THE KNIGHTS OF DOWNTON CASTLE II THOUGH quite unalike in so many ways, there were still certain points of resemblance in the brothers' characters the same sense of purpose implemented by phenomenal powers of concentration and inexhaustible energy; the same independence of judgement and refusal to subscribe to generally accepted doctrines, religious or other- wise; the same acerbity when opposed or contradicted. Quiet and reserved as Andrew seemed, if he was roused his feelings would flare up with unbridled vehemence and when this occurred he was capable of saying anything. A letter from their much tried and good-natured friend Uvedale Price written in 1811 carries a politely muffled echo of one of these occasions when 'he sometimes expressed himself of persons and measures in terms that his friends regretted.'1 'I readily receive any apology from a person with whom for his own sake, as well as that of his brother, I am so desirous of being on good terms. I had not however supposed for a moment that you could apply the terms you have mentioned to me; still I thought that these and other expressions might well have been shared, especially after what I had taken the liberty of saying on that subject at the end of my last letter.'2 In appearance Andrew Knight was essentially a countryman, tall, muscular and powerfully built, with shrewd blue eyes in a thoughtful, thin-lipped face and prematurely bald by the time he was thirty his thatch of brown hair had disappeared completely from his fine intellectual head. At Oxford though he was more interested in field sports than in learning, his remarkably retentive memory is said to have enabled him 'to acquire as much Latin and Greek as most of his fellow students'. Although he was a good shot what he enjoyed most as he walked the hills and dales with his gun, was the opportunity it gave him to study the wild life around him. Like his brother he loved nature but whereas Payne Knight saw it through the eyes of an artist, rejoicing in the scenery and the play of the ever-changing elements, Andrew, the unconscious scientist, instinctively probed beneath the surface, searching out its mysteries. At Maryknowle where he lived with his old mother until he married at the age of thirty-two, he had ample opportunity for developing his interest in botany and agriculture, farming in a small way and devoting himself to the practical study of nature. In his botanical enterprises he asked neither for advice nor sympathy, setting his face even against books, so determined was he to reach his own conclusions unprejudiced and unaided by the experience of others. When he was in his twenties he was devoting much of his time to schemes