Непредвиденная вакансия - Часть первая - Былые дни II
It so happened that Pargetter Hill also obscured from the town’s view another place, but one that Pagford had always considered particularly its own. This was Sweetlove House, an exquisite, honey-coloured Queen Anne manor, set in many acres of park and farmland. It lay within Pagford Parish, halfway between the town and Yarvil.
For nearly two hundred years the house had passed smoothly from generation to generation of aristocratic Sweetloves, until finally, in the early 1900s, the family had died out. All that remained these days of the Sweetloves’ long association with Pagford, was the grandest tomb in the churchyard of St Michael and All Saints, and a smattering of crests and initials over local records and buildings, like the footprints and coprolites of extinct creatures.
After the death of the last of the Sweetloves, the manor house had changed hands with alarming rapidity. There were constant fears in Pagford that some developer would buy and mutilate the beloved landmark. Then, in the 1950s, a man called Aubrey Fawley purchased the place. Fawley was soon known to be possessed of substantial private wealth, which he supplemented in mysterious ways in the City. He had four children, and a desire to settle permanently. Pagford’s approval was raised to still giddier heights by the swiftly circulated intelligence that Fawley was descended, through a collateral line, from the Sweetloves. He was clearly half a local already, a man whose natural allegiance would be to Pagford and not to Yarvil. Old Pagford believed that the advent of Aubrey Fawley meant the return of a charmed era. He would be a fairy godfather to the town, like his ancestors before him, showering grace and glamour over their cobbled streets.
Howard Mollison could still remember his mother bursting into their tiny kitchen in Hope Street with the news that Aubrey had been invited to judge the local flower show. Her runner beans had taken the vegetable prize three years in a row, and she yearned to accept the silver-plated rose bowl from a man who was already, to her, a figure of old-world romance.
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