Thelonius Houston stood on the front porch, considering the view. From where he stood, he could see a plowed field, a croquet court, a ring of trees and a distant sliver of water. He had looked over this view perhaps a hundred times, but gradually, since the day, three years before when the house–a converted farmhouse constructed around the turn of the century–had passed into his wife’s hands, the view had seemed to change. The details he picked out as he allowed his gaze to envelop the horizon, seemed to have been placed there for him to notice. He felt sure a deer which peered out of a corner of the bottom of the field had come to peer at him. For though he was the second husband of Mary Tartwin who was certainly, by birthright, its mistress, Thelonius felt he was the house’s lord and master, no less so than the lord who built her, Mr. Thomas Allen, of the Nova Scotia Allens, jurist, millionaire, and giant: whose flagstones these were, whose fields.
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