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Edith Nesbit's short story, "From the Dead", brings a surprisingly fresh viewpoint of women who are competent and wise. Ida is empathetic and strong enough to absorb Arthur's fury and to take his erroneous view of her shame to her grave. Elvira, Arthur's old love, had confided that "she had told Ida that she loved Oscar". This was the cause of the misunderstanding, and Arthur was too arrogant and vain to even let her finish the sentence when Ida originally tried to confide in him. 

The women all act strong and for the best, while the male protagonist turns out to be weak-willed and pathetic. I did enjoy the turn of the tale from the subjects I normally read from this time period. There are far too many Victorian and Edwardian ghost stories where women either fall faint or run away.

When Arthur says "Woman ... have mercy" to the nurse, someone he would have normally looked down upon as beneath him, he at least understands his own foibles and lack of character. This seemed to surprise the nurse to the point where she settled down from her head of steam to conduct him in to see the corpse of his wife. 

Probably the most ominous ending of all the stories I've read in years, I liked how the main character notes that "it has never spoken, and has never smiled" when the child he never knew was discussed at the end. We don't know the gender yet, and he may not have learned all of his lesson as brought down upon his head by the swearings of the nurse. Even after four years, he continues to refer to the child as an "it". 

Iron Noder 2017

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