By in Sci Fi & Paranormal

Ghost Story Review: "The Wind in the Rose-Bush" by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

Rebecca Flint is going to go get her niece. Her sister has passed away and now her brother in-law as well. Their daughter, Agnes, is being raised by her brother-in-law’s widow, the current Mrs. Dent, Emeline. But now that Rebecca has a little money, she’d like to raise Agnes herself.

Mrs. Dent welcomes her. Just the same, the reader can understand her reluctance to let the girl she’s raised since she was small leave with a stranger. And at any rate, the teenager is with a friend right now. She’ll be home directly.

Author Mary E. Wilkins Freeman portrays the frosty relationship between the two women to perfection. The obstructionist Mrs. Dent almost seems thick at times. ("No, it's not." "Well, I can't help that.") As the two are sparring, waiting for Agnes to come home from a friend’s home, Rebecca thinks she sees the shadow of someone passing by on the road reflected in the glass.

“’How did she look in the glass?’

‘Little and light-haired, with the light hair kind of tossing over her forehead.’

‘You couldn’t have seen her.’

‘Was that like Agnes?’

‘Like enough; but of course you didn’t see her. You’ve been thinking so much about her that you thought you did.’

‘You thought you did.’”

This is not for the impatient reader. Before the end, I wanted to throttle Mrs. Dent, even though I had a good idea what was going on. It is an old-fashioned sad ghost story filled with death and loneliness.


Title: “The Wind in the Rose-Bush”

Author: Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

First published: Everybody’s Magazine Feb. 1902

Source: ISFDB


©2016 Denise Longrie

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lookatdesktop wrote on January 28, 2016, 11:15 AM

I like the idea of people driving down the road and see a person or what appears to be a person on the road through the glass window of a car. Thinking you may have seen something but not really being quite sure if it was real or just an illusion of light and shadow.

msiduri wrote on January 28, 2016, 1:33 PM

Yes, that's part of the fun of ghost stories in general. What was that?

lookatdesktop wrote on January 28, 2016, 7:31 PM

There was a horror movie a ways back where a family was driving in the dark I think it was called, 'Wrong Turn' anyway there was this lady with a baby carriage that appeared over and over. It is a real thriller. From YouTube, Watch the thriller Wrong Turn 1, https :// www . youtube . com / watch ? v = YY3iQfS9uxE

I don't know the movie title of the one where the family drives through the winding roads and sees that reappearing apparition of a lady with a baby carriage but the movie Wrong Turn 1 is free to watch full length from YouTube. I hope you enjoy watching it.

Last Edited: January 28, 2016, 7:38 PM

msiduri wrote on January 28, 2016, 8:08 PM

Thanks for the tip. it sounds interesting.

Rufuszen wrote on January 29, 2016, 5:22 AM

That does seem to be a bit of minor theme in these older stories, being alone and dying. Wonder if it was because of the large Victorian family and limited medical knowlege?

nitsbubb wrote on January 29, 2016, 6:14 AM

This story, though mentioned as old fashioned by you - seems to be interesting after reading this simple but sweet gist. I usually prefer ghost movies (and horror stories as well) along with si-fi stories

msiduri wrote on January 29, 2016, 8:03 AM

I think maybe because, at least in part, it wasn't all that long ago that it wasn't that uncommon for people to die young because of disease rather than car accidents or drug overdoses. My mother had an older brother who died in infancy, for example.

msiduri wrote on January 29, 2016, 8:06 AM

It is old fashioned in the sense the reader is served warning something is going on with a rose bush seeming to shake when there's no noticeable wind. As obstructionist as Mrs. Dent is, Rebecca is unrelenting.