PublicBookshelf Book Club
Weekly tips on great novels to read.
Beechleigh was really a fine place, built by Vanbrugh in his best days.
Three tiers of fifteen tall windows looked to the north in a front and
two short wings, while colonnades led down to splendid wrought-iron
gates, and blocks of buildings constructed in the same stately style.
Fifteen more windows faced the south; and the centre one of the first
floor led, with sweeping steps, to a terrace, while seven casements
adorned each of the eastern and western sides.
On the southern side the view, for that rather flat country, was superb.
It gave, from a considerable elevation--through a wide opening of giant
oaks and elms--a peep of the lake a mile below, and on in a long avenue
of turf to a vista of smiling country.
On the splendid terrace peacocks spread their tails, and vases of carved
stone broke at intervals the gray old balustrade.
Inside the house was equally nobly planned: all the rooms of great
height and perfect proportion, and filled with pictures and tapestries
and bronzes and antiques of immense value.
It had come to these spendthrift Irish Fitzgeralds through their
grandmother, the last of an old ducal race. And two generations of
Hibernian influence had curtailed the fine fortune which went with it,
until Sir Patrick often felt it no easy matter to make both ends meet in
the luxurious and gilded fashion which was necessary to himself and his
If he and Lady Ada pinched and scraped when alone, keeping few servants
on board wages, the parties, at all events, were done with all their
wonted regal splendor.