Page:Court Royal.djvu/54

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soil have made them thrive. Look at the hydrangeas. Did you ever see anything like them? Blue, all blue, owing to the iron in the soil. The rhododendron and azalea season is the time to see this place to perfection. The two-mile drive between banks of flowering shrubs is scarcely to be surpassed. I should have liked to take you through the vineries, orchard houses, pinery, and conservatories. The Duke and the Lady Grace are passionately fond of flowers. He grudges no money on his gardens and glass houses. You like this gravelled road, do you not? We have to send to the Tamar copper-mines for the gravel. It comes in barges from Morwellham to Kingsbridge. It is so charged with mundic and arsenic as to poison the weeds for seven years. It comes rather costly, but there is no gravel like it, a beautiful white spar. His Grace can endure no other gravel. We have some six miles of gravelled walks and drives done with it in the park and gardens. You have a pair of gloves with you, I hope? I myself wear them until I enter the room, lest my fingers should get dirty. Are your hands moist? Hold them against the glass to cool them. I do not myself like shaking hands when my hands are warm. There, from this point you get a lovely glimpse of the estuary and the beautiful hills behind, with the tower of Stokenham on the height. It is too dark for you to distinguish the tower, but you can see the water. I call the creek an estuary, but, as a fact, no rivers run into it. The Avon flows away behind that bank of hill. There is the Court: a fine pile of buildings, is it not? all built of Yealmton limestone. I call it limestone, but, in fact, it is marble. By this light you cannot see how prettily it is veined. The late Duke began the mansion, and the present Duke completed it, about forty-three years ago. It is in the Doric order.’

‘It must have cost a pot of money,’ observed Mr. Crudge.

‘It cost a great deal of money,’ said the steward coldly. ‘Dukes do not keep their money in pots, like old women.’

‘Is it paid for?’ asked the lawyer.

‘Well——. It is rather unfortunate that their Graces were obliged to build, but, really, they could not help themselves. The old house was Elizabethan, very suitable for a country squire or for a baronet. I am not sure that even a baron might not have put up with it, but it was not of a scale—of a sort—it had not the height’ (Mr. Worthivale spread his hands illustrative of its dimensions) ‘you understand. A duke is a duke, and must be ducally lodged. If you have a