A GAME OF CATCH by Helen Cresswell


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A fleeting, delicate brush with the past transpires when Kate and Hugh visit a castle/museum, deserted in winter, and hear Kate's name echoed among the battlements. The old caretaker has heard the echoes too, and he shows the youngsters a portrait of a 1790 boy and girl--the girl named Kate. Later he reports the pair missing from the picture just when Kate, skating on the lake, has heard them call again and seen the furrows of their skate blades on the ice. But Kate craves further, clearer contact and does at last have a snowy game of catch with the two, who are visible only to her, before she and Hugh must leave. There's further confirmation, when she checks, in the slightly altered portrait--thus eliminating any trace of the ambiguity most such fantasies allow. It's all wrapped up just a bit too neatly, but Cresswell's telling gives the brief, short-story-length encounter the fragile perfection of a snowflake.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1977
Publisher: Macmillan