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The Canterville Ghost

A ghostly conversation.

`It is no reason at all for existing, and you know you have been very wicked. Mrs. Umney told us, the first day we arrived here, that you had killed your wife.'

`Well, I quite admit it,' said the Ghost petulantly, `but it was a purely family matter, and concerned no one else.'

`It is very wrong to kill any one,' said Virginia, who at times had a sweet Puritan gravity, caught from some old New England ancestor.

`Oh, I hate the cheap severity of abstract ethics! My wife was very plain, never had my ruffs properly starched, and knew nothing about cookery. Why, there was a buck I had shot in Hogley Woods, a magnificent beast, and do you know how she had it sent up to table? However, it is no matter now, for it is all over, and I don't think it was very nice of her brothers to starve me to death, though I did kill her.'

`Starve you to death? Oh, Mr. Ghost, I mean Sir Simon, are you hungry? I have a sandwich in my case. Would you like it?'

`No, thank you, I never eat anything now; but it is very kind of you, all the same, and you are much nicer than the rest of your horrid, rude, vulgar, dishonest family.'


Petulant: Like an angry child who knows he is wrong.
Puritan : A strictly religious group of American colonists.
Gravity: Seriousness.
Severe: Hard and unforgiving.
Abstract: Not about something definite.
Ethics: Questions of what is right and wrong behaviour.
Plain: Here it means not beautiful.
Ruff: A large decorative collar.
Starch: a way of making cloth less flexible.
Buck: A male deer.
Vulgar: Loud and unsophisticated.

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