Saturday 15th April 1922
Another good night’s sleep and an interesting day to look forward to. I seem to have got in with an interesting crowd. Which may help my career. More importantly they are also starting to be good friends. We begin the day with some shooting, not really my thing but does have the side effect of providing tonight’s dinner. Charlie seems very bored with it and spends the time deliberately missing and I am sure he would only really get involved if the birds were firing back.
[Quick sketch] “It was only fair”. A line of hunters stealthily move forward, on the other side of the picture an archetypal anarchist is attaching small guns under the birds wings.
Last night Charles talked about a ruined castle near here and we decide to have a picnic there. It is about a twenty minute pleasant walk and when we get there we find a short squat broken tower surrounded by a very tumbled down outer wall. We clamber over it a bit until I spot a discolour area on the walls. We pull the undergrowth back and it appears to be a bricked in doorway. Charles and William jog back to the house for tools and I have another pleasant talk to Panda about the meaning of art. She talks about getting one of the blocks of stone and carving something out of it appropriate to the ruin which sounds like an appropriate idea. I also start some sketches of the area. They are a little bit too traditional
[insert picture] “The Ruin” traditional landscape of a ruined tower in a woods. Alone man stands on the top of the tower while a group assault the place. A dead tree stands in the courtyard. The tower starts to burn.
The boys return and start dismantling the wall with a gusto. Thoughts of buried treasure abound. Charles has that glint in his eye that says he is enjoying this. We find a passageway that would link to the tower but it has mainly collapsed. The other way heads down to three rooms below the building. There are signs of working on the wall to two different levels, almost as if the area was frequented by first fairly short people and then taller ones. The first room is empty but feels very foreboding. The second contains a strange five pointed star etched on the floor, with a picture of a fire in the centre. We also find a horrible knife, with a serrated edge and strange writing on, an ink point (dried blood?) and a green soap stone necklace with the same symbol on. This later item is a bit of a non-sequeter as the stone only comes from North America and was not commonly traded at the time. I suspect people got around the world a lot more than we thought. In the last room we find the tattered remains of a book written in Latin. With this interesting haul we return to the house.
Several of us have come across tales of the building. It was a small way station protecting the road until a sorcerer / alchemist? moved in and started demanding tolls. In a couple of the stories he had a very unsavoury reputation. After a while the local witch finder arrived to arrest him and in the ensuing fight he was killed. There were explosions and strange lights seen. The area is rumoured to be haunted.
Panda starts to translate the book and it turns out to be some sort of diary (one of several in a series) by a fellow called Raoul Givenchy. It is apparently very disjointed, almost written as a monologue to someone called “the seeker of knowledge”.
We check our history books and RC is described as a dark skinned, curly haired man from the east, who when freed from prison in Granada converted to Christianity and came over to Britain. He had an unsavoury reputation and was associated with the dark man of the woods legends. There is obviously some sort of mistake as the dates do not really match.
We all retire and clean up for dinner. The meal is quite pleasant and afterwards all the groups (artists, gents and occult) split up and chatter about their usual stuff. We discuss about what we are going to do at the tower in the morning. Clearing away the rubble, drawing more pictures etc. Panda heads off and starts to prepare her sculptures. This is the whole reason for the weekend – I had almost forgotten.
Our group collects together and we head down. Panda gives a good speech to everyone and her work is all very well set out and of exceptional quality. She is a far better artist than me despite her protests. There are many pieces covering a gamut of materials and styles. My favourite is a pair of masks, the front one vague and in marble, the back harsh and in steel. Is one person chasing the other or being led on – all very clever and well executed.
There is a bit of a kafuffle about one of the pieces. It is a beautify man-sized statue of an angel but with a roguishly human face. A man called George Huntingdon walked up to Panda and offered to buy it. He was a bit brusque and I think offended William, who told Panda to first vastly overcharge him and then not to sell him it at all. He arranged to purchase it himself and give it to his aunt, not sure how much he agreed to pay though. GH has a bit (well OK a lot) of a bad reputation. He seems to be involved in the darker side of the occult and most of those sorts of people at the party seem to be circling round him. He may have even caused the suicide of the American Ambassadors daughter. Someone not to make as an enemy which William surely has.
[insert picture] “Billies Angel” a majestic statue in marble of an angel, it has the head of a man (Willims) and sports another propeller hat. Its wings are blurry and give the impression of arms being waved up and down very fast.
It is interesting to note what everyone thought of the Angel, Charlie thought he was arrogant and ruthless, Clare did not have an opinion of her own, William saw an angel thinking of low thoughts and Panda was suitably tight lipped about what she was trying to say. It is a good piece.
We have continuing good evening, drink and eat rather too much and “what auntie does not know cannot disinherit him”.
[insert picture] “I think, therefore I drink”, a dog is running away dragging a crate behind him while several philosophers (familiar faces) drunkenly run after it.