Greetings, cygnets. This little ditty is actually a medley of two HM mythos: the old-skool CM biographies and the Gracey family backstory written for the movie and utterly wasted…er, under-utilized. Served up with a spring of mint and a shot of the Dame's own Melodrama Bourbon, so expect the unexpected.

The HM is Disney property; I am but a temporary tenant.

(a variation on a theme)

by Dame Hetchel

Somewhere, between the heyday of Gracey Manor as the preferred gathering place for New Orleans' effete elite and its current status as run-down dwelling—as in, "I dare you to run down and touch the old Gracey place"—there was a miscommunication. This happens quite frequently in the making of legends; after all, who really believes that some blind guy in a toga single-handedly spun the tale of Odysseus? Legends require embellishments, personal touches added by each orator who passes it along to new ears, trying to keep it interesting, and ultimately keep it alive.

Accordingly, the tale of what transpired on that fateful night in Gracey Manor has as many different twists as it has had tellers. Sometimes the bride dies at the hands of the jealous gypsy, who likewise leaves Master Gracey hanging from the rafters; sometimes he hangs himself in a frenzied fit of anguish. Sometimes the butler does it; sometimes it's the mousy maid Prudence, a far more interesting character in death than she ever was in life. Sometimes they don't even get the names right, as Master Gracey gets called everything from George to Ezra to Edward to Yale. (For the record, his name was Edward. His father, the previous Master Gracey, was George; his driver was Ezra; and while he was accepted to Yale, he opted for Harvard instead.)

And while every variation on the theme is a rousing concerto in its own right, it's a shame that the original composition has been forgotten; for it is an interesting tale too. As always, there are the usual suspects: the gypsy, the hanged man, the butler in the conservatory with the candlestick—but there isn't one lovelorn bride-to-be, there's two. "Ah!" you say, "I've heard this version before!"—but as should always be the case when dealing with matters of the unseen, never trust the first glance.

Before this unfinished symphony will fill itself in, we must go back to the beginning—well, not quite the beginning, but a good deal of time before Gracey Manor was reduced to a mere blurb near the back of a Gray Line Tour pamphlet. Have patience, friends; all will reveal itself in due course, and after all, the dead are seldom in any hurry.