I see Bastian throughout the day and what John said is true; he took a bad hit. He has a black eye which looks bad.
He hasn't approached me at all since the incident yesterday, but knowing what I know about Bastian, I'm not surprised.
"Hello, Ethelreda." John says. I look up from my papers.
I lost my fathers book yesterday and I am very disappointed not only because I can't read it, but that at some point, I will have to tell my father the sad and shocking events of yesterday.
"Hello, John. How are you?" I ask sitting up on the hay I was lying on. Once again I am sat in the stable in my free time, although that has been getting gradually shorter.
"I am fine. But you needn't ask for I have come to inquire about you." he says smiling.
"Oh, I just wish to carry on as usual. As though nothing happened and I would request you do as such as well please." I say with a smile. He nods.
"That is not all I am here for; you are to see master Bastian. I was walking past the front of the house when he saw me and requested that I tell you to go to him as soon as you can." I frown and collect my papers before bidding John adieu.
I knock on the door and hear a grumble which I assume means come in. I curtsy and yet he does not look up from the paper in his hand. "You asked for me, sir." I say impatient to leave quickly.
"That is right. Yesterday," he says "these were floating around when the thieves attacked. I only picked up what I could be bothered to." he hands me sheets of paper. My book.
"Thank you, sir. This means a lot to me, sir." I say, but still he does not care. He just goes back to reading whatever is in his hands. "I have been meaning to thank you, sir."
"Taking me home, helping me. It was really, very kind of you, sir." Then for the dash of a second, I see his frown loosen and nearly fade before regaining its grip on him. And that's when I see what the girl-servants long for. I see how attractive he could be if he would just smile or at the very least not frown. I causes me to smile a little.
I curtsy and leave.
That dinner time, the servants are asked t dine separately from the master and his son due to the arrival of guests.
The first I heard of it was when I was asked, with the help of other, to prepare some rooms. It is supposedly a young girl and her father. The girl being slightly older than me and her father being a friend of Lord Neville. According to the rumours, the girl is an eligible bride for Bastian. So the servants and I do as we are asked and eat separately.
I sit next to John and laugh about the day. The servants are eating just before the guests and family are so that the kitchen isn't over-run with food making. "No. You must believe me! She had a pig's-snout for a nose and buck teeth. Please don't even get me started on the sweeping brush she claimed was hair." I snort into my water immediately embarrassed by my lack of manners, but glad to see that John hasn't noticed. He is telling me about the girl his mother wished him to marry when he was fourteen.
Collecting myself, I say "But what do appearances matter? There is no beauty in a face capable of personifying the heavenly beauty of the heart. So whether someone is ugly or fair, fat or thin, you shouldn't judge them!" I say. He stares at me for a few seconds, some form of amusement playing on his features, yet unreadable from my perspective.
"Indeed." he says quietly still staring. As though he wakes up he snaps back to attention. "But this girl, if she was horrid on the outside, she was an ogre in the middle."
We continue talking about our past lives. I discover that he is twenty and that he has two brothers. Then dinner is over. As I am helping clear away the dishes, Bastian walks in directly towards me. "Miss Montague, you will be helping serve dinner and shall be waiting on us."
"But it is late, sir and I really need-"
"The family I am dining with are a terrible bore and with you there at least I will have someone to pick on." I see the ghost of a smile in his eyes, but his face remains the same angry state.
"Very well, sir."
The family are indeed a bore. They have already managed to make conversation out of the leaves changing colour and why they do that. If they aren't boring they are down right depressing. They are now talking about the living conditions of the poor and how little they eat and death. Delightful for at the dinner table.
"Oh no, that's true. The poor do breed like rabbits, though. And with so little money to support their families." says the father who I have discovered is called Mr. Watson and his daughter is called Elizabeth. She is a thing of beauty, but as for her character, I cannot tell due to her lack of conversational skills. "You there, servant girl. You're poor. Tell us what it's like." I realise they are all looking at me now. I am 'servant girl'.
I can't think of an answer and just stammer a bit before I hear "She isn't poor." Bastian said it.
"Don't be ridiculous, look at her, she is a servant therefore she is poor."
Before I can answer Bastian says "She isn't poor. I myself have seen her home and it is charming. Granted, she is not exceedingly rich, but neither is she exceedingly poor. She lives comfortably." I am so shocked that I remain silent until after the meal.
Afterwards, I am once again clearing away when I hear Bastian say behind me "I apologise on behalf of Mr. Watson. He is too outspoken for his own good." I hardly know what to say. His face lacks any show of concern towards me, yet his voice is softer than usual. I just turn and curtsy and leave the room.
Am I starting to see a side to Bastian that I have neither seen nor heard of before? Could it be possible that this cold-hearted man can actually feel for others and empathise with them? Maybe book characters are possible in the real world.
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...