs, Frank is doing what he often does these days, lounging in a hummock in a meadow by a stream. His house is on the outskirts of town.
Darcy is amazed at how much younger Frank looks than the last time he saw him. Frank says he has a lot to tell Darcy, and Darcy won’t believe it.Continue reading ““The Man Who Went Too Far””