Page:Idalia, by 'Ouida'.djvu/18

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IDALIA

Border lords was named, from an old tradition dating back to one of Malcolm of Scotland's hunting raids; the place would have maddened an architect or a lover of new stucco, but it would have enraptured an arch├Žologist or an artist. One half of it was in ruins-a mass of ivy and grey crumbling stone; the other half was of all styles of architecture, from the round quaint tower of earliest date, to the fantastic, peaked, and oriel window'd Elizabethan. Birds made their nests in most of the chimneys, holly and hawthorn grew out of the clefts in the walls, the terraces were moss-grown, and the escutcheon above the gateway was lost in a profusion of scarlet-leaved creepers. But there were a picturesqueness, a charm, a lingering grandeur it had still; it spoke of a dead race, and it had poems in every ruin, with the sun on its blazoned casements, and the herons keeping guard by its deserted weed-grown moat.

"God bless my soul! How the place has gone to rack and ruin since I was here twenty years ago!" cried the Duke, heedlessly and honestly, in blank amazement, as he stared about him.

Erceldoone smiled slightly:

"Our fortunes have gone to 'rack and ruin,' Duke."