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In the novel The Seven Dials Mystery, MacDonald is the enormously intimidating and formidably Scottish Head Gardener at Chimneys. He was described as a man who "knew his place - which was to rule. And he ruled - dispotically". MacDonald speaked "mournfully, but with dignity - like an emperor at a funeral". He reproached Lady Maria Coote for eating some grapes without telling him, and he declined her idea of making a bowling green.

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