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continued Prince Ludwig, "and that is that in a single

source:Follow the wavesedit:maptime:2023-12-06 02:27:57

The rain had stopped, but the whole atmosphere reeled of moisture. Angry-looking, dirty-brown clouds chased each other across the lowering sky, and there was a constant sound of water, trickling and gurgling and splashing, in his ears.

continued Prince Ludwig,

An untidy-looking lawn with a few unkempt and overgrown rhododendron bushes dotted here and there ran its length in front of the house and terminated in an iron railing which separated the grounds from a little wood. A badly water-logged drive, green with grass in places, ran past the lawn in a couple of short bends to the front gate. On the other side the drive was bordered by what had once been a kitchen garden but was now a howling wilderness of dead leaves, mud and gravel with withered bushes and half a dozen black, bare and dripping apple trees set about at intervals. At the side of the house the kitchen garden stopped and was joined by a flower garden--at least so Desmond judged it to have been by a half ruined pergola which he had noticed from the drawing-room windows. Through the garden ran the mill-race which poured out of the grounds through a field and under a little bridge spanning the road outside.

continued Prince Ludwig,

Desmond followed the drive as far as the front gate. The surrounding country was as flat as a pancake, and in almost every field lay great glistening patches of water where the land had been flooded by the incessant rain. The road on which the house was built ran away on the left to the mist-shrouded horizon without another building of any kind in sight. Desmond surmised that Morstead Fen lay in the direction in which he was looking. To the right, Desmond caught a glimpse of a ghostly spire sticking out of some trees and guessed that this was Wentfield Church. In front of him the distant roar of a passing train showed where the Great Eastern Railway line lay.

continued Prince Ludwig,

More depressed than ever by the utter desolation of the scene, Desmond turned to retrace his steps to the house. Noticing a path traversing the kitchen garden, he followed it. It led to the back of the house, to the door of a kind of lean-to shed. The latch yielded on being pressed and Desmond entered the place.

He found himself in a fair-sized shed, very well and solidly built of pitch-pine, with a glazed window looking out on the garden, a table and a couple of chairs, and a large cupboard which occupied the whole of one side of the wall of the house against which the shed was built. In a corner of the shed stood a very good-looking Douglas motor-cycle, and on a nail ,on the wall hung a set of motor-cyclist's overalls. A few petrol cans, some full, some empty, stood against the wall.

Desmond examined the machine. It was in excellent condition, beautifully clean, the tank half full of spirits. A little dry sand on the tires showed that it had been used fairly recently.

"Old man Bellward's motor-bike that he goes to the station on," Desmond noted mentally. "But what's in the big cupboard, I wonder? Tools, I expect!"

Then he caught sight of a deep drawer in the table. It was half-open and he saw that it contained various tools and spare parts, neatly arranged, each one in its appointed place.

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