Chapter 3: Madam

Mabelle had changed into her maid uniform in her room and immediately grabbed the duster to start dusting up the railing of the stairs. She had noticed the dust when Phillip gave her the tour of the mansion and she made it her mission to get the dust taken care of before she cared for the lady of the house.

As she dusted the railing of the stairs, Phillip watched her, while replacing the flowers of one of the vases and showed a smile saying, “I see that you are not lazy when it comes to your work.”

“Well I have to earn my keep, Mr. Scotts,” stated Mabelle removing a hidden spider web under the railing with the duster in her hand. She then glanced at Phillip as he straightened the new flowers in the vase and asked, “Just like with Curtis, can I call you by your first name or is it unnecessary?”

Phillip smiled and stated, “As long as I can call you Mabelle.”

“Deal, Phillip,” stated Mabelle in a playful tone that brought a warm smile to Phillip’s face.

Phillip suddenly glanced at the clock and stated, “It is almost time to prepare for dinner, so please finish your dusting before setting the plates for the master.” Mabelle nodded and then Phillip entered the door to the kitchen.

Mabelle dusted the last of the dust and then rushed to place her duster back in her room. When inside of her room, she placed the duster in a small basket and then looked in the mirror of her room to brush off any dust that managed to get on her and then rinsed her hands using the water bowl in her room. Afterwards, she headed out of her room to head to the kitchen to get the necessary plates for the master’s meal.

The moment Mabelle was in the kitchen, she saw Farrow stirring the pot of soup completely red from the hard work heat from the pot. Mabelle approached him and asked, “Are you OK, Mr. Ackley?”

“I’m fine, just cooking a little here,” reassured Farrow, before scooping out some of the thick potato soup and placing it into a silver bowl.

“Do you need me to bring that to the table?” asked Mabelle. Farrow shook his head and stated, “I need you to bring the master’s plates to the table. This bowl here is for the madam.” Mabelle nodded and headed to the table that was covered with delectable food like roast pork with salted beans and bread pudding with light sugar. There was so much that Mabelle found it hard to believe that the dishes were for one man to eat. Nonetheless Mabelle placed each of the dishes onto a silver cart and rolled it into the dining room, where Phillip was cleaning the area Frederick would sit and adding silverware and empty plates.

Mabelle stopped the cart next to Phillip and asked, “Is it really necessary to make all this food for one man to eat?”

“The master may not look like it, but he does have a hearty appetite,” stated Phillip. Mabelle placed her right fingers to her lips and stated, in a playful tone, “My goodness, I wonder where all that food goes?” Phillip gave a slight chuckle making Mabelle chuckle in response.

Mabelle placed all the dishes on the table and when the last dish was placed, Frederick entered the room. Phillip and Mabelle immediately stood away from his seat standing up straight. Frederick took a seat and then glanced at the food taking in the aroma of the meal. He smiled and told Phillip to tell Farrow that he did a wonderful job in the preparation of the meal once again. Phillip nodded with a smile.

Frederick then looked at Mabelle and stated, “My wife needs her meal, so please attend to her. I will make sure that there is food for you afterwards.” Mabelle nodded and curtsied before taking her leave from the dining room and entering the kitchen.

Mabelle saw no sign of Farrow, so she assumed that he went down to the wine cellar again for more tasty wine, hopefully for his meals. Mabelle saw the soup Farrow had prepared and that it was now on a silver tray with a glass of water, silverware, and a slice of baked bread. It was a simple meal when compared to the feast she brought out for Frederick, but considering the madam’s health, the food was enough.

Mabelle took the tray and took the servants’ door out to the main hall of the mansion and headed up the stairway walking briskly in a way that wouldn’t cause the water and soup to spill. She turned down the hall until she reached the Madam’s room. Mabelle took in a deep breath before knocking on the door.

“Madam?”

There was silence, so Mabelle once again called into the room. There was still no answer, so Mabelle sighed and then stated, “Madam, I apologize in advance for intruding.”

Mabelle entered the room, but the moment she opened the door, she sensed danger approaching and tilted her head to the side avoiding a glass vase. The glass vase shattered in the hall, but Mabelle just sighed and stated, “It is not polite to create more mess, Madam.”

The room was dark with only one candle lit next to a large king sized bed and in that bed was Ema Edwardson. Unlike the portraits Mabelle saw in the mansion, Ema looked even more worn out like she had not eaten in days. Her blonde hair reached pass her shoulders, but strands of white made her seem older than what she looked. Her white night gown hung loosely on her body and her sky blue eyes looked tired with dark bags under her eyes. She was the very picture of a sickly woman.

Ema, even in her weakened state, glared daggers at Mabelle and yelled, “I did not give you permission to enter!”

“And you did not dismiss me when I knocked two times, so I only found it fitting to enter,” talked back Mabelle.

Ema seemed to be taken back by Mabelle’s stern reply, but Ema immediately grabbed a book from her side table and threw it at Mabelle. Mabelle caught the book with her right hand, while balancing the tray of soup with her left, and then placed it gently on a side table saying, “Books are meant to be treated gently, so please don’t use them as a weapon.” This time Ema fell silent as Mabelle approached Ema placing the tray on her side table.

“Now I believe it is time for you to enjoy your meal.”

Ema clicked her tongue saying, “Enjoy? I refuse to touch such rubbish.”

“Rubbish? This soup?”

Ema nodded and then stated, “Take it away from my sight.”

Mabelle stared at the bowl of soup and then at Ema with a smile saying, “Such a shame to ruin such a delectable soup. Since it is rubbish, this maid will eat it.” Ema gasped and saw that Mabelle had indeed started feasting on the soup with smile.

“The spices practically dance on my tongue,” stated Mabelle with a blissful look. Ema clenched her fists as she watched Mabelle eat her soup and then yelled, “SUCH INSOLENCE!”

“Pardon me?”

“How dare you eat my meal in front of me?”

“Your meal? Didn’t you already label this rubbish, so as your maid I should eat it in your place,” stated Mabelle with no trace of fear in her voice.

Ema gritted her teeth, finding no words to retaliate, since Mabelle’s words were true. Ema huffed and then adjusted her blankets saying, “You are strange maid. Tell me your name.”

Mabelle smiled and bowed saying, “My name is Mabelle Winchester, the new maid of this mansion and your temporary nurse.”

“Nurse? I don’t need such a nurse.”

“But don’t you want to get better?”

Ema glared daggers at Mabelle like an angered lion looking at a lower being.

“I have had this sickness for years and no nurse or doctor has been able to cure me. Do you think there is still hope for me?”

“Well…”

“Don’t bother to answer. You will be gone in a few days, now leave my sight.”

Mabelle nodded and gathered the empty bowl, but placed the still filled glass of water on the side table next to the bed.

“You might not want to eat, but at least have a drink, Madam.”

Mabelle did another bow and then exited the room, but looked back at Ema adding, “I will clean the mess you made, so please have a nice sleep.” With those words, Mabelle closed the door.

Ema stared at the closed door realizing that this maid was the first one not to snap at her for her rude behavior and left the room with not even a scratch from her attacks. Ema then stared at the glass of water and then grabbed it to take a sip. She felt for this first time a curiosity of her new hire.

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