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Donald Sempill has a beautiful wife who adores him, five perfect daughters and enough money that he doesn't have to work. In fact he can afford to buy a ruin in Argyllshire and restore it as a home for them all—Poverty Castle. The idyll can't last, though. Try as hard they might obsession and the outside world begin to creep into the Sempills' Eden and the stability and idealism they had worked so hard for is threatened. A subtly ironic tale from Scotland's master storyteller.
running towards them. The cat couldn’t cost more than two pounds. He’d offer twenty to have the matter hushed up. Poor Rowena after all was only seven. She would have to be taken to a child psychologist. ‘Say you took it by mistake,’ said Jeanie. Rowena shook her head. ‘I wanted to take it.’ ‘Good God,’ muttered Papa, as if she’d confessed to murder. ‘In heaven’s name, why, my pet?’ asked Mama. ‘I know why,’ said Diana, calmly. ‘She was pretending to be a shoplifter. She’s always pretending
re-adjust. By teatime she would be their own dear Diana again. She would have forgotten everybody else except them and Mama and Papa. They did not really believe it. Even Rebecca was aware that there had been a change which would be followed by other changes, not only in Diana but in them all. Effie and Jeanie, being older, knew that not all of those changes would be for the worse, some indeed would be welcome, but that was not much consolation then as, taking turns to carry Diana’s case, heavy
ones. In any case she would rather spend what money she had on books. As befitted an honours student she spoke articulately and grammatically but made no attempt to modify her working-class accent. It disconcerted many that so common-looking and common-sounding a girl should have such a quick sharp clear mind. Her specialist subject, history, was as unexpected as Diana’s. Her interest, however, was not in the achievements of kings and queens but of the working class. She would say, with an irony
not be strong enough to have a safe and successful delivery. ‘You once asked me to visit your parents, Peggy.’ Peggy grinned. ‘Yes, I think I wanted to let you see how the other half live. Very childish of me. I didn’t know you so well then. To be honest I thought too it would be a treat for my mother. She’s a great fan of royalty and aristocracy. Reads Mills and Boon romances. Never misses an episode of Dallas. A visit from someone like you would have been the highlight of her life.’ That was
Don’t be afraid, Peggy, to tell us off.’ ‘The speed limit on this road is sixty miles an hour,’ said Diana. ‘You are doing seventy.’ ‘This car could do a hundred with ease.’ ‘We could end up in Loch Eck with even greater ease,’ said Jeanie. The loch was long and narrow. It was dark with shadow, though the hills above it were bright with sun. It looked cold and deep. ‘We promised we’d be home for dinner,’ said Effie. Peggy’s heart sank. They probably dressed for dinner. She had brought a