That afternoon we arrived late—too late for admittance—but failed to heed the Head Gardener’s suggestion we return some other time. Instead, we walked around the front lawn, admiring the great Baroque pile of the house and the view of its private wood, lake and immense tract of surrounding countryside—no other house in sight—while the kids fed a pony they found in a small enclosure down by the lake. We walked to the back of the house, where we admired the formal garden, with its fountain sculpture of Atlas, holding the world up, all by himself, another immense, empty tract of surrounding country and the slope, awash with daffodils, leading to the Temple of the Four Winds, while the kids chased peacocks between hedgerows. The sun set and the evening air was freezing, so we turned to go, but not before we saw one tired peacock make its heavy-tailed way up the steps to the great French windows of the Garden Hall to stand in lonely splendour— that perfect image of the aristocracy— lost in contemplation of its reflection in the glass.
At Castle Howard