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8. Domefront

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Domefront is the superb palatial country residence, filled with beautiful treasures, belonging to the shy, retiring Mr. Ussher, whose peaceful life seems to be perfect – except that he has no heirs, but for a rather unscrupulous cousin. A near disaster persuades him to try and correct this situation, with unexpected results, and the problem of loyalty.

314,428 words

 First Page...


Anne Hauden©


                        "Ulmaceae, Platanaceae, Fagaceae, which includes Fagus, Quercus, and Castanea, and then Pinaceae, which in turn includes Larix, Cedrus, Picea and of course, Pinus, not to mention the Prunus Serotina that we have planted, by Gad."

            In a clearing among the tall trunks of the trees, young and old, stood two gentlemen and their horses, whom they were making fast to a low hanging branch of a comparatively youthful but nevertheless handsome example of the native Quercus Sussexis, whereupon one rather vulgarly made a remark that there was 'ever so much' timber about.  That was hardly expected to be otherwise in a wood, so the other fellow had facetiously replied with a roll call of family and genera, which his less well lettered companion could barely understand.

            "Mr. Grindal, book-learned that you are, sir," said the latter reproachfully, "and a gentleman by birth, you may scarce say it fair to mock the less fortunate by the bandying about of your superior education.  Ask me or nay, I deem it somewhat rabshackle in ye thus to prate in a foreign tongue that even God Himself may not comprehend."

            Unfobbing his snuffbox with a deft stroke of the fingers, Mr. Grindal paused in mid gesture.

            "O, come, come, Mr. Hayworth, I am merely attempting to quote, as much as my recollection thereof will allow, that which was spouted to me when I last walked here and made a comment that was muchly akin to your own just now, about the abundance of timber," defended Mr. Grindal, beginning on tones that were somewhat conciliatory before they turned sour and a trifle mocking, as he regarded his associate up and down, "besides, I could hardly call you, all in your fine Bath worsteds and your boots from Hoby's and your hat from Lock's, not to mention the diamond in your fob and that exquisite blood mare at your hand, as someone less fortunate than am I."

            "Clothes make the man but they don't put pretty words in his mouth," replied Mr. Hayworth tersely, "in any wise, how could you remember a cavalcade of names in Greek-an'-Latin if but quoted to you once, if ye knew them not already?"

            "Latin, actually," smirked Grindal, "but be easy, man!  I was merely reeling off outlandish names to illustrate to you what a queer cove is this creature who interests us as much as to bring us so many miles away from the cosy Capital just to pace on his sodden ground.  Doubtless he goes for his constitutional walks with a tome of Linnaeus under his arm."


            "Charles von Linné, a Swedish fellow who put plants and trees into groups and gave them idiotic names not long ago."

            "A what fellow?"

            "A Swedish fellow; a foreigner.  In Sussex he would be called a Swedish Frenchie, for in Sussex, a foreigner is always called a Frenchie."

            "Same as those who use to occupy the Steelyard in times gone by?"

            "No, they were the Hanse Merchants, or Germans, but Linnaeus hailed from not far away of their native soil.  By the bye, my dear Mr. Hayworth, I applaud the extent of your information!  Most people in England today have never heard of the Steelyard." ...

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Anne Hauden’s Website for Historical Novels


Grateful thanks to The Yale Centre for British Art, New Haven, Connecticut,
The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.,
Michael Judkins, at Pexels.