I CAPTURE THE CASTLE by Dodie Smith Also by Dodie Smith The Hundred and One Dalmatians The Starlight Barking I CAPTURE Author: Smith Dodie. I CAPTURE THE CASTLE by Dodie Smith Also by Dodie Smith The Hundred and One Dalmatians The Starlight Barking I CAPTURE T. bilgedumarre.ga: Smith Dodie bilgedumarre.gaioned: bilgedumarre.gape: application/pdf bilgedumarre.ga: bilgedumarre.ga: I Capture The Castle.
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Editorial Reviews. bilgedumarre.ga Review. Seventeen-year-old Cassandra Mortmain wants to I Capture the Castle - site edition by Dodie Smith. Download it. Book [PDF] I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith Book Summary: One of the 20th Century's most beloved novels is still winning hearts! I Capture the Castle tells. I capture the castle by Dodie Smith, , Little, Brown edition, in English - [1st ed.].
Stephen, a "noble soul," is in love with Cassandra, which she finds touching but a bit awkward. Thomas, a schoolboy, is, like Cassandra, considered "tolerably bright".
Things begin to happen when the Cottons, a wealthy American family, inherit nearby Scoatney Hall and become the Mortmains' new landlords. Cassandra and Rose soon become intrigued by the unmarried brothers Simon and Neil Cotton.
Neil, who was raised in California by their English father, is a carefree young man who wants to become a rancher in the United States. Simon, who grew up in New England with his mother, is scholarly and serious, and loves the English countryside. Simon is the elder brother and therefore the heir, and is already much wealthier than Neil, so, although Rose is not attracted to him, she decides to marry him if she can, declaring that she would marry the Devil himself to escape poverty.
At their first meeting the Cottons are amused and interested by the Mortmains. When they pay a call the very next day, however, the inexperienced Rose flirts openly with Simon and makes herself look ridiculous. Both brothers are repelled by this display and, as they walk away, Cassandra overhears them resolving to drop all acquaintance with the Mortmains. After an amusing episode involving a fur coat, however, all is forgiven and the two families become good friends.
Rose decides that she really is taken with Simon, and Cassandra and Topaz scheme to get Simon to propose to her. Mother said vague things about trespassing and tried to stop us following him, but in the end she let us go, while she stayed behind with Thomas who woke and wept a little. How well I remember that run through the stillness, the smell of wet stone and wet weeds as we crossed the bridge, the moment of excitement before we stepped in at the little door!
Once through, we were in the cool dimness of the gatehouse passage. That was where I first felt the castle--it is the place where one is most conscious of the great weight of stone above and around one. I was too young to know much of history and the past, for me the castle was one in a fairy tale; and the queer heavy coldness was so spell-like that I clutched Rose hard. Together we ran through to the daylight; then stopped dead. On our left, instead of the gray walls and towers we had been expecting, was a long house of whitewashed plaster and herring-boned brick, veined by weather-bleached wood.
It had all sorts of odd little lattice windows, bright gold from the sunset, and the attic gable looked as if it might fall forward at any minute. This belonged to a different kind of fairy tale--it was just my idea of a "Hansel and Gretel" house and for a second I feared a witch inside had stolen Father.
Then I saw him trying to get in at the kitchen door. He came running back through the overgrown courtyard garden, calling that there was a small window open near the front door that he could put Rose through to let us in.
I was glad he said Rose and not meI would have been terrified to be alone in the house for a second. Rose was never frightened of anything; she was trying to scramble up to the window even before Father got there to lift her. Through she went and we heard her struggling with heavy bolts. Then she flung the door open triumphantly.
I Capture the Castle
The square hall was dark and cold and had a horrid moldy smell. Every bit of woodwork was a drab ginger color, painted to imitate the graining of wood. We followed him into a room on the left, which had a dark red wallpaper and a large black-leaded fireplace. There was a nice little window looking on to the garden, but I thought it was a hideous room. Rose and I ran across and knelt on the wide window seat, and Father opened the heavy mullioned windows so that we could look down and see ourselves in the moat.
Then he pointed out how thick the wall was and explained about the Stuart house having been built on to the ruins of the castle. It certainly did, and there was a monstrosity of a fireplace surrounded by tobacco-colored tiles. But the diamond-paned windows overlooking the garden and full of the sunset were beautiful, and I was already in love with the moat. While Rose and I were waving to our reflections, Father went off through the short passage to the kitchen we suddenly heard him shouting "The swine, the swine!
The kitchen was really dreadful. It had been partitioned to make several rooms- hens had been kept in one of them; there was a great sagging false ceiling, the staircase and the cupboards were grained ginger like the hall.
What upset me most was a bundle of rags and straw where tramps must have slept. I kept as far away from it as possible and was glad when Father led the way upstairs. The bedrooms were as spoilt as the downstairs rooms -false ceilings, horrid fireplaces, awful wallpapers. But I was very much fetched when I saw the round tower opening into the room which is now Rose's and mine.
Father tried to get the door to it open, but it was nailed up so he strode on across the landing. We followed him into Thomas's little room, hunting for it, and then into the bathroom. It had a huge bath with a wide mahogany surround, and two mahogany-seated lavatories, side by side, with one lid to cover them both. The pottery parts showed views of Windsor Castle and when you pulled the plug the bottom of Windsor Castle fell out.
Just above them was a text left by the previous tenants, saying: He would never have anything in the bathroom changed so even the text is still there.
The corner tower was between the bath and the lavatories. There was no door to it and we started to climb up the circular stone stair case inside, but the steps had crumbled so much that we had to turn back. But we did get high enough to find a way out on to the top of the walls; there was quite a wide walk with a battlemented parapet on each side.
From there we could see Mother in the car, nursing Thomas. Father said they were Tudor; later in period than the gatehouse itself, but much earlier than the house. We went back into the tower and found the steps of the circular stone staircase good enough for us to go up higher -once we were crawling into the darkness I wished they hadn't been; Father struck matches but there was a dreadful black moment each time one burnt out.
And the cold, rough stone felt so strange to my hands and bare knees. But when at last we came out on the battlemented top of the tower it was worth it all--I had never felt so high in my life.
And I was so triumphant at having been brave enough to come up. Not that I had had any choice; Rose had kept butting me from behind. We stood looking down on the lane and over the fields stretching far on either side; we were so high that we could see how the hedges cut them up into a patchwork pattern.
There were a few little woods and, a mile or so to the left, a tiny village. We moved round the tower to look across the courtyard garden -and then we all shouted: Beyond the ruined walls on the west side of the courtyard was a small hill and on the top of it was the high tower we had driven so long in search of.
It puzzles me now why we hadn't seen it when we first came through the gatehouse passage. Perhaps the overgrown garden obstructed the view; or perhaps we were too much astonished at seeing the house to look in the opposite direction. Father dived for the staircase. I cried "Wait, wait! He guessed the bottom of the staircase must come out in the gatehouse passage, but Rose used the last match as we reached the archway on to the walls; so we went back along them to the bathroom and down the nice little front staircase of the house into the hall.
Mother was just coming through the front door to look for us, dragging a cross, sleepy Thomas--he never liked to be left alone in the car. Father showed her the tower on the hill--we could see it easily once we knew where to look--and told her to come along; then dashed across the courtyard garden.
She said she couldn't manage it with Thomas. I remember feeling I ought to stay with her, but I didn't. I raced after Father and Rose. We climbed over the ruined walls which bounded the garden and crossed the moat by the shaky bridge at the south-west corner; that brought us to the foot of the hill-but Father told us it was ancient earthworks and not a natural hill ever since then we have called it the mound.
The turf was short and smooth and there were no more ruins. At the top we had to scramble over some ridges which Father said must have been the outer de fences This brought us to a broad, grassy plateau.
At the far end was a smaller mound, round in shape and very smooth, and rising from this was the tower, sixty feet tall, black against the last flush of sunset. The entrance was about fifteen feet up, at the top of an outside flight of stone steps. Father did his best to force the door but had no luck; so we didn't see inside the tower that night.
We walked all round the little mound and Father told us that it was called a motte and that the wide grassy plateau was a bailey; he said all this part was much older than the moated castle below.
The sunset faded and a wind got up and everything began to look frightening, but Father went on talking most happily and excitedly. Suddenly Rose said: Just then we heard Mother calling from below; her voice sounded high and strange, almost despairing. I grabbed Rose's hand and said: Father said we had all better go.
We climbed the ridges and then Rose and I took hands and ran down the smooth slope--faster and faster, so that I thought we should fall. All the time we were running I felt extremely frightened, but I enjoyed it. The whole evening was like that.
When we got back to the house, Mother was sitting on the front door-step nursing Thomas, who had fallen asleep again. I don't in the least know if she meant to be funny-but then, I realize more and more how vague she has become for me. Even when I remember things she said, I can't recall the sound of her voice. And though I can still see the shape of her that day huddled on the steps, her back view when we were in the car, her brown tweed suit and squashy felt hat, I can't visualize her face at all.
When I try to, I just see the photograph I have of her. Rose and I went back to the car with her, but Father wandered round until it was dark. I remember seeing him come out on the castle walls near the gatehouse -and marveling that I had been up there myself. Even in the dusk I could see his gold hair and splendid profile. He was spare in those days, but broad-always a large person.
He was so excited that he started to drive back to King's Crypt at a terrific pace -Rose, Thomas and I simply bounced about at the back of the car.
Mother said it wasn't safe with the roads so narrow and he slowed down to a snail's pace which made Rose and me laugh a lot.
Mother said: The next day, after making enquiries, Father went over to Scoatney Hall. When he got back he told us that Mr.
Cotton wouldn't sell the castle, but had let him have a forty years" lease on it. There were many more things he meant to do, particularly as regards comfort--I know Mother wanted some central heating and a machine to make electric light; but he spent so much on antique furniture even before work at the castle began that she persuaded him to cut things down to a minimum. There was always a vague idea that the useful things were to come later; probably when he wrote his next book.
It was spring when we moved in. I particularly remember the afternoon we first got the drawing-room straight. Everything was so fresh- the flowered chintz curtains, the beautiful shining old furniture, the white paneling--it had had to be painted because it was in such a poor condition. I was fascinated by a great jar of young green beech leaves; I sat on the floor staring at them while Rose played her piece "To a Water Lily" on Mother's old grand piano.
Suddenly Father came in, in a very exulting mood, to tell us that there was a surprise for us outside the window. He flung the mullioned windows open wide and there on the moat were two swans, sailing sedately. We leaned out to feed them with bread and all the time the spring air blew in and stirred the beech leaves. Then I went into the garden, where the lawns had been cut and the flower-beds tidied; there were a lot of early wallflowers which smelt very sweet.
Father was arranging his books up in the gatehouse room. He called down: But anyone who could enjoy the winter here would find the North Pole stuffy.
How strange memory is! When I close my eyes, I see three different castles--one in the sunset light of that first evening, one all fresh and clean as in our early days here, one as it is now. The last picture is very sad because all our good furniture has gone-the dining-room hasn't so much as a carpet; not that we have missed that room much--it was the first one we saw that night we explored the house and was always too far from the kitchen.
The drawing-room has a few chairs still and, thank goodness, no one will ever download the piano because it is so big and old. But the pretty chintz curtains are faded and everything has a neglected look. When the spring comes we must really try to freshen up our home a little-at least we can still have beech leaves. We have been poor for five years now; after Mother died, I fear we lived on the capital of the money she left. Not that I ever worried about such things at the time because I always felt sure Father would make money again sooner or later.
Mother brought us up to believe that he was a genius and that geniuses mustn't he hurried. What is the matter with him his And what does he do all the time his I wrote yesterday that he does nothing but read detective novels, hut that was just a silly generalization, because Miss Marcy can seldom let him have more than two a week although he will read the same ones again and again after a certain lapse of time, which seems to me amazing.
Of course he reads other books, too. All our valuable ones have been sold and how I have missed them! And I am sure he thinks very hard. Several times when he hasn't answered my knock on the gatehouse room door I have gone in and found him staring into space. In the good weather he walks a lot, but he hasn't now for months. He has dropped all his London friends.
The only friend he has ever made down here is the Vicar, who is the nicest man imaginable; a bachelor with an elderly housekeeper.
Now I come to think of it, Father has dodged seeing even him this winter. Father's un sociability has made it hard for any of us to get to know people here--and there aren't many to know. The village is tiny: It is a very pretty village and has the unlikely name of Godsend, a corruption of Godys End, after the Norman knight, Etienne de Godys, who built Belmotte Castle. Our castle--I mean the moated one, on to which our house is built- is called Godsend, too; it was built by a later de Godys.
No one really knows the origin of the name "Belmotte"-the whole mound, as well as the tower on it, is called that. At a guess one would say the "Bel" is from the French, but the Vicar believes in a theory that it is from Bel the sun god whose worship was introduced by the Phoenicians, and that the mound was raised so that Midsummer Eve votive fires could be lit there; he thinks the Normans simply made use of it.
Father doesn't believe in the god Bel theory and says the Phoenicians worshipped the stars, not the sun. Anyway, the mound is a very good place to worship both sun and stars from. I do a little worshipping there myself when I get time.
I meant to copy an essay on castles I wrote for the school History Society into this journal, but I find it is very long and horridly overwritten how the school must have suffered , so I shall paraphrase it briefly: CASTLES In early Norman times, there seem to have been mounds with ditches and wooden stockades as de fences Inside the de fences were wooden buildings, and sometimes there was a high earthen motte to serve as a lookout place.
The later Normans began building great square stone towers called keeps , but it was found possible to mine the corners of these- mining was just digging then, of course, not the use of explosives --so they took to building round towers, of which Belmotte is one. Later, the tower-keeps were surrounded with high walls, called curtain walls. These were often built in quadrangle form with jutting towers at the gatehouse, the corners and in the middle of each side so that the defenders could see any besiegers who were trying to mine or scale the walls, and fight them off.
But the besiegers had plenty of other good tricks, notably a weapon called a trebuchet which could sling great rocks- or a dead horse--over your curtain walls, causing much embarrassment. Eventually, someone thought of putting moats round curtain walls. Of course, the moated castles had to be on level ground; Belmotte tower-keep, up on its mound, must have been very much of a back number when Godsend Castle was built. And then all castles gradually became back numbers and Cromwell's Roundheads battered two-and-a-half sides of our curtain walls down.
Long before that, the de Godys name had died out and the two castles had passed to the Cottons of Scoatney, through a daughter.
The house built on the ruins was their dower house for a time, then it became just a farm-house. And now it isn't even that; merely the home of the ruined Mortmains. Oh, what are we to do for money his Surely there is enough intelligence among us to earn some, or marry some-Rose, that is; for I would approach matrimony as cheerfully as I would the tomb and I cannot feel that I should give satisfaction.
But how is Rose to meet anyone his We used to go to London every year to stay with Father's aunt, who has a house in Chelsea with a lily-pool and collects artists. Father met Topaz there--Aunt Millicent never forgave him marrying her, so now we don't get asked any more; this is bitter because it means we meet no men at all, not even artists.
Oh, me! I am feeling low in spirits. While I have been writing I have lived in the past, the light of it has been all around me-first the golden light of autumn, then the silver light of spring and then the strange light, gray but exciting, in which I see the historic past. But now I have come back to earth and rain is beating on the attic window, an icy draught is blowing up the staircase and About has gone downstairs and left my stomach cold.
Heavens, how it is coming down! The rain is like a diagonal veil across Belmotte. Rain or shine, Belmotte always looks lovely. I wish it were Midsummer Eve and I were lighting my votive fire on the mound. There is a bubbling noise in the cistern which means that Stephen is pumping. Oh, joyous thought, tonight is my bath night! And if Stephen is in, it must be tea-time. I shall go down and be very kind to everyone.
Noble deeds and hot baths are the best cures for depression. IV Little did I think what the evening was to bring-something has actually happened to us! My imagination longs to dash ahead and plan developments; but I have noticed that when things happen in one's imaginings, they never happen in one's life, so I am curbing myself.
Instead of indulging in riotous hopes I shall describe the evening from the beginning, quietly gloating- for now every moment seems exciting because of what came later. I have sought refuge in our barn. As a result of what happened last night, Rose and Topaz are spring-cleaning the drawing-room.
The morning is blithe too, warmer, with the sun shining, though the countryside is still half-drowned. The barn--we rent it to Mr.
Stebbins but we owe him so much for milk and butter that he no longer pays--is piled high with loose chaff and I have climbed up on it and opened the square door near the roof so that I can see out. I look across stubble and ploughed fields and drenched winter wheat to the village, where the smoke from the chimneys is going straight up in the still air. Everything is pale gold and washed clean, and hopeful. When I came down from the attic yesterday, I found that Rose and Topaz had dyed everything they could lay hands on, including the dishcloth and the roller towel.
Once I had dipped my handkerchief into the big tin bath of green dye, I got fascinated too-it really makes one feel rather Godlike to turn things a different color.
I did both my nightgowns and then we all did Topaz's sheets which was such an undertaking that it exhausted our lust. Father came down for tea and was not too pleased that Topaz had dyed his yellow cardigan--it is now the color of very old moss.
And he thought our arms being green up to the elbows was revolting. We had real butter for tea because Mr. Stebbins gave Stephen some when he went over to fix about working he started at the farm this morning ; and Mrs. Stebbins had sent a comb of honey. Stephen put them down in my place so I felt like a hostess.
I shouldn't think even millionaires could eat anything nicer than new bread and real butter and honey for tea. I have rarely heard such rain as there was during the meal. I am never happy when the elements go to extremes; I don't think I am frightened, but I imagine the poor countryside being battered until I end by feeling battered myself.
Rose is just the opposite--it is as if she is egging the weather on, wanting louder claps of thunder and positively encouraging forked lightning.
She went to the door while it was raining and reported that the garden was completely flooded. Father said: I told him the two attic leaks had started before I came down but there were buckets under them. He went to see if they were overflowing and returned to say that there were four more leaks. We had run out of buckets so he collected three saucepans and the soup-tureen.
He took a book and some candle-ends and I thought how gloomy it would be for him reading poetry in the middle of six drips. We washed the tea-things; then Rose and Topaz went to the wash-house to shake out the dyed sheets. Father stayed by the fire, waiting for the rain to stop before going back to the gatehouse.
He sat very still, just staring in front of him. It struck me how completely out of touch with him I am. I went over and sat on the fender and talked about the weather; and then realized that I was making conversation as if to a stranger. It depressed me so much that I couldn't think of anything more to say. After a few minutes' silence, he said: I said that of course I did, though the poems were embarrassing.
And be very matter of fact with him, my child--even a bit on the brisk side. And you know how fond of me he's always been.
Of course, he's a godlike youth. I'm rather glad he's not devoted to Rose," I must have been looking very much puzzled. He smiled and went on: You've so much common sense you'll probably do the right thing instinctively.
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It's no use telling Topaz to advise you because she'd think it all very splendid and natural--and for all I know, it might be. God knows what's to become of you girls. And I wonder if it is really necessary--surely Stephen's devotion isn't anything serious or grown-up? But now that the idea has been put into my head, I keep remembering how queer his voice sounded when he asked me about being hungry.
It is worrying--but rather exciting.. I shall stop thinking about it; such things are not in my line at all. They are very much in Rose's line and I know just what Father meant when he said he was glad Stephen wasn't devoted to her.
Topaz came from the wash-house and set irons to heat, so Father changed the subject by asking me if I'd dyed all my clothes green. I said I had few to dye. I felt my lack of clothes was a reflection on Father and, in an effort to talk of something else, said the most tactless thing possible. A closed-up look came over his face and he said shortly: You won't get any coming-out dresses from my earnings.
I could have kicked myself for wrecking the first talk we'd had for months. Thomas came in just then, wet through. I warned him not to use Father's bedroom as a passage, as we usually do, and he went up the front way. I took him some dry underclothes--fortunately the week's ironing was done--and then went up to see how Stephen was getting on.
He had stuck the candle-ends on the floor, close to his open book, and was reading lying on his stomach. His face was dazzlingly bright in the great dark attic -- I stood a moment watching his lips moving before he heard me. The saucepans were on the point of overflowing. As I helped him to empty them out of the window I saw that the lamp was lit in the gatehouse, so Father must have gone back there through the rain. It was slackening off at last.
The air smelt very fresh. I leaned out over the garden and found it was much warmer than indoors--it always takes our house a while to realize a change in the weather. We stood sniffing the air.
The candle-ends on the floor cast the strangest shadows and made him seem enormously tall. I remembered what Father had said about his being a godlike youth; and then I remembered that I had not remembered to be brisk. We went back to the kitchen and I got Thomas some food. Topaz was ironing her silk tea-gown, which looked wonderful-it had been a faded blue, but had dyed a queer sea-green color.
I think the sight of it made Rose extra gloomy. She was starting to iron a cotton frock that hadn't dyed any too well. Then she threw her head back, opened her arms wide and took a giant breath.
I quite expected her to plunge into the night, but after some more deep breathing she went upstairs to try on her tea-gown. She slammed the door and said: We can at least get a laugh out of Topaz, but you're just monotonously grim. I haven't any clothes, I haven't any prospects. I live in a moldering ruin and I've nothing to look forward to but old age. Rose had the sense to laugh a little herself. She came and sat on the table, looking a bit less glowering.
Do they still believe in the Devil there? I'll sell him my soul like Faust did. Although she was so desperate, she was--well, more playful than I had seen her for a long time and I wanted to encourage her. What we call our gargoyle is really just a carved stone head high above the kitchen fireplace. Father thinks the castle chapel was up there, because there are some bits of fluted stonework and a niche that might have been for holy water.
The old wall has been white washed so often that the outlines are blurred now. The rack was pulled up high with the dyed sheets on it. Rose told Stephen to let it down, but he looked at me to see if I wanted him to.
I capture the castle
She frowned and went to the pulley herself. I said: Thomas held the rope while she sat on the middle of the rack and tested its strength. I don't know about the rope and pulleys. I knew from the look in her eye and her deep flush that it wasn't any use trying to dissuade her. We bounced about a bit and then she said: Pull me up. Anyway, it's you who want to wish on the angel, not Miss Cassandra. She sat swinging her legs a minute, then looked round at us all.
She said: Haul me up.
When she was about ten feet from the floor, I asked them to stop a minute. Go on, boys. The carved head must be over twenty feet up and as she rose higher and higher I had an awful feeling in my stomach--I don't think I had realized until then how very dangerous it was.
When she was within a few feet of the head, Stephen called up: Then she called down: The lamp on the table didn't throw much light up there, but it looked terribly dangerous to me. The backs of my legs as well as my stomach were most uncomfortable. She only had to take one step up the wall to reach the head. I got the lamp and held it high, but it was still shadowy up there.
She looked extraordinary, almost as if she were flying up the wall or had been painted on it. I called out: Heavenly devil or devilish saint, Grant our vish, hear our plaint. Godsend Castle a godsend craves-and then I got stuck. Just then a car on the Godsend road hooted loudly and he added: For one awful second I feared the boys might not be expecting the strain, but they were ready and lowered her carefully.
As soon as her feet were near the ground she jumped off and sat down on the floor. That is one great difference between us: I would have had any number of feelings and have wanted to remember them all; she would just be thinking of wishing on the stone head.
She laughed. She said her dyed tea-gown had shrunk so much that she couldn't breathe in it and Rose could have it. Then she strode out, leaving the door wide open.
Thomas went to do his homework in his room, so I thought I might as well start my bath and asked Stephen if he minded me having it in the kitchen; I generally do have it there but, as it means he has to keep out of the way for a good long time, I always feel apologetic.
He tactfully said he had a job to do in the barn and that he would help me get the bath ready. We emptied it and Stephen swilled it out. I decided I would rather risk the dye. We carried the bath to the fire and Stephen baled hot water from the copper and helped me to make a screen of clothes-horses with the green sheets on- as a rule, I use dust-sheets for this.
As our clothes-horses are fully five feet high, I always have a most respectable and private bath, but I do feel more comfortable if I have the whole kitchen to myself. I told him Vol. I like plenty of choice in my bath. Stephen set them all out for me while I collected my washing things. And then, after he had lit his lantern to go to the barn, he suddenly presented me with a whole twopenny bar of nut-milk chocolate.
He explained that he had got it on credit, on the strength of having a job. What with books and chocolate, there's not much else you could have in it, is there his Except, perhaps, a wireless.
But he wouldn't take any and went off to the barn. I was just getting into the bath when Heloise whined at the back door and had to be let in. Of course she wanted to come to the fire, which was a slight bore as she is no asset to a bath -her loving paws are apt to scrape one painfully. However, she seemed sleepy and we settled down amicably. It was wonderfully cozy inside my tall, draught-proof screen; and the rosy glow from the fire turned the green sheets to a fascinating color.
I had the brain wave of sitting on our largest dinner-dish to avoid the dye; the gravy runnels were a bit uncomfortable, though. I believe it is customary to get one's washing over first in baths and bask afterwards; personally, I bask first. I have discovered that the first few minutes are the best and not to be wasted-my brain always seethes with ideas and life suddenly looks much better than it did. Father says hot water can be as stimulating as an alcoholic drink and though I never come by one--unless the medicine-bottle of port that the Vicar gives me for my Midsummer rites counts-I can well believe it.
So I bask first, wash second and then read as long as the hot water holds out. The last stage of a bath, when the water is cooling and there is nothing to look forward to, can be pretty disillusioning. I expect alcohol works much the same way. This time I spent my basking in thinking about the family and it is a tribute to hot water that I could think about them and still bask. For surely we are a sorry lot: Father moldering in the gatehouse, Rose raging at life, Thomas- well, he is a cheerful boy but one cannot but know that he is perpetually underfed.
Topaz is certainly the happiest for she still thinks it's romantic to be married to Father and live in a castle; and her painting, her lute and her wild communing with nature are a great comfort to her. I would have taken a bet that she had nothing whatever on under her oilskins and that she intended to stride up the mound and then fling them off.
After being an artists' model for so many years, she has no particular interest in Nudism for its own sake, but she has a passion for getting into closest contact with the elements. This once caused quite a little embarrassment with Four Stones Farm so she undertook only to go nude by night.
Of course, winter is closed season for nudity, but she is wonderfully impervious to cold and I felt sure the hint of spring in the air would have fetched her.
Though it was warmer, it was still far from warm, and the thought of her up on Belmotte made my bath more comfortable than ever. I ate half my chocolate and meant to offer the rest to Rose, but Heloise was lashing her tail so hopefully that I shared with her instead and her gratitude was so intense that I feared she might get in the bath with me. I calmed her, discouraged her from licking the soap and had just started serious washing when there was a thump on the door.
I still can't imagine what made me call out: I had just covered my face with soap, which always makes one feel rather helpless, and when I rashly opened my eyes, the soap got into them; I was blindly groping for the towel when I heard the door open. Heloise let forth a volley of barks and hurtled towards it--it was a miracle she didn't knock the clothes horses over.
The next few seconds were pandemonium with Hcl barking her hardest and two men trying to soothe her. I didn't call her off because I know she never bites anyone and I hated the idea of explaining I was in the bath--particularly as I hadn't even a towel to wrap around me; I had blinked my eyes open by then and realized I must have left it somewhere in the kitchen.
Mercifully, Heloise quietened down after a minute or so. It was a pleasant voice, like the nice people in American films, not the gangsters. He called out: It's magnificent.
It didn't sound English but it didn't sound American either, yet it certainly had no foreign accent. It was a most unusual voice, very quiet and very interesting. This was not a happy moment as I thought he would come to look at the fireplace wall, but just then Thomas came out on the staircase. The men explained that they had turned down our lane by accident and their car was stuck in the mud.
They wanted help to get it out. But the other man began talking about how stuck the car was and asking if we had horses to pull it out, and in a minute or so Thomas went off with them. I heard the door slam and heaved a sigh of relief. But I did feel a little flat; it was dull to think I had never even seen the men and never would. I tried to imagine faces to go with the voices--then suddenly realized that the water was cooling and I had barely begun washing.
I got to work at last, but scrub as I might, I couldn't make any impression on my green-dyed arms. Thomas, a schoolboy, is, like Cassandra, considered "tolerably bright". Things begin to happen when the Cottons, a wealthy American family, inherit nearby Scoatney Hall and become the Mortmains' new landlords. Cassandra and Rose soon become intrigued by the unmarried brothers Simon and Neil Cotton. Neil, who was raised in California by their English father, is a carefree young man who wants to become a rancher in the United States.
Simon, who grew up in New England with his mother, is scholarly and serious, and loves the English countryside. Simon is the elder brother and therefore the heir, and is already much wealthier than Neil, so, although Rose is not attracted to him, she decides to marry him if she can, declaring that she would marry the Devil himself to escape poverty.
At their first meeting the Cottons are amused and interested by the Mortmains. When they pay a call the very next day, however, the inexperienced Rose flirts openly with Simon and makes herself look ridiculous. Both brothers are repelled by this display and, as they walk away, Cassandra overhears them resolving to drop all acquaintance with the Mortmains.
After an amusing episode involving a fur coat, however, all is forgiven and the two families become good friends. Rose decides that she really is taken with Simon, and Cassandra and Topaz scheme to get Simon to propose to her.
Simon falls in love with Rose and proposes to her.He found my towel and started to bring it over; then stopped and said: At a guess one would say the "Bel" is from the French, but the Vicar believes in a theory that it is from Bel the sun god whose worship was introduced by the Phoenicians, and that the mound was raised so that Midsummer Eve votive fires could be lit there; he thinks the Normans simply made use of it.
I feel quite unreasonably happy this minute, watching them both; knowing I can go and join them in the warmth, yet staying here in the cold. Rose and I ran across and knelt on the wide window seat, and Father opened the heavy mullioned windows so that we could look down and see ourselves in the moat. Topaz replied that she didn't think it was worth while, because it costs so much to live there.
I don't intend to let myself become the kind of author who can only work in seclusion- after all, Jane Austen wrote in the sitting-room and merely covered up her work when a visitor called though I bet she thought a thing or two --but I am not quite Jane Austen yet and there are limits to what I can stand.
Father showed her the tower on the hill--we could see it easily once we knew where to look--and told her to come along; then dashed across the courtyard garden. I don't in the least know if she meant to be funny-but then, I realize more and more how vague she has become for me.
He had stuck the candle-ends on the floor, close to his open book, and was reading lying on his stomach.
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