I told Gideon that I was going to the Manor to fetch Jasper. That was true, but it was also true that I had to get away from him, away from the things that he had told me. The rain was not quite so fierce and helped to clear my head. Everything he told me made a hideous sense. The looks Malcolm had gave me, his familiarity, but most of all how I had gotten such a position with no real qualification.
As I reached the Manor I realized I had no idea as to what I was going to do. I did not even know if Jasper was there. I told myself it didn’t matter, all I had to do was remain calm. I belonged in the house, no one would question me as long as I behaved normally. It came to me in a flash, Jasper had been so eager to be out of doors earlier in the day that neither one of us had eaten anything that afternoon. As I headed towards the kitchen, I formed a plan. Our untouched luncheon still sat on the kitchen table and I found a basket to put the food in. I had decided that I would do the same as I did when I fled my mother’s house. We would take as little as possible, hide the items in the basket. No one would realize what had happened until we were well away.
There was still no sign of Jasper as I began to climb the stairs toward our rooms. I had just reached the first landing when a voice cried out,
I turned and looked down. A maid that I had never seen before stood at the bottom of the stairs. I had known there were other servants in the house, but I could never recall seeing this girl before.
“Mrs. Kerr wants to speak with you.”
I sat the basket down on the landing, knowing I had no good reason to refuse. I had expected to be led to the study, but instead the girl led me to Mrs. Kerr’s room on the other side of the house. Mrs. Kerr was not there. My nerves were too frayed to allow me to sit, so I wandered around her small room. A stack of letters in a familiar white envelopes caught my eye. I recognized my own handwriting. There on the desk in front of me was every letter that I had written to my sister, Ettie.
I was trying to absorb the shock, so I did not hear Mrs. Kerr enter the room, or the door shut behind her. I sensed her presence and turned. I could not breathe. I did not know what to do. Then Malcolm stepped out from behind her.
“Are you surprised to see my dear?”