We served our masters in an orderly manner. Bringing dish after dish, clearing plate after plate. A typical dinner consisted of a ten-course meal, containing flavorful soup roasted turkey with dressing or roasted pork alongside potatoes or rice as sidelines. There were usually two vegetable side dishes, citrus ice, fresh dinner rolls with sweet cream butter, jams, jellies and sweet pickles, cake and preserved Fruit, coffee, and hot punch.

”Papa, the season will begin soon. I wish to have some dresses prepared. ”

”You have enough dresses. You can wear them, ” the Marquess replied.

I peeked at him. This was unusual; he usually indulged in the young ladys wants. What might have happened?

”But Papa- ”

”Enough! Let me have my meal in peace. ”

”Listen to your father, Charlotte, ” the Marchioness cut in.

Her tone of voice was different. It was gentle and warm.

”Mama, you as well… ” She earned a glare from the marchioness.

The young lady sat quietly, picking apart her food.

The Marquess continued eating slowly, glancing occasionally at Charlotte who sat opposite him.

It was very obvious that something had gone wrong. There was no reason for the couple to act like this. Oh, something had gone very wrong.

I just did not know what that was.

When dinner was finished, the three bowed again and prayed:

”We give Thee thanks, Almighty God, for all thy benefits, Who live and reign forever and ever. Amen. ” The marchioness got up to clear her place. As she moved, the marquess gaze lingered on her bosom. Then shifted to me.

I quickly cast my eyes downward. Why is he looking at me?

”Your father needs to attend to matters regarding the estate. ” She paused and looked directly at the young lady. ”Perhaps I should join him. You stay here. ”

I looked up and found Charlotte sitting in a daze.

I stared at her intently and noticed her breathing become irregular. Is she alright?

Suddenly, a hand nudged me. I turned to find Gina, a fellow maid. She jerked her head towards the lady, and her expression told me to get rid of her. I glanced at the other maids, they had similar expressions on their faces.

Sighing, I went to the lady. I gently placed a hand on her shoulder. ”Milady, your hair is messy. ”

She looked at me, blinking rapidly.

”May I? ” I gestured my hand for permission. The lady nodded.

I lead her to her chambers, occasionally glancing at her distraught appearance. It must have hit her hard. She is too spoiled.

After redoing her hair, I helped her change into her nightgown and draped a shawl over her shoulders.

”Do you need anything else, milady? ”

”No. ”

”Then, I will return with supper later. ”

I bowed and left the room. I closed the door softly and headed toward the kitchen.

A few of the maids surrounded the stove, their expressions curious. Lia seemed to be narrating an incident with a frustrated look on her face.

I moved closer and leaned against the sink next to the stove.

”And the bitch dared to say, you are too heavy. Can you imagine? ” Lia complained.

Yes, I can. It wouldn be the first time.

”I knew we shouldn have associated with her, ” a plump girl, Alma, said. ”I mean, really?! That is so uncouth! Who does she think she is? ”

Oh? Did you get offended too?

The others didn seem bothered, though. They probably enjoyed the drama and gossip. The whole situation was weird.

Lia sighed, her eyebrows furrowed. ”Don mind her. She is just jealous. ”

Jealous of what?

”Of course shes jealous! ” another maid exclaimed.

The others nodded along in agreement.

”Oh, stop your chitter-chatter girls, its time for supper. Run along to the servant all now. ” Mrs. Smith said.

”Yes, Mrs. Smith. ” We all responded.

They dispersed into small groups, talking amongst themselves.

We had our supper and went about our work.

”Myra, Ill take the supper for the lady. ” Louiss voice came behind her.

I gave him a tight smile. ”Sorry, Im afraid I can do that. ” Without paying him any heed, I went upstairs to the young ladys room. I knocked on the door.

No answer.

Again.

No answer.

I opened the door and peeked inside. Charlotte was fast asleep.

Well, it looks like she doesn want supper. I sighed and went back to the kitchen. Keeping the leftovers in the designated area, I returned to my room.

I snubbed the lamp and waited until it was silent. Then I slipped out of the room. I carefully closed the door and headed towards the tunnel. I navigated through it and stopped in front of a wall. On the other side of it was the marquesss study. I sat down and put my ears against the wall. Bits and pieces of the conversation flowed into my ears.

”Debutante… happened now… What am I to… debt… Lidonton… ruin ”

Oh. So this is what happened.

I remained motionless, waiting until everything was quiet before I slipped out of the tunnel.

Walking to the entrance, I opened the door, careful not to make any noise, and stepped outside. It was quite dark, but it would not matter since I could still see clearly.

My feet made no sound as I passed through the corridors, making sure that nobody saw me. I headed downstairs to the wing where the servants quarters were present.

Slipping inside the room, I lay on the bed, thinking over what I had just heard.

Alright, so, the young lady will have her debutante this season. But the marquessate is in debt? With whom? The Lidonton Duchy? Or are there talks of engagement for the Charlotte with young lord Lidonton?

Just what is happening?

I suppose being here now will certainly be of loss to me. Should I leave?

Yes, I can get a recommendation letter if I leave now. I will not get it if we get kicked out of the marquessate when it is destroyed.

But what if Lidonton Duchy helps the marquessate? And I will not get a job where my position is so high in the servant hierarchy.

What should I do? How do I proceed now?

There must be some way to fix everything. My brain was buzzing nonstop.

This is the worst-case scenario. It is very unlikely that I will be able to get a recommendation letter if I stay. I have to find a solution somehow.

I closed my eyes, trying to figure things out.

How do I find the source of the problem?

Is someone sabotaging the marquess?

Well, I don know anymore. Lets just observe for now.

Coming to a conclusion, I slunk underneath the blanket and closed my eyes.

Tomorrow, perhaps I will learn something.

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