Servants on WIP Wednesday

servants at keyholeIn Farewell to Kindness, my hero’s servant and dearest friend arranged for his nephew to act as servant to my hero’s cousin, Major Alexander Redepenning, who is wheelchair bound after an injury.

In A Raging Madness, the teenage Jonno is still serving Alex with devoted care. Do you have a servant or employee in your WIP? How about giving us a peek! Here’s mine.

As he expected, Alex could not sleep. Jonno, after being yelled at for fussing, lay wakeful on his palate, fretting until Alex apologised.

“I am a bear, Jonno. But there is nothing to be done about the pain except wait it out, and one of us might as well get some rest. It seems you will be driving tomorrow.”

“I could heat the bricks again, sir, and we could try to draw some of the pain now you are more relaxed, like?”

Alex shook his head. “More heat is the last thing I need, lad.”

“Ice then,” Jonno suggested. “I could see if they have some ice?”

“In October?” But Jonno wouldn’t rest until he had done all he could. “Go on then. But don’t get them out of bed, Jonno. If no-one is awake, come back here.”

Jonno took the candle and left Alex in the dark, with nothing to focus his eyes on as a distraction from the pain. He listened instead. Soft patter on the window pane; the rain had started again. A burst of laughter, muffled by distance; the public room downstairs? The Alex of another time would have been down there, laughing with his friends and flirting with the bar maid. A thump overhead; something dropped?

Somewhere close, a door opened and then closed; Jonno returning? No. No light dispersed the darkness, no cheerful voice presaged another attempt to make Alex comfortable. He could have sworn it was the door to his sitting room, but the sound must have come from further along the hall for it was some time before Jonno arrived back, bearing a basin containing a towel wrapped around a block of ice that, he said, came from the inn’s ice pit.

“Very proud of it they are, sir. Ice all year round, they say. Getting towards the end of it now, of course. But there won’t be much call now, with winter coming on.”

He chatted away as he applied the brick, and Alex half listened to reports on the local harvest, the charms of the bar maids, and the gloomy forecast from the local weather prophet.



3 thoughts on “Servants on WIP Wednesday

  1. I don’t have servants, but I do have hired muscle…

    (hope this isn’t too long)

    I briefly admired the Pullman attached to the end of the train, but it was nothing to get too excited about. Daddy had one, and mama always tried to get me to use it for my buying trips. I preferred the anonymity of a public car.

    I found the last public car almost completely empty. Two large men sat at the rear, largely ignoring each other. Each read the morning paper. Rather, they pretended to.

    Hired muscle, each of them – likely for the owner of the Pullman. I recognized the air of self-importance about them almost immediately.

    Lefty stared at me over the fold of his paper, careful to avert his eyes when I dared meet his gaze. Righty had no such subtlety. He put the paper down and stood. With a grace not usually seen in one so bulky, he moved to where I stood.

    I was unable to suppress the smile that spread across my face. Lefty remained unknown, but I had known Righty most of my life.

    “Newton Jones. What a pleasure.” It would not be. Newton only worked for one family since leaving our small town up north.
    “My apologies miss, but this car is full.”

    I detected the moment recognition set in. The tough guy act shattered, and he flashed a quick smile. “Surely it’s been too long, Miss H – ”

    “The car is empty, Newton.” I gestured widely – we had yet to be joined by another person, and the ticket girl had indicated this car was fully available.

    “It’s for your own good, miss.”

    Of course it was. But I was tired of being told what was good for me. In the end, I won – but only because the train started moving, and there was nothing to be done. I was stuck in the car closest to my uncle’s biggest rival – the man who most hated me and my family.

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