Brief recap of two stories from The Valancourt Book of Victorian Christmas Ghost Stories
Story #7: “Jack Layford’s Friend” by Anonymous: Jack’s friend happens to be Philip Carlyon – a brave, bright man with a loyal heart. Jack needs help dealing with a ghost of devious cunning nature, and Phil is the man to provide that help. This story does use a particularly offensive racial slur at least once, and the race of the governess character, while remarked on quite a bit, is completely irrelevant to the fairly long story.
Story #8: “How Peter Parley Laid a Ghost” – if we were to switch out the main character for a big brown dog, this would be a Scooby Doo episode. It’s short and sometimes slightly humorous. According to the Carol A. Block, in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Children’s Literature as cited by Valancourt editor Tara Moore, Peter Parley’s Magazine is the name of a magazine that was published from 1839 to 1863, publishing a Christmas annual every year from 1840 to1892 (52 years!), but no author is listed for this story.
I was unable to locate either story in my usual public domain databases.