Haddon Hall sits on a limestone slope overlooking the
River Wye which empties its crystalline water into the
Derwent a few miles below Chatsworth. Much older than its
Elizabethan neighbour, Haddon dates back nearly to the time
of the Conquest. Almost abandoned by its owners at the
beginning of the 18th century, it escaped the extensive
rebuilding many of England's great houses underwent during
the Georgian era. While these were modernized, Haddon slept
and survived as a medieval manor house.
It was sleeping still in Diana's day. A fine June
afternoon found her aboard Roland, returning from the
village of Youlgreave. She avoided the public roads,
instead cutting through familiar fields and woods, and
making a nearly straight line home. Her route would take
her past Haddon Hall, whose towers and turrets loomed
just ahead above the surrounding trees.
As it was a Sunday, there had been only one likely
purpose for her outing.
'Why, socializing, of course.'
I was about to say so, Diana. And who do you know at
'Who don't I know? My Grandma Woodforde lives there. I
dropped in to see her. And then I was visiting with the
And now you're going home to do some reading or write
a letter maybe?
'No, I think I'll put the kettle on and have Mary Ann
over for a chat.'
Oh. Well, I suppose there's merit in being such a
'You suppose? What could be wrong with it?'
Nothing wrong, really. I think I'd run out of things
to talk about.
'That's like running out of air to breathe.'
You see Mary Ann every day.
'The parson's wife told me some things that can't wait
to be passed on. It's my social duty.'
The grapevine in action. Does the Royal Mail have the
'Het or wet, blow or snow, it will be told.'
Diana broke into a gallop and charged across the field
toward Haddon. She slowed to clear a low point in the wall
fronting the Haddon Hall grounds. After manoeuvring
through a grove of trees, she again picked up speed in the
open. She drove Roland splashing into a shallow stretch of
the Wye, her usual crossing point. A human cry reached her
ear just as she let out one herself and pulled hard on the
'Whoa, Roland! Whoa!'
A line of some kind had caught her across the shoulders
and might have caused her injury had it been attached
securely at both ends.
'Are you all right?' called an angler standing in
'I didn't see you there,' she replied, untangling
herself. 'You almost caught more than you wanted.'
'The hook didn't catch you, did it?' he inquired
'No, I was a long way from the hook.' She coiled his
line as she drew it in. 'You tie a nice fly.'
'They seem to work well.' He patted a creel full of
trout at his hip.
She tossed the coil of line to him. 'I don't often see
people fishing along here.'
He reeled in the loose line. 'I've never fished here
before. It's a shame. It's a fisherman's paradise.'
'I never bothered much with fly fishing. It always
seemed like such a challenge. My brother likes to do
it. I never got the knack of casting.'
'A good cast is as satisfying as catching the fish.
You just have to practise a lot.'
'I never would have guessed. Let's see you do it.'
'All right... See that lone rock sitting just out
from the willow up there?'
'Yes,' said Diana of the distant landmark.
'I'll aim for it.'
The angler drew sufficient line off his reel to make
the cast. Then he waved his pole back and forth, sending
the heavy line swirling through the sky in an ever
increasing arc until nearly all the loose line was
airborne. With a final wave of his arm, the line played
itself out upstream. The fly bounced off the rock into
'You're good!' Diana declared.
'I usually don't have an audience to show it off to.'
'You're not from around here, are you.'
'No. What gives me away?'
'Easy. If you were local, I'd know you. In fact, I'd
know all about you. I'd know things you wouldn't want me
to know. And I'd be dying to know more. Besides, your
foreign accent gives you away.'
'I'm from Leicestershire.'
'That explains it.'
'It's just the next county.'
'That's far enough. You've come a long way to go
'I didn't come primarily for the fishing. I came to see
'Oh? It's not much of a drawing card. The place has
been abandoned for a century and a half.'
'My family has been rather negligent. We're a little
too comfortable at Belvoir Castle to bother with Haddon.'
'Your family? Are you one of the Manners?'
'John Manners. My father is the Duke of Rutland.'
'Well, hello. I've only heard about the Manners in
legend and lore. I didn't think I'd ever meet one.'
This girl on the white horse could have ridden out of
legend and lore herself. 'The privilege is mine,' John
'I suppose you're the future Duke.'
'In fact, I am. I'll eventually inherit Haddon Hall,
and as it's sitting here neglected I thought I might as
well start fixing it up.'
'You've got your work cut out for you. You've got a
century and a half of gardening and housework to catch up
on. You just can't let a place go like that.'
'It is rather overgrown. I've heard a legend that
Sleeping Beauty slumbers here. It does look appropriate.'
'Ha, ha. I've lived around here all my life and I've
never heard that. There are just bats and owls slumbering
'That's about all I've found so far. I've got several
more rooms to check though.'
'So you gave up looking for Sleeping Beauty to do some
fishing. Now there's a man who's got his priorities
'I figure there's no hurry. She can slumber a little
'Sleeping Beauty only sleeps a hundred years. She might
have come and gone already.'
'I hadn't thought of that.'
'And you're not a prince.'
'No. Just a marquess.'
'That'll never do. You can kiss and cuddle till you drop;
she'll sleep right through it.'
'If I find her then, I guess I should just leave her
alone,' he replied, sighing.
'Save all that frustration. Are you here by yourself?'
'Yes, just for a few days this time. I haven't actually
moved in yet.'
'Do you mind me cutting across your property? I've never
'Please do. Do you come through often?'
'Now and then. Beyond the woods back here is Calton
Pastures. Across that you come to New Piece Wood. And when
you emerge from there you see a village in the distance.
That's where I live.'
'Chatsworth is over there somewhere.'
'It sure is. Have you never been there?'
'Actually, no. I've met the Duke in London but I've never
been to any of his country homes.'
'Well, you'll have to come over and see it. Let the Duke
know you're coming and he'll probably show you around.
Otherwise you'll just be a tourist.'
'I'll do that. I don't know if I'll make it this time,
but I'll be back.'
'Enjoy your stay. I hope you don't get lonesome.'
'Oh, I don't think I will. I've got three cooks, four
gardeners, five housekeepers, the coachmen, and my valet for
'I thought you said you were by yourself.'
'Of course there are the servants.'
'I'm a servant myself. Well, happy fishing – now that I've
scared them all off. C'mon Roland.'
Diana splashed out of the stream and onto the bank.
'Miss!' Manners called after her, but she did not stop.
Dejected, he watched her ride away. He reeled in his line
and waded over to the bank where he sat down, contemplative.
Fishing seemed like a sorry pursuit anymore.
A month later
A few weeks earlier