Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Lady MacDonell

Monserrat, the residence of Sir Frederick Cook, is famous for its garden, where tree-ferns grow in clumps, and 271 fountains and basins with lotus and lilies are dotted about. It belonged originally to Beckford. During Sir Francis Cook's life his second wife, ne Miss Tennessee Claflin, obliged visitors to buy one of her pamphlets on entering the gates. She was a remarkably clever woman ; but her theories on human reform were somewhat Utopian and not quite the literature for my juvenile parties, so I fear the reservoir just beyond the entrance must often have been obstructed. On the way to Collares, where the wine of that name is grown, stands the summer residence of Canning, who was British representative from 1814 to 1816. For miles before reaching Collares itself the most discordant sounds and groans are heard. This lugubrious 272 music proceeds from the wheels of the bullock-carts, on which the large wine-casks are transported. The wheels of these carts are made of a solid round piece of wood without spokes, and the creaking is said to charm the bullocks, who to this accompaniment will uncomplainingly pursue their slow, steady, untiring way for many miles at a time.


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