Page:Twilight.djvu/285

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277
TWILIGHT

state in the dining-room, hurrying through the food that had no flavour to him in her absence: he told her about the little house in Westminster that he had seen, and that seemed to fit all their requirements. It was very early eighteenth-century, every brick of it had been laid before Robert Adam and his brother went to Portland Place, the walls were panelled and the mantelpieces untouched. They were of carved wood in the drawing-room, painted alabaster in the library and bedrooms, marble in the dining-room only. It was almost within the precincts of the Abbey and there was a tiny courtyard or garden. Margaret immediately envisaged it tiled and Dutch. Gabriel left it stone and defended his opinion. There was a lead figure with the pretence of a fountain.

"I could hardly believe my good luck when first I saw the place. I saw you there at once. It was just as you had described, as we had hoped for, unique and perfect in its way, a real home. It needs very careful furnishing, nothing must be large, nor handsome, nor on an elaborate scale. I shall find out the history, when it was built and for whom. A clergy house, I think."

She was full of enthusiasm and pressed for detail. Gabriel had to admit he did not know how it was lit, nor if electric light had been installed. He fancied not. Then there was the question of bathroom. Here too there was a lapse in his memory.