“I suppose that they trusted to their moat and walls, and the hagger at the bottom of the dry ditch,” said the Colonel. “You see there is no eminence from which they could be commanded, and their archers could sweep all the plain from the battlements.”
“Ah, yes, of course they could. It is easy to see that you are a soldier. They were no fools, those old crusaders. My word, we must be getting on. They are hauling down the Union Jack on the west tower. I always have it hauled down at sunset,” and he began walking briskly again.
In another three minutes they had crossed a narrow by-road, and were passing up the ancient drive that led to the Castle gates. It was not much of a drive, but there were still some half-dozen of old pollard oaks that had no doubt stood there before the Norman Boissey, from whose family, centuries ago, the de la Molles had obtained the property by marriage with the heiress, had got his charter and cut the first sod of his moat.
Right before them was the gateway of the Castle, flanked by two great towers, and these, with the exception of some ruins were, as a matter of fact, all that remained of the ancient building, which had been effectually demolished in the time of Cromwell. The space within, where the keep had once stood, was now laid out as a flower garden, while the house, which was of an unpretentious nature, and built in the Jacobean style, occupied the south side of the square, and was placed with its back to the moat.
“You see I have practically rebuilt those two towers,” said the Squire, pausing underneath the Norman archway. “If I had not done it,” he added apologetically, “they would have been in ruins by now, but it cost a pretty penny, I can tell you. Nobody knows what stuff that old flint masonry is to deal with, till he tries it. Well, they will stand now for many a long day. And here we are”—and he pushed open a porch door and then passed up some steps and through a passage into an oak-panelled vestibule, which was hung with tapestry originally taken, no doubt, from the old Castle, and decorated with coats of armour, spear heads, and ancient swords.
And here it was that Harold Quaritch once more beheld the face which had haunted his memory for so many months.
The tale of sir James de la Molle
“Is that you, father?” said a voice, a very sweet voice, but one of which the tones betrayed the irritation natural to a healthy woman who has been kept waiting for her dinner. The voice came from the recesses of the dusky room in which the evening gloom had gathered deeply, and looking in its direction, Harold Quaritch could see the outline of a tall form sitting in an old oak chair with its hands crossed.
“Is that you, father? Really it is too bad to be so late for dinner— especially after you blew up that wretched Emma last night because she was five minutes after time. I have been waiting so long that I have almost been asleep.”