The sun rose over the green, dew covered hills, bringing with it not only it’s beautiful orange glow, but another day off the calendars. The wildlife stirred, birds calling for their partners to hurry home to the safety of the nest – Rabbits hiding in their holes, protected from the odd bright orange fox that could pass by the burrows, looking for any means of food for its starving stomach.
Of course, it’s not the wildlife that we want to concentrate on in this story – it’s the humans, otherwise I’d be doing a wildlife documentary, and I don’t plan on doing that any time soon.
It was the mid 19th century – 1860, and to be even more precise it was the morning of November 6th. It was quite a glorious morning – which was quite odd for North Wales – not a cloud covered the beautiful ice-blue sky, so the geese flying to tropical dessert islands were visible flying over head.
That was, until a loud gunshot rung out around the previously peaceful forest, and one of the graceful geese fell from the skies like an angel falling from the heavens. A victorious cry was heard, making the wildlife scatter from fear of being the next victim of the merciless gun and its holder. Speaking of whom, was going to retrieve his prize.
This man was the father of this story’s heroin (who we have yet to meet!) his name, Duke Richard Moore. He was extremely powerful, extremely wealthy, and had a beautiful wife and daughter – and this daughter was promised to the Prince of Wales’ youngest son, meaning that soon, their family would become aristocracy. Not that it made much difference – they were almost as powerful (if not more) that the Prince already and their wealth was healthy competition to that of the prince.
Inside the protective, beautiful marble walls of Vivien Mansion (It was named after it’s original founder, Duchess Vivien Moore, the mother of Richard) The maids in the kitchen were hard at work (and had been for hours) making sure to get the fire prepared for exactly 6:30 am, when Lady Catherine was set to awake.
As a rather ginger maid bent down to poke the embers into life waiting for the signal from a nearby blonde maid with glasses to give the signal to light it, there was a gentle knock at the front door. All of the maids (there were five in total) looked up, wondering who it could be at such an early hour. A small brunette skipped out with her dark haired friend, who was just as tiny, to go and answer the grand doors.
Pulling on the golden polished handles they saw two people standing in the ebony wooden door-frame, two elegant, refined persons stood in the doorway. Two very beautiful people at that.
It was Miss Cynthia Knight, and her fiancé Sir Roderick Fulton, who happened to be the oldest son of the Prince of Wales – the brother of Catherine’s fiancé. The story behind these two was quite a detailed one (which would be too long-a story to go into detail about, despite the sweet romance behind it) which basically involved Miss Cynthia to be totally oblivious of the heart she’d been given by Sir Roderick – he’d followed her for her whole life, (NOT in a creepy-stalker way.) and never once stopped until she noticed him. They fell in love, and were to be married next summer. Incidentally, Miss Cynthia was Lady Catherine’s best friend from their childhood, that’s exactly why the two of them were there – to visit the one and only Lady Catherine.
The Maids (Their names were Eva and Leah) looked at the happy couple with familiar smiles – the two often came over, so they were well acquainted, and on a first-name basis. The two girls nodded, and smiled at Miss Cynthia, stepping aside so she could enter the now heated up house (The ginger maid had prodded the fire a little too much, and the blonde maid had got annoyed and done it herself.)
“Hello, Eva, Leah!” Cynthia greeted the two with a smile as she took Roderick’s hand and stepped inside, her high heels clacking against the newly-mopped tile floor, echoing around the large hall. The two small girls beamed up at her.
“Lady Catherine isn’t up yet – but one of us is going to wake her up in about half an hour – she gets up at seven exactly. Her father threatened to beat one of us when we missed the dot.” Eva giggled slightly – for some reason, Cynthia had a hunch she knew just which maid had forgotten to wake Catherine up – and that maid was ginger.
“Its quite alright– but it was quite a long carriage ride up here – we’re with Roderick’s parents in Riverside house at the moment, so is there any chance there is a place for us to wait for her?” Cynthia patted down her sky blue skirts, attempting to make her image more perfect than it already was.
“Of course!” Leah beamed (everyone was very fond of Miss Cynthia – she was a very kind person.) “If you’ll follow us through here…”
The group stepped forward into the drawing room, where they found the tallest maid, Lily, straightening some ornaments, which was quite odd, as Lily usually was found in the kitchen, helping out with the head cook Monsieur Michael Gates, preparing the grand dishes for the family.
“Hi there, Lily” Leah greeted her colleague casually, smiling naturally. Lily returned the smile, but said nothing – she was quite a quiet girl, as she returned to her dusting.
Cynthia and Roderick elegantly sat down on one of the French styled chez-long that faced the window, giving them a clear view of the beautiful Welsh landscape that the Mansion was set in.
All was quite except for the ticking of the clock, the hands steadily making their way around the face with a steady, mechanical sound, like a planet spinning around the sun - it’s ticks made the atmosphere of the silent room that little bit more awkward. Cynthia and Roderick sat beside one another, Roderick’s arms wrapped protectively around Cynthia’s shoulders as they hugged quite romantically.
Eva, Leah and Lily decided to give the two aristocrats some peace. So, they exited out into the hall and Lily, who seemed pretty fixated on the dusting idea, attempted to dust the already perfectly clean hall and make it even more perfect. Rolling their eyes, Eva and Leah headed out into one of the many gardens to try and tend to some flowers.
Meanwhile, it was about time to get Lady Catherine up – so, the blonde maid – Ivy was lecturing the clumsy, ginger maid Cara about how not to ruin everything she touched.
“…And try not to trip up the stairs. You could scuff your shoes, or ruin the perfect polishing job I finished the other day. It’s not fun polishing marble, you know. Now – I’m not going to gave you any tea to bring up to her – because knowing you; you’d probably spill it over the poor girl. So be careful, no falling, no shouting, and be nice when you wake her up – got it?” Ivy pestered as Cara nodded.
“Yes, yes – I’ll try my best.” She smiled, waving to the blonde maid as she headed out of the room – almost tripping over her own feet. Ivy signed and rubbed her temples with her long fingers realizing that there’d be no hope for the poor girl.
As Cara finally left successfully without tripping over anything, she walked out into the bright hall (in which Lily had continued her dusting mission) and headed up the grand, and frankly over the top marble staircase. It was gigantic – but to tell the truth, you wouldn’t expect less from the Moore’s, what with the Duke attempting to show off his wealth in every way possible, and the Duchess wanting everything to be better than royalty (in which she still hadn’t succeeded in) and more expensive. Flowers lines the glossy wooden banisters – mainly red and white roses (red and white was the theme throughout the entire house) in petite little glass vases, all identical – like someone had cloned one pot to make a gigantic (yet un-functional) army of identical flower-filled vases.
Cara tottered up the stairs, walking as quickly as she dared up to the first floor. (It was already 6:55, and they weren’t meant to run about the house like children, a rule most of the maids chose to disobey with their childish games of tag during their breaks.) The ginger practically ran down the bright corridor leading to Lady Catherine’s room – there was no one to see her, after all, the only people in the house were the maids, Duchess Moore, Lady Catherine and Miss Knight and Sir Fulton – and all of them were either sleeping or downstairs. The Duke was out hunting, after all.
Or so the clueless ginger thought.
“Well, this certainly isn’t good – its 6:59 and you’re not prompting my daughter to awaken? Not only that you’re running in my corridor. And there are guests downstairs not being served tea! Your uniform isn’t properly ironed, and your shoes are scuffed – I thought the maids I employed were better than this…” A voice came from behind Cara.
She abruptly stopped running – shocked that she’d been caught. And there stood the Duke. So much for his hunting trip. “I-I… I…” the girl started.
“Be quiet girl, and go and wake my daughter up. Oh, and for your information, I returned from my hunting trip around 10 minutes ago – your blonde colleague welcomed me home. Now, because of this disgraceful performance, I’m docking not only your payment, but the whole staff’s payment by 10% this month. I’m sure they’ll love you.” He sneered at the ginger, “Off you go.” He stalked off into his room to attend to his business.
Cara groaned, falling to the floor in defeat – they were all going to bloody kill her. This was the second time this year she’d docked everyone’s wages, and this time she was pretty sure that they wouldn’t be any more pleased than last time they’d found out. Sometimes she hated the Duke, despite the fact he’d supplied her with an amazing job.
Reluctantly climbing to her feet, she headed over to Lady Catherine’s room – it was already past seven o’clock now, so there was no real reason to rush. Letting out a gigantic sigh, Cara pulled the grand door open into Lady Catherine’s huge room. It was beautiful.
It was double the size of the pitiful maid’s dorms easily – maybe even triple. Instruments were lying all over the place, but not untidily – rather in a strangely artistic manor, as was the relevant sheet music – Catherine loved music. Large bookcases lined the walls, holding books that carried on growing dust. Despite her rich education, Lady Catherine always had, and probably always would hate reading, no matter how much her parents tried to persuade her, she’d never read a novel.
Right in the centre of the white room (of course it didn’t fail to meet the white and red elegant theme like the rest of the house held) was her gigantic four-poster bed, the red velvet curtains were drawn, showing Catherine underneath the many layers of seemingly never-ending cotton sheets. She was sitting up straight, rubbing her blue eyes as if she’d just awoken.
Cara groaned – she’d woken herself up – according to the Duke no one this rich should have to wake themselves up – it was simply too much of a troubling task, and knowing the ginger’s unfortunate luck, it’d probably cause a further deduction of wages if the Duke ever found out. Bloody brilliant.
Catherine grinned, “My Dad’s going to hate you, late and you didn’t wake me up?” her tone was friendly as usual.
“I already got an earful from him. He’s deducting everyone’s wages because of me…” Cara groaned slumping forward despite the rules of every member of staff having to keep a perfect posture at all times.
Catherine winced, “Not good… Don’t worry, Dowey! I’ll have a word with him and see what I can do.” She smiled at the girl, calling the ginger by her last name.
“Y-you’d do that? You’re a bloody lifesaver, Lady Catherine!” Cara grinned.
“I told you, Dowey, don’t call me ‘Lady’! It’s weird and posh – oh, and don’t say bloody in case my Dad hears you and just stops paying you full stop.” She raised an eyebrow as Cara grinned apologetically.
Cara walked over to the gigantic wardrobe that concealed all the beautiful dresses that Catherine had ever worn behind its perfectly polished wooden doors. “Miss… You know that you call me by my last name… You don’t do that with any of the other maids… Am I not as close to you as they are?”
Catherine laughed slightly, “Oh Dowey – not really, it’s just that Dowey suits you! And ever since I heard Eva calling you it, and it caught on, I thought I’d call you it too!”
Cara grinned, “Well, It’s better than Carlos…”
Catherine gave her a confused glance, “Who on Earth called you ‘Carlos’…?”
The maid grinned, “It was a long, long time ago – your little cousin Oscar who is now in line to the Scottish throne somehow, just whenever I started work here when I was eleven. I brought the two of you some tea – I’m still not sure how you managed to drink that disgusting substance at the age of nine! So I brought you some tea, and Oscar shouted out ‘it’s Carloose!’ which made everyone laugh.”
Catherine smiled nostalgically, “Ahh, I miss Oscar… He was so funny…”
“He was…” Cara smiled, and then turned back to the job at hand, “So, Lady Catherine – which dress do you want to wear today? Bearing in mind your fiancé is visiting later, and Miss Cynthia and Sir Roderick are downstairs in the drawing room.”
The young girl’s eyes widened, “Cynth’s downstairs? And Rod? Why are they here? Not that I’m not happy that they are – quite the opposite! But why didn’t anyone wake me up earlier? I need to get down there as quick as possible!” Catherine began attempting to escape the bundle of cotton sheets that were tucked into the bottom of the bed like she had been held hostage like a prisoner. It seemed the trap was working extremely well as she struggled to get out of the tangle of cotton with out succeeding.
The ginger maid smiled, “Didn’t your father ever teach you it was extremely in-proper to be seen in your night-wear?” She flicked through a few more hangers, looking for a nice dress for the currently trying to escape Catherine to wear.
“B-but! Cynthia and Roderick!” Catherine pointed helplessly at the door, realizing there was no hope from escaping the wrath of the blankets.
“Oh be quiet” Cara laughed, “you can see them in a minute… Just put this dress of and you’ll be good to go.” The maid pulled out a long, elegant red and white dress with flowing skirts out of the wardrobe gracefully, and, helping Catherine out of the tangle of blankets, she handed the graceful material to her. “I’ll be outside the door – call me when you’re done!” Cara waved and left quickly.
Once the door was shut, Catherine stood in her room, smiling to herself. She let her blue eyes travel down the expensive crimson material. The smile that had formed on her face was a mixture of sadness, nostalgia and a hint of relief. She slipped into the tight material that hugged her body flatteringly. With a jolt, the girl realized where she’d worn this dress before – it had been the day James, her fiancé had proposed to her. She could remember the way he’d complimented the dress and how nice the crimson went with her tanned skin – she’d never worn the dress again after that because she wanted to preserve the memory perfectly… But it’d do no harm to wear it today, surely?
The mirror that hung on the wall perfectly reflected the way the light caught the red, sparkling beautifully. Catherine admired the seamstress who’d achieved such an amazing result as this dress – and admired the courage it must have taken to give such hard work away. It really was an amazing piece of stitching.
Grabbing a few hair pins she pulled the almost blonde locks back into a messy pony tail, pinning the hanging strands up to her scalp. Her father most definitely wouldn’t be pleased with her lack of effort to make herself look beautiful (he expected her to spend at least half an hour doing intricate little twirls and separate pleats in her hair every morning) but truthfully, she really didn’t care – she just wanted to start the goddamn day already so she could go and have fun!
“Done~ now can I go downstairs?” Catherine demanded impatiently, grinning as she stepped out of the room. Cara’s brown eyes examined her briefly, making sure she was respectable enough for the world to see (but mainly so that Cara wouldn’t get yet another pay cut off Catherine’s father) and nodded.
“Go on then – I’ll be tidying your room if you need me – don’t worry, I won’t touch your sheet music. Have fun! Sir James should be here around lunch time – Lily is preparing the food, so look forward to it!” Cara grinned, entering the blindingly bright room Catherine had just exited.
The harsh tapping sound of the heels of her crisp white shoes rung out around the elegant silence of the marble hall as the young Lady descended down the marble mountains. Eva and Leah smiled as they passed her – probably going to clean on of the many bathrooms or something.
Once the long trek down the seemingly millions of steps that connected the ground floor to the first floor, Catherine headed to her favourite room, the drawing room – where she knew Cynthia and Roderick were waiting for her.
Hi everyone! :D So what did you think? I hope it was good enough! This was originally a request from one of my best friends, and I have almost completed it for her now, though the characters weren’t so much fictional, and based on our friends and crushes in and out of school – so for our own reasons we agreed that I should edit the names etc. so there are a few references to our social life (for instance the nickname ‘Dowey’) that have a hidden meaning. Though I have renamed almost all of the characters, my real name is in fact Cara, and I have based this fictional ‘Cara’ on me :D I got good feedback of my friend, so she suggested that I posted it on here – so posted it on here I did! I hope you enjoyed it, and I encourage you if you did just to press that little review button if it’s no trouble <3 It’d be very much appreciated, and would boost my confidence an awful lot! Thank you very much!