The Land of Suspense


Short Fiction

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The Story

As a young man walks through beautiful hills and valleys, he does not know where he is, but knows vaguely that he is going "home". He has a wonderful sense of well-being, though a little surprised that others on the way pay him no attention.

When he reaches his destination, his family are there to meet him - four brothers and sisters who had gone before, and his father. But to his shock and anger, he is unable to enter this new home, which he vaguely recognizes as heaven. He will have much to experience before there is any chance of him entering there.

Biographical and other notes

This is the last new Oliphant story ever published, probably the last Margaret Oliphant ever wrote;  and it is based on her son Cyril who had died in 1890 at age 33. As a young adult he had fallen afoul of alcohol and other vices, and never found the better way in his lifetime. In this story of the Seen and Unseen, she imagines what might have happened after his death, as his spirit approaches heaven.

Cyril's younger brother Francis (known as Cecco) appears near the end of this story. He had died four years after Cyril, at age 34. After the loss of this sixth and last child, Margaret Oliphant began to long for death, and in fact only lived another two and a half years, dying of cancer on 25 June 1897 at age 69.

British publishing information

Periodical:   Blackwood's Magazine   Jan 1897

Series and Themes

Male central character
Stories of the Seen and Unseen

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