Comparing The Old Nurses Story by Elizabeth Gaskell and Lost Hearts by M.R. James
'The Old Nurses Story' by Elizabeth Gaskell and 'Lost Hearts' by M.R.
James are both 19th century mystery stories, so naturally they have
similarities due to them both having the same genre but there are some
ways in which the stories differ.
'Lost Hearts' is about a young girl called Rosamond aged about 4 or 5
who is orphaned and so has to go and live with her elderly Aunt, Miss
Furnivall at Furnivall Manor. One evening the nurse left Rosamond with
Miss Furnivall when she went to church. When the nurse returned she
couldn't find her, the nurse followed some footsteps in the snow and
found Rosamond in the arms of a Shepherd frozen in the extremely cold
weather. The nurse takes Rosamond home and asks where she has been.
She told the nurse a girl told her to follow her but the nurse didn't
believe her as she only saw one set of footprints in the snow. The
housekeeper tells the nurse that a long time ago Miss Furnivall and
her sister Maud fell out because they loved the same man. The man
chose Maud and Maud became pregnant, leading to her father throwing
her out in disgrace. Miss Furnivall never did anything to stop her
father as she still had a grudge with Maud as the man had chosen her
sister. Maud and her daughter then came back for revenge. They try to
get Rosamond but Miss Furnivall offers herself instead and therefore
dies to protect Rosamond- an irony as that is what Miss Furnivall
should have done many years ago, she should have protected her sister
and her niece.
A boy called Stephen Elliot is orphaned and so is invited to live with
his elderly cousin at Aswarby Hall. Stephen arrives and is greeted by
his cousin Lord Abney who is unusually interested in his age. The
housekeeper tells Stephen that Mr. Abney has taken in to other
children before but both strangely disappeared. One night Stephen had
a dream where he was in a disused bathroom where he thought he saw a
figure lying in a bath. Mr. Abney frequently reminded Stephen that the
spring equinox was approaching and that it was a critical time for the
young. One day Stephen woke to find his nightgown was ripped like a
wild animal had clawed down it. There were similar marks to his door.
Not long later on March 24th Stephen is asked to go and see Mr. Abney
in his study at 11 o' clock. While Stephen was waiting to go and see
his cousin, he heard cries. He looked out the window and saw two
ghostly figures. Stephen tried to open the door of the study.
Eventually it yielded. Stephen looked around he found a sort of diary
and he read it. It told him that Mr. Abney had killed the two other
children who had 'disappeared' and that he was planning to kill him
that night. Mr. Abney wanted to take his heart to add to the other
hearts to gain...