Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Finding the Garden 5

 From In A Tuscan Garden, published anonymously 1902
Now I had no reason to suppose there was anything to be gained by walking up that avenue, but something seemed to impel me to go on.  The trees on either side were mostly fine old ilexes, with here and there a cypress, but the place looked absolutely uncared for, and not a human being was to be seen. When we had walked a few hundred yards we came to a piece of broken wall on the left-hand side, terminating in an old stone archway, from which a paved court-yard ascended by a gentle slope to the door of a long, low, two-storied house, from the farther end of which a “stanzone” (lemon house) projected into the garden. The side of this house abutted on the avenue, across which, directly facing the old archway, a short flight of steps appeared to lead into the bushes.  Straight ahead of us was a row of cypress trees and beyond them a very large and palatial looking house.
My companion dropped down on one of the steps and declined to go any further.  We had had a long and very tiring day, and were rather depressed by the sense of time and trouble thrown away. “Well,” I said resolutely, “I am going on to that house:.  I want to ask if there is anything to let hereabouts.” Accordingly I walked on to the big mansion, and was astonished to find the English arms over the ample portico!  The bell was answered by a fine-looking servant, who in answer to my query said, “No, the villino was let” – further enquiries elicited the information that it was let till the first of November.
That was the precise date at which we wanted a house.  The old man offered to show me the villino, but I felt that I had gained the information I wanted, and that it was better at that late hour to leave further investigations to another day, and to make the best of our way back to our distant home.  But a few days later we returned to this place; I was very anxious to arrive, if possible, at some kind of decision before my companion left for England, having no fancy for choosing a settlement entirely on my own responsibility.  

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