But Bellamy wanted no lunch that day.
“After all,” he soliloquized to himself, between the pangs of a racking headache brought on by his outburst of temper, “time sometimes brings its revenges, and, if it does, you may look out, Mrs. Bellamy.”
It is perhaps time that the reader should know a little of the ancient house and loyalty where many of the personages of whose history these pages treat, lived and moved and had their being.
The Abbey House, so called, was in reality that part of the monastery which had been devoted to the use of successive generations of priors. It was, like the ruins that lay to its rear, entirely built of grey masonry, rendered greyer still by the lichens that fed upon its walls, which were of exceeding strength and thickness. It was a long, irregular building, and roofed with old and narrow tiles, which from red had, in the course of ages, faded to sober russet. The banqueting-hall was a separate building at its northern end, and connected with the main dwelling by a covered way. The aspect of the house was westerly, and the front windows looked on to an expanse of park-like land, heavily timbered with oaks of large size, some of them pollards that might have pushed their first leaves in the time of William the Conqueror. In spring their vivid green was diversified by the reddish brown of a double line of noble walnut-trees, a full half mile in length, marking the track of the carriage-drive that led to the Roxham high-road.
Behind the house lay the walled garden, celebrated in the time of the monks as being a fortnight earlier than any other in the neighbourhood. Skirting the southern wall of this garden, which was a little less than a hundred paces long, the visitor reached the scattered ruins of the old monastery that had for generations served as a stone quarry to the surrounding villages, but of which enough was left, including a magnificent gateway, to show how great had been its former extent. Passing on through these, he would