The Judge’s House by Bram Stoker

Apparently, I am still in the mood for another Perilous challenge 😉

As I have written in my introduction of R.I.P Challenge, I will be reading 2 books, watch some movies (I have watched 2 but have only reviewed 1 so far) and read some short stories. This is my first short story.

I tried reading Dracula by Bram Stoker long ago and somehow I found it difficult to read. I ended up feeling sleepy after reading few paragraphs…in the end, I spent few weeks to read less than 5 pages. That kind of slowness only meant one thing, I have to stop reading it and changed to another book. Well, that was long time ago…I know I have to try reading that book again simply because Stephen King likes it so much and if he likes it that much it must be a good book because the book inspired him in many ways.

Before I give another shot at Dracula, I think trying his short story could be a nice trying out step 😉

The Judge’s House is a 17 pages story. It’s the only short story by Bram Stoker in The Wordsworth Collection of Irish Ghost Story. I didn’t know he was an Irish till I bought this book. It didn’t take long for me to finish it.  The language is not as nowadays kind of book language. It has that old rhyme which often takes you round and round to get to the real meaning.

The story is quite simple, you can easily find this kind of story everywhere. It was about a haunted or cursed house. A big house belonged to a cruel Judge who loved to execute people had been empty for years. No one wanted to live in that house. One day, a young educated man wanted to rent it because he needed a quite place to finish his study. He was a mathematician. The people warned him about the house but as a well educated man, he didn’t believe all those nonsense. His housekeeper told him that it was nothing but rats. He believed his housekeeper more than anyone else in town.

As he busied himself with his study, he became accustomed with the sound of the rats. Somehow, he felt he wasn’t alone when hearing them. However, their sound ceased when a big rat with malignant eyes sat on a chair beside the fireplace. He threw books at it and when it ran away the sound of the other rats could be heard again. It happened for several nights. The big rat always ran away through a bell rope, a rope which was once used as a rope to hang people.

Someone warned him and told him to ring the bell if anything bad happened. People would come to his aid. Something horrible did come.

The story was quite easy to predict but it was still fun. The way Stoker described the house and the situation was very gripping. He managed to give the young man a personality within that 17 pages story. Somehow, it felt more like a long story rather than just short story. It’s not gruesome but still scary. I love to write something like that one day.

This is part of my Peril Of  The Short Story.

If I still have time, I will try reading a short by Oscar Wilde.…but I might write a short story from audio book first.

Have you read Bram Stoker’s short before?

25 thoughts on “The Judge’s House by Bram Stoker

  1. I haven’t read any Bram Stoker in years, and it took me years after I saw Dracula in many different film versions, to finally read the book. It is slow but it was written a long, long time ago (Victorian times, I think) so the English is more ‘proper’ than writing these days.

    1. I have only seen the movie with Keanu Reeves ages ago and already forgotten the details. I am not much of a Dracula/vampire fans so I haven’t yet seen that movie again.

      That’s the biggest problem I have, the language…for non native like me, old English is a bit difficult to understand.

  2. I’ve never read “Dracula” completely either although I’ve tried several times over the years. Something always seems to happen to make me lose my interest or to set it aside for so long that it’s almost as if I hadn’t even started.

    I have read this one though… and I remember liking it, although it was years and years ago. I’m glad you liked it too 😉

    1. I think my problem with Dracula lies in the language…but I am willing to give it a try again one day 🙂

      Oh…I never have thought someone else had read this short too!! I am so delighted 🙂

      Btw…you’ve been neglecting your blog lately 😉

      1. Sigh…. I know… I’ve been so darn occupied with work and stuff that I’ve been pretty much unable to do much but check in a manage comments for a few minutes here and there.

        But… I’ve a whole day off tomorrow by myself so I’m going to try to at least post a new review. 😉

  3. It is predictable now because we’ve seen and read so many ghost stories but when it was written, I’m sure people were quite frightened of it. Haven’t read it myself and I’m definitely going to check it out.

    1. You are right!!! I didn’t think of it like that before. We have encountered many haunted house nowadays…at that time this story probably something considered as fresh.

  4. I just finished reading Dracula, and I thought Stoker did a fantastic job of setting a spooky scene. (It’s too bad you didn’t like it, but I guess it’s all taste!) Maybe I’ll try this out out.

    1. Hi Rachel…it’s not that I didn’t like it, I hadn’t passed 5 pages yet. It was something in the language, I am not a native English speaker and somehow the way he wrote it made me unable to imagine what happened and no imagination made me sleepy. That was years ago and I might try reading it again one day.

      Glad to know you like the book 🙂

  5. I read Dracula ages ago and I thought it was quite good. There are some creepy moments. I think I read The Judge’s House just after it. It was an easy read but because I had read H.P. Lovecraft’s Rats in the Walls before it, I wasn’t blown away.

    1. Rats in the wall? is it short story or full book?
      I had read many rats story too but I think the book is more like ghost story than the rats. I wasn’t blown away either because I can predict where the story is heading.

  6. I think it’s a good way to read short stories of writers who might be difficult first. That way you can slowly familiarize yourself with the style. I’m glad you liked this. I love haunted house stories.

  7. I tried reading Dracula, too. They style of writing is old enough to put me to sleep, too. Most of the books from then have that effect on me, even when I like them. I like the movie version(s) better.

    1. You have NO IDEA how glad I am knowing that a native English speaker like you said that!! I always thought the problem was because English is not my birth tongue. The only old language I can put up with (so far) is by J.R.R Tolkien…then again, his books aren’t THAT old.

      1. His books are half as old. The only real, real old writing I like is Shakespeare, and even then I like modern adaptations nearly as much.

        Actually, when I think about it, a lot of people have trouble with Victorian, Regency, and Edwardian writing. It’s just so florid! And philosophical. I like philosophical writing in theory, but not the philosophies of that age. “Classics” have a well deserved reputation for putting people to sleep.

        1. oh…for me, Shakespeare is even worst!! I didn’t understand ANYTHING! I tried reading it once and I was like a person who never studied English. Totally lost in translation.

          I am now trying to break the sleeping habit of reading the classics…I wish I can do that….one day *sigh*

          1. It’s not surprising at all that you couldn’t understand Shakespeare. It’s barely English as we know it. Even older works – like Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales – don’t look like English at all. I had to memorize the first twenty lines for a high school English class. I still whip it out now and then to prove to people that language is not unchanging.

  8. I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t like Dracula. It’s a classic that I enjoyed quite a lot. As for The Judge’s House, I’m not familiar with this supershort story, but it sounds creepy enough for me to like it 🙂 Have you read the other stories in this book yet?

    1. I didn’t say I dislike it…I just need to overcome my sleeping syndrome 😉

      I have read some of it, if you click the link in the words : The Wordworth Collection of Irish Ghost Stories, you can see all the short story’s tittles there…I always reviewed and linked back the shorts I have read.

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