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I CAPTURE THE CASTLE by Dodie SmithAlso by Dodie SmithThe Hundred and One Dalmatians The Starlight Barking I CAPTURE. redelocidi.tkpe: application/pdf redelocidi.tk: English redelocidi.tk: I Capture The Castle. redelocidi.tk Editorial Reviews. redelocidi.tk Review. Seventeen-year-old Cassandra Mortmain wants to I Capture the Castle - site edition by Dodie Smith. Download it.


I Capture The Castle Pdf

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Book [PDF] I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith Book Summary: One of the 20th Century's most beloved novels is still winning hearts! I Capture the Castle tells. One of the most beloved coming-of-age novels of our time, I Capture the Castle is the classic tale, told in diary form, of six months in the life of Cassandra. I capture the castle by Dodie Smith, , Little, Brown edition, in English - [1st ed.].

The view through the windows above the sink is excessively dreary. Beyond the dank garden in the courtyard are the ruined walls on the edge of the moat.

Beyond the moat, the boggy ploughed fields stretch to the leaden sky. I tell myself that all the rain we have had lately is good for nature, and that at any moment spring will surge on us. I try to see leaves on the trees and the courtyard filled with sunlight.

Unfortunately, the more my mind's eye sees green and gold, the more drained of all color does the twilight seem. It is comforting to look away from the windows and towards the kitchen fire, near which my sister Rose is ironing, though she obviously can't see properly, and it will be a pity if she scorches her only nightgown. I have two, but one is minus its behind. Rose looks particularly fetching by firelight because she is a pinkish person; her skin has a pink glow and her hair is pinkish gold, very light and feathery.

Although I am rather used to her I know she is a beauty. She is nearly twenty-one and very bitter with life. I am seventeen, look younger, feel older. I am no beauty but have a nea tish face. I have just remarked to Rose that our situation is really rather romantic--two girls in this strange and lonely house. She replied that she saw nothing romantic about being shut up in a crumbling ruin surrounded by a sea of mud.

I must admit that our home is an unreasonable place to live in. Yet I love it. The house itself was built in the time of Charles II, but it was grafted on to a fourteenth-century castle that had been damaged by Cromwell. The whole of our east wall was part of the castle; there are two round towers in it. The gatehouse is intact and a stretch of the old walls at their full height joins it to the house.

And Belmotte Tower, all that remains of an even older castle, still stands on its mound close by. But I won't attempt to describe our peculiar home fully until I can see more time ahead of me than I do now. I am writing this journal partly to practice my newly acquired speed-writing and partly to teach myself how to write a novel-I intend to capture all our characters and put in conversations.

It ought to be good for my style to dash along without much thought, as up to now my stories have been very stiff and self-conscious. The only time Father obliged me by reading one of them, he said I combined stateliness with a desperate effort to be funny.

He told me to relax and let the words flow out of me. I wish I knew of a way to make words flow out of Father. Years and years ago, he wrote a very unusual book called Jacob Wrestling, a mixture of fiction, philosophy and poetry. It had a great success, particularly in America, where he made a lot of money by lecturing on it, and he seemed likely to become a very important writer indeed.

But he stopped writing.

Mother believed this was due to something that happened when I was about five. We were living in a small house by the sea at the time. Father had just joined us after his second American lecture tour. One afternoon when we were having tea in the garden, he had the misfortune to lose his temper with Mother very noisily just as he was about to cut a piece of cake. He brandished the cake-knife at her so menacingly that an officious neighbor jumped the garden fence to intervene and got himself knocked down.

Father explained in court that killing a woman with our silver cake-knife would be a long, weary business entailing sawing her to death, and he was completely exonerated of any intention of slaying Mother.

The whole case seems to have been quite ludicrous, with everyone but the neighbor being very funny. But Father made the mistake of being funnier than the judge and, as there was no doubt whatever that he had seriously damaged the neighbor, he was sent to prison for three months. When he came out he was as nice a man as ever-nicer, because his temper was so much better.

Apart from that, he didn't seem to me to be changed at all. But Rose remembers that he had already begun to get unsociable--it was then that he took a forty years' lease of the castle, which is an admirable place to be unsociable in.

Once we were settled here he was supposed to begin a new book. But time went on without anything happening and at last we realized that he had given up even trying to write--for years now, he has refused to discuss the possibility. Most of his life is spent in the gatehouse room, which is icy cold in winter as there is no fireplace; he just huddles over an oil-stove.

As far as we know, he does nothing but read detective novels from the village library. Miss Marcy, the librarian and schoolmistress, brings them to him. She admires him greatly and says "the iron has entered into his soul.

But it has gone now; and his un sociability has grown almost into a disease-- I often think he would prefer not even to meet his own household. All his natural gaiety has vanished. At times he puts on a false cheerfulness that embarrasses me, but usually he is either morose or irritable- I think I should prefer it if he lost his temper as he used to.

Oh, poor Father, he really is very pathetic. But he might at least do a little work in the garden. I am aware that this isn't a fair portrait of him.

I must capture him later. Mother died eight years ago, from perfectly natural causes. I think she must have been a shadowy person, because I have only the vaguest memory of her and I have an excellent memory for most things. Father always said this got him an extra month. Three years ago or is it four his I know Father's one spasm of sociability was in a stepmother was presented to us. We were surprised. She is a famous artists' model who claims to have been christened Topaz--even if this is true there is no law to make a woman stick to a name like that.

She is very beautiful, with masses of hair so fair that it is almost white, and a quite extraordinary pallor. She uses no make-up, not even powder. There are two paintings of her in the Tate Gallery: Allardy which shows her nude on an old horsehair-covered sofa that she says was very prickly.

This is called "Composition"; but as Allardy has painted her even paler than she is, "Decomposition" would suit it better. Actually, there is nothing unhealthy about Topaz's pallor; it simply makes her look as if she belonged to some new race. She has a very deep voice--that is, she puts one on; it is part of an arty pose, which includes painting and lute-playing.

But her kindness is perfectly genuine and so is her cooking. I am very, very fond of her- it is nice to have written that just as she appears on the kitchen stairs. She is wearing her ancient orange tea-gown. Her pale, straight hair is flowing down her back to her waist. She paused on the top step and said "Ah, girls.. Now she is sitting on the steel trivet, raking the fire. The pink light makes her look more ordinary, but very pretty. She is twenty-nine and had two husbands before Father she will never tell us very much about them , but she still looks extraordinarily young.

Perhaps that is because her expression is so blank. The kitchen looks very beautiful now. The firelight glows steadily through the bars and through the round hole in the top of the range where the lid has been left off. It turns the whitewashed walls rosy; even the dark beams in the roof are a dusky gold.

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The highest beam is over thirty feet from the ground. Rose and Topaz are two tiny figures in a great glowing cave. Now Rose is sitting on the fender, waiting for her iron to heat.

She is staring at Topaz with a discontented expression. I can often tell what Rose is thinking and I would take a bet that she is envying the orange tea-gown and hating her own skimpy old blouse and skirt. Poor Rose hates most things she has and envies most things she hasn't. I really am just as discontented, but I don't seem to notice it so much. I feel quite unreasonably happy this minute, watching them both; knowing I can go and join them in the warmth, yet staying here in the cold.

Oh, dear, there has just been a slight scene! Rose asked Topaz to go to London and earn some money. Topaz replied that she didn't think it was worth while, because it costs so much to live there.

It is true that she can never save more than will download us a few presents-she is very generous. Your Father says that the men who paint me nude paint my body and think of their job, but that Macmorris paints my head and thinks of my body.

And it's perfectly true. I've had more trouble with him than I should care to let your Father know.

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This must have been very annoying to Rose, considering that she never has the slightest chance of that sort of trouble. She suddenly flung back her head dramatically and said: It may interest you both to know that for some time now, I've been considering selling myself. If necessary, I shall go on the streets.

If you're really taken with the idea of selling yourself, you'd better choose a wealthy man and marry him respectably. I suppose it was her sheer despair of ever meeting any marriageable men at all, even hideous, poverty-stricken ones, that made her suddenly burst into tears. As she only cries about once a year I really ought to have gone over and comforted her, but I wanted to set it all down here.

I begin to see that writers are liable to become callous. Anyway, Topaz did the comforting far better than I could have done, as I am never disposed to clasp people to my bosom.

She was most maternal, letting Rose weep all over the orange velvet tea-gown, which has suffered many things in its time.

Rose will be furious with herself later on, because she has an unkind tendency to despise Topaz; but for the moment they are most amicable. Rose is now putting away her ironing, gulping a little, and Topaz is laying the table for tea while outlining impracticable plans for making money --such as giving a lute concert in the village or downloading a pig in installments. I joined in while resting my hand, but said nothing of supreme importance.

It is raining again. Stephen is coming across the courtyard. He has lived with us ever since he was a little boy; his Mother used to be our maid, in the days when we could still afford one, and when she died he had nowhere to go. He grows vegetables for us and looks after the hens and does a thousand odd jobs--I can't think how we should get on without him.

He is eighteen now, very fair and noble-looking but his expression is just a fraction daft. He has always been rather devoted to me; Father calls him my swam. Stephen has come in now. The first thing he did was to light a candle and stick it on the window-ledge beside me, saying: My heart sank, because I knew it would contain a poem; I suppose he has been working on it in the barn. It is written in his careful, rather beautiful script.

What am I to do about Stephen? Father says the desire for self-expression is pathetic, but I really think Stephen's main desire is just to please me; he knows I set store by poetry.

I ought to tell him that I know he merely copies the poems out--he has been doing it all winter, every week or so--but I can't find the heart to hurt him. Perhaps when the spring comes I can take him for a walk and break it to him in some encouraging way. This time I have got out of saying my usual hypocritical words of praise by smiling approval at him across the kitchen.

Now he is pumping water up into the cistern, looking very happy. The well is below the kitchen floor and has been there since the earliest days of the castle; it has been supplying water for six hundred years and is said never to have run dry. Of course, there must have been many pumps. The present one arrived when the Victorian hot-water system alleged was put in. Interruptions keep occurring. Topaz has just filled the kettle, splashing my legs, and my brother Thomas has returned from school in our nearest town, King's Crypt.

He is a cumbersome lad of fifteen with hair that grows in tufts, so that parting it is difficult. It is the same mousy color as mine; but mine is meek. When Thomas came in, I suddenly remembered myself coming back from school, day after day, up to a few months ago. In one flash I re-lived the ten-mile crawl in the jerky little train and then the five miles on a bicycle from Scoatney station --how I used to hate that in the winter!

Yet in some ways I should like to be back at school; for one thing, the daughter of the manager at the cinema went there, and she got me in to the pictures free now and then.

I miss that greatly. And I rather miss school itself--it was a surprisingly good one for such a quiet little country town. I had a scholarship, just as Thomas has at his school; we are tolerably bright. The rain is driving hard against the window now. My candle makes it seem quite dark outside. And the far side of the kitchen is dimmer now that the kettle is on the round hole in the top of the range. The girls are sitting on the floor making toast through the bars.

There is a bright edge to each head, where the firelight shines through their hair. Stephen has finished pumping and is stoking the copper --it is a great, old-fashioned brick one which helps to keep the kitchen warm and gives us extra hot-water. With the copper lit as well as the range, the kitchen is much the warmest place in the house; that is why we sit in it so much. But even in summer we have our meals here, because the dining-room furniture was sold over a year ago.

Goodness, Topaz is actually putting on eggs to boil. No one told me the hens had yielded to prayer.

Oh, excellent hens! I was only expecting bread and margarine for tea, and I don't get as used to margarine as I could wish. I thank heaven there is no cheaper form of bread than bread. How odd it is to remember that "tea" once meant afternoon tea to us with little cakes and thin bread-and-butter in the drawing-room.

Now it is as solid a meal as we can scrape together, as it has to last us until breakfast. We have it after Thomas gets back from school. Stephen is lighting the lamp. In a second now, the rosy glow will have gone from the kitchen.

But lamplight is beautiful, too.

The lamp is lit. And as Stephen carried it to the table, my Father came out on the staircase. His old plaid traveling-rug was wrapped round his shoulders --he had come from the gatehouse along the top of the castle walls. He murmured: Then he said his hands were quite numb; not complainingly, more in a tone of faint surprise--though I find it hard to believe that anyone living at the castle in winter can be surprised at any part of themselves being numb.

And as he came downstairs shaking the rain off his hair, I suddenly felt so fond of him. I fear I don't feel that very often. He is still a splendid-looking man, though his fine features are getting a bit lost in fat and his coloring is fading. It used to be as bright as Rose's. Now he is chatting to Topaz. I regret to note that he is in his falsely cheerful mood--though I think poor Topaz is grateful for even false cheerfulness from him these days.

She adores him, and he seems to take so little interest in her. I shall have to get off the draining-board--Topaz wants the tea-cozy and our dog, Heloise, has come in and discovered I have borrowed her blanket.

She is a bull-terrier, snowy white except where her fondant-pink skin shows through her short hair. All right, Heloise darling, you shall have your blanket. She gazes at me with love, reproach, confidence and humor- how can she express so much just with two rather small slanting eyes his I finish this entry sitting on the stairs. I think it worthy of note that I never felt happier in my life- despite sorrow for Father, pity for Rose, embarrassment about Stephen's poetry and no justification for hope as regards our family's general outlook.

Perhaps it is because I have satisfied my creative urge; or it may be due to the thought of eggs for tea. Written in bed. I am reasonably comfortable as I am wearing my school coat and have a hot brick for my feet, but I wish it wasn't my week for the little iron bedstead --Rose and I take it in turns to sleep in the four-poster.

She is sitting up in it reading a library book. When Miss Marcy brought it she said it was "a pretty story. Poor Rose! She is wearing her old blue flannel dressing-gown with the skirt part doubled up round her waist for warmth.

She has had that dressing-gown so long that I don't think she sees it any more; if she were to put it away for a month and then look at it, she would get a shock. But who am I to talk--who have not had a dressing gown at all for two years his The remains of my last one are wrapped round my hot brick. Our room is spacious and remarkably empty. With the exception of the four-poster, which is in very bad condition, all the good furniture has gradually been sold and replaced by minimum requirements bought in junk-shops.

Thus we have a wardrobe without a door and a bamboo dressing-table which I take to be a rare piece. I keep my bedside candlestick on a battered tin trunk that cost one shilling; Rose has hers on a chest of drawers painted to imitate marble, but looking more like bacon.

The enamel jug and basin on a metal tripod is my own personal property, the landlady of "The Keys" having given it to me after I found it doing no good in a stable. It saves congestion in the bathroom. One rather nice thing is the carved wooden window-seat- I am thankful there is no way of selling that. It is built into the thickness of the castle wall, with a big mullioned window above it.

There are windows on the garden side of the room, too; little diamond-paned ones. One thing I have never grown out of being fascinated by is the round tower which opens into a corner.

There is a circular stone staircase inside it by which you can go up to the battlemented top, or down to the drawing-room; though some of the steps have crumbled badly. Perhaps I ought to have counted Miss Blossom as a piece of furniture. She is a dressmaker's dummy of most opulent figure with a wire skirt round her one leg.

We are a bit silly about Miss Blossom-we pretend she is real. We imagine her to be a woman of the world, perhaps a barmaid in her youth. She says things like "Well, dearie, that's what men are like," and "You hold out for your marriage lines.

Topaz has just wandered through ours-wearing a nightgown made of plain white calico with holes for her neck and arms; she thinks modern underclothes are vulgar. She looked rather like a victim going to an Auto da Fe, but her destination was merely the bathroom. Topaz and Father sleep in the big room that opens on to the kitchen staircase. There is a little room between them and us which we call "Buffer State"; Topaz uses it as a studio.

Thomas has the room across the landing, next to the bathroom. I wonder if Topaz has gone to ask Father to come to bed--she is perfectly capable of stalking along the top of the castle walls in her nightgown. I hope she hasn't, because Father does so snub her when she bursts into the gatehouse. We were trained as children never to go near him unless invited and he thinks she ought to behave in the same way.

No--she didn't go. She came back a few minutes ago and showed signs of staying here, but we didn't encourage her. Now she is in bed and is playing her lute. I like the idea of a lute, but not the noise it makes; it is seldom in tune and appears to be an instrument that never gets a run at anything. I feel rather guilty at being so unsociable to Topaz, but we did have such a sociable evening.

Round about eight o'clock, Miss Marcy came with the books. She is about forty, small and rather faded yet somehow very young. She blinks her eyes a lot and is apt to giggle and say: I believe she teaches very nicely; her specialties are folk song and wild flowers and country lore. She didn't like it here when first she came she always says she "missed the bright lights" ; but she soon made herself take an interest in country things, and now she tries to make the country people interested in them too.

As librarian, she cheats a bit to give us the newest books; she'd had a delivery today and had brought Father a detective novel that only came out the year before last--and it was by one of his favorite authors. Topaz said: He came back with her to thank Miss Marcy and for once he seemed quite genuinely cheerful. She said "Oh, thank you, Mr. That is, I mean--well, reely! Father then flung his rug round him like a toga and went back to the gatehouse looking quite abnormally goodhumored.

As soon as he was out of earshot, Miss Marcy said "How is he? Rose said he was perfectly well and perfectly useless, as always.

Miss Marcy looked shocked. She hates anything which casts a reflection on Father. Miss Marcy said that nothing to do with our household could possibly bore her-- I know she thinks our life at the castle is wildly romantic. Then she asked, very diffidently, if she could help us with any advice-- "Sometimes an outside mind.. Mother trained us never to talk about our affairs in the village, and I do respect Topaz's loyalty to Father, but I was sure Miss Marcy must know perfectly well that we are broke.

Let's hold a board meeting! She was so eager that it would have seemed quite rude to refuse; and I think Rose and Topaz felt desperate enough to try anything. Writing paper is scarce in this house, and I had no intention of tearing sheets out of this exercise book, which is a superb sixpenny one the Vicar gave me. In the end, Miss Marcy took the middle pages out of her library record, which gave us a pleasant feeling that we were stealing from the government, and then we sat round the table and elected her chairman.

She said she must be secretary, too, so that she could keep the minutes, and wrote down: Miss Marcy chairman Mrs. The rent is forty pounds a year, which seems little for a commodious castle, but we have only a few acres of land, the country folk think the ruins are a drawback, and there are said to be ghosts-which there are not.

Anyway, we haven't paid any rent for three years. Our landlord, a rich old gentleman who lived at Scoatney Hall, five miles away, always sent us a ham at Christmas whether we paid the rent or not.

He died last November and we have sadly missed the ham. Well, we will just put the rent down and mark it "optional". Now what about food? Can you do it on fifteen shillings a week per head? Say a pound per head, including candles, lamp-oil and cleaning materials. But, dear Mrs. Mortmain, there must be some money, surely?

Not one penny has come in during January or February. Last year Father got forty pounds from America, where Jacob Wrestling still sells. Topaz posed in London for three months, saved eight pounds for us and borrowed fifty; and we sold a tallboy to a King's Crypt dealer for twenty pounds.

We have been living on the tallboy since Christmas. But we hastened to tell her that it bore no relation to this year's income, for we have no more good furniture to sell, Topaz has run out of rich borrowees, and we think it unlikely that Father's royalties will be so large, as they have dwindled every year. But of course we told him that would be absurd as his schooling costs us nothing owing to his scholarship, and the Vicar has just given him a year's ticket for the train.

Miss Marcy fiddled with her pencil a bit and then said: Couldn't you make a saving on Stephen's wages? Of course we have never paid Stephen anything--never even thought of it. And I suddenly realized that we ought to have done so. Everything I've ever had has been given to me here. Miss Marcy looked as if she wasn't sure that was a very good thing to be, but Stephen's face quite lit up for a second.

Then he got embarrassed and said he must see if the hens were all in. After he had gone, Miss Marcy said: Just his keep? Then we got down to our earning capacities. Topaz said she couldn't earn more than four pounds a week in London and possibly not that, and she would need three pounds to live on, and some clothes, and the fare to come down here at least every other weekend.

And I miss Mortmain dreadfully. And he needs me here--I'm the only one who can cook. And you'd never have the patience to sit still. I suppose if nothing turns up I'll have to go to London. I could send about ten shillings a week home. James Mortmain: I might sell some of that, of course. I said my speed-writing was getting quite fast, but of course it wasn't quite like real shorthand or quite like real speed-writing, for that matter ; and I couldn't type and the chance of getting anywhere near a typewriter was remote.

Rose, dear? Couldn't you do some pretty sewing? Miss Marcy was looking at her list rather depressedly. What's the real trouble with Mr. Is it- is it drink? Drink costs money, Miss Marcy. And I don't believe he was ever very good, really. I expect Jacob Wrestling was overestimated.

Stephen came to the table and stood between them. But things have happened to him so that he can't write any more. You can't write just for the wanting. He said the days would soon draw out and that he'd work for us in the evenings. I couldn't get a job if you went to London, of course -there'd be too much work for Miss Cassandra. Stebbins said he'd start me at that. And I'd get my dinner at Four Stones. Miss Marcy said it was a splendid idea, though it was a pity it meant striking out Topaz's ten shillings.

And she smiled so very sweetly. Poor Rose has been so miserable lately that a smile from her is like late afternoon sunshine after a long, wet day. I don't see how anyone could see Rose smile without feeling fond of her.

I thought Stephen would be tremendously pleased, but he only nodded and swallowed several times. Just then, Father came out on the staircase and looked down on us all. Then he came downstairs saying: I'm having a little break, trying to guess the murderer.

I should like a biscuit, please. I believe he thinks it is the smallest and cheapest thing he can ask for. Of course, we haven't had any real shop biscuits for ages but Topaz makes oatcake, which is very filling. She put some margarine on a piece for him. I saw a fraction of distaste in his eyes and he asked her if she could sprinkle it with a little sugar. As it then stood, it read: Earning Capacity for Present Year Mrs. Mortmain nil. Cassandra Mortmain nil.

Thomas Mortmain nil. Rose Mortmain nil. Father's expression didn't change as he read, he went on smiling; but I could feel something happening to him. Rose says I am always crediting people with emotions I should experience myself in their situation, but I am sure I had a real flash of intuition then.

And I suddenly saw his face very clearly, not just in the way one usually sees the faces of people one is very used to. I saw how he had changed since I was little and I thought of Ralph Hodgson's line about "tamed and shabby tigers. I thought of many more things, complicated, pathetic and very puzzling, just while Father read the list. When he had finished, he said quite lightly: Mortmain, sir," said Stephen, "and for--for past favors; all the books you've lent me-was "I'm sure you'll make a very good head of the family," said Father.

He took the oatcake with sugar on it from Topaz and moved towards the stairs. She called after him: Then he thanked Miss Marcy again for bringing him such a good one, and said good night to her very courteously. We could hear him humming as he went through the bedrooms on his way to the gatehouse.

Miss Marcy made no remark about the incident, which shows what a tactful person she is; but she looked embarrassed and said she must be getting along. Stephen lit a lantern and said he would go as far as the road with her--she had left her bicycle there because of the awful mud in our lane. I went out to see her off. As we crossed the courtyard, she glanced up at the gatehouse window and asked if I thought Father would be offended if she brought him a little tin of biscuits to keep there.

I said I didn't think any food could give offence in our house and she said: I wanted to get back to the fire so I just said yes; but it wasn't true. I am never used to the beauty of the castle. And after she and Stephen had gone I realized it was looking particularly lovely. It was a queer sort of night. The full moon was hidden by clouds but had turned them silver so that the sky was quite light. Belmotte Tower, high on its mound, seemed even taller than usual.

Once I really looked at the sky, I wanted to go on looking; it seemed to draw me towards it and make me listen hard, though there was nothing to listen to, not so much as a twig was stirring. When Stephen came back I was still gazing upwards.

But I had forgotten about feeling cold, so of course I wasn't cold any more. As we walked back to the house he asked if I thought La Belle Dame sans Merci would have lived in a tower like Belmotte.

I said it seemed very likely; though I never really thought of her having a home life.

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After that, we all decided to go to bed to save making up the fire, so we got our hot bricks out of the oven and wended our ways. But going to bed early is hard on candles. I reckoned I had two hours of light in mine, but a bit of wick fell in and now it is a melted mass. Mother believed this was due to something that happened when I was about five. We were living in a small house by the sea at the time.

Father had just joined us after his second American lecture tour. One afternoon when we were having tea in the garden, he had the misfortune to lose his temper with mother very noisily just as he was about to cut a piece of cake.

He brandished the cake knife at her so menacingly that an officious neighbour jumped the garden fence to intervene and got himself knocked down. Father explained in court that killing a woman with our silver cake knife would be a long, weary business entailing sawing her to death, and he was completely exonerated of any intention of slaying mother. The whole case seems to have been quite ludicrous, with everyone but the neighbour being very funny.

But father made the mistake of being funnier than the judge and, as there was no doubt whatever that he had seriously damaged the neighbour, he was sent to prison for three months. When he came out he was as nice a man as ever nicer, because his temper was so much better. Apart from that, he didn't seem to me to be changed at all. But Rose remembers that he had already begun to get unsociable it was then that he took a forty years' lease of the castle, which is an admirable place to be unsociable in.

Once we were settled here he was supposed to begin a new book. But time went on without anything happening and at last we realized that he had given up even trying to write for years now, he has refused to discuss the possibility. Most of his life is spent in the gatehouse room, which is icy cold in winter as there is no fireplace; he just huddles over an oil stove.

As far as we know, he does nothing but read detective novels from the village library. Miss Marcy, the librarian and schoolmistress, brings them to him.

She admires him greatly and says "the iron has entered into his soul. But it has gone now; and his unsociability has grown almost into a disease I often think he would prefer not even to meet his own household.

All his natural gaiety has vanished. At times he puts on a false cheerfulness that embarrasses me, but usually he is either morose or irritable I think I should prefer it if he lost his temper as he used to. Oh, poor father, he really is very pathetic. But he might at ] east do a little work in the garden. I am aware that this isn't a fair portrait of him.

I must capture him later. Mother died eight years ago, from perfectly natural causes. I think she must have been a shadowy person, because I have only the vaguest memory of her and I have an excellent memory for most things.

I can remember the cake knife incident perfectly I hit the fallen neighbour with my little wooden spade. Father always said this got him an extra month. Three years ago or is it four? I know father's one spasm of sociability was in a stepmother was presented to us. We were surprised. She is a famous artists' model who claims to have been christened Topaz even if this is true there is no law to make a woman stick to a name like that. She is very beautiful, with masses of hair so fair that it is almost white, and a quite extraordinary pallor.

She uses no make up, not even powder. There are two paintings of her in the Tate Gallery: one by Macmorris, called "Topaz in Jade", in which she wears a magnificent jade necklace; and one by H. Allardy which shows her nude on an old horsehair covered sofa that she says was very prickly. This is called "Composition"; but as Allardy has painted her even paler than she is, "Decomposition" would suit it better.

Actually, there is nothing unhealthy about Topaz's pallor; it simply makes her look as if she belonged to some new race. She has a very deep voice that is, she puts one on; it is part of an arty pose, which includes painting and lute playing. But her kindness is perfectly genuine and so is her cooking.

I am very, very fond of her it is nice to have written that just as she appears on the kitchen stairs. She is wearing her ancient orange tea gown.

Her pale, straight hair is flowing down her back to her waist. She paused on the top step and said "Ah, girls Now she is sitting on the steel trivet, raking the fire.

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The pink light makes her look more ordinary, but very pretty. She is twenty nine and had two husbands before father she will never tell us very much about them , but she still looks extraordinarily young. Perhaps that is because her expression is so blank. The kitchen looks very beautiful now.

The firelight glows steadily through the bars and through the round hole in the top of the range where the lid has been left off. It turns the whitewashed walls rosy; even the dark beams in the roof are a dusky gold. The highest beam is over thirty feet from the ground.

Rose and Topaz are two tiny figures in a great glowing cave. Now Rose is sitting on the fender, waiting for her iron to heat. She is staring at Topaz with a discontented expression. I can often tell what Rose is thinking and I would take a bet that she is envying the orange tea gown and hating her own skimpy old blouse and skirt. Poor Rose hates most things she has and envies most things she hasn't. I really am just as discontented, but I don't seem to notice it so much.

I feel quite unreasonably happy this minute, watching them both; knowing I can go and join them in the warmth, yet staying here in the cold.

Oh, dear, there has just been a slight scene! Rose asked Topaz to go to London and earn some money. She is a famous artists' model who claims to have been christened Topaz even if this is true there is no law to make a woman stick to a name like that. She is very beautiful, with masses of hair so fair that it is almost white, and a quite extraordinary pallor. She uses no make up, not even powder. There are two paintings of her in the Tate Gallery: Allardy which shows her nude on an old horsehair covered sofa that she says was very prickly.

This is called "Composition"; but as Allardy has painted her even paler than she is, "Decomposition" would suit it better. Actually, there is nothing unhealthy about Topaz's pallor; it simply makes her look as if she belonged to some new race. She has a very deep voice that is, she puts one on; it is part of an arty pose, which includes painting and lute playing. But her kindness is perfectly genuine and so is her cooking. I am very, very fond of her it is nice to have written that just as she appears on the kitchen stairs.

She is wearing her ancient orange tea gown. Her pale, straight hair is flowing down her back to her waist. She paused on the top step and said "Ah, girls Now she is sitting on the steel trivet, raking the fire.

The pink light makes her look more ordinary, but very pretty. She is twenty nine and had two husbands before father she will never tell us very much about them , but she still looks extraordinarily young. Perhaps that is because her expression is so blank. The kitchen looks very beautiful now. The firelight glows steadily through the bars and through the round hole in the top of the range where the lid has been left off.

It turns the whitewashed walls rosy; even the dark beams in the roof are a dusky gold.

The highest beam is over thirty feet from the ground. Rose and Topaz are two tiny figures in a great glowing cave. Now Rose is sitting on the fender, waiting for her iron to heat. She is staring at Topaz with a discontented expression. I can often tell what Rose is thinking and I would take a bet that she is envying the orange tea gown and hating her own skimpy old blouse and skirt. Poor Rose hates most things she has and envies most things she hasn't. I really am just as discontented, but I don't seem to notice it so much.

I feel quite unreasonably happy this minute, watching them both; knowing I can go and join them in the warmth, yet staying here in the cold. Oh, dear, there has just been a slight scene!

Rose asked Topaz to go to London and earn some money. Topaz replied that she didn't think it was worth while, because it costs so much to live there. It is true that she can never save more than will download us a few presents she is very generous.

Your father says that the men who paint me nude paint my body and think of their job, but that Macmorris paints my head and thinks of my body. And it's perfectly true. I've had more trouble with him than I should care to let your father know. Rose said: This must have been very annoying to Rose, considering that she never has the slightest chance of that sort of trouble.

She suddenly flung back her head dramatically and said: It may interest you both to know that for some time now, I've been considering selling myself. If necessary, I shall go on the streets. Topaz said she had never been on the streets and rather regretted it, "because one must sink to the depths in order to rise to the heights," which is the kind of Topazism it requires much affection to tolerate. If you're really taken with the idea of selling yourself, you'd better choose a wealthy man and marry him respectably.

This idea has, of course, occurred to Rose, but she has always hoped that the man would be handsome, romantic and lovable into the bargain. I suppose it was her sheer despair of ever meeting any marriageable men at all, even hideous, poverty stricken ones, that made her suddenly burst into tears.

As she only cries about once a year I really ought to have gone over and comforted her, but I wanted to set it all down here. I begin to see that writers are liable to become callous. Anyway, Topaz did the comforting far better than I could have done, as I am never disposed to clasp people to my bosom. She was most maternal, letting Rose weep all over the orange velvet tea gown, which has suffered many things in its time. Rose will be furious with herself later on, because she has an unkind tendency to despise Topaz; but for the moment they are most amicable.

Rose is now putting away her ironing, gulping a little, and Topaz is laying the table for tea while outlining impracticable plans for making money such as giving a lute concert in the village or downloading a pig in installments.

It is raining again. Stephen is coming across the courtyard. He has lived with us ever since he was a little boy his mother used to be our maid, in the days when we could still afford one, and when she died he had nowhere to go. He grows vegetables for us and looks after the hens and does a thousand odd jobs I can't think how we should get on without him. He is eighteen now, very fair and noble looking but his expression is just a fraction daft.

He has always been rather devoted to me; father calls him my swain. Stephen has come in now. The first thing he did was to light a candle and stick it on the window ledge beside me, saying:. Then he dropped a tightly folded bit of paper on this journal. My heart sank, because I knew it would contain a poem; I suppose he has been working on it in the barn.

It is written in his careful, rather beautiful script. What am I to do about Stephen? Father says the desire for self-expression is pathetic, but I really think Stephen's main desire is just to please me; he knows I set store by poetry. I ought to tell him that I know he merely copies the poems out he has been doing it all winter, every week or so but I can't find the heart to hurt him.

Perhaps when the spring comes I can take him for a walk and break it to him in some encouraging way. This time I have got out of saying my usual hypocritical words of praise by smiling approval at him across the kitchen.Then suddenly we drove out into the open and there it was- but not the lonely tower on a hill we had been searching for; what we saw was quite a large castle, built on level ground.

But, dear Mrs. Rose was never frightened of anything; she was trying to scramble up to the window even before Father got there to lift her. Bennet didn't owe him any rent," I said. It puzzles me now why we hadn't seen it when we first came through the gatehouse passage.

It is comforting to look away from the windows and towards the kitchen fire, near which my sister Rose is ironing though she obviously can't see properly, and it will be a pity if she scorches her only nightgown. I had just covered my face with soap, which always makes one feel rather helpless, and when I rashly opened my eyes, the soap got into them; I was blindly groping for the towel when I heard the door open.