On the block, each home was more lavish than the one preceding it. As the yards grew, so did the manors. Without exception, all the mansions were far grander than he recalled. He could not help but wonder if indeed the homes were that much larger or if he simply did not remember them well after so many years. Rationalizing that the answer must lie somewhere between the two points, he concluded that his street, and his city for that matter, had become quite affluent indeed.
The nearer he came, the larger his parents’ house looked. It surely had been renovated in his absence. By comparison, every house within view seemed to melt away into obscurity.
Where a decorative white fence had stood during Linvin’s childhood, now a scrolled bronze fence with copper tips on the top points loomed. Two double gates had been added to allow carriages through. A semicircular driveway of crushed quartz glistened like diamonds in the sun. The drive connected the gates, presumably for the speedy progress of guest sat social events of size. The only part of the fence still recognizable to Linvin was the massive bronze gate, which formerly had stood in sharp contrast to the white fence. The great and masterful piece likely played some part in the design of the new enclosure. Beyond the gate, the crushed quartz had replaced the once simple stone walkway.
Though breathtaking in both scale and artistry, the message was clear that solicitations were not welcome. It was a feel that Linvin had never received from his home.
As Linvin neared the gate, a servant dressed in the finest attire stopped him just short of his destination. Though his heartiest days had passed, he carried himself with poise and dignity which was seldom seem. Neither small nor tall in stature, his very presence still found a way to command respect.
“Forgive me, kind sir,” said the servant, as he tipped his top hat to Linvin. “Might I inquire as to your business here at Grithinshield Manor?”
Linvin had been hidden from view by his horse. Even so, Linvin knew to whom he was addressing. “Oh, I do not know, really. I thought I might climb trees in my best clothes or perhaps switch salt into the sugar container to give the cook some new added flavor to her cooking.”
The servant took the reins from Linvin’s hand and pulled the horse out of the way.
“Master Linvin!” he exclaimed. After tying the horse to the fence, he gave Linvin a great hug.
“I knew that was you who made the switch!” he half-heartedly scolded. “Worst pastry I’ve tasted in my life.”
“Well, I had to have a bit of sport, Theisen,” Linvin grinned. “After all, you would not let me do anything fun.”
“My charge was to be sure you grew up to be a proper young man in one piece,” Theisen said while repeatedly poking his finger into Linvin’s chest. Then he took more of a broad look at the man before him. “Well, all I can say is that you looked much better when you left as a youngster.”
“I could say the same of you,” Linvin said with a laugh.
Theisen chased him around the horse in a friendly gesture. “Don’t think I can’t find a switch around here to teach you to mind your elders.”
“You best make it a small one,” Linvin goaded. “At your age, I fear the strain of a big stick might exhaust you.”
Theisen caught Linvin in his lackadaisical effort to escape and placed the former general’s head against the bars of the gate. He proceeded to tousle Linvin’s hair and say, “I don’t believe I heard you right, young master.”
Linvin smiled and easily removed himself from the feigned hold. “I said that I have missed you, Theisen, and it is good to be home.”