The honeymoon showed no signs of waning. This lovely old country place, in southern Maryland, had been one of Richard Duvall's dreams for many years, and after his marriage to Grace Ellicott, in Paris, it had become hers, as well.
IV. The color of crime
It was but a short time after their return to America that they decided to make it a reality. Grace had encouraged her husband in the plan of giving up, for a time at least, his warfare against crime, his pursuit of criminals of the higher and more dangerous type, and had persuaded him to buy the farm which had once belonged to his mother's people, and settle down to the life of a country gentleman. His office was still maintained, under the able direction of one of his assistants, but Duvall gave little or no attention to its affairs.
He was glad to withdraw, for the first time in over nine years, from active work, and devote his energies to early potatoes, prize dogs, hunters, and geranium plants — and, above all, to the peaceful enjoyment of his honeymoon, and the making of Grace the happiest woman in the world.
The Blue Lights
She, on her part, found in their present situation all the joys of existence for which she had longed. With little or no liking for the monotonous round of society and its duties, and a passionate love of nature, she found in the many and complex duties of managing her part of their extensive estate a far greater happiness than any which city life could have offered her.
The considerable fortune which her husband's clever work while in Paris had restored to her, had been safely invested in well paying securities, and she found her greatest joy in utilizing at least a part of her income in beautifying their new home. Richard had steadily refused to make any use of the money. It was a matter of pride with him, that his own savings had enabled him to purchase the property; but when Grace proposed to build an addition to the house, to provide him with a more comfortable library and work room, or insisted upon having the roads throughout the place elaborately macadamized, he was obliged to submit to her wishes.
In this way, they planned and built for the future, together. The farm was a large one, comprising some two hundred acres, and the old stone house surrounded by white oaks and tulip poplars had once been a show place, before the declining fortunes of its former owners had caused it to fall into a state of mellow and time-honored decay.
Now all was changed. Grace, with the able assistance of old Uncle Abe Turner, a relic of ante bellum times, spent hours daily in bringing order out of the chaos of tangled myrtle and ivy, overgrown box and hedge, thickets of syringa and lilac bushes and weed-grown lawns. It was a gigantic task, yet a joyous one — as it ever is, to those who came to it with the love of nature in their hearts. To Grace, the plants and shrubs, the great strong oaks, the towering poplars, each seemed to have a distinct personality.
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Under her energetic hand, the place once more took on the aspect of well kept and orderly beauty which was such a contrast to its former down-at-the-heels appearance. It seemed as though the growing things realized the personal interest she took in them, and responded as they never respond to the ignorant or unsympathetic. Richard was concerned with his fields of timothy and clover, his early corn, his berries and fruit trees, to say nothing of his collies, his prize cows and Kentucky horses.
In such a life, time never hangs heavy — he was busy studying, planning, working, from morning to night, and his active mind soon convinced his capable overseer and the farm hands as well that, although Richard Duvall was by no means a professional farmer, he could still show them a thing or two when it came to the rotation of crops, the spraying of fruit trees, or the proper treatment of worn out soils. These were aspects of farming life which the hide-bound conservatism of the local farmers caused them to jeer at, as newfangled notions gotten from books.
Later when they saw the man who farmed with his head as well as his hands gather in two bushels where they had barely been able to secure one, they began to sit up and take notice. But we must have new gate posts. The old ones are likely to tumble into the road at any moment. There's plenty of stone — down in the lower pasture. Why not carry the wall right along the whole front of the property? It ought not to cost a great deal. And I'm going to have a new spring house built, too. The old one is falling to pieces.
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I think they are the ones who are not alive — cooped up in the city. Don't you? Richard nodded. He was thinking for the moment of his former active life — when some battle of wits with a noted crook had kept him sleepless for nights.
Don't you think so, dear? You wouldn't want to go back to it — would you? Here, Don! We got the early rye all cut on the lower field today. Guess we'll put in late potatoes, after it's plowed. Here, Don — come back here! What's the matter with you? This is a big touring car.
It may be company. Duvall laughed. A moment later the servant, who had interviewed the caller at the front door, came out to the side porch. Duvall," she said. The newcomer rose nervously from his chair and began chewing upon his half-smoked cigar. Got your address from Hicks, of the Treasury Department. He said you were about twelve miles out. I seem to have come about twenty. It's much further, that way. What can I do for you, Mr. The man looked up at him quickly.
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Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Mar 02, Yibbie rated it really liked it Shelves: mysteries. A fun husband and wife detective team. Different problems because of the era that it is written in. Very fun. Sharon McCool rated it really liked it Oct 22, Vijay Palekar rated it it was ok Jul 31, Gino Inesi rated it really liked it Feb 16, Thomas Klosinski rated it it was amazing Oct 14, Ramaswami rated it liked it Jun 01, Tiruvalam Gopaal rated it really liked it May 28, Betty Joyce rated it did not like it Sep 20, Brian rated it liked it Jul 25, Jesus Soriano rated it liked it May 17, Laida rated it it was ok Dec 23, Carol rated it did not like it Aug 19, Annie Shaw rated it liked it Oct 06, Michelle Mayes rated it really liked it Jul 25, Patrick Mceneaney rated it did not like it Apr 26, Marty is currently reading it Mar 23, Carol Cain is currently reading it Jan 14, Karen Skiling is currently reading it Feb 04, Cynthia Bell marked it as to-read Feb 23, Debra Clifton is currently reading it Aug 25, Emmanuel added it Apr 19, There are no discussion topics on this book yet.
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