Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Hawton Mere

I was sitting in my study here at Pity's End, contemplating the futility of existence with a rather fine glass of Amontillado, when my thoughts carried me away to Hawton Mere, a place I have not thought about for many years.

Hawton Mere was an ancient and splendidly grim house in the fen district of East Anglia. It was the family seat of Sir Stephen Clarendon, a school friend of mine. The last time I saw him was at the funeral of his wife, Lady Margaret, whose life had been cut tragically short. A man of fragile sensibilities at the best of times, I am not sure he ever fully recovered from that blow. He was certainly acting rather oddly at the funeral. But grief affects us all in different ways.

Hawton Mere is quite ruinous now, destroyed by fire many years ago and wearing a thick cloak of ivy, the moat clogged with weeds. The events leading up to that fire are to be the subject of a novel, soon to be published I am told, telling the tale from the point of view of Sir Stephen's ward, Michael Vyner.

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