Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Pointz Hall is not one of the great English houses mentioned in the guidebooks, but it is old and comfortable and pleasantly situated in a tree-fringed meadow. The house is older than the name of its owners in the county. Although they hang the portrait of an ancestor in brocade and pearls beside the staircase and keep, under glass, a watch that stopped a bullet at Waterloo, the Olivers lived only a little more than a century in a district where the names of the villagers go back to the Domesday Book. The countryside still shows traces of the ancient Britons, the Roman road, the Elizabethan manor house, and the marks of the plow on a hill sown in wheat during Napoleon’s time.
The owner of the house is Bartholomew Oliver, retired from the Indian Civil Service. With him lives his son Giles, his daughter-in-law Isa, two small grandchildren, and his widowed sister, Mrs. Lucy Swithin. Bartholomew, a disgruntled old man who lives more and more in the past, is constantly snubbing his sister, as he did when they were children. Mrs. Swithin is a woman of careless dress, good manners, quiet faith, and great intelligence. Her favorite book is an Outline of History; she dreams of a time when Piccadilly was a rhododendron forest in which the mastodon roamed. Giles is a London stockbroker who wanted to be a farmer until circumstances decided otherwise. A misunderstanding lately developed between him and his wife Isa, who writes poetry in secret. She suspects...
(The entire section is 1366 words.)
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