Chapter 38 - Doucereux et Fils

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∞ 38 ∞

DOUCEREUX et FILS


The poxy Faith Agreement Progress Review was moved down to 12:30 last minute! So, with plenty of time to spare, Lucius and Elliott went for breakfast in the Golden Row – the upmarket area of the main commercial district for Magical London. Entered through a small, gated garden square close to St James Park and not far from the Ministry, the Magical only street featured about 50 shops, a handful of restaurants and the odd hotel, as well as Grunschildt's private bank. Grunschildt's was positioned majestically at the end, in the middle, so that it could be seen as one walked down the street. It was an attractive, yet modest sized, circular building of marble and limestone in the style of a classical Greek temple. (Some thought it looked something like the top tier of a Muggle's wedding cake, with all the columns running around the outside and it did a bit... if one ignored the bank's stony faced snipers in their almond green uniforms stationed around it). Branching off the centuries old street, a relatively 'modern', covered shopping arcade that had been built in the Regency period, housed a couple dozen much smaller, more eclectic boutiques. The other side of the Regency arcade lead into a narrow, longish street, lined on both sides with many offices and ateliers that eventually lead to Gringotts bank at the back end of Diagon Alley – another even older, Magical only shopping street in the quarter, which focused more on general goods and was the most heavily frequented street of Magical London's famous commercial district.

After breakfast, Elliott went off to see about some cigars and Lucius stopped in at Doucereux et Fils, a large, double shop at numbers 24 and 25 Golden Row. Auntie was particularly fond of their mirabelle pâte de fruit and walnut and lavender marzipan, so Lucius though he would take her a box.

His dreaded cousin Apollonius was actually a Doucereux on his father's side. Lucius's hatred of his cousin was such that he might not have patronised the firm, just to avoid being surrounded by the name, except the Doucereuxes produced some of the best confections and wines in the Wizarding world –many of Lucius's favourites– so it would have been a case of spiting himself to spite the Doucereuxes who had more than enough loyal customers in the small world of Magic after: "Six Hundred Years of Sweet & Fragrant Excellence", as the sign over the doorway attested. In any case, it wasn't the family's fault that one of their sons ended up siring such a wastrel.

On one side there was a sober window display of wine bottles of varying shapes and sizes standing on ancient oak barrels and on the other, was a colourful display of hundreds of pretty almond calissons with frosting in varying hues of pastel purples, or greens, presented on a silver tiered cake stand. Alongside the cake stand a number of tall, glass urns in different styles were filled with sugared flowers. One urn filled with sugared violets spilled out onto the marble topped table holding the display, intermingling the preserved violets with a ceramic platter full of fairy cakes decorated with the various flowers and glistening sweets in the shape of Galleons.

Lucius entered and was met with gentle wafts of a pleasing scent coming from the combined, steamy aromas of three large, silver samovars, each brewing a different tea of various, dried herbal mixtures. Four magnificent glass chandeliers gently lit the somewhat shadowy shop, whose business was concerned with all manners of preserving the delicate natural flavours and colours of plants and their products.

An American couple, accompanied by their two, poised, teenage children were seated on a settee and armchairs, covered in coral coloured silk, engaged in the serious business of sampling the many wines, teas and sweet delicacies. A crisp looking waiter-cum-sales assistant served the samples, gave advice and took their order for the coming year. Meanwhile the couple's two younger children, accompanied by an older Witch –probably their nurse– marvelled at a bounty of fluffy, pastel coloured guimauve, fruity and flowery candy lollies of all types and other, more childish confections in an alcove on the other side of the shop.

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