Chapter Twenty-Six

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"This is pointless, I'm not going to learn how to serve a table correctly in half an hour. There is no way Mr Warrington didn't do this just to catch me out, can't we just come up with some sort of excuse, so I can get out of it?" I asked, slumping back against the chair.

"No, we can't. As much as that would be the preferred solution to this problem, Alexander has already seen you and knows there is no reason for you to miss out on serving luncheon. Just be careful when you pick anything up, and if possible, only use your right arm. I think you're right that they have done it on purpose, but you can't give them what they want," Miss Jenkins said, standing behind me and readjusting the bonnet she had pinned in place.

"The sooner they go to India, the better," I grumbled.

From across the room, Esther chuckled to herself though she said nothing. Both her and Miss Jenkins had been attempting to teach me the art of serving at the luncheon table, but it had yet to be a success. I had never done it before, Doctor Ealing decided to wait until the burn on my arm healed a little more before I did anything like that. Mr Warrington would have known that. We all knew the real reason why he had requested me to serve. It wasn't because he wanted to see if I was capable, he wanted to prove to Doctor Ealing that I wouldn't stay on with the family, he wanted to catch me out, but I wasn't going to let him. 

I had to treat Mr Warrington like the foreman, someone who was determined to find a way to hurt me no matter what they did. Avoiding the foreman was difficult, he was continuously doing things that he would then use against us as a reason for punishment. However, I could easily avoid Mr Warrington and whatever tricks he had up his sleeve to try and get rid of me. Besides, he might have been able to get away with soaking me, but there was little doubt in my mind that Doctor Ealing would allow him to get away with much. All I had to do was keep my head down and hope he would step over the line just enough for Doctor Ealing to step in and ask him to leave.

Whether or not he would go that far was a different story entirely.

"You'll be fine, Rosie. Most of the time it's just standing around until you're asked for. Take a deep breath and do everything he asks you to, he can't find fault if you do nothing wrong. Esther will be there if you need her and if you need rescuing, I give you permission to use your arm as an excuse to leave," Miss Jenkins said, placing her hands lightly on my shoulders.

"I'll have to do it eventually. Besides, it's not as though I can hide from them and I don't want to use my arm as an excuse. It'll only emphasise his point more. I've done far worse than serve at a luncheon table, I can handle Mr Warrington, whether or not he can handle me is a whole other story," I said, laughing.

"If you say so." Miss Jenkins smiled and handed me a cloth that I was to hold on to during luncheon, just in case anything was knocked over and needed cleaning up. I always thought that was what napkins were for, I was wrong.

Together, the three of us managed to move the pies, vegetables and potatoes upstairs and lay them out across the table ready for serving. Once the table had been set completely, Miss Jenkins returned to the kitchen and Esther produced a small, bronze bell from the cupboard and rang it twice, the sound echoing through the room. It didn't sound loud enough to reach any other part of the house, but it seemed to have worked as the sound of footsteps travelled down the stairs and towards the dining room. Esther put the bell back in the cupboard and stood beside it, her hands clasped behind her back. I followed her lead, standing beside her as the family and the Warrington's flooded in.

I kept my head facing the ground as Alexander shuffled past me, getting uncomfortably close as he went. Standing my ground, I allowed him to get as close as he wanted without flinching, he was going to try and intimidate me by almost walking on my toes, he was far from the mark. It would take more than that to intimidate me, and he knew that. Once everyone was seated, I felt Esther move beside me and followed her actions, copying everything she did. I observed at first as she started to take plates from in front of people and spoon vegetables, potatoes and pie onto the plates whilst the conversation moved around her.

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