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The Earl of Hampton


By


Linda Balsamo

Copyright 2009 by Linda Balsamo

Smashwords Edition


All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.



Chapter 1


1856

Bridgeport, CT


LIEUTENANT ROBERT Grimes patrolled the train yard of the Housatonic Rail Road next to the Warf, just as he had done almost daily for the last sixteen years. The sky was overcast and a chill ran down his spine, despite the well-worn, woolen waistcoat he donned as part of his uniform. He could smell the odor of the morning’s catch wafting in the air from the harbor. Lieutenant Grimes had grown used to the smell and wondered if the whole country smelled like salted fish. His ability to grasp the expanse of the country was limited by his small frame of reference. He had never traveled beyond Hartford, a mere fifty-five miles from his home located on the west edge of Bridgeport. By horse, he could make the trip in five days if he pushed his ride hard. The trip was just long enough for him to justify in his mind that any place farther away would not be much different than where he had already been. Sure, there was always the train, but such a luxury was beyond his means. His brother had tried to talk him into heading west, but Lieutenant Grimes did not want to put his family through such an arduous ordeal. The stories of endless days and nights riding through a dustbowl, fighting off Indian tribes too numerous to name, only to then face deadly mountains that only the luckiest survived passage through…no, that wasn’t for him. Besides, he liked living in Bridgeport. It was bustling with activity and he could not understand what the West had to offer that Bridgeport did not.

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