After awhile the coat of clean white paint on the Jeffrey Curtain house made a definite compromise with the suns of many Julys and showed its good faith by turning grey. It scaled—huge peelings of very brittle old paint leaned over backward like aged men practicing grotesque gymnastics and finally dropped to a moldy death in the overgrown grass beneath. The paint on the front pillars became streaky; the white ball was knocked off the left-hand doorpost; the green blinds darkened, then lost all pretense of color.
It began to be a house that was avoided by the tender-minded—some church bought a lot diagonally opposite for a graveyard and this, combined with “the place where Mrs. Curtain stays with that living corpse,” was enough to throw a ghostly aura over that quarter of the road. Not