A Mr. Dillet buys from a Mr. Chittenden a fine-looking doll’s house for what most would consider an expensive price. The doll’s house is so beautiful and exquisitely designed that Mr. Dillet sets it in his bedroom. At around 1:00 am, he’s awakened by a clock chime and a disturbance coming from the vicinity of the doll’s house.
The title “The Haunted Doll’s House” and M. R. James’ reputation for intellectually chilling ghost stories gives one enough idea of what might occur during Mr. Dillet’s experience that I’m not going to go into much detail. As this is the second James story I’ve read, I do find one thing in common with this story and “After Dark In The Playing Fields”: both of the protagonists, while apparently frightened out of their wits, move on from the story, affected by their experience but not adversely, or so it at least seems.
According to a small note at the end of this story, James uses the same premise in his story “Mezzotint”. He makes an apology of sort hoping that there is enough difference to make “the repetition tolerable”. The repetition of beautiful, detailed, atmospheric and just plain scary writing would be more than tolerable for this reader.