In the morning Mrs. Hall seemed a little more hurried than usual when I arrived in the kitchen ready to start the day.
"Is something the matter Mrs. Hall?"
"Yes Miss Stewart the master has asked you to pack your bags," she said hurrying down the stairs.
"Pack my bags?"
"And before the master has asked to see you in the front parlor," she said but I did not reply instead I walked quickly to the room fearing for the loss of my job. The master had drawn a confession out of me and I was due to pay for my unmeasured sincerity towards him.
"Sir you asked to see me?" I asked as he sat dressed on the sofa smoking his pipe.
"I did," he picked up the newspaper to read.
"Am I to pack my bags then?"
"Yes Miss Stewart and make it quick, I have run out of the usual forbearance I would have had prior to last night," he continued reading.
Yesterday he was at the mercy of my forgiveness but today I was. Once he fired me I'd be dependent on a reference from him and if he spoke of my insolence surely I'd be out of service for some time. To get back on his good graces again, to leave with dignity knowing my job was well done I made an appeal which did not please my nerves but would make peace with my conscience.
"Must you really let me go sir?"
"I beg your pardon," he lowered the newspaper from his face.
"I understand I have been deficient in my service..."
"Deficient?" He got up and put his paper down, would he yell at me now for my request?
"Yet may I ask if you are able to forgive my behavior last night sir? I promise nothing like it will ever occur again."
"No, I cannot forgive sincerity Miss Stewart and I have every right to not let you take it back..."
"Why not sir?" That might have done it I thought to myself when his look turned bewildered by my question but I had no better choices.
"Do you not hold an offense against me yet refuse to say it and grant me forgiveness?"
"I hold no specific offense I assure you sir I am only unaccustomed to the run of the house and do not wish to leave your service. I know sir it is no excuse but may I hope you would be so kind as to consider granting me another chance?"
"You think me kind as to reconsider?" He was at a standstill, deliberating every word said and I nodded my head.
"I promise to not run off like the other maids, I do wish to remain in my post sir and do better," I confidently stepped closer to him and he took notice of it.
"Pack your bags Miss Stewart," he looked back to read the newspaper and I curtsied to him sad to have done such a bad job while working at the Howard household. It was a failure I did not wish to take with me, I wanted the time to thrive but alas I had not done my best and had to pay for it with unemployment.
"Of course master," I turned to get the door when the master spoke from behind his newspaper.
"You will travel back with the servants and I to the country, since you are attached to your family in London it might require them some notice for you will be away for a while."
"Yes I must get back to my country life as soon as possible; I have neglected it long enough but will you survive the change or will the country drive you mad?"
"I will be fine sir."
"Good, I hate to lose staff, it seems wherever else they go for work they gossip about me," relieved to hear I was secure once again I went to pack.
The master was as unpredictable as the rain; you always knew to expect a bad weather but never knew when it'd be coming. The stormy part of him I saw it clearly but was he prideful as well? If he was why would he have let me live through another day as a staff in his house? Of this I was unsure and a whole many things about him, as to why he had been away from his country house or what drew him back there. The staff was just as confused, they said he mostly lived out by the sea in a small cottage like some middle class gentleman and only went back to the house once a year.
"Why would he want to go back now? It's not Spring yet," Gertie speculated with Mrs. Hall as I set up the tea tray.
"I do not have the slightest clue but he has been going out of his way lately."
"I reckon there's something there."
"Yes but what? Either way the staff has already traveled from the cottage to the country house so they should be there already."
"Ah well hopefully Ms. Johnson has gotten the hang of things by now, and so should you child," Gertie said as I finished the dishes even though it was supposed to be her job. I wanted to hear them talk more about the rest of the staff I was not aware existed but it was time to go see my family and tell them the news.
"Yes Gertie," I dried my hands, "uh Mrs. Hall might I go see my family now?"
"Oh right yes go talk to Mr. Eugene about it."
"Thank you Mrs. Hall," I nodded and went over to find Mr. Eugene who I met in the hall.
"Mr. Eugene, Mrs. Hall said..."
"Here for you to go see your family," Mr. Eugene gave me some coins to pay the coach but I would walk home instead and leave the coins with my family.
"Thank you Mr. Eugene."
"It is not from me, it is from the master," between him and Gertie I did not know who thought me more disagreeable.
Mr. Eugene looked at me with distrust which I did not know where it came from; he would tell me how to do things while I was doing them exactly as he said. It bothered me to be seen as irresponsible by anyone, he thought me incapable of doing anything right without his supervision and I wanted to shut him up someday.
Copyright: All Rights Reserved to A. Sena Gomes
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The Greatest JourneyHistorical Fiction
Miss Alice Stewart is a poor girl, recently fatherless with a mother and two younger siblings to take care when she finds a job in service as a maid with her aunt Mrs. Green. Soon the family she works for loses money and lets go of her, in need of w...