Arrived at the beautiful spot fixed on, sunlight drifting over glades of fern, the shadowy woods encircling a lake of blue and silver, she could say, with just the right emphasis of helpless admiration: "Wonderful wonderful;" could quote a line of Wordsworth, while her eye passed over the figure of Sir Basil, talking to Rose at a little distance, and over Jack's figure, near at hand.
There are more than four hundred acres of woods round this most beautiful park, all of them giving ideal English estate scenery. The oaks of the park are like those at Richmond, but there is not much fern except in the covers. Nuneham is the best natural pheasant preserve in the Thames Valley, except Wytham, Lord Abingdon's place, above Oxford.
So still in general was the shining sheltered round, that the branches of the mountain ash which leant against the crumbling wall, the tufts of hard fern growing among the stones, the clouds which sailed overhead, were all delicately mirrored in it.
They went to the garden together the wife fearing the deceitful husband, the husband fearing the quick-witted wife. Watching each other like two strangers, they walked silently side by side, and looked now and then at the collection of flowers and plants. Iris noticed a delicate fern which had fallen away from the support to which it had been attached.
A cluster of white-stemmed birches just ahead of them, caught whatever light was still left in the atmosphere, their feathery tops bending and swaying against the sky. 'How easily, with a mind attuned, one could people this whole path with ghosts! said Robert. 'Look at those stems, and that line of stream coming down to the right, and listen to the wind among the fern.
'My lady, the Alderman is so obliging as to remind me that he has had "the distinguished honour" he is very good of meeting me at the house of our mutual friend Deedles, the banker; and he does me the favour to inquire whether it will be agreeable to me to have Will Fern put down. 'MOST agreeable! replied my Lady Bowley. 'The worst man among them! He has been committing a robbery, I hope?
The ball had passed through the shoulder, and had cut the subclavian artery: the body was warm, and as his friends had left it covered with some boughs and fern, it was probable they did not intend either to bury or burn it. It proved to be the man who had thrown the fiz-gig; and as there was a necessity for firing on him, the taking place of the ball was rather to be wished for.
Then Beltane arose and lifting high his axe, shook it against Garthlaxton's frowning might, where was neither glint of armour nor gleam of pike-head, and turning, hasted back to that dark and silent company which, at his word, rose up from brake and fern and thicket, and followed whither he led, a long line, soundless and phantom-like within a phantom world, where a grey mist swirled and drifted in the death-cold air of dawn.
I have walked up and down here with a humbled and broken spirit, and had nearly forsworn the audacity of painting anything beyond a beech stem, or a frond of fern. 'The little infinite in them would have baffled you as much as the only somewhat bigger infinite of just the hills on which they grow. 'Confest: and so farewell to unpaintable Lynmouth!
The next morning after his arrival at Fenwick Hall, Fillmore Flagg having breakfasted with Fern Fenwick and Mrs. Bainbridge, accompanied the former to her work room in the tower. Here, as had been arranged on the previous evening, she gave him a complete account of her work in Washington, since the transition of her father.