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All Hallows Eve 1700…

 

Now upon this midnight dreary…

 

Though Diary, I ponder, old and weary…

 

Dreaming of a younger day

 

A day that now’s so far away…

 

Oh, those golden days of yore…

 

Only this and nothing more…

 

Now comes a soft, familiar tapping…

 

A rapping at my library door…

 

“Tis Will or Mary who makes this tapping…

 

Rapping at my library door…

 

Only one of them, and nothing more…”

 

“Oh, Will or Mary…Come, whilst I remember…

Let me tell ye just once more…

Of my golden days of yore…

I promise ye I will not bore…”

 

But only rapping, strangely familiar tapping…

Faintly at my library door…

Only this but nothing more…

 

Presently my stone pain abated…

And so thought I this tapping rated...

A little peek outside my door…

So I stepped upon the floor…

Carefully approached the door…

“If not Will, not Mary…Who be ye, stranger?...

Rapping at my library door…?”

Here I opened wide my door…

 

Down the hall I stood there peering, fearing…

Clutching that which made my dreams so sure…

My Diary and nothing more…

But all was silence and unbroken…

Pitch darkness that gave no token…

“Stranger?  Why have you I awoken?...

Will ye give me no more token…

No word from you to make me sure…”

From the darkness… “Read some more…”

 

Now a chill crept o’er me, thrilling…

A clear sign of a cold for sure…

Fantastic terrors filled me, chilling…

Terror never felt before…

From the darkness… “Read some more…”

 

Running back into the chamber, turning…

Slamming door, my stone pain burning…

Burning as it never has before…

I’m much too old for such a chore…

Calling on my Will or Mary…

No succor there, in bed for sure….

But all being stillness, my head was calming…

For the explanation simple, balming…

Just the wind and nothing more…

 

Still, that voice was so familiar…

A voice I know I’ve heard before…

In lost golden days of yore…

A voice that shook my sad heart’s core…

“But it was just the wind…” saith I… “And nothing more…”

“Let my heart be still and then I’ll explore…

This mystery  of ‘Read some more’…”

 

Sinking back onto my chair cushion…

Staring at my library door…

Now my sheared hairs highly rising,

As through that solid library door,

Moved a hooded figure, pausing…

Pausing to regard me, more…

“I tole you, go on, read some more…”

 

“Bess?” Saith I… “My saint, my darling…”

“Shut up, you…Your words’ not worth a farthing…

See you’ve done quite well for sure…

Since me you put below the floor…”

“Not so bad…” said I…And nothing more…

 

“Speak…” said the sprite… “You’re so loquacious…

Cat got your tongue?  That’s news for sure…”

“Bess…” whispered I…And nothing more…

 

“Why have I come?  You might try and ask me.

Damnit, Sam’l…You really task me…

Go on, you git, go on, ask me…

Why for God’s sake am I at your door?

When my only answer should be ‘Nevermore’.”

 

Gathering courage at the spirit’s pleading…

My weary heart within me beating…

Beating as it has not for many years before…

“Bess?  It is you?…” a nervous conceding…

Conceding as I never did before…

That spirits could project through doors…

“And what is it, you wish me read some more?...”

 

“You bet it’s me…You cheat, you liar…

You philandering little louse, you male whore…”

“Bess…I thought we’d covered this ground before…”

“Damnit, I said to read some more…”

 

Seeing the sprite was so insistent…

I hesitated but an instant…

Looking round my library floor…

For that said volume…

“I mean the Diary, you clod…The volume you just dropped on the floor…”

“Oh…You meant read that some more?…”

 

Now a bit I sweated, really…

Pondering, fearing…Quite sincerely…

“You’ve heard me read it?...” Hesitating…

“You bet…” Grimly… “And I’m waiting…”

Throwing off her hood to show…

Whoa…Oh,

My lovely Bess in all her glory…

Not a trace of any gory…

More beautious than Barbara Palmer…

As if on the day that Halys painted…

So dazzling old I nearly fainted…

“You’re looking well…” saith I, faintly…

“Can’t say the same…” saith she, quaintly…

“You gonna read or am I going…?”

 

“Oh, darling…” saith I, glowing…

For shame, you see and nothing more…

“If you can read it…”

“I can for sure…”

“Then let me burn it…” and said no more…

 

“Read, you idiot…You clod, you moron…

Your record of faithlessness I should deplore…

But…Read more from the volume on the floor…”

 

Standing next me, she appearing…

Leaning on my shoulder as in days of yore…

Listening as I read her more…

“Ha!...” laughed she… “You were jealous of old Sibley…

Even after Willet…” grimly… “Now read more…”

 

“Bess, you like it?...” said I, staring…

“Sometimes it doth show you caring…”

Replied she with her eye of scorn…

But sensed I a note of feeling…

A tenderness, even a pleading…

Leading me to continue reading…

Reading as I never did before…

Just to please her, nothing more…

 

“Well, that’s the end…Did it bore you?...

I know it’s not a record of how I did adore you…”

Said she, in tone of quiet sadness…

“Not all life is filled with gladness…

But…Ask I Sam’l why you stopped it?

It surely wasn’t just the optic…

Since read you can so well, so true…”

Quoth I… “T’was nothing without you…”

 

“Well…” Saith she, eyeing me gladly…

Though trying to seem somewhat madly…

“Least you did send Willet packing…

And these do look nice in their leather backing…

You shouldn’t burn them, they look pricey…

And you read them rather nicely…”

 

“Come again and I will keep them…”

Saith I , calm voice concealing…

Sad desperation I was feeling…

 

“We could start with volume one…

And if I’m dead before we’ve done…

We could finish in Heav’n…

If you’d allow…”

 

“Lord, I sense another vow…

Yet, as an avid fan of reading…

Perhaps I may pity your pleading…

Possibly I might just come again…

To spend a night in your little den…”

 

And my Diary, my Bess, still is sitting…

On the shelves just next my door…

And every night the candle’s burning…

As I read my Bess forevermore…

 

Read a bit of the Secret Diaries tale