"Old New England Traits"
“A Ridiculous Judgment”
The door did stick. Then opened inward. Then stuck again... against something stopping its ‘opening’ progress from behind this door. It opened enough so that “We can get in.” Said Helen.
Because the hall outside the open door was dark and enclosed... I’d already ‘adapted to conditions’. This was enhanced by my personal ‘in my element’ state... I’d switched on (‘become’).
WHO CARES if it is a ‘perfect’ mid October day outside; high, dry pressure of rolling puffy clouds ranging across deep blue sky with falling leaf swirls in mid air and leaf scurry racing under foot across the ...driveway ...leading to the front steps... of the Savage Mansion.
WHO CARES when it is I who rides the lawn tractor INTO a locked, dark, silent, still and ‘never’ ‘seen’... by ANY... ‘one’... “OUTSIDE OF THE FAMILY THAT I KNOW OF”. Said Helen... WHILE Helen goes before me and pries up the gravestones BLOCKING the lawn tractor... and pitches them ‘into the sea’. Or... is it I before HER with SHE on the lawn tractor ‘so we can get it (the lawn tractor) in’ and I ...the ‘pry up’ the gravestones and ‘pitch them’ into the sea? (Part Six [A])
Is it THAT? WE are DESTROYING something... by Helen turning the old key in the old door lock and pushing her bare feet and clothed-in-her-still “I KNOW SUMMERS OVER BUT I DON’T CARE” floral dress... against the door. Helen is ahead of me? SO I AM riding the lawn tractor? Or do I come to her aid from behind when SHE riding the lawn tractor must stop because “HERE’S ANOTHER ONE”. I step forward and slam my steel pry bar deep into the soft sand soil and push DOWN so that my leverage point PUSHES UP to... “DO THEY just POP FREE?”
“DAMN THEY DO!” of another one that with my work gloves on and tossing the bar to the side I ROLL... the gravestone INTO... the... SEA (shore) ‘below’.
“GOOD ENOUGH.” said Helen when I volunteered by action to ‘move’ ‘whatever it is’ ‘back’ “FROM BLOCKING THE DOOR”.
HAD (just) DESTROYED
“That is a ridiculous judgment”: Did I forget or did I not know?***
“The continent of North America?” I hear myself say out loud as my head goes upward to see the dark ceiling and its walled room cornered edges ...lining the wall tops with bookcases... “FULL” of... ‘old books’. Helen is ahead of me to one of two windows draped SHUT with only a four inch BLINDING radiant glow outlining the darkest green rolling-ton-of-fabric velvet (?) BLOCKING ‘out anything’ “THE WINDOWS DON’T OPEN”. Helen says but... starts to endeavor to pull to a side that window’s drape.
“NO.” I command and startle myself... “Just leave it. Dark. Now.” I recover.
I did just almost drive the lawn tractor into the sea at the edge of the continent of North America to NEVER RECOVER
to it’s ‘was’.
OH WAS THAT A CLOSE ONE.
All of this roaring mind swirl juxtaposition of our entrance to ‘the room’ is from chapter six [A] where I had stood to see first hand ‘a pitch’. Of gravestones... into the sea... at the edge of the continent... of North America. I HEAR THIS ‘the room’ HISSING NOW: “GO TO HELL”.
But I stopped before I got there (Hell).
I stopped before I ‘did that’. Helen stopped before she let any more light in. We stood for four seconds maybe in the only air in that room. The only light in that room. The only noise in that room.
WAS NO NOISE AT ALL.
I could ‘see’ now. Everything. In the dark.”
“THIS IS SORT OF...” began Helen “THE LIBRARY and the OFFICE. WELL IT WAS ONCE BUT I DON’T USE IT EVER. I never come in HERE EXCEPT like THIS.”
“I can see that.” I said ineffectively. I think I said that. I may just have thought that. I was roving the dark. I ... “let me move that (“It’s a desk; a lady’s writing desk”) back where it was. I...” am saying.
“THAT IS ALWAYS BLOCKING. IF YOU MOVE IT... it BLOCKS SOMETHING ELSE.”
Behind this lady’s letter desk was another desk. This desk pushed back against a third desk. That desk is actually an oversized Empire style ...glass door topped... ‘secretary’... that is fitted against the wall. That wall is full lined with bookcases... full of ... ‘old books’... as are all the other walls. The secretary blocks the old books on the shelves from view where it was ‘pushed back against them’. The other walls of bookcases had ...either small book cases, small tables or other desks... of some sort... pushed against them... too. The room’s wall against the outside of the mansion, with the two draped windows glowing in outline, had book shelves on each side and in the center between the windows. Small ‘stands’ (little tables with one drawer) were ...fitted... against them. At the center shelf... two thirds of the way ‘up’ to ‘the ceiling’ I... notice... “A MIRROR”?
“With a cloth over it?”
“A mourning shroud?”
“NO. NOT POSSIBLE” I said all out loud to myself. “THAT is TOO OLD; 18th century.”
“THAT IS.” I hear Helen saying for she HAD FOLLOWED my gaze... “COVERED... from when ONE JOHN DIED. THEY SAID they could SEE HIS FACE in THAT MIRROR. So they COVERED IT. IT’S ALWAYS BEEN LIKE THAT.”
“A mourning shroud?” I hear myself say.
“NO. They left his body in here OVERNIGHT before BURIAL. IN THIS ROOM. WELL... ONE OF THEM: They said they SAW HIS FACE in THAT mirror LOOKING AT THEM. SO... that’s WHY they covered IT. I KNOW they used to DO THAT. It’s always been covered. It’s a RIDICULOUS.”
*** From Part Six (A): “In one’s thoughts of New England, it is a ridiculous judgment for one to forget this. Or not know of this. Those that have the privilege of ‘forgetting’ are a much smaller group than those who... ‘not know of this’.”