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4/21/22, 7:28 PM The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman 1/21

The Project Gutenberg eBook of The YellowWallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United Statesand most other parts of the world at no cost and with almost norestrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use itunder the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with thiseBook or online at If you are not located in theUnited States, you will have to check the laws of the country whereyou are located before using this eBook.

Title: The Yellow Wallpaper

Author: Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Release Date: November, 1999 [eBook #1952] [Most recently updated: January 4, 2021]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8

Produced by: An Anonymous Volunteer and David Widger


4/21/22, 7:28 PM The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman 2/21

T h e Ye l l o wWa l l p a p e r

By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

It is very seldom that mere ordinary people like John and myselfsecure ancestral halls for the summer.

A colonial mansion, a hereditary estate, I would say a hauntedhouse, and reach the height of romantic felicity—but that would beasking too much of fate!

Still I will proudly declare that there is something queer about it.Else, why should it be let so cheaply? And why have stood so long

untenanted?John laughs at me, of course, but one expects that in marriage.John is practical in the extreme. He has no patience with faith, an

intense horror of superstition, and he scoffs openly at any talk ofthings not to be felt and seen and put down in figures.

John is a physician, and perhaps—(I would not say it to a livingsoul, of course, but this is dead paper and a great relief to my mind)—perhaps that is one reason I do not get well faster.

You see, he does not believe I am sick!And what can one do?If a physician of high standing, and one’s own husband, assures

friends and relatives that there is really nothing the matter with onebut temporary nervous depression—a slight hysterical tendency—what is one to do?

My brother is also a physician, and also of high standing, and hesays the same thing.

So I take phosphates or phosphites—whichever it is, and tonics,and journeys, and air, and exercise, and am absolutely forbidden to“work” until I am well again.

Personally, I disagree with their ideas.Personally, I believe that congenial work, with excitement and

change, would do me good.But what is one to do?I did write for a while in spite of them; but it does exhaust me a

good deal—having to be so sly about it, or else meet with heavyopposition.

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I sometimes fancy that in my condition if I had less opposition andmore society and stimulus—but John says the very worst thing I cando is to think about my condition, and I confess it always makes mefeel bad.

So I will let it alone and talk about the house.The most beautiful place! It is quite alone, standing well back

from the road, quite three miles from the village. It makes me thinkof English places that you read about, for there are hedges and wallsand gates that lock, and lots of separate little houses for thegardeners and people.

There is a delicious garden! I never saw such a garden—large andshady, full of box-bordered paths, and lined with long grape-coveredarbors with seats under them.

There were greenhouses, too, but they are all broken now.There was some legal trouble, I believe, something about the heirs

and co-heirs; anyhow, the place has been empty for years.That spoils my ghostliness, I am afraid; but I don’t care—there is

something strange about the house—I can feel it.I even said so to John one moonlight evening, but he said what I

felt was a draught, and shut the window.I get unreasonably angry with John sometimes. I’m sure I never

used to be so sensitive. I think it is due to this nervous condition.But John says if I feel so I shall neglect proper self-control; so I

take pains to control myself,—before him, at least,—and that makesme very tired.

I don’t like our room a bit. I wanted one downstairs that openedon the piazza and had roses all over the window, and such pretty old-fashioned chintz hangings! but John would not hear of it.

He said there was only one window and not room for two beds,and no near room for him if he took another.

He is very careful and loving, and hardly lets me stir withoutspecial direction.

I have a schedule prescription for each hour in the day; he takes allcare from me, and so I feel basely ungrateful not to value it more.

He said we came here solely on my account, that I was to haveperfect rest and all the air I could get. “Your exercise depends onyour strength, my dear,” said he, “and your food somewhat on yourappetite; but air you can absorb all the time.” So we took the nursery,at the top of the house.

It is a big, airy room, the whole floor nearly, with windows thatlook all ways, and air and sunshine galore. It was nursery first andthen playground and gymnasium, I should judge; for the windowsare barred for little children, and there are rings and things in thewalls.

The paint and paper look as if a boys’ school had used it. It isstripped off—the paper—in great patches all around the head of mybed, about as far as I can reach, and in a great place on the other sideof the room low down. I never saw a worse paper in my life.

One of those sprawling flamboyant patterns committing everyartistic sin.

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It is dull enough to confuse the eye in following, pronouncedenough to constantly irritate, and provoke study, and when youfollow the lame, uncertain curves for a little distance they suddenlycommit suicide—plunge off at outrageous angles, destroythemselves in unheard-of contradictions.

The color is repellant, almost revolting; a smouldering, uncleanyellow, strangely faded by the slow-turning sunlight.

It is a dull yet lurid orange in some places, a sickly sulphur tint inothers.

No wonder the children hated it! I should hate it myself if I had tolive in this room long.

There comes John, and I must put this away,—he hates to have mewrite a word.

We have been here two weeks, and I haven’t felt like writingbefore, since that first day.

I am sitting by the window now, up in this atrocious nursery, andthere is nothing to hinder my writing as much as I please, save lackof strength.

John is away all day, and even some nights when his cases areserious.

I am glad my case is not serious!But these nervous troubles are dreadfully depressing.John does not know how much I really suffer. He knows there is

no reason to suffer, and that satisfies him.Of course it is only nervousness. It does weigh on me so not to do

my duty in any way!I meant to be such a help to John, such a real rest and comfort, and

here I am a comparative burden already!Nobody would believe what an effort it is to do what little I am

able—to dress and entertain, and order things.It is fortunate Mary is so good with the baby. Such a dear baby!And yet I cannot be with him, it makes me so nervous.I suppose John never was nervous in his life. He laughs at me so

about this wallpaper!At first he meant to repaper the room, but afterwards he said that I

was letting it get the better of me, and that nothing was worse for anervous patient than to give way to such fancies.

He said that after the wallpaper was changed it would be theheavy bedstead, and then the barred windows, and then that gate atthe head of the stairs, and so on.

“You know the place is doing you good,” he said, “and really,dear, I don’t care to renovate the house just for a three months’rental.”

“Then do let us go downstairs,” I said, “there are such prettyrooms there.”

Then he took me in his arms and called me a blessed little goose,and said he would go down cellar if I wished, and have itwhitewashed into the bargain.

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But he is right enough about the beds and windows and things.It is as airy and comfortable a room as any one need wish, and, of

course, I would not be so silly as to make him uncomfortable just fora whim.

I’m really getting quite fond of the big room, all but that horridpaper.

Out of one window I can see the garden, those mysterious deep-shaded arbors, the riotous old-fashioned flowers, and bushes andgnarly trees.

Out of another I get a lovely view of the bay and a little privatewharf belonging to the estate. There is a beautiful shaded lane thatruns down there from the house. I always fancy I see people walkingin these numerous paths and arbors, but John has cautioned me not togive way to fancy in the least. He says that with my imaginativepower and habit of story-making a nervous weakness like mine issure to lead to all manner of excited fancies, and that I ought to usemy will and good sense to check the tendency. So I try.

I think sometimes that if I were only well enough to write a little itwould relieve the press of ideas and rest me.

But I find I get pretty tired when I try.It is so discouraging not to have any advice and companionship

about my work. When I get really well John says we will ask CousinHenry and Julia down for a long visit; but he says he would as soonput fire-works in my pillow-case as to let me have those stimulatingpeople about now.

I wish I could get well faster.But I must not think about that. This paper looks to me as if it

knew what a vicious influence it had!There is a recurrent spot where the pattern lolls like a broken neck

and two bulbous eyes stare at you upside-down.I get positively angry with the impertinence of it and the

everlastingness. Up and down and sideways they crawl, and thoseabsurd, unblinking eyes are everywhere. There is one place wheretwo breadths didn’t match, and the eyes go all up and down the line,one a little higher than the other.

I never saw so much expression in an inanimate thing before, andwe all know how much expression they have! I used to lie awake asa child and get more entertainment and terror out of blank walls andplain furniture than most children could find in a toy-store.

I remember what a kindly wink the knobs of our big old bureauused to have, and there was one chair that always seemed like astrong friend.

I used to feel that if any of the other things looked too fierce Icould always hop into that chair and be safe.

The furniture in this room is no worse than inharmonious,however, for we had to bring it all from downstairs. I suppose whenthis was used as a playroom they had to take the nursery things out,and no wonder! I never saw such ravages as the children have madehere.

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The wallpaper, as I said before, is torn off in spots, and it stickethcloser than a brother—they must have had perseverance as well ashatred.

Then the floor is scratched and gouged and splintered, the plasteritself is dug out here and there, and this great heavy bed, which is allwe found in the room, looks as if it had been through the wars.

But I don’t mind it a bit—only the paper.There comes John’s sister. Such a dear girl as she is, and so careful

of me! I must not let her find me writing.She is a perfect, and enthusiastic housekeeper, and hopes for no

better profession. I verily believe she thinks it is the writing whichmade me sick!

But I can write when she is out, and see her a long way off fromthese windows.

There is one that commands the road, a lovely, shaded, windingroad, and one that just looks off over the country. A lovely country,too, full of great elms and velvet meadows.

This wallpaper has a kind of sub-pattern in a different shade, aparticularly irritating one, for you can only see it in certain lights,and not clearly then.

But in the places where it isn’t faded, and where the sun is just so,I can see a strange, provoking, formless sort of figure, that seems tosulk about behind that silly and conspicuous front design.

There’s sister on the stairs!

Well, the Fourth of July is over! The people are gone and I amtired out. John thought it might do me good to see a little company,so we just had mother and Nellie and the children down for a week.

Of course I didn’t do a thing. Jennie sees to everything now.But it tired me all the same.John says if I don’t pick up faster he shall send me to Weir

Mitchell in the fall.But I don’t want to go there at all. I had a friend who was in his

hands once, and she says he is just like John and my brother, onlymore so!

Besides, it is such an undertaking to go so far.I don’t feel as if it was worth while to turn my hand over for

anything, and I’m getting dreadfully fretful and querulous.I cry at nothing, and cry most of the time.Of course I don’t when John is here, or anybody else, but when I

am alone.And I am alone a good deal just now. John is kept in town very

often by serious cases, and Jennie is good and lets me alone when Iwant her to.

So I walk a little in the garden or down that lovely lane, sit on theporch under the roses, and lie down up here a good deal.

I’m getting really fond of the room in spite of the wallpaper.Perhaps because of the wallpaper.

It dwells in my mind so!

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I lie here on this great immovable bed—it is nailed down, Ibelieve—and follow that pattern about by the hour. It is as good asgymnastics, I assure you. I start, we’ll say, at the bottom, down in thecorner over there where it has not been touched, and I determine forthe thousandth time that I will follow that pointless pattern to somesort of a conclusion.

I know a little of the principle of design, and I know this thing wasnot arranged on any laws of radiation, or alternation, or repetition, orsymmetry, or anything else that I ever heard of.

It is repeated, of course, by the breadths, but not otherwise.Looked at in one way each breadth stands alone, the bloated

curves and flourishes—a kind of “debased Romanesque” withdelirium tremens—go waddling up and down in isolated columns offatuity.

But, on the other hand, they connect diagonally, and the sprawlingoutlines run off in great slanting waves of optic horror, like a lot ofwallowing seaweeds in full chase.

The whole thing goes horizontally, too, at least it seems so, and Iexhaust myself in trying to distinguish the order of its going in thatdirection.

They have used a horizontal breadth for a frieze, and that addswonderfully to the confusion.

There is one end of the room where it is almost intact, and there,when the cross-lights fade and the low sun shines directly upon it, Ican almost fancy radiation after all,—the interminable grotesquesseem to form around a common centre and rush off in headlongplunges of equal distraction.

It makes me tired to follow it. I will take a nap, I guess.

I don’t know why I should write this.I don’t want to.I don’t feel able.And I know John would think it absurd. But I must say what I feel

and think in some way—it is such a relief!But the effort is getting to be greater than the relief.Half the time now I am awfully lazy, and lie down ever so much.John says I musn’t lose my strength, and has me take cod-liver oil

and lots of tonics and things, to say nothing of ale and wine and raremeat.

Dear John! He loves me very dearly, and hates to have me sick. Itried to have a real earnest reasonable talk with him the other day,and tell him how I wish he would let me go and make a visit toCousin Henry and Julia.

But he said I wasn’t able to go, nor able to stand it after I gotthere; and I did not make out a very good case for myself, for I wascrying before I had finished.

It is getting to be a great effort for me to think straight. Just thisnervous weakness, I suppose.

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And dear John gathered me up in his arms, and just carried meupstairs and laid me on the bed, and sat by me and read to me till ittired my head.

He said I was his darling and his comfort and all he had, and that Imust take care of myself for his sake, and keep well.

He says no one but myself can help me out of it, that I must usemy will and self-control and not let any silly fancies run away withme.

There’s one comfort, the baby is well and happy, and does nothave to occupy this nursery with the horrid wallpaper.

If we had not used it that blessed child would have! What afortunate escape! Why, I wouldn’t have a child of mine, animpressionable little thing, live in such a room for worlds.

I never thought of it before, but it is lucky that John kept me hereafter all. I can stand it so much easier than a baby, you see.

Of course I never mention it to them any more,—I am too wise,—but I keep watch of it all the same.

There are things in that paper that nobody knows but me, or everwill.

Behind that outside pattern the dim shapes get clearer every day.It is always the same shape, only very numerous.And it is like a woman stooping down and creeping about behind

that pattern. I don’t like it a bit. I wonder—I begin to think—I wishJohn would take me away from here!

It is so hard to talk with John about my case, because he is sowise, and because he loves me so.

But I tried it last night.It was moonlight. The moon shines in all around, just as the sun

does.I hate to see it sometimes, it creeps so slowly, and always comes

in by one window or another.John was asleep and I hated to waken him, so I kept still and

watched the moonlight on that undulating wallpaper till I felt creepy.The faint figure behind seemed to shake the pattern, just as if she

wanted to get out.I got up softly and went to feel and see if the paper did move, and

when I came back John was awake.“What is it, little girl?” he said. “Don’t go walking about like that

—you’ll get cold.”I thought it was a good time to talk, so I told him that I really was

not gaining here, and that I wished he would take me away.“Why darling!” said he, “our lease will be up in three weeks, and I

can’t see how to leave before.“The repairs are not done at home, and I cannot possibly leave

town just now. Of course if you were in any danger I could andwould, but you really are better, dear, whether you can see it or not. Iam a doctor, dear, and I know. You are gaining flesh and color, yourappetite is better. I feel really much easier about you.”

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“I don’t weigh a bit more,” said I, “nor as much; and my appetitemay be better in the evening, when you are here, but it is worse inthe morning when you are away.”

“Bless her little heart!” said he with a big hug; “she shall be assick as she pleases! But now let’s improve the shining hours bygoing to sleep, and talk about it in the morning!”

“And you won’t go away?” I asked gloomily.“Why, how can I, dear? It is only three weeks more and then we

will take a nice little trip of a few days while Jennie is getting thehouse ready. Really, dear, you are better!”

“Better in body perhaps”—I began, and stopped short, for he satup straight and looked at me with such a stern, reproachful look thatI could not say another word.

“My darling,” said he, “I beg of you, for my sake and for ourchild’s sake, as well as for your own, that you will never for oneinstant let that idea enter your mind! There is nothing so dangerous,so fascinating, to a temperament like yours. It is a false and foolishfancy. Can you not trust me as a physician when I tell you so?”

So of course I said no more on that score, and we went to sleepbefore long. He thought I was asleep first, but I wasn’t,—I lay therefor hours trying to decide whether that front pattern and the backpattern really did move together or separately.

On a pattern like this, by daylight, there is a lack of sequence, adefiance of law, that is a constant irritant to a normal mind.

The color is hideous enough, and unreliable enough, andinfuriating enough, but the pattern is torturing.

You think you have mastered it, but just as you get well under wayin following, it turns a back somersault and there you are. It slapsyou in the face, knocks you down, and tramples upon you. It is like abad dream.

The outside pattern is a florid arabesque, reminding one of afungus. If you can imagine a toadstool in joints, an interminablestring 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 lightchanges.

When the sun shoots in through the east window—I always watchfor that first long, straight ray—it changes so quickly that I never canquite 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, candlelight, lamplight,

and worst of all by moonlight, it becomes bars! The outside pattern Imean, and the woman behind it is as plain as can be.

I didn’t realize for a long time what the thing was that showedbehind,—that dim sub-pattern,—but now I am quite sure it is awoman.

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By daylight she is subdued, quiet. I fancy it is the pattern thatkeeps 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 tosleep all I can.

Indeed, he started the habit by making me lie down for an hourafter 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,—oh,

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’vecaught him several times looking at the paper! And Jennie too. Icaught Jennie with her hand on it once.

She didn’t know I was in the room, and when I asked her in aquiet, a very quiet voice, with the most restrained manner possible,what she was doing with the paper she turned around as if she hadbeen caught stealing, and looked quite angry—asked me why Ishould frighten her so!

Then she said that the paper stained everything it touched, that shehad found yellow smooches on all my clothes and John’s, and shewished we would be more careful!

Did not that sound innocent? But I know she was studying thatpattern, 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 Ihave something more to expect, to look forward to, to watch. I reallydo eat better, and am more quiet than I was.

John is so pleased to see me improve! He laughed a little the otherday, and said I seemed to be flourishing in spite of my wallpaper.

I turned it off with a laugh. I had no intention of telling him it wasbecause of the wallpaper—he would make fun of me. He might evenwant to take me away.

I don’t want to leave now until I have found it out. There is aweek more, and I think that will be enough.

I’m feeling ever so much better! I don’t sleep much at night, for itis so interesting to watch developments; but I sleep a good deal inthe 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 triedconscientiously.

It is the strangest yellow, that wallpaper! It makes me think of allthe yellow things I ever saw—not beautiful ones like buttercups, but

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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 sunit was not bad. Now we have had a week of fog and rain, andwhether 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 everypiece of furniture, except the bed, a long, straight, even smooch, as ifit 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 makesme 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 crawlingshakes it all over.

Then in the very bright spots she keeps still, and in the very shadyspots she just takes hold of the bars and shakes them hard.

And she is all the time trying to climb through. But nobody couldclimb through that pattern—it strangles so; I think that is why it hasso many heads.

They get through, and then the pattern strangles them off and turnsthem upside-down, and makes their eyes white!

If those heads were covered or taken off it would not be half sobad.

I think that woman gets out in the daytime!

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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 shaded lane, creeping up and down. I see her

in those dark grape arbors, creeping all around the garden.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 getthat 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! Imean 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 believeJohn is beginning to notice. I don’t like the look in his eyes.

And I heard him ask Jennie a lot of professional questions aboutme. She had a very good report to give.

She said I slept a good deal in the daytime.John knows I don’t sleep very well at night, for all I’m so quiet!He asked me all sorts of questions, too, and pretended to be very

loving and kind.As if I couldn’t see through him!Still, I don’t wonder he acts so, sleeping under this paper for three

months.It only interests me, but I feel sure John and Jennie are secretly

affected by it.

Hurrah! This is the last day, but it is enough. John is to stay intown over night, and won’t be out until this evening.

Jennie wanted to sleep with me—the sly thing! but I told her Ishould undoubtedly rest better for a night all alone.

That was clever, for really I wasn’t alone a bit! As soon as it wasmoonlight, and that poor thing began to crawl and shake the pattern,I got up and ran to help her.

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I pulled and she shook, I shook and she pulled, and beforemorning we had peeled off yards of that paper.

A strip about as high as my head and half around the room.And then when the sun came and that awful pattern began to laugh

at me I declared I would finish it to-day!We go away to-morrow, and they are moving all my furniture

down again to leave things as they were before.Jennie looked at the wall in amazement, but I told her merrily that

I did it out of pure spite at the vicious thing.She laughed and said she wouldn’t mind doing it herself, but I

must not get tired.How she betrayed herself that time!But I am here, and no person touches this paper but me—not

alive!She tried to get me out of the room—it was too patent! But I said

it was so quiet and empty and clean now that I believed I would liedown again and sleep all I could; and not to wake me even for dinner—I would call when I woke.

So now she is gone, and the servants are gone, and the things aregone, and there is nothing left but that great bedstead nailed down,with the canvas mattress we found on it.

We shall sleep downstairs to-night, and take the boat home to-morrow.

I quite enjoy the room, now it is bare again.How those children did tear about here!This bedstead is fairly gnawed!But I must get to work.I have locked the door and thrown the key down into the front

path.I don’t want to go out, and I don’t want to have anybody come in,

till John comes.I want to astonish him.I’ve got a rope up here that even Jennie did not find. If that

woman does get out, and tries to get away, I can tie her!But I forgot I could not reach far without anything to stand on!This bed will not move!I tried to lift and push it until I was lame, and then I got so angry I

bit off a little piece at one corner—but it hurt my teeth.Then I peeled off all the paper I could reach standing on the floor.

It sticks horribly and the pattern just enjoys it! All those strangledheads and bulbous eyes and waddling fungus growths just shriekwith derision!

I am getting angry enough to do something desperate. To jump outof the window would be admirable exercise, but the bars are toostrong even to try.

Besides I wouldn’t do it. Of course not. I know well enough that astep like that is improper and might be misconstrued.

4/21/22, 7:28 PM The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman 14/21

I don’t like to look out of the windows even—there are so many ofthose creeping women, and they creep so fast.

I wonder if they all come out of that wallpaper as I did?But I am securely fastened now by my well-hidden rope—you

don’t get me out in the road there!I suppose I shall have to get back behind the pattern when it

comes night, and that is hard!It is so pleasant to be out in this great room and creep around as I

please!I don’t want to go outside. I won’t, even if Jennie asks me to.For outside you have to creep on the ground, and everything is

green instead of yellow.But here I can creep smoothly on the floor, and my shoulder just

fits in that long smooch around the wall, so I cannot lose my way.Why, there’s John at the door!It is no use, young man, you can’t open it!How he does call and pound!Now he’s crying for an axe.It would be a shame to break down that beautiful door!“John dear!” said I in the gentlest voice, “the key is down by the

front steps, under a plantain leaf!”That silenced him for a few moments.Then he said—very quietly indeed, “Open the door, my darling!”“I can’t,” said I. “The key is down by the front door under a

plantain leaf!”And then I said it again, several times, very gently and slowly, and

said it so often that he had to go and see, and he got it, of course, andcame in. He stopped short by the door.

“What is the matter?” he cried. “For God’s sake, what are youdoing!”

I kept on creeping just the same, but I looked at him over myshoulder.

“I’ve got out at last,” said I, “in spite of you and Jane! And I’vepulled off most of the paper, so you can’t put me back!”

Now why should that man have fainted? But he did, and rightacross my path by the wall, so that I had to creep over him everytime!


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