When I was a little girl, one of my very bestest friends in the whole world was Alma Carpenter, who lived in a huge, beautiful old house in the middle of town called Dunleith. Built in the 1840s, Dunleith is reminiscent of the Parthenon, surrounded by a wide two-story gallery supported by huge columns.
Alma and I had often heard the sad, tragic tale of Miss Percy, who returned to this country from France after a failed romance with a French nobleman. It was said she could be heard playing plaintive tunes on her harp in the evenings. Although I listened with all my might for her melancholy songs, I never heard them, and was convinced until one evening in the early 1970s that the story was a farce.
|The Carpenter Family|
That night, Alma and I were upstairs in the house, alone, save for an older sister. We were watching television when we heard a sudden hollow beating throughout the house, like the heart in the bosom of a heartsick giant. It seemed the very house had a pulse, and was watching us with malevolent eyes.
"What was THAT?"
"Oh, my gosh. I don't know!"
Finally, we went and retrieved said older sister, who went downstairs to investigate. Grabbing the long-handled feather duster, Alma and I crept downstairs behind her, ready to defend her against all evil things.
"Oh, for Pete's sake," said sister. "It's just Joe"
Alma's brother Joe, who'd been out at a party, tumbled in the door.
"Thanks," he said. "The door was locked; I thought I'd never get in."
Shew! Well, so much for Miss Percy, although I swear I thought I heard something one time while playing in the attic, and could've sworn the rocker by the window had started moving on its own.