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     On a pattern like this, by daylight, there is a lack of sequence, a defiance of law, that is a constant irritant to a normal mind.
     The color is hideous enough, and unreliable enough, and infuriating enough, but the pattern is torturing.
     You think you have mastered it, but just as you get well underway in following, it turns a back somersault and there you are. It slaps you in the face, knocks you down, and tramples upon you. It is like a bad dream.
     The outside pattern is a florid arabesque, reminding one of a fungus. If you can imagine a toadstool in joints, an interminable string of toadstools, budding and sprouting in endless convolutions--why, that is something like it.
     That is, sometimes!
     There is one marked peculiarity about this paper, a thing nobody seems to notice but myself, and that is that it changes as the light changes.
     When the sun shoots in through the east window--I always watch for that first long, straight ray--it changes so quickly that I never can quite believe it.
     That is why I watch it always.
     By moonlight--the moon shines in all night when there is a moon--I wouldn't know it was the same paper.
     At night in any kind of light, in twilight, candle light, lamplight, and worst of all by moonlight, it becomes bars! The outside pattern I mean, and the woman behind it is as plain as can be.
     I didn't realize for a long time what the thing was that showed behind, that dim sub-pattern, but now I am quite sure it is a woman.
     By daylight she is subdued, quiet. I fancy it is the pattern that keeps her so still. It is so puzzling. It keeps me quiet by the hour.
     I lie down ever so much now. John says it is good for me, and to sleep all I can.
     Indeed he started the habit by making me lie down for an hour after each meal.
     It is a very bad habit I am convinced, for you see I don't sleep.
     And that cultivates deceit, for I don't tell them I'm awake--O no!
     The fact is I am getting a little afraid of John.
     He seems very queer sometimes, and even Jennie has an inexplicable look.
     It strikes me occasionally, just as a scientific hypothesis,--that perhaps it is the paper!
     I have watched John when he did not know I was looking, and come into the room suddenly on the most innocent excuses, and I've caught him several times looking at the paper! And Jennie too. I caught Jennie with her hand on it once.
     She didn't know I was in the room, and when I asked her in a quiet, a very quiet voice, with the most restrained manner possible, what she was doing with the paper--she turned around as if she had been caught stealing, and looked quite angry--asked me why I should frighten her so!
     Then she said that the paper stained everything it touched, that she had found yellow smooches on all my clothes and John's, and she wished we would be more careful!
     Did not that sound innocent? But I know she was studying that pattern, and I am determined that nobody shall find it out but myself!

* * *

      Life is very much more exciting now than it used to be. You see I have something more to expect, to look forward to, to watch. I really do eat better, and am more quiet than I was.
     John is so pleased to see me improve ! He laughed a little the other day, and said I seemed to be flourishing in spite of my wall-paper.
     I turned it off with a laugh. I had no intention of telling him it was because of the wall-paper--he would make fun of me. He might even want to take me away.
     I don't want to leave now until I have found it out. There is a week more, and I think that will be enough.

* * *

     I'm feeling ever so much better! I don't sleep much at night, for it is so interesting to watch developments; but I sleep a good deal in the daytime.
     In the daytime it is tiresome and perplexing.
     There are always new shoots on the fungus, and new shades of yellow all over it. I cannot keep count of them, though I have tried conscientiously.
     It is the strangest yellow, that wall-paper! It makes me think of all the yellow things I ever saw--not beautiful ones like buttercups, but old foul, bad yellow things.
     But there is something else about that paper-- the smell! I noticed it the moment we came into the room, but with so much air and sun it was not bad. Now we have had a week of fog and rain, and whether the windows are open or not, the smell is here.
     It creeps all over the house.
     I find it hovering in the dining-room, skulking in the parlor, hiding in the hall, lying in wait for me on the stairs.
     It gets into my hair.
     Even when I go to ride, if I turn my head suddenly and surprise it--there is that smell!
     Such a peculiar odor, too! I have spent hours in trying to analyze it, to find what it smelled like.
     It is not bad--at first, and very gentle, but quite the subtlest, most enduring odor I ever met.
     In this damp weather it is awful, I wake up in the night and find it hanging over me.
     It used to disturb me at first. I thought seriously of burning the house--to reach the smell.
     But now I am used to it. The only thing I can think of that it is like is the color of the paper! A yellow smell.
     There is a very funny mark on this wall, low down, near the mopboard. A streak that runs round the room. It goes behind every piece of furniture, except the bed, a long, straight, even smooch, as if it had been rubbed over and over.
     I wonder how it was done and who did it, and what they did it for. Round and round and round--round and round and round--it makes me dizzy!

* * *

     I really have discovered something at last.
     Through watching so much at night, when it changes so, I have finally found out.
     The front pattern does move--and no wonder! The woman behind shakes it!
     Sometimes I think there are a great many women behind, and sometimes only one, and she crawls around fast, and her crawling shakes it all over.
     Then in the very bright spots she keeps still, and in the very shady spots she just takes hold of the bars and shakes them hard.
     And she is all the time trying to climb through. But nobody could climb through that pattern--it strangles so; I think that is why it has so many heads.
     They get through, and then the pattern strangles them off and turns them upside down, and makes their eyes white!
     If those heads were covered or taken off it would not be half so bad.

* * *

     I think that woman gets out in the daytime!
     And I'll tell you why--privately--I've seen her!
     I can see her out of every one of my windows!
     It is the same woman, I know, for she is always creeping, and most women do not creep by daylight.
     I see her on that long road under the trees, creeping along, and when a carriage comes she hides under the blackberry vines.
     I don't blame her a bit. It must be very humiliating to be caught creeping by daylight!
      I always lock the door when I creep by daylight. I can't do it at night, for I know John would suspect something at once.
     And John is so queer now, that I don't want to irritate him. I wish he would take another room! Besides, I don't want anybody to get that woman out at night but myself.
     I often wonder if I could see her out of all the windows at once.
     But, turn as fast as I can, I can only see out of one at one time.
     And though I always see her, she may be able to creep faster than I can turn!
     I have watched her sometimes away off in the open country, creeping as fast as a cloud shadow in a high wind.

* * *

     If only that top pattern could be gotten off from the under one! I mean to try it, little by little.
     I have found out another funny thing, but I shan't tell it this time! It does not do to trust people too much.
     There are only two more days to get this paper off, and I believe John is beginning to notice. I don't like the look in his eyes.
     And I heard him ask Jennie a lot of professional questions about me. She had a very good report to give.
     She said I slept a good deal in the daytime.