Today is the day I meet the children I will be centering my attention on; the Master's children. They will shortly be arriving back from their Aunt's and Uncle's (Master's brother and sister in law). I know very little about them, I don't even know if they are girls or boys. All I know is that they are much younger than their brother.
It is only just past breakfast and I have already completed so many chores. Day three and it feels like a lifetime. Especially since I haven't heard from my father, which saddens me most of all.
I am sat in my room, a plain room with only the necessary items. I decide to get up, so I dress. I brush my unusual hair. I inherited my mother's deep red hair and her beauty as my father says. I have pale lips and skin. I place my head cloth over my hair, concealing it from the world. I have deeper red eyebrows and lashes, but they are too dark to be noticed as red.
I walk downstairs and eat a meager breakfast of a chunk of bread and read in the stable for ten minutes. Then I hear the far off sound of horses and a carriage.
I rush to the house to await the soon to be arriving children.
Then they arrive.
They are beautiful things, twins by their look, one boy and one girl. Almost identical in appearance other than their gender and hair. Both look like Bastian, mimicking his dark hair and blue eyes.
They walk towards me, eyeing me up and down. I curtsy. "Hello. What are your names?" I ask with enthusiasm. After a brief pause of them once again eyeing me, they answer.
"I'm Henry," the boy says.
"And I'm Agnes." the girl finishes.
"And how old are you both?" I ask, smiling.
"Are you asking because you're curious," Henry starts.
"Or because it's the right thing to do?" Agnes finishes.
"I," strange. They finish each other's sentences. "I am asking to work out how to treat you. If I guess your age, I may treat you incorrectly and you may feel patronised. I wouldn't want to do that to grown up children would I?"
"Well then. You have failed." Henry says.
"For we now feel patronised." Agnes finishes.
"I am to be your maid. I would rather if we were friends, too, though." I say. I try to muster as much enthusiasm as I can have, feeling it drip out of me drop by drop.
"We don't need a friend." Henry.
"We have each other." Agnes.
"Although, we could do with a maid." Henry. I can feel them intimidating me.
"It would help us through the day." Agnes. She says it not with her mouth, but with that of the Devil. I can feel them internally laughing at me through that bond which allows them to finish their sentences.
"Oh. One more thing. We're eleven." They say together. Then they run up the steps to their brother with his arms out stretched. They hug him and whisper something in his ear, they all turn to look at me then laugh. I can see my life stretched out in front of me now; days of torment and torture by the three children of Lord Neville.
I follow the children round as they lead me through bush after bush, thistle after nettle, cut after sting. They lead me through the part of the woods behind the house that to most would be inaccessible, but or two evil twins with their hearts set on making my day a living hell, merely a walk. I can feel my dress ripping in places, but with every suggestion to go back to the house for a drink or just a break, I get replies of "You're our maid." and "It's easy. Only a little further." Then they would exchange a glance informing me that it was not only a little further, but as far away as they could make it.
It has been three days since they arrived and everyday they have come up with ways to humiliate or insult me. Take yesterday for example, we were playing hop-skotch, when it was my turn I jump and go to land on one foot when I come to the realisation that one of them has tied string around my feet causing me to trip and land in a filthy puddle. Unable to change my dress before dinner, I was a laughing stock.
And now I am tearing my way through the woods, or rather it's tearing its way through me.
Then they stop, whisper between each other and then turn to me. "We have decided," Agnes starts
"We want to go back." finishes Henry.
Out of breath and frustrated I simply say "What?"
"We want to go back," Henry repeats.
"Back to the house." Agnes says.
"We're thirsty." They both say. Then Henry puts on a weak attempt at looking worried.
"But deary me," he says looking around with a hand half-way to his mouth.
"We appear to be lost." Agnes says imitating her brother.
"We could just go back the way we..."
"This way." Henry exclaims before leading us in any direction but the house. I sigh unable to complain and follow them back through the brambles.
Dinner is once again humiliating as I am cut and stung all over, not to mention the state of my dress. Dress, closer to tatters.
The children do not sit with us, but stand in silence at the side and shall continue to do so until they have learnt their table manners.
"My dear miss Montague. You look battered." The Master says with a merry laugh. I manage a weak smile. I am almost limp with fatigue and hunger and really just wish to go to bed.
"I agree. It almost puts you off your food altogether. Just look at her." Bastian says with a sneer. I glance at the children, but one glare from them tells me not to mention anything.
"I was walking down the lane when I tripped and fell into a pile of thistles. I am quite alright, I can assure you." I lie. I don't like lying, but am surprisingly good at it. The Master smiles.
"Miss Montague, that was a silly thing to do." he chuckles.
"Yes. Makes you question the ability of the staff, doesn't it, father?" Bastian snarls. I don't feel up to retorting an answer that could possibly get me thrown on to the street, so I smile and eat.
YOU ARE READING
A Tudor Girl named Ethelreda lives as a maid in a grand house. But things do not go to plan. The master's son- a spoiled, arrogant, rude man with no regard for anyone but himself- and two mischievous children make her life extraordinarily difficult...