The château, the abode of the gentleman, and the villa, the retreat of the thriving négociant, are rarely seen till you come to Beaumont. At this place, which well deserves its name of the fair mount, the prospect improves greatly, and country-seats are seen in abundance; also woods, sometimes deep and extensive, at other times scattered in groves and single trees.
In course of their journey the friends came to the river, which they followed with the windings of the road, now over bold bluffs, and then into vales, all alike allotted for country-seats, and if the land was in full foliage of oak and sycamore and myrtle, and bay and arbutus, and perfuming jasmine, the river was bright with slanted sunlight, which would have slept where it fell but for ships in endless procession, gliding with the current, tacking for the wind, or bounding under the impulse of oars some coming, some going, and all suggestive of the sea, and distant peoples, and famous places, and things coveted on account of their rarity.
For they, too, had their motor-cars from France and England; they, too, had their gambling-dens secreted in private houses of high repute, they, too, had their country-seats specially indicated as free to such house-parties as wished to indulge in low intrigue and unbridled licentiousness; they, too, weary of simple Christianity, had their own special 'religions' of palmistry, crystal-gazing, fortune-telling by cards, and Esoteric 'faith-healing. The days were passing with them as it passes with many of their 'set' in other countries, in complete forgetfulness of all the nobler ambitions and emotions which lift Man above the level of his companion Beast.
One is the scion of a lordly house, "to the manner born" the other, the parvenu of yesterday, whose gold makes his position. Melbourne is to all intents a European city, with its boulevards and regular streets, whole blocks of costly stores and princely dwellings, and environed by elegant villas and country-seats adorned with gardens, vineyards and choice shrubbery.
I prepared it for you, and preserved it for you, and now that you have it, its work is accomplished. It is yours, dearest, for you to do as you choose with it." To this Edith murmured some words of thanks, and taking up the parcel, proceeded to tie it up more carefully. Dalton Hall was one of the most magnificent country-seats in Somersetshire.
I here left the Rhine; it is difficult sufficiently to praise the beauties of its banks, which afford also ample scope for the researches of the naturalist. They are not, however, adorned with that number of country-seats which enliven many of our rivers, and a few convents and palaces only are to be seen; although villages and towns are very numerous.
I own about 340,000 acres. My town-residence is in St. James's Square. Tankerton, of which you may have seen photographs, is the chief of my country-seats. It is a Tudor house, set on the ridge of a valley. The valley, its park, is halved by a stream so narrow that the deer leap across. The gardens are estraded upon the slope. Round the house runs a wide paven terrace.
Hobart Town, the capital of Tasmania, is a quiet, hospitable little town, but a very hotbed of aristocracy the single spot on the Australian continent where English exclusiveness can, after the gay seasons of the large cities, retire to aristocratic country-seats, to nurse and revivify its pride of birth, without fear of coming in contact with anything parvenu or plebeian.
Our great country-seats the pride of England are usually placed where the natural scenery is finest. Humbler dwellings whenever the owner has the opportunity of making a choice are for a similar reason built wherever a beautiful view, however limited, may be obtained.
Later in life he purchased other country-seats at Antium, Asturia, Sinuessa, Arpinum, Formiae, Cumae, Puteoli, and Pompeii; but the Tusculan was always his favourite.