Does anyone know the really scary poem (I think from the 1900s-1920s) about a party of decadent houseguests being directed down an ever-narrowing, ever-darker, ever-hotter staircase by said butler, who remains alone in the empty rooms? I remember it from childhood and now cannot track it down via google or anywhere else. Neil has a butler called Toombes in Forbidden Brides in Fragile Things, so I'm hoping some other Gaiman fan may have been similarly traumatized by the poem as an infant and had to good sense to hang on to the volume of poetry that contained it! Hoping that someone can help - thanks!
It has taken me ages to get membership and confirm it and log on, just so I can tell you that the title of the poem is 'The Feckless Dinner Party' and it is by Walter de la Mare. It scared the heck out of me too, in primary school. I can't find it online but a Collected Poems of de la Mare from your local library would have it. Glad you remembered it so vividly too: I thought I was the only one. It's only five years since you posted the question! I doubt whether you'll get this, but at least I tried. All the best.
Hi blozmo! Five years... goodness how time flies... Thanks for the poet - I love Walter de la Mare, so think I will try to track down a Collected Verse to add the my laden bookshelves. The title, The Feckless Dinner Party, sounds as if it's crying out to be illustrated by Edward Gorey - shame he never got around to it!
So kind of you to have taken the trouble to reply, I'm hugely grateful. Very best wishes - Fay
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