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NEVER SPEAK ILL OF 

 HYDE HALL'S DEAD

 ... a year after it was completed.

 

Hyde Hall seems clipped from the English countryside. That day the rest of the world was opting for baseball and boating, so I had Hyde Hall and its docent all to myself. As I walked into its high-ceilinged vestibule I had my antennae up, roaming for spirits; I was 

so disappointed. Not a spook to be had. Then BAM, I homed in on a patch of familiar heaviness at the far end of the front room that gently told me: “Here I am.”   I was aware that the spirit was a male, resting luxuriously in the midday sun.  Even with its raw plaster walls, Hyde Hall’s front parlor held uncommon elegance. If I were the house spirit, I’d be languishing there too.

 

I felt our invisible companion rise in an amiable mood and walk toward the docent and I, as though he were welcoming a couple of long-awaited guests. The guide began by detailing an account of the house's architecture 

and construction. I felt our unseen friend  swell with pride as the docent talked about the Clarke family’s wealth and prominence. Then the subject changed to Mr. Clarke’s long illness, punctuated by a comprehensive account of his young wife’s affair with a neighbor. With that, BAM, I felt the spirit of Mr. Clarke flash hot with anger, turn abruptly, and storm toward the door leading to the back hall with the docent blithely ignorant of the disturbance that he’d just caused.  And that is why the ancient Spartans warned, “speak no ill of the dead. “

© Medium Gail, MediumGail.com

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