The men and women who queued up to see Downton were expected to be envious and larcenous. Instead, they were serious-minded and inquisitive. In a series of quick vignettes, we see Cora, Edith, and Mary all stumped by basic questions about art, architecture, and history. Only Molesley, standing in the background, seems to know who painted the paintings, but he is silenced by his position in the hierarchy.
Because, let's be honest, while I am totally into Stevie Nicks and candles and The Craft and whatever, it is enormously safe for me to do so, and I prioritize my physical safety and comfort over absolutely everything, and if there was even a chance that someday I could face social or legal repercussions for my vague, shallow interest in "witch shit," I would throw Stevie Nicks in a river.
Which weekend retreatant helped herself to a full plate of green beans at Saturday lunch, took one bite, realized they were still crisp-fresh, then threw the rest off the side of the deck of the Hesychia hermitage out of embarrassment, even though the retreat kitchen has a perfectly good compost bin?
Should you find, whilst entertaining friends and wearing your finest frock at a public assembly or a private ball, that you are suddenly disrupted, surrounded and confronted by a wash (rabble?) of those most unbecoming, debased, and uncouth of guests, the Undead, I am in hopes that the following will help you assess what is the proper way to respond, in a manner befitting ladies and gentlemen.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Except for you! Except for you! The spirit of fear has made your heart her home, and she will never leave you! No power, no love, no soundness of mind – the spirit of fear is yours!
You work as a proofreader, staying up all night hunched over desks. It's dull work. You like dull work. Your co-worker sits next to you, pining. His hands do not match the rest of his body. You pity him. You remember the days you wore white lipstick and teased the boys, you and your best friend, a little slip of a thing with dark hair and a cruel mouth who always sat sideways, in a…