The Hedgehog by Saki, 1916
The magic trick:
Couching social commentary within a ghost story
Yesterday, the SSMT blog looked at “Becky,” that starts as a social commentary and evolves into a ghost story. “The Hedgehog,” today, gives us a neat mirror image. This story begins as a ghost story before evolving into a social commentary. The ghost story, in fact, really is just a red herring. The whole point is to mock the British upper class. And that’s quite a trick on Saki’s part.
“How very interesting,” said the chinchilla voice; “Exwood is just the right place for her to come to, isn’t it? There are supposed to be several ghosts there.”
“That is why she was so anxious to come,” said Mrs. Norbury; “she put off another engagement in order to accept my invitation. She’s had visions and dreams, and all those sort of things, that have come true in a most marvellous manner, but she’s never actually seen a ghost, and she’s longing to have that experience. She belongs to that Research Society, you know.”