Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Great Beginnings, Part Two

Continuing with great beginnings, here's another favorite of mine. Are you in the mood for mystery yet?

"Sexton never looked for the gatehouse, no matter what anyone thought or said afterward. Neither did he intend it as a ploy, a deliberate excuse to meet Iris Freebody. He came upon it quite by chance, on the Friday before the first week of classes began at the college where he'd come to teach.

He still didn't have a place to live. He'd been combing the town without success and that day he found himself drifting out onto the country on a secondary road, disttracted by the beauty of the afternoon. The smoke haze of autumn hung in the air like a gold mist, the mountains were blue, trees burned in the sunshine, and a farmer was making a pastoral whirr, baling hay on his machine.

Sexton had been skirting a long stone wall on his right for some time. There had to be a house behind it, but though he thought he glimpsed a chimney, trees and shrubs made a screen where the wall left off. Here also were tall iron gates topped by spears, and an "F" woven into them. Then this must be the castle, or Adam's Castle, or Old Adam's Castle--terms used by local residents in speaking of the mansion that the Freebodys owned on the outskirts of town. His friend Jeff had told him about the Freebody family, who had given their name to the town, and their land and buildings to found a college which also bore their name. It was Adam Freebody who had built the Castle, his own rendition of castles he'd seen in Europe, and why shouldn't the old boy have built himself a palatial plaything? Adam Freebody had been as rich as the men who'd owned those castles in Europe, maybe richer. Sexton was curious to see how the lords of the manor lived, and he parked his car and walked over to the gates to look through . . . . "

by Ethel Edison Gordon (c. 1974)

Photo link here.

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