Castle Gay HTML version

some five hundred acres had been bought, most of it pasture-fields
fenced by dry-stone dykes, but with a considerable stretch of broom and
heather, and one big plantation of larch. Much of this he let off, but he re-
tained a hundred acres where he and his grieve could make disastrous
essays in agriculture. The old farm-house had been a whitewashed edi-
fice of eight rooms, with ample outbuildings, and this he had converted
into a commodious dwelling, with half a dozen spare bedrooms, and a
large chamber which was at once library, smoking-room, and business-
room. I do not defend Mr McCunn's taste, for he had a memory stored
with bad precedents. He hankered after little pepper-box turrets, which
he thought the badge of ancientry, and in internal decoration he had an
unhallowed longing for mahogany panelling, like a ship's saloon. Also
he doted on his vast sweep of gravel. Yet he had on the whole made a
pleasing thing of Blaweary (it was the name which had first taken his
fancy), for he stuck to harled and whitewashed walls, and he had a pas-
sion for green turf, so that, beyond the odious gravel, the lawns swept to
the meadows unbroken by formal flowerbeds. These lawns were his spe-
cial hobby. "There's not a yard of turf about the place," he would say,
"that's not as well kept as a putting-green."
The owner from his wicker chair looked over the said lawns to a rough
pasture where his cows were at graze, and then beyond a patch of yel-
lowing bracken to the tops of a fir plantation. After that the ground fell
more steeply, so that the tree-tops were silhouetted against the distant
blue of the sea. It was mid-October, but the air was as balmy as June, and
only the earlier dusk told of the declining year. Mr McCunn was under
strict domestic orders not to sit out of doors after sunset, but he had
dropped asleep and the twilight was falling when he was roused by a
maid with a telegram.
In his excitement he could not find his spectacles. He tore open the en-
velope and thrust the pink form into the maid's face. "Read it,
lassieÑread it," he cried, forgetting the decorum of the master of a
"Coming seven-thirty," the girl read primly. "Match won by single
point." Mr McCunn upset his chair, and ran, whooping, in search of his
The historian must return upon his tracks in order to tell of the great
event thus baldly announced. That year the Antipodes had despatched
to Britain such a constellation of Rugby stars that the hearts of the home
enthusiasts became as water and their joints were loosened. For years