Richard Stone 62

This incident, which might be said to have led to his undoing, did not arise out of Mr Stone’s passion for gardens. Gardening as he practised it was no more than a means, well suited to his age, which was sixty-two, of exhausting the spare time and energy with which his undemanding duties in one of the Excal company, his status as a bachelor and his still excellent physique amply provided him. The habit had come late to him. He relished the activity rather than the results. It mattered little to him that his blooms were discoloured by pepper dust. His delight lay more in preparing the ground for planting than in the planting, which sometimes never occurred. Once his passion had been all for digging. When this came to an end – after he had punctured a water main – he decided to hoard his refuse, to spare none for the local council. Strict instructions were given to Miss Millington; and the refuse of his household, dutifully presented by her for his daily inspection, he spread afternoon after afternoon, with a miser’s delight in its accumulation, over the front garden.