People have a lot of different reasons for what they choose to see when they’re on a trip to England. What I visit depends on if I’m there with my husband or my daughter or my sister. This July was a new adventure for me: my husband and I took our two oldest grandsons, Josh who is 13, and Marcus who is 11.
My husband is a steam engine nut, and so we saw (and traveled on) a lot of trains.
Me? I wanted to see Chatsworth House.
I’m pleased to say the boys were fascinated. There was the overwhelming grandeur to start with, and the collections of various Dukes—magnificent works of art and insects and stuffed animals and minerals (great chunks of valuable minerals) and statuary. There I must say we parted company: their favorite gave me the creeps. It is a modern statue of St. Bartholomew, who was flayed alive, holding his skin in his hands.
But obviously other people came to Chatsworth for different reasons, as I discovered. There’s a long pool extending down from the house with a great high fountain up at the house end. Because of the length, it looks narrow, but you’d have to shout to be heard all the way across.
I was standing well down the pool from the house, watching some ducks on the far side, when a movement caught my eye. There was a couple across the pool from me, and the young man had dropped to one knee in front of the girl with him. Of course my eyes widened and I couldn’t look away. And was very grateful the pool was wide enough so that they weren’t aware of an onlooker.
He talked to her very earnestly. She placed one hand on his shoulder, and then he fished around in his pocket and pulled something out. They were too far away for me to see what it was, but I was sure I knew: he took her hand and (I assume—couldn’t see) put a ring on it. She threw her arms around him in a rapturous hug.
My husband came up about them and I hissed at him, “Take a picture!” So he did. It’s a pity there was no way of letting them know we had a picture of the moment, because by the time we got to either end of the pool, around to the other wise, and then back up to where they were, they would have been long gone. I suppose I could have jumped into the pool, thrashed across, and . . . but that would have rather spoiled the moment, would it not?
May they have a long and happy life together!