The owners of Bereford Castle prided themselves upon their extensive gardens, for which purpose many obstructions had been removed. An artificial labyrinth of choice trees was contrived with marvellous effect, producing echoes of unceasing variety. In this enclosure, comprising many acres, were the most beautiful designs of parterres, borders, walks, galleries, cabinets, pavilions, porticoes, and many more intricate inventions of landscape gardening. Fountains gushed forth with untiring and fantastic wreaths of crystal foam; grottoes, cascades, mounts and precipices, seemed to steal away thought and quietly bear one to sleep to the music and dreams of fairyland.
The interior of the castle was in keeping with the grounds. The great hall which, in olden time, formed the most important part of the whole, was somewhat reduced in its dimensions. The windows of stained glass were emblazoned with the armorial bearings of the family, while the walls were adorned with life-size portraits of their ancestors. The richly carved roof, with its massive timbers and pillars supporting it; the old relics, in the shape of banners, helmets, swords, shields, and other implements of warfare, were arranged on every side. On each wing of the main building were spacious, modern rooms, occupied by the family as private apartments, viz: the drawing-room, dining-room, and sleeping apartments.
But perhaps the most attractive feature of the castle is the extensive library—an octagonal room in a small tower, apparently built at a recent date. The stained glass of its oriel window is very beautiful; the handsomely gilded ceiling and pannelled walls have a fine and striking effect; the floor is paved in marble, with inlaid mosaic; the shelves of rosewood and oak are filled with the most costly productions of literature, ancient and modern. This ancient family had cherished a fond taste for letters and science. The present lord, uncle of Lady Rosamond, still found leisure to devote many hours in his favorite resort—the library. Gerald Bereford cultivated a taste likewise. He was a young man of strong literary preferences, showing a desire for learning, with a keen appreciation of the pleasures and pastimes of daily life.
The drawing-room of Bereford Castle was indeed a superb display of taste, grace, wealth and classic design. Though firmly believing that a description will dispel the charm lingering around those beautiful rooms, I cannot resist the inclination to give one.
Lofty ceilings, frescoed and gilded, blazing in gold, with the arms of the family in bold relief; walls with wainscoting, arras and gorgeous tapestry. Furniture polished, carved and decorated; chairs embroidered in crimson and gold; Turkey carpets of fabulous price and texture; statuary, the work of ages; pictures, the work of a lifetime. Mediaeval grandeur in every niche and corner. Add to this a view of the gardens from the deep embayed windows, and you have a faint conception of the drawing-room scene at Bereford Castle, the intended home for Lady Rosamond Seymour.