I had every intention to read further in the curious volume I had found. The ominous warning preyed on my mind. However, from the moment I found it, I had not a moment to myself. My young charge had proven himself to be an insomniac and since I knew he had the habit of going through my things, I had no chance to read when I retired to my room for the evening. The next day was no better.
All I wanted was a chance to read further that Jasper decided to try my patience in every way he could think of. Finally, after luncheon I had enough. I sat him down and made him copy the definition of obedience fifty times. I had just pulled the little white book from my pocket when Jasper spoke.
“Don’t you have anything else to wear?”
My cheeks flamed with shame. I had only two dresses and a nightgown, it was all the case that Ettie had packed would hold. Everyone else in the house had the manners not to comment on my limited attire. I had every intention of purchasing more, but had not gotten around to it. Perhaps, it was my lack of sleep, but my patience was at an end.
“Your rudeness is inexcusable. Stand in the corner until I give you leave.”
Jasper did not move. I stood over him at his desk, at a loss for what to do. If he did not respect my authority then I was truly finished here. To my surprise, he looked up at me with tears welling in his eyes.
“I only thought you might like some prettier things.”
Now I was truly ashamed of myself. The child had in his clumsy way tried to be kind and I had totally misread his intention because the silly book had set my nerves on edge. I gave him my handkerchief. When we had both composed ourselves, Jasper continued,
“There are trunks of ladies things in the attic. Uncle wouldn’t mind and everything here is mine. I want you to have them.”
I assured him that I would take a look.
After dinner I went up to the attic. Jasper had not exaggerated. The gowns were so beautiful that I could not resist trying them on, though I told myself I would take none of them. After choosing one I thought I would look best in, I hunted for a mirror. Instead I found a painting of a young woman who looked almost exactly like me, wearing the same outfit. I stepped back in shock. Then I saw someone standing in the shadows. A man I had never seen before walked towards me. I opened my mouth to scream only for him to put his hand to my mouth to stifle the cry. I dropped the candle and the attic plunged into darkness.