It is very seldom that
mere ordinary people like John and myself secure ancestral halls
for the summer.
A colonial mansion, a hereditary
estate, I would say a haunted house, and reach the height of
romantic felicity—but that would be asking too much of fate!
Still I will proudly declare that
there is something queer about it.
Else, why should it be let so
cheaply? And why have stood so long untenanted?
John laughs at me, of course, but
one expects that in marriage.
John is practical in the extreme.
He has no patience with faith, an intense horror of superstition,
and he scoffs openly at any talk of things not to be felt and seen
and put down in figures.
John is a physician, and
PERHAPS—(I would not say it to a living soul, of course, but this
is dead paper and a great relief to my mind)—PERHAPS that is one
reason I do not get well faster.
You see he does not believe I am
And what can one do?
If a physician of high standing,
and one's own husband, assures friends and relatives that there is
really nothing the matter with one but temporary nervous
depression—a slight hysterical tendency—what is one to do?
My brother is also a physician,
and also of high standing, and he says the same thing.
So I take phosphates or
phosphites—whichever it is, and tonics, and journeys, and air, and
exercise, and am absolutely forbidden to "work" until I am well
Personally, I disagree with their
Personally, I believe that
congenial work, with excitement and change, would do me good.
But what is one to do?
I did write for a while in spite
of them; but it DOES exhaust me a good deal—having to be so sly
about it, or else meet with heavy opposition.
I sometimes fancy that in my
condition if I had less opposition and more society and
stimulus—but John says the very worst thing I can do is to think
about my condition, and I confess it always makes me feel
So I will let it alone and talk
about the house.
The most beautiful place! It is
quite alone, standing well back from the road, quite three miles
from the village. It makes me think of English places that you read
about, for there are hedges and walls and gates that lock, and lots
of separate little houses for the gardeners and people.
There is a DELICIOUS garden! I
never saw such a garden—large and shady, full of box-bordered
paths, and lined with long grape-covered arbors with seats under
There were greenhouses, too, but
they are all broken now.
There was some legal trouble, I
believe, something about the heirs and coheirs; anyhow, the place
has been empty for years.
That spoils my ghostliness, I am
afraid, but I don't care—there is something strange about the
house—I can feel it.
I even said so to John one
moonlight evening, but he said what I felt was a DRAUGHT, and shut
I get unreasonably angry with
John sometimes. I'm sure I never used to be so sensitive. I think
it is due to this nervous condition.
But John says if I feel so, I
shall neglect proper self-control; so I take pains to control
myself—before him, at least, and that makes me very tired.
I don't like our room a bit. I
wanted one downstairs that opened on the piazza and had roses all
over the window, and such pretty old-fashioned chintz hangings! but
John would not hear of it.