by CJ Dyneley
A silly little piece of comedic fluff I wrote for a friend.
| Rain streaked down the ornate stained glass window that dominated the eastern wall of Felchly Manor’s great hall, and as Louisa stared through it at the dreary scenery outside, it felt like it was also raining in her soul.
Louisa had been married to her husband, Lord Horatio Felchly, for nigh on seven years now. Looking back on the beautiful spring morning she had pronounced her nuptials so, so long ago, she remembered how fresh and new everything had felt. Exciting. Explosive.
Who could have imagined it would have all come to this? Running an expensively manicured hand over an even more expensively manicured balustrade, Louisa sighed as she ascended the main staircase to reach the upper level of the grand and intimidating space; Being careful, of course, not to snag her Vera Wang dress on any sharp corners. No… Horatio would be angry if she ruined her gown for that evening. Louisa sometimes thought that her husband cared more about her clothing than she did. Pondering this, Louisa noticed a thin layer of dust that had gathered on her normally porcelain hued palm.
“MOHANNA-A-AH!” This alarmed cry from the mistress of the house immediately reached the ears of the 69 year old Head of Cleaning Staff (West Wing), Mohannah, all the way down in the servant’s quarters. Within moments a sheepish, brow beaten woman came scuttling through the intricately carved wooden doors to face her employer, who was leaning over the banister of the first level and holding out a faintly grey hand in an accusatory manner. “I thought I told you to clean the gold CAREFULLY this morning! We have guests coming over this evening, you know, and if they don’t find this place spick and span Mr Felchly will be very displeased!”
“I-I'm sorry, Madame Felchly!” Mohannah stuttered, hiding her face behind a feather duster. “It's the new girl! She doesn't know how to clean precious metals! She thinks it okay to use Mr Muscle all the time, on everything!” The servant cowered further, almost disappearing into her overly starched collar.
Louisa felt guilt stab suddenly at her stomach. She was a kind hearted soul, and it pained her to discipline the staff- It sometimes felt as if her true nature had been buried after so many years of being stepped on by her boorish husband. Life as a married woman had hardened her. She had to be hard, to avoid being crushed underfoot.
“I’m sorry, Mohannah” After a moments hesitation, Louisa wiped her hand carelessly across the bustle of her gorgeous violet silk dress. Screw Horatio. He wouldn’t notice a little dust on her dress anyway, she thought sadly. He’s usually blind drunk by eight. “I’m sorry” Louisa repeated. “As we’re having a ball, why don’t you and the rest of the girls take the night off? We’re hiring waiting staff anyway. Take some money out of the vase in the southern hallway”. Louisa wasn’t supposed to know about this hidden stash of her husband’s, but had secretly been telling just about everyone about it since she stumbled across a few choice wads stuffed in there last summer. She hoped Mohannah would pocket the whole lot, that would show the stuck up old bastard.
“Oh, thank you Madame Felchly!” Mohannah’s eyes filled with moisture, and stared up at Louisa with admiration and devotion. “You are as kind as you are beautiful!”
A few moments passed, as Louisa instinctively glanced down once more to the stained glass window her husband had insisted they install , “to impress the poor folk who work for us”. The rain had cleared, and a panoramic view of their many acres was now visible. Louisa could swear she saw a faint puff of smoke, far away in the distance.
“Yes” She finally replied, her warm and regal eyes still focused on the free, wild mountains. “Yes, I know”.