What is it about front gates that makes them enchanting and enticing all at once? Perhaps it’s their “vedo-non-vedo” quality, which allows passersby to peek in and catch a glimpse of the treasures within. Or is it perhaps, that I end up fantasising about flower and herb gardens, whilst sipping a hot cuppa and reading a good book on a rocking chair, with a kitten on my lap?
I can’t help myself. When I see a high, ornate, wrought iron gate, I simply have to linger a little longer. (Apologies for the alliteration. It wasn’t planned.) After all, a front gate, is like a second front door, yet it allows people like me to experience much more than its timber counterpart affords.
So, what is it about front gates? Even if they can’t be seen?
Villa di Marlia, Lucca: A Fountain John Sargent Sargent (American; 1856–1925) 1910 Translucent watercolor and touches of watercolor and wax resist with graphite underdrawing Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts
Christian leads me to the rear of the house and opens a French window leading into a large comfortable sitting room that I’ve not seen before. He walks through the deserted hall toward the sweeping staircase with its elegant, polished wooden balustrade. Taking my hand from the crook of his arm, he leads me up to the second floor and up another flight of stairs to the third.
“The youngest daughter of Russian Emperor Nicholas I and his wife Alexandra Feodorovna, Alexandra Nikolaevna (nicknamed Adini in the family circle) was just fifteen years old when she posed for Christina Robertson in the summer of 1840 at the imperial summer residence, the Great Peterhof Palace… Contemporaries praised untiringly her unworldly character, her angelic kindness, her meekness and gentleness… Robertson showed her with a bouquet of cornflowers, fully in keeping with the lack of artifice that made her so loved. To her left on the balustrade lie an open album and a pencil. For Alexandra, drawing and particularly music were not merely part of acquiring the accomplishments of a noble young lady; she was a talented singer and took lessons from the renowned singer Henrietta Sontag. But tuberculosis put an end first to her lessons and then to her brief life: she died just a few years after the portrait was completed.”
– from An Imperial Collection: Women Artists from the State Hermitage Museum.
His cloak settles around your shoulders, carrying a faint, spicy waft of pipe smoke in its folds, and the warm weight of its fabric steals the sharpness from the frosty air.
“‘Tis a cold night for stargazing,” Thorin observes wryly, leaning his elbows on the balustrade beside you.
“Indeed,” you admit, nestling more snugly into the cloak, “but it always seems to me that they shine more brightly on the snow.”
His face lights with an easy smile – in truth, outshining your beloved stars in beauty, though he doesn’t know it – and his hand reaches to enclose yours with a tender stroke of his thumb over your gloved fingers.
Erebor’s lofty terraces offer an unparalleled view of the glittering sky and of the valley below, where the lights of Dale twinkle in tiny slivers of windows, and in the cold stillness Thorin quietly begins to point out one constellation, then another, recalling the lessons of his boyhood to tell you their legends while you rest your head on his shoulder, content to share this perfect, shimmering night.
Requested by @theimaginesyouneveraskedfor: “I think I would like a Thorin fic where the reader is in love with him but too afraid to confess because she thinks she could never be more than his friend and he is a king.”
Also incorporating “Imagine Thorin singing to you in order to calm you when you are homesick” from ImaginexHobbit.
Song lyrics are “When Morning Is Breaking,” an old Welsh air.
It was undeniably a beautiful, late-summer day in the valley, and your view from one of Erebor’s many terraces was unrivaled, but the loveliness of the sultry blue sky, sparkling river, and splashes of color from wildflowers among the waving grasses was lost on you as you stood leaning on the carved stone balustrade and absentmindedly rubbing your knee where it had collided with a table leg in your hasty retreat from the festivities in the Great Hall.
There had been many jubilant feasts in the month since you’d arrived at last in your ancestral home, but with each one, you had felt your celebratory mood slipping away.
For two long years, your thoughts had been full of Thorin. During the busy routine of the daylight hours, you missed his comradeship, his conversation, his steady presence, and at night, you lay in your bed with your heart seeming to burn within your chest, consumed with fear for his safety, anxiety that he might forget his friends left behind…and with the love that you had recognized for what it was only after he had kissed your cheek and walked away with his companions in the dim light of dawn.
A three-bedroom, two-bath Folk Victorian with charming period details in Goldsboro, North Carolina need love and a new owner…for only $12,000!
Why Save It? The exterior retains simple clapboard siding and porch spindle work. Inside are pine floors, an elegant balustrade, and several wood mantels.
What It Needs: The 1,878 square-foot house will require a significant amount of work, including putting in all new systems and repairing the roof and siding; future restorations will be eligible for a state preservation tax credit. While it’s a sizable job, saving this gem would create a home base for life in a charming town, just an hour from Raleigh or Durham.
See full details in the September 2016 issue of This Old House magazine.