Happy-Thought Hall

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Excerpt CHAPTER I. THE IDEA—ADVICE—TITLE—PLAN—ON PAPER—SUGGESTION—COST—BOODELS—OLD FRIENDS—JENKYNS SOAMES—DESIGNS—STAIRCASES—BAYS—OBJECTIONS—ORDER OF ARCHITECTURE—STABLES—PRICE—GIVEN UP—CAZELL'S IDEA.   appy Thought.—To get a country house for the winter. To fill it with friends. To have one wing for bachelors. Another wing for maidens with chaperons. To have the Nave, as it were, of the house, for the married people. “I'll tell you what you ought to do,” says Cazell to me. “You ought to build a nice little snuggery in the country.” I object to the cost. “Cost? Bah! that's nothing. You can always get a Building Society,” says he, enthusiastically, “to advance you any sum.” I ask how these Building Societies proceed. CAZELL. “Simply enough,” says Cazell, who invariably knows everything about anything, only if you act on his information and go wrong, he generally denies warmly afterwards that “he ever said such a thing.” “Simply enough,” he continues. “You go to the Society, you give 'em some security,—any security will do, and you could get that easily enough.” I nod cheerfully, more to encourage him to proceed, than from any feeling of certainty as to the means of obtaining the security. Then, having, satisfactorily to himself, disposed of this difficulty, he continues:—“Well, your security in this case would be your title-deeds of the house and land.” Happy Thought.—Title-deeds. “Then,” he goes on, as if he'd been accustomed to do this sort of thing every day, “you say how much you want. Then they ask you” (it's becoming quite dramatic), “where's your house? You say . . . . wherever it is, you know.” Cazell puts it in this way, as impressing upon me that before the Building Society I must tell the truth and not pretend to them that my house is in Bedfordshire, for example, when it isn't. “Well,” he resumes, “then they ask you what sort of a house do you intend to build? Then, you lay your plan before them.” Happy Thought.—The Plan of my House. “They examine it, that is, their architect does . . . they inquire about the land . . . and then they decide, whether they'll buy it for you, or not.” (“Not” I should think, but I don't say so.) “Then,” he goes on. “You make the purchase, and hand over the title-deeds. Pay them a rent and a per-centage every year until the whole is paid off, when it becomes yours.” “In fact,” I put it, bluffly, to him, “I can build a house without having any money; I mean, by getting the money from the Building Society?” “Precisely. Any day.” I hesitate. It really is—if Cazell is correct—much better than hiring a house . . . or taking lodgings. And what does Cazell think the cost will be? “Well,” says he, “put it at £2,000, the outside.” I reflect that the inside, too, will be a considerable expense. “A good, strong house. Why, I knew a fellow build one for £1,500. Just what you want....
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