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Interiors, House of Dun

See here and here for my previous posts about the House of Dun.

I forget the tale about these cartouches. One of the Jameses and his wife I think:-

Cartouches in Hall, House of Dun

Mirrored fireplace:-

Mirrored Fireplace, House of Dun

Plasterwork:-

PLasterwork, House of Dun

Fireplace and fireguard:-

Fireplace and Firguard, House of Dun

Overmantel and clock:-

Overmantel, House of Dun

Room and windows:-

Room, House of Dun

Clock and sideboard:-

Clock and Sideboard, House of Dun

Bed:-

Bed, House of Dun

Rudimentary shower:-

Shower, House of Dun

Garden, The House of Dun

Like most National Trust properties the House of Dun (see previous post) has a well-kept garden.

Formal garden from one of the house’s windows:-

Garden

Pergola. It looks a little like a spider-

Garden pergola

Box hedging by house:-

box hedging pano

Stone in box hedging commemorating the house’s opening by the Queen Mother in 1989 after its restoration 300 hundred years after the house’s designer William Adam’s birth:-

Box hedging dedication

Some of the planting:-

Garden , House of Dun, Montrose

The House of Dun

The House of Dun lies in the parish of Dun, west of Montrose. The present house was designed by the famous architect William Adam. Two of his drawing designs for the house can be seen here.

One of the resons I wanted to visit is because The House of Dun is the ancestral home of Violet Jacob whose Flemington and Tales of Angus I read four years ago now.

Estate entrance:-

Entrance, House of Dun

Game Larder, in entrance courtyard, House of Dun. How the other half lived:-

Game Larder, House of Dun

House of Dun:-

House of Dun

Rear view:-

House of Dun, Montrose

Model:-

Model, House of Dun

Side view:-

House of Dun, Montrose

Tales from Angus by Violet Jacob

In Flemington and Tales from Angus, Canongate 2013, 269 p; including 9 p Introduction, 1 p Acknowledgements, 9 p Notes and 6 p Glossary.

 Flemington and Tales from Angus cover

Jacob was born into the Kennedy-Erskine family of the House of Dun near Montrose (and published the family history The Lairds of Dun in 1931. In the memorable stories of Tales From Angus her sympathy with, and compassion for, those born with fewer advantages, her intimacy with and love for the landscape of Angus, shine through. The summaries below do not capture her facility nor her powers of description. Again, the book’s introduction mentions some of the salient points in the stories. Read that afterwards.

Thievie. An old skinflint would do anything rather than hand over his life savings – even to his daughter.
The Disgracefulness of Auntie Thomson. On the arrival in town of a well-dressed stranger the daughter of an upright but proud couple (to flaunt their wealth they take a carriage to a further away Kirk rather than attend the one backing onto their land) turns down her suitor on the grounds his guardian, his Auntie Thomson – is too coarse. The twist here is obvious long before the end but enjoyable just the same.
The Debatable Land. An orphaned young woman taken in as a servant by a woman the attentions of whose son she finds abhorrent finds refuge with a traveller.
The Fiddler. A beautifully constructed tale of a woman haunted by her aid to one of the rebels hunted after Culloden and the fiddler who is the only other person in the know.
A Middle-Aged Drama. A widower takes on a housekeeper and gradually comes to appreciate her. But she has a secret.
Annie Cargill. A man visits his godfather’s house and is spooked by a grave in the adjacent cemetery. A fairly straightforward, but admirably written, ghost story.
The Watch-Tower. A shepherd shelters for the night in a watchtower and finds there an old acquaintance whom he perceives to be the notorious sheep-stealer recently escaped from a nearby jail. Others are on the hunt.
The Figurehead. The mate of the brig “William and Joann” is struck by the resemblance of a girl he sees on a stairhead in Montrose to his ship’s figurehead and starts to court her.
Euphemia. A young lass organises women to bring in a harvest on a Sunday when the men refuse supposedly for Sabbatarian reasons but really for the money.
The Overthrow of Adam Pitcaithley. The son of a farmer strikes up a friendship with a travelling lad but ignores him when in his Sunday finery. Not a wise move.
The Lum Hat. The manuscript of this story – of which a few pages were missing – was found in Jacob’s papers and first published in 1982, many years after her death. The missing pages do not affect the story’s thrust. Christina Mill has led a sheltered life in the house of her father (whose favourite ‘chimney pot’ hat provides the story’s title.) Her disastrous marriage to Baird, a sea captain, and thankfully swift widowhood when his ship founders, leads her to cling to the familiar.
The Fifty-Eight Wild Swans. A man all but bed-ridden with arthritis is struck by a desire to view the many swans newly arrived on a loch just out of sight from his house.
The Yellow Dog. A tale mostly at second hand as the story of the yellow dog, which may or may not be a ghost, is related by one of three men in a smiddy.
Anderson. The boy of the title rescues a kitten from the gaggle of boys about to take great pleasure in drowning it.

Among Jacob’s bons mots are, “No woman, no matter of what age, can be quite cold to the charm of a new garment.” “Hard-working men do not analyse one another much; they either do or do not accept one another, and that is all.” “He was one of the many old men in Scotland who always allude to death as a joke.” She also writes, “Scottish people are addicted, perhaps more than any other, to nicknames,” and repeats the same sentiment elsewhere. Is that a particularly Scottish trait? Her acute observation is particularly evident in The Lum Hat. “In a small town a stranger in church is a godsend.” The cook objects to Christina’s help because of “her passionate belief that the gentry should keep the pose thrust on them by God.” “The stars in their courses fought for Baird, as they do for most thrusters.” “…men married their wives for convenience mainly, and were lucky if they got any attraction thrown in.”

I note that throughout Jacob employs the word “wean” for a child. Hitherto I had thought this a predominantly West Coast usage. On the East coast “bairn” had seemed to me to be exclusive. (It certainly is in Fife – and in The Sunday Post.) Perhaps its use stops just north of Dundee.

Pedant’s corner:- chrysophrase (chrysoprase,) standing in the white patch that then moon had laid, tried is used in the text where treid (the Scots for tread) appears in the glossary.

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