IF only Mr. Clapham’s hands had not been so sweaty, perhaps I would not have been so hasty in my choice of employment.

Mr. Malcolm A- strode into the room filled with the confidence of a man of his position. I wish I had felt the same.

“So Miss Lucy Warne, how many people do you think I’ve interviewed for this position?”

He did not wait for my answer.

“It really doesn’t matter because none of them got it or I wouldn’t be talking to you. I don’t give a d-, a fig, about your qualifications, what I want to know is can you keep secrets?”

“No one knows I am here today.”

My reply produced a wolfish grin. He came and sat uncomfortably close.

“I can tell Miss Lucy, you’re like me, you don’t quite follow the rules, but if you work for me there are two-set in stone. First, you always follow my instructions, no matter how odd and Last you are never ever to bother me about my nephew. I have no interest in him and under no circumstance is my father or his business to be disturbed for the likes of him. Can you follow these rules?”


“You are a rare jewel, Miss Lucy a rare jewel indeed. Now go home and pack. You leave for W—-stone Manor on the 4:50 at Kensington Station.”

“Mr. A-?”

Rule number one, old girl, rule number one.”

I left the office quickly only to find much to my relief that I had been provided a carriage to take me to the station. Now all that remained was to collect some things from the family townhouse and then I would be free.

I used the servants stairs and made my way to my room. Much to my relief my ever considerate sister had packed a bag, so my escape was easily made. It was not until I was settled into my first class compartment on the train that I began to relax. I knew my mother would not look for me; she would do anything to avoid scandal. I opened my satchel and my eyes fell upon the book. All my anxiety fled as I opened the pages of my favorite novel and began to read.

When the train arrived at my destination, I was collected and dumped, as if I were a parcel, on the front step. The door opened and a tall stern woman, dressed in black stood in front of me. She held a candle and without a word motioned me inside. She had such an air of authority that I followed her without question up the grand staircase She stopped in front of a door, unlocked it; she stepped aside and I realized that this must be my room. As I stepped in, she placed the candle on a small table before closing the door forcefully behind her.

“Welcome to your new home, Miss Warne.” I whispered to myself.

“Delighted, I’m sure.”



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