She decided in favour of the coveted splendour; and at about a quarter-past twelve strolled along the carriage-drive on her way to the goose green and the village street. There, or thereabouts, unless her plot lamentably miscarried, she expected to meet her niece and that niece's ex-governess-companion, herded in amicable converse by the pinioned Angel of Peace.
In a stride he walked from one end to the other of the path, which would have been a tree-lined, winding carriage-drive had the garden been a park. As he fumbled for his latchkey, he could see the beaming face of the representative of the respectful lower classes in the cellar-kitchen.
Of the hardy trees there was a thicket at the back of the house, while toward the south, less hardy ones grew in the shrubbery, though they would never, because of the sea-breezes, come to any height. The carriage-drive to the house joined two not very distant points on the same road, and there was no lodge at either gate. It was a rough, country road, a good deal rutted, and seldom repaired.
To the left of the house was a large shrubbery which opened on to a wide carriage-drive leading to the main road, but the principal attraction of Glengrove was its magnificent orange grove, where the brilliant sunshine loved to linger longest among the dark-green boughs, painting the luscious fruit with its own golden coloring from green to gold.
"In my memory are associated two scenes connected with the pretty park in which the Distributing Home is situated, scenes that can never be forgotten; first, the long procession of the tired and weary little travellers, wending their way up the carriage-drive, the clear, starlit sky overhead, and the quiet, bright full moon shining down on their upturned faces, as they stood in front of their new home, and sang so earnestly
In spring their vivid green was diversified by the reddish brown of a double line of noble walnut-trees, a full half mile in length, marking the track of the carriage-drive that led to the Roxham high-road. Behind the house lay the walled garden, celebrated in the time of the monks as being a fortnight earlier than any other in the neighbourhood.
It would certainly be a wondrous palace, this one, for it was two yards long and a yard broad in ground-plan. But the palace was never completed. Next day there was no Muhammad Din at the head of the carriage-drive, and no "Talaam Tahib" to welcome my return. I had grown accustomed to the greeting, and its omission troubled me.
Half-way up the carriage-drive he passed a sandy-haired youth of his own age, a slim dandy who hummed a tune and looked at him carelessly over his shoulder. Pete knew him he was Boss, the boys called him Dross, son and heir of Christian Ballawhaine. At the big house Pete asked for the master. The English footman, in scarlet knee-breeches, left him to wait in the stone hall.
This conversation had passed as they stood upon the terrace, from which a flight of stone steps led to the carriage-drive. As Bertuccio, with a respectful bow, was moving away, the count called him back. "I have another commission for you, M. Bertuccio," said he; "I am desirous of having an estate by the seaside in Normandy for instance, between Havre and Boulogne. You see I give you a wide range.
Under the protection of our orchard wall I turned my merino mantle, which was lined with an indefinite color, spread my veil over my bonnet, and bent my shoulders, and passed down the carriage-drive, by the dining-room windows, into the stable-yard. The rays of sunset struck the lantern-panes in the light-house, and gave the atmosphere a yellow stain.