this is chapter 1. The original manga called EMMA is based apon the work of Kuori Mori.
|England, the end of 19th century London… owing to the Industrial Revolution, it is an age of change and innovation.
And yet… it is also an age when traditional lives and class systems remain entranced in society… and horse-drawn carriages still have the run of the road.
I had just finished dusting the shelves when I heard a knock on the door. I opened the door, not realizing someone was right there, holding his nose in pain. His nose was bleeding because the door hit him.
“I’m sorry! Are you all right?! I had no idea someone would be standing there!!” I shrieked. I was worried. The gentlemen looked up at me.
“Ah, yes. That’s quite all right. I am perfectly fine.” The young man assured. “I am really sorry!” I echoed.
The wind picked up and took the young man’s hat. I noticed as the young master continued to gaze at dumbfounded at me.
“Ah, your hat!” I shouted. I ran down the steps to fetch the hat.
“Emily, what’s the matter?” I heard Madam Catharine called from inside the house. She appeared in the door way. The young man recognized her as his governess. I picked up the hat and strolled back to her.
“It’s been a long time madam. It’s me, Jonathan Jones.” The young master greeted.
Madam Catharine smiled a wrinkled smile. “Well, I’ll be. Yes it certainly has been a long time. You’ve gotten a lot taller. But that’s Peculiar; I seem to recall you as having a slighter more handsome face.” Madam Catharine joked.
“Um, I do believe that’s due to just before…” Jonathan protested. “Ah!” Jonathan beamed, slightly smiling as I returned his hat.
Catharine invited Jonathan into her home. I served tea as Catharine and Jonathan chatted.
“ho-ho-ho! Standing in front of an opening door; a wonderful example of being in the wrong place at the wrong time! That’s just like you!” Catharine chuckled. Jonathan remained silent.
“I have mentioned before, haven’t I, Emily, that I was a live-in governess long time ago for this young man?” Catharine asked me. “Oh?” I questioned.
“At the time, the Jones family was quite prominent. I know how they fare now. But seeing you bring back memories. How is your father, is he well?” Catharine quizzed Jonathan. “Um… yes. Very well, thank you.” Jonathan assured as I served him tea.
“I have asked him to come over for a visit many times. But he never has.” Catharine sighed.
“Thank you.” Jonathan spoke quietly to me.
“So, I’ve been left in the dark as to the state of your family.” Catharine told Jonathan. “One would think that for someone who practically raised you for four years of your life, I should have the opportunity to see you more often.”
Jonathan looked up at Emily briefly, sipping his tea.
“By the way, have you gotten over your bed-wetting problem… young master?” Catharine asked, smirking. Jonathan blushed. “Yes, quite some time ago, as a matter of fact.” Jonathan spoke, nervously. “I see. Well, that’s good to hear.” Catharine smiled.
“Ah! Emily!” Catharine called as I passed by. “Open the curtains, would you?” Catharine requested. “Yes, Ma’am.” I uttered.
I opened the curtains one at a time, letting a river of light into the room. I could feel Jonathan’s eyes burn into my back, but I ignored it. I guess he has never seen a maid whom wears glasses.
Catharine noticed Jonathan’s gaze and questioned it. “Are maids such rare creatures to you?”
“Ah! No… I… ” Jonathan faltered over his words.
“Oh, that’s right. You have a veritable army of them at home. I remember they would do everything for you, from dressing you to lord who knows what else! I thought you would have changed more in ten years…” Catharine recalled, but she was interrupted by the telephone ringing in the other room. “I need to answer the telephone. Wait here.” Catharine told Jonathan. “Oh, I’ll-” I started. “That’s all right. It’s probably Mr. Graham.” Catherine insisted, standing up, gingerly. She closed the door on her way out.
Jonathan held his face in one hand, placing his elbow on the arm of the chair. He seemed embarrassed.
I giggled. “She’s not going easy on you, is she?” I questioned. Jonathan gazed up at me, briefly. Then he looked down at his feet. I smiled at him.
“Actually… I shouldn’t be saying this, but… I’ve always found it… difficult being around her.” Jonathan admitted as I piled dishes. “So it seems.” I agreed. “She used to be much scarier though, more so than that of my father. And stricter than anyone I have ever met. If I forgot to do my homework, she would make me sit in a corner to ‘ponder my misdeed.’ It was worse than getting scolded. And even now…” Jonathan remembered. He paused, noticing a photograph on the fireplace mantle.
“This is me.” Jonathan pointed at a photograph of a little boy standing up right against a cane, as would anyone in high society. “Me when I was 13…”
I ambled up behind him. “Which one?” I questioned. Jonathan reached to pick it up, and it slipped out of his hands. Out of reflex, I quickly caught it before it could break on the floor. “Thank you.” Jonathan sighed with relief.
“When I was 13, she took this photograph of me, as a ‘memento,’ she would say. I remember that now. But I never thought that it would end up here.” Jonathan admitted.
“Hm.” I pondered as I looked at the photograph.
“She never told you about me?” Jonathan asked. “No, never.” I replied, holding the picture out in front of me. I tried to compare the photograph to Jonathan. He looked confused, not sure of what I was doing.
“It’s funny. I didn’t realize this was you…” I admitted, smiling. Jonathan was silent. “My lady has no children of her own; you see… she probably thinks of you as her own son. If she decorates the mantle with your photographs…” I spoke of.
“Perhaps you’re right; Even though I was constantly on the receiving end of her anger.” Jonathan agreed.
“Yes, I can imagine. But that’s her way. It would be nice if you could get over your sense of unease around her.” I suggested, placing the photograph onto the mantle. “Quite.” Jonathan agreed, gazing down, briefly.
“Um… do you, by any chance, have any off days?” Jonathan asked, nervously. He seemed unaware that Catharine was off the telephone and in the doorway behind him.
“Emily, Mr. Graham has arrived at the station, so I’m off to meet him. Would you bring me that package?” Catharine asked.
“Yes, ma’am.” I replied. “I am sorry your visit has to be cut short today.” Catharine uttered. “What?!” Jonathan whined. “I have a prior engagement.” Catharine explained. “It’s a shame, you came all this way… but even someone in retirement has a schedule to keep.” Catharine acknowledged. “And here you drop in from out of the blue.”
“I understand.” Jonathan sighed, as he looked at me.
“Next time, contact me beforehand, by letter, say, to let me know you’re coming. When you mean to visit a person, it is only common sense.” Catharine lectured. “And your answer?” Catharine asked Jonathan. “Yes! I will!” Jonathan shouted.
“Yes, do come again soon. Then we can spend a leisurely time catching up on various topics.” Catharine suggested. Jonathan was silent. He looked at me as I retrieved his hat.
“I will!” Jonathan promised, placing his hat on top his head. “Good.” Catharine replied.
Jonathan opened the door. “Umm… well, then… I shall see you again soon.” Jonathan promised.
Catharine waved William goodbye as he walked down the streets.
I fluffed the cushions and pillows in the chair Jonathan had just sat in. I discovered a pair of white cloves.
“What is it?” Catharine questioned. I picked up the gloves. “It seems our guest has forgotten his gloves…” I announced.
“His gloves? Oh he hasn’t changed a bit.” Catharine smiled. “He just left, so if I hurry, I can…” Catharine interrupted my offer. “No need to bother. He said he’d come again soon. And I’m sure that’s not the only pair of gloves he’s…” Catharine paused, noticing the stare on my face.
“Hmmm, the boy seems to have used his wiles here. Well, I’ll turn a blind eye this time. Well, he can’t have gotten far. Very well, will you deliver these to him for me? I’ll lock up.” Catharine urged. “Yes, ma’am.” I replied, smiling. Catharine looked at me, curiously. I left the house to search for Jonathan.
I jogged down the street, eagerly searching for Jonathan.
Jonathan peaked around the wall, and his eyes locked on mine. He walked off, luring me to follow him. I took the bait and followed Jonathan.
Once I was able to catch up to him, I handed him his gloves. No voices were exchanged, but Jonathan pointed off in to the distance, showing me something. We exchanged smiles and strolled down the street.