On the road from Teignmouth to Dawlish, a little out of the town, stand two houses in their grounds. The road is somewhat steep, ascending through red banks of sandstone. Presently a little garden door is reached, where there is a fork in the road, and over the wall of red stone can be seen a luxurious growth of arbutus, guelder rose, and acacia, and above the flowering bushes the brown thatch of a cottage, with bedroom windows peeping out through the thatch. By standing on tiptoe one can even look into the garden and see that the cottage has a verandah covered with creeping roses, and that French windows open into this verandah.
A little way higher up the hill is a more pretentious house in what may be called the Italian villa style; but the house is more than a villa, it is almost a mansion. The grounds are fairly extensive, the pines are luxuriant and of choice kinds. The insignis is grown there to a stately tree. There are glass conservatories. At the door stands a footman in buff and scarlet. The windows are of plate glass.
Presently an old gentleman, with hair white as snow, and an almost transparent, wax-like complexion, is wheeled into the garden in a chair, attended by an old bent man, leaning on a stick, and a lady, gentle and smiling.
We recognise our old friends, the Duke of Kingsbridge, Lord Ronald, and Lady Grace. Shortly after the Marquess comes forth, and the party descend the hill.
As they pass the little green door of the cottage, which sits, as it were, at the feet of the other, it is opened, and from it issue Mr. Worthivale and his daughter Lucy.
The united party proceeds to the walk along the sea-wall, extending for a mile, above the sands at low water and the sea when the tide is full. There they will be joined after a while by Beavis, who is in a solicitor’s office in the town, and likely eventually to be taken into partnership.
Not all the estates of the Duke have been sold. Court Royal—dear Court Royal—is lost for ever. The manor of Kingsbridge is gone. Alvington, Loddiswell, Charlton, are all gone, but Fowelscombe remains—ruinous, indeed, but not lost—and Bigbury.
‘You may depend upon it,’ says Mr. Worthivale, ‘all we want is time. Penzance is used up. Torquay is done for. The aspect of Paington is against it. The time must come when Bigbury Bay will form a crescent of glittering white houses, tier on tier—when the express from town will fly past