Monday, February 10, 2014

The Heroine of Havisham Hall - Part 10

It was now clear to Jack, from Melissa Franklin's parting comment, that despite his very feminine hairstyle, the make-up and his parlourmaid's uniform, his little secret was out.  With Melissa and her mother due to attend the forthcoming house party at Havisham Hall, together no doubt with Mrs Quinn and Pamela, there would now be nowhere for him to hide.   He needed to think very carefully how to survive what threatened to become an excruciatingly uncomfortable weekend for him.  Indeed his whole future was now looking decidedly bleak.


As he made his way disconsolately back into the house to clear the coffee cups from the drawing room, Jack cursed his luck.  Above all he cursed his mother for leaving him in the hands of so many scheming women, while she happily travelled the world of drama school experts and architects to plan the construction of the Stuyvesant Drama Academy which now dominated her life.  How could she?  How he missed her motherly love now, more so than at any other time in his life.   As he pondered his fate, he realized that it was now only a few days until his birthday - his sixteenth birthday - and he wondered where his mother would be on his special day.   Every birthday he could ever remember had always been celebrated by the two of them together, with friends or other relatives.  But this year, he thought mserably to himself, his birthday would probably pass completely unnoticed.   Nobody at Havisham Hall would even know it was his birthday and he hardly felt he could go telling anybody.  That would look like he was asking for presents or special favours and, anyway, he would far rather keep a low key right now.   He was in bad enough books with Miss Craftey as it was.


The big weekend was also fast approaching and Jack now realized that his birthday coincided with the very day the guests were all due to arrive.   Just his luck...  But he consoled himself with the thought that he would be kept really busy attending to their needs, so that would at least take his mind off not being able to celebrate his birthday.  


Over the next week he and all the other maids were kept busy from dawn to dusk, ensuring that every room at Havisham Hall was given a thorough "spring clean".   Each member of staff was instructed to anticipate every possible requirement which any of Madam's guests might have during their stay, so as to make sure that they would all take away memories of a wonderful, unspoiled visit.   No expense was being spared by Madam, Miss Craftey constantly reminded the staff, so the least that they could do was to anticipate every need the guests might have during their stay.


On the eve of the big weekend Miss Craftey called all the staff together in the servants' hall.
"Now then girls, we've all been working very hard indeed these past few weeks haven't we?  But the real work hasn't even begun yet.   I hope you all realize that?   The real work starts tomorrow afternoon, when the guests begin to arrive.   Now you'll all have seen the list of the guests and the rooms to which they have each been allocated.   It is of course essential that every one of you is aware of exactly who is in each bedroom, to avoid any embarrassing misunderstandings.   So let me check."


And Miss Craftey began to test the maids, who were clearly already supposed to know precisely which room each guest would be sleeping in.   "Karen, can you tell me which room Lady Lavinia will be in?   The Lavender Suite at the end of the south wing, did I hear you say?   Yes, that's right Karen, easy to remember that one -  Lavender for Lady Lavinia, and a lovely spacious suite which I am sure her Ladyship will appreciate.   Now then, Linda, where will Dame Olivia be?   Yes, that's correct, she'll be in the Rose Suite, adjacent to Lady Lavinia's but with an even better view of the gardens.   Now Betsy, let's see, yes, I know....    Where will Miss Pamela Quinn and Miss Melissa Franklin be sleeping?"


There was a stony silence while Jack took in the fact that those two beastly girls were actually going to be staying over, as overnight weekend guests.   As they both lived within the county, he had consoled himself with the thought that they and their mothers would return home for the night and just drive over for the parties to which they had been invited.   But no, it was clear from Miss Craftey's question that they would be staying the whole weekend!    And of course he had no idea  which rooms they had been allocated.   In fact he had been so busy for the past few days, scrubbing floors, sweeping carpets and polishing furniture, that he was not even aware of the guest list pinned on the servants' noticeboard which had been updated daily to indicate exactly what guests were to be expected.


"Betsy, I asked you a question" roared Miss Craftey, "where will Miss Pamela and Miss Melissa be sleeping?   You don't know, do you?   Well, let me tell you - as they are two of the guests who will not be bringing their own ladies maids, you and Annabelle have been allocated to them.  They will be sharing a twin-bedded room on the east wing, the Lilac Room it is called, so you will be able to attend upon them easily and quickly whenever they ring for you.   On their arrival tomorrow, the two of you will  be expected to report to them together, so that they can decide which of you they would each like as their maid for the weekend.  Is that understood?"


Poor Jack was now completely stunned.  He could not bear the thought of being paraded in front of Miss Pamela and Miss Melissa for them to decide which of him and Annabelle they each preferred.  For a brief moment he imagined them teasing and testing them with little tasks before making their choice.  But he managed a soft "Yes, Miss Craftey" as the two of them quickly acknowledged their responsibilities with the customary curtsey.


"Well girls" continued Miss Craftey, " most of you seem to be clear exactly which guest will be sleeping where.   I think it's just you, Betsy, who still has a bit of preparation to attend to, especially if Madam decides she wants you on front door duty tomorrow.   As I expect she will, in your skimpiest parlourmaid uniform too, no doubt...    And we don't want you showing anybody to the wrong room now, do we?"


(to be continued)

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Poor Jack, it sounds like he will be dancing to Pamela and Melissa's tune all weekend. what a birthday for the poor boy/girl.
Please keep the story going, I love it!
Maid Marcia xx

Anonymous said...

You really have us spoiled with the weekly installments. I love it and Thank-You!!

Anonymous said...

We can't wait to see what happens when the ladies are all togther for the weekend. Seems there will be a few of them who know who 'Betsy' really is, so sounds like Jack will be in for a tricky time serving them. Please carry on with the weekly episodes, we are loving it. J & R

L.G. said...

I'll try and keep the weekly episodes coming, at least for the time being. With Miss Havisham's big "country house weekend" almost upon us, there's plenty of excitement (and hard work!) ahead for Jack of course!

It's great to get feedback like the ones shown above, makes the effort of writing well worthwhile!
Hopefully this Havisham Hall strand still has another four or five episodes to run.

Enjoy! L.G. x

Anonymous said...

A brilliant story, I love the way it is building up to the big weekend, quite an ordeal for Jack no doubt.
When the story finishes (which I hope won't be for a long time yet) can it be reproduced so we can read the whole saga through from the beginning.
Looking forward to the next episode.
Anon xx

Anonymous said...

Thank You for your creativity and making it seem so real while it is happening. A great story. Would like to see more clothing description and how Betsy feels in them. Much like Miss Havisham asked him when they first met with Elizabeth at that point so very femmed up. Looking forward to Elizabeth's progress.

Anonymous said...

I'm loving it too, feels like a real story that might make a good TV show or a movie.
Sissy Maid jenny x