Hasting’s journal from a time before the events in the Red Riding Hood Arc.
Fourth month. Day 3. 13__
The cook and housekeeper have presented a list of things that they feel need to be addressed. They likely have been talking to the groundskeeper, who has been making efforts this spring to improve the look of the gardens.
It’s generally known that our expenses have been taking a change for better. My master has been trading certain things of value on a closed, private market. I’m not quite sure what comes and goes, as he seems to disappear from time to time with some object from a private collection of a long deceased relative.
Why he was interested in the grounds mystified most of the household. If anything, the carriages could be changed over and the master should be thinking of social engagements.
This is the naive thinking of those who are newer to our home. My master is not very sociable man and so he does not, as far as I can tell, usually have much in his ledgers for parties and balls and the kind of thing that more normal households might have. Our food expenditures have been stable for some time.
However, as of late it seems we have had a bit more company. The master is home a bit more and his cousins seem to turn up every other week with some kind of business. I thought it had something to do with the private trade that the family has taken up.
Fourth month. Day 5. 13__
Mishap in the kitchen today. It seems that there has been some sort of rivalry among the younger staff. Cook says she has no idea why two of the girls were fighting. Mrs. Coombs thinks that Cook knows.
Fourth month. Day 10. 13__
Today the master asked what needed to be done to turn one of the rooms into a lady’s room. We had guest rooms, of course, so I was puzzled by such a question. When I asked how long the lady might be staying, a strange look crossed his face and he said he wasn’t sure.
I suppose I might have looked quite shocked by the answer, for he put on a very strange smile.”Surely you have noticed how frequently my cousins appear?”
Of course I had, but I felt foolish. So the purpose was some sort of matchmaking I suppose.
I was not surprised actually that the topic had come up. My lord is singular in that he has no children or wife. His cousins have not only heirs, but many to spare. The Wolframs do not believe in small families.
But I’m sure he’s turned them down before. He was not in much of a state to receive anyone. Only the last few years has he improved. It’s been a hard path for him since I’ve been here. He barely interacts with women, unless they are married.
I told the master that there were many rooms that could be made up but it was usually best to wait for the lady to have her say. I asked about this wife and he again got a very awkward look about him. He confessed he did not know much about her. It was his cousin Marrok who had finally found someone he would even consider.
I found out that this woman’s stay was on a conditional basis. That, too, might be problematic for if any of the townsfolk knew that our master had such an arrangement with a woman, they’d surely look down on us. Given the uncertainty, I told him that we were fine and that any of the rooms could be made suitable.
I forgot to ask him his preference though for the room.
One does not know if it’s better to have the woman close or not. If he disliked the lady, the further away the better.
After discussing the topic with the housekeeper, we decided to not use the room next to the master’s. However, we did not want the other servants to snoop too much, so we prepared a room on the same floor.
Fifth month. Day 23. 13__
We did not have much warning but the lady came in the late afternoon. She surprised all of us. Honestly none of us expected the lady to be so beautiful.
I don’t know who started the rumor among the staff but they were convinced that the woman had to be homely. Marrok was not known for having the same tastes as his more distant cousins who married into families that claimed descent from elves. His wife was quite plain. They thought he would bring one of her kin, for certain.
Mrs. Coombs called her an angel. And that she was with her straw colored hair and flowing hair. Cook, however, took one look at the woman’s eyes and declared her a fox spirit before crossing her fingers over her chest.
They were a very odd and pretty sight to behold, I thought. Odd only because Marrok had selected an angel for a devil. I think he was hoping that such an experiment might work.
It is hard to say so at the moment whether it will. But I did note that when Marrok excused himself to rest that the master was more than willing to entertain the lady alone.
After they were done, he pulled me aside and asked where she would be sleeping.
I believe he likes her.
Fifth Month: Day 24. 13__
We assigned Maggie to the Lady Selva.
Cook was tired of the girl and glad to be rid of her. Mrs. Coombs had no problem taking the girl under her wing and explaining to her her job.
They found me later in the day. It seemed that Maggie found me after morning and was worried she needed to be reassigned. This new lady did not use her at all to dress or want tea in the morning..
Certain things Mrs. Coombs was able to smooth over easily, but the small dilemma the maid had asked about raised to my attention that my master had not exactly specified what the young lady was due.
It was a bit awkward telling my master that the lady of the estate was often assigned a small allowance to dispense with as pleased. He was quite suspicious of my request, asking if this had been the Lady Selva’s doing. However, I assured him it was not. I told him how the girl had arrived with little and the servants expressed their concern about maintaining appearances He assigned her a modest sum, but instructed me to keep a close eye on her spending habits.
Sixth month. Day 16. 13__
She has fallen into the habit of doing what Mrs. Coombs calls “secretary work.” I can tell she is undecided as to whether this is a good or bad thing.
My lord is a terrible mess at times. The maids usually have no luck in tending the rooms he thinks of as his own because he cannot stand having his things moved.
I believe the Lady Selva picks up after him. She seems to find it entertaining. My master either doesn’t care or he doesn’t notice.
But at least he eats when she is around.
Mr. Watkins would be surprised.
Sixth month. Day 30. 13__
A beautiful moonrise tonight. And there is family here to observe. It was a bit strange, for the Lady Selva has been left by herself for most of the week. Her spirits seem a bit muted.
Maggie is busy though. When the Lady is not busy, they seem to talk a bit. They are a bit too close I think. At my request, Mrs. Coombs has reminded the girl that her loyalty is always to the master and that she was to make sure to keep a good eye on the lady.
Seventh month. Day 2. 13__
The cousins are gone and so I thought our routine would return to normal.
Of course that wouldn’t be the case.
I found Mrs. Coombs and Maggie on the second floor landing. They refused to go up to the third floor.
They handed me a tray, telling me it was for the lady. When I approached the third floor I found my lord pacing in front of my lady’s door.
He turned me back, telling me that no food was to be sent to her if she refused to come out.
Seventh month. Day 4. 13__
Even Cook now is asking me to do something. She cannot stand wasting all this food. It is obvious that Lady Selva is still in her room. In the servants’ eyes she is being held prisoner by our jealous lord.
I do not know what they are talking about.
Seventh month. Day 5. 13__
My master is now in bed resting himself. We’ve no doctor in the nearby town so we sent for one further south.
My lady’s door is as broken as his arm is.
We were certain she would be leaving us now that she had seen our lord’s temper. However, when I asked her about where she would like to sleep that evening, she asked for the room next to the master’s. When I came to inform her it was ready, she asked that the connecting door between the rooms be unlocked when I retired that evening.
I was quite shocked by the request, but it seems Maggie and Mrs. Coombs were not.
They have been very discreet, indeed!
Hastings lack of detail can be attributed to a few things:
1) He isn’t as observant as he thinks
2) He may be glossing over things that he knows and feels too shy to write down
3) The person forcing him to write things wants to allow you to have fun imagining all the things that are not described. HAHAHAHA.
Hahaha Thanks for this!