The Sire De Mal├ętroit’s Door

This, the second story in The Folio Society’s Robert Louis Stevenson’s collection, again spans one night in mediaeval France.

Again turbulent weather plays a significant part, as does the darkness of the night. A “piping wind, laden with showers,…. and the dead leaves ran riot along the streets” and “the night was as black as the grave; not a star, nor a glimmer of moonshine, slipped through the canopy of cloud” are just a couple of examples of the author’s beautifully engaging prose descriptions, setting the scene for what becomes a horror story

in which the eponymous door functions as an enticing refuge quickly transformed into a firm trap.

There follows a threatening conversation; an enticing meeting; an impossible proposition. Questions of love and honour are in conflict, culminating in one of resolution at the break of day. The timing of dream sequences is measured by the ticking of a clock beating in sympathy with hiccoughing sobs