Chapter Nineteen

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For the first time in as long as I could remember, luck looked as though it was on my side. Neither Miss Jenkins, nor Robert had any reason to be concerned about the fact that I was a little paler than normal as it amounted to nothing more than a sniffle. I had avoided the Influenza epidemic at the factory, and it didn't look as though getting soaked to the bone was going to cause anything that would lead me to avoid work. Relief was the only thing I felt when Robert told me that there was absolutely nothing wrong with me, even though I was still pale. After dealing with the burn and the bruised wrist, it felt as though I was finally going to get to do some work without any interference.

Although there was nothing wrong with me, Miss Jenkins insisted that I needed to spend more time in the garden and around the grounds of the house to try and get more colour into my cheeks. I didn't mind too much. Most of my life had been spent working in a small, hot room with very little light, I relished the idea of spending time outside. Back in the factory, we used to dream of spending a day in the sun, either working or just relaxing in the courtyard, but it never happened. Those few minutes a day during our break was all we had, and at the time, it was enough. The idea of spending a whole day outside in the sun was the best thing I had heard in a long time.

"You are to do whatever Samuel says whilst you're working in the grounds, Dr Ealing took a fair bit of convincing to allow you this opportunity, so don't do anything to risk it. You will work outside for three full days and if your time here is extended, you will spend one day a week assisting in the garden. Do you understand?" Miss Jenkins said when she returned from Dr Ealing's office.

"Perfectly. This is an opportunity I am not going to mess up," I said, fighting back the smile that threatened to show itself. I wanted Miss Jenkins to know I was serious, I couldn't well do that if I was grinning like the Cheshire Cat.

"Good, you've done well so far and your first week is ending. If you keep up the momentum, you're sure to stay here. This is the perfect opportunity for you to show some versatility which will make you look good towards the Ealing's."

"I understand. I'll be careful and do everything that is asked of me when it is asked, I promise."

"Very well, Samuel will be waiting for you outside. From what I know, your first task will be to wash the windows, so nothing too strenuous."

"Let's hope," I joked

"Off you go, I'll ring the bell when it's time for lunch."

Nodding, I slipped Miss Jenkins a warm smile and slipped out of the backdoor, stepping into the pale morning sunlight. Behind the trees, the sun was just starting to rise, turning the sky a light pink that almost looked as though it had been painted. Small, white clouds dotted the morning sky, all tinged pale pink with the changing colour of the early morning sky. The sun was just starting to peak over the tallest trees, shining a light on the back of the house and casting my shadow along the path as I made my way down the garden in search of Samuel.

The gravel crunched beneath my boots as I made my way along the path and towards the vegetable patch, where I hoped to find Samuel. Only he wasn't there. I continued along the path, following its winding direction until I reached a small wooden shed, the door hanging wide open, the padlock swinging as though it had just been opened. As I approached, Samuel appeared from the doorway, sending me a small smile as he placed a metal bucket on the ground and shut the door behind him. Closing the padlock tightly, he turned around and dropped a key into his pocket. On the ground next to bucket was a broom and several cloths and sponges, the pile looking rather intimidating.

"Simple job for you this morning, just wash as many first-floor windows as you can. Don't worry about reaching the top, I'll do that when you've finished," Samuel said, gesturing to the bucket.

The Factory Girl // Book 1 in the Rosie Grey seriesWhere stories live. Discover now